Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Embrace Your Inner Pig: Cochon

Cochon is a must-visit when you go to New Orleans. Must. Ingredients are locally sourced and expertly prepared. The setting is casual and comfortable yet warmly modern. Dinner reservations may sometimes be difficult, but going for lunch is easy.
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Blenheim Ginger Ale ($5) and Barritt's Ginger Beer ($4) accompanied our outstanding meal.

Fried alligator with chili garlic aioli ($10).
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Crunchy, tender, creamy, spicy, and just all-around luscious.

Charred onion and chile hush puppies with goat cheese cream ($8).
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Hot fried balls with a tangy cheesy sauce? Yes, please!

Smoked pork ribs with watermelon pickle ($10).
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Fall-off-the-bone, lick-your-fingers awesomeness.

Louisiana cochon with turnips, cabbage, and cracklins ($23).
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The eponymous dish! So juicy and fabulous! Are you drooling? You should be!

Pineapple upside-down cake -- cornmeal cake with coconut-lime sorbet and dulce de leche ($8).
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A little sweet. A little tart. A lotta good to end.

Don't miss Cochon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Far From Ambrosial: Green Goddess

Green Goddess seems beloved by many folks in New Orleans. I don't know why, especially when there is so much incredible food in New Orleans. This was easily our worst meal in New Orleans to date.
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Like Jacques-Imo's, Green Goddess does not take reservations, so we put in our name, left my cell phone number, and walked around the neighborhood until we got a call. Unlike Jacques-Imo's, however, Green Goddess severely underwhelmed.

Jasmine Ginger Ale ($3.50)
Meyer Lemon GUS ($3.75)
Maine Root Ginger Brew ($3.50)
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There was no shortage of tasty bottled sodas.

The Green Goddess Wedge Salad -- boiled Louisiana shrimp, radishes, cucumber, hearts of palm, hearts of Romaine, sieved eggs, crumbled bacon, Romano cheese, Green Goddess dressing ($14).
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Fresh and tasty but not particularly exciting.

Phnom Penh pork belly, star anise caramel sauce, lettuce cups with sesame soba noodles and crunchy, spicy slaw ($14).
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Too sweet. Too salty. Too bad.

Louisiana bangers and mash -- duck and pork sausages, mashed local sweet potatoes, Steen's cane syrup ($14).
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Adequate but uninspired.

Special of the day.
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The only thing I remember about this fish was that it was ridiculously salty. Terrible.

The Notorious Bacon Sundae -- pecan praline ice cream, creamy bacon caramel sauce, Pink Himalayan and Black Lava salts, Nueske's applewood bacon, whipped cream ($8).
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This was the one highlight of the night. Of course, it required no cooking. Thumbs up.

Iced Union Coffee & Chicory with condensed milk ($3.25).
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This coffee was very good as well. At least we ended on a nice sweet note.

Green Goddess is so-called international fusion food with heavy-handed, misguided attempts at Asian accents. It does New Orleans a great injustice. If you're in town for a visit, especially if you're from a city that does Asian food well, skip Green Goddess.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Bright Brunch: Dante's Kitchen

We met mfluder for Sunday brunch at Dante's Kitchen.
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The charming little restaurant takes reservations for dinner, but brunch is first-come-first-served.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice ($3.00)
Cold-brewed slow-drip coffee with a wisp of vanilla and milk ($3.50)
Mimosa ($7.00)
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Daytime beverages for all tastes and desires!

Coho salmon gravlax and eggs, dill cream, buttermilk biscuit ($13.00).
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mfluder liked her dish.

Potatoes ($3.00).
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Wonderfully browned and seasoned.

Special of the day -- Who Dat Sliders.
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Sausage and egg on a fresh buttermilk biscuit and Creole mustard. Yum!

Grilled Gulf shrimp and stone-ground grits served with andouille red eye gravy ($13.00).
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Very enjoyable rendition of a New Orleans classic.

Bread pudding French toast with seasonal fruit sauce and powdered sugar ($12.00).
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Absolutely delectable brunch dessert for all of us to share.

Simple. Southern. Scrumptious.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vintage New Orleans: Jacques-Imo's

Have you missed me? How has your February been? We went to Rome, Paris, London, and Amsterdam! It was pretty awesome.

My good friend is going to New Orleans soon, so I'm going to post about our two trips from October and December first.

And who doesn't love New Orleans?

When we landed during Columbus Day weekend, the first thing we did was head to the extremely popular Jacques-Imo's. If you have a party of five or more, you may make a reservation, but otherwise the no-reservation policy means that waits for this shack-looking restaurant can sometimes last over an hour.
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Forty minutes passed before our name was called, and we made our way through the bustling kitchen to the noisy, kitschy, convivial rear dining room.

Was it worth it?

OH, YEAH.

Complimentary cornbread.
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Not quite as moist as I'd like but palatable enough for being free.

This plate of golden fried chicken whizzed by us to another table.
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It looked fantastic.

Shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake ($9.00).
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It sounds really weird, but this is one of the restaurant's specialties. You must get it! Rich! Creamy! Savory! Insanely delicious!

Fried rabbit tenderloin with Creole mustard cream ($9.00).
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Meaty, fried, mustardy happiness.

Crabmeat-stuffed shrimp with magnolia sauce ($9.00).
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This ain't your regular fried shrimp appetizer! Crab! Crab! Crab!

Godzilla Meets Fried Green Tomatoes ($27.95).
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The pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance! We couldn't resist this because of its fun name. "Godzilla" was actually a big fried soft-shell crab! On a bed of wondrous fried green tomatoes! Amazing! We also enjoyed the side of corn maque choux and mashed sweet potatoes.

It's clear why Jacques-Imo's is a New Orleans institution. It's definitely one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans. I'd gladly wait again and again.
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