October is a traveling month for us, it seems. This time we blame The Delachaise.
We’ve begun to catch on to the idea that for some reason October is a good month for fare sales. We made a quick decision two years ago to get away to Santa Fe, opted for New England last year, and found ourselves seated at the bar in The Delachaise one Sunday evening a few months ago where the dangerous combination of wine and wireless enabled us to find and book cheap Fall flights to Seattle with the idea of heading north to Vancouver, both places we’d never been. You might argue it was the most expensive bottle we drank all summer.
Flights booked, there was the little matter of arranging everything else that remained. A local friend of ours put us in touch with his sister, a Seattle resident and frequent Vancouver visitor, who was able to give us an amazing catalog of do’s and don’t’s, illustrating what is perhaps rule one of travel: hook up with a local whenever possible. When she learned she’d be out of town during our visit, she went the extra mile and insisted we stay at her place gratis. Amazing generosity from someone whom we’ve still never met IRL. Then again, the fact that she doesn’t actually know us might go a long way toward explaining her willingness to have us in her house.
So below, a few thoughts, observations, photos, and terrific places we discovered in our trip to the Pacific Northwest: Continue reading
Posted in Art, Breakfast, Dinner, Farmer's Markets, Food, He Said, Lunch, Travel
Tagged Cape Dorset, Granville Island, Hawksworth, Kananginak, Pike Place Market, Sea to Sky Highway, Seattle, Vancouver, Whistler
This ain’t no greasy spoon.
Diners have a certain gritty appeal, never more so than when the sun rises on the scorched earth of one of those NOLA celebrations that merge late night into early morning, if you know what I mean. We all have those give me something with bacon and get the hell out of my face days every now and then, right?
But for the more discriminating palate, might I suggest the best breakfast in New Orleans just may be on Hampson Street in Riverbend at Refuel Cafe?
That’s where you’ll find the post-Katrina creation of Guthrie Banks, who originally opened his place when he saw a need to feed construction workers swarming the neighborhood in 2006. Guthrie tells us he lost 100 pounds and at the same time gained new insights into the food he wanted to cook and serve. We didn’t know him in those days, so we can’t vouch for the 100 pounds, but I can tell you that it’s nice to see the owner running the joint in person, and that has been the case literally every single time we’ve entered Refuel (and there have been many). Continue reading
Actually, I really, really like Dante’s kitchen. A lot.
I almost went with En fuego: Dante’s Kitchen, which would have been perhaps a more accurate post title, and I seriously considered The Magic of Dante, referencing a local magician, because it’s not easy to come up with any Dante line that doesn’t reference everybody’s favorite Italian poet. In the end, I decided to stick with the catchy branding Dante stuck on a big sign just outside the gates of hell near the beginning of the Inferno, the only part of his trilogy anyone ever even thinks about reading. Atonement and Grace as delivered in the Purgatorio and Paradiso? Boring. Testimony, as if we needed it, that badness is more interesting than goodness any time.
Dante was not shy, placing numerous contemporaries with whom he had a beef in whatever circle of hell he felt most appropriate, naming names, and subjecting them to various hideous and eternal torments. Were I a million times more talented than I actually am, I might try a NOLA version. Between Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, I think the circles of damnation might have a wait-list.
Wait a second: Isn’t there supposed to be a restaurant review here? Ok then: My mother’s birthday was this past Monday, so we took she and my father to the wonderful Dante’s Kitchen for brunch Sunday morning. In Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain rails against brunch as amateur hour, the service for which no chef wants to be present, and generally an opportunity for the restaurant to get rid of whatever didn’t sell during the week by repackaging it as a special, as in specially designed to offload this crap. I’m sure Bourdain knows what he’s talking about. He is, like, famous and everything. But brunch is not that way at every restaurant, and certainly not at Dante’s. First, brunch is big business. Dante’s opens at 10:30, and that’s when you want to be there. Unless you want to stand around and drink for awhile as you wait for a table, which come to think of it is not such a bad thing. Ok, so maybe abandon all hope is a little strong, but I couldn’t find be prepared to wait for a table in my Dante concordance. Maybe I missed it.
I’ll see your fries and raise you a freeze. Watch out, Clover Grill, because there is competition brewing in the Quarter. Thanks to our trusty Gambit, I was the first in this household to learn of the new location of Camellia Grill opening in the French Quarter. (We have an ongoing battle to be in-the-know on all things food throughout the GNO area). We immediately knew that we had to stake a claim on this one since it is after all in our back yard. Perfect, because we had multiple parties to attend this weekend and the forecast was partly cloudy with an 80% chance of late night/hangover food.
Saturday we made the pre-pounce stalker walk-by to check the scene out on our way to our first party. After party number 2, I was not really hungry and asked if we could beg-off till breakfast. He said graciously agreed and I went off to dreamland with visions of fluffy omelets dancing in my head. Sunday morning we strategically planned our day to include Mass at the Cathedral, breakfast, a trip to Jefferson to decorate our tree and house, and MV Burger’s foie gras special later in the evening. It was set: Mass, then breakfast.
Fall foliage, Vermont
We only have two (ok maybe one and a half) seasons in NOLA, plus it had been like 60 days since we’d travelled. So, perfect time for a field trip to autumnal New England.
Neither of us had been north of NYC before, so we were both looking forward to this little getaway made possible by some cheap flights and an abundance of Hilton points.
We left the Big Easy Friday morning and flew into Boston. We had dinner and spent the evening there, rented a car the next morning and explored some points north, and returned to Bean town Sunday night. We had a final day of exploration before returning home. Well, theoretically, at least. I am composing this post as we work our way from Boston to Houston in order to hopefully get back to NOLA around midnight. Gosh, I just love flying!
Anyway, the foodie details, plus other random stuff, below:
Posted in Breakfast, Dinner, Dinner, He Said, Lunch, Restaurant, Reviews, Travel, Wine
Tagged restaurants, travel, wine
We woke a bit late the day after the big dinner party. I have a feeling seven bottles of wine and some port might have had a bit to do with it. The bad news is that I woke feeling pretty much like hammered dog farts; the good news is that I was able to turn my skull-pounding lemons into lemonade with the spontaneous invention of Religious PTO.
Now, I certainly agree with Saint Augustine, or maybe it was Saint Thomas Aquinas, or whatever, that the spiritual is more important than the material. Yet, day after day I walk through the valley of the shadow otherwise known as “work” in order to accrue my miserable American pittance of a vacation. Somehow it occurred to my alcohol poisoned brain that this approach to the material must apply at least equally to the spiritual. Surely our unrelenting Catholic orthodoxy had earned us, yes, the religious version of Paid Time Off! The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed: God will let us…no, God wants us to take time off, to stop and smell the roses as it were.
Breakfast with another woman is generally not in the best interests of a healthy marriage. Blogging about it is even worse. Sometimes, exceptions must be made. My wife was out-of-town last weekend, attending our new nephew’s christening in Texas. So it was my youngest daughter who agreed to be my date for breakfast.
I was loving the cool weather, and she was freezing, as we waited outside Slim Goodies on Magazine. This is a classic NOLA diner, near the top of my list for post-hangover eats. No such motivation was in effect on this morning, but we nevertheless like this place very much.
Brunch at Elizabeth’s Sunday, and I’ve finally figured out what this restaurant really is: the hot girl with issues.
Every guy knows who this girl is: cool, funky, sexy… how can she possibly be available? Oh, wait, your ex-boyfriend has a restraining order against you? You can’t write checks around town? Uhhhh, maybe not…Ladies, you know this girl too. She is totally unreliable, but she has incredible shoes.
More than a week overdue on this one, but better late than never.
We headed downtown weekend before last for the Saints’ opener at the dome (how ’bout dem Saints!) and met up with our very cool mid-city friends for cocktails and breakfast at Luke, John Besh’s bistro next door to One Shell Square. I’ve been dreading any day a comment from our friends that is something like: “WTF?? You blog every effing day about food and you ignore our pre-game breakfast?” Fortunately for me, they are very gracious…or maybe they just don’t read our stuff. Yeah, that’s probably it.