Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Have a Drink and Get a Room with one of our Hotel Packages! Click Here for Details There are millions of reasons to visit New Orleans, and in May 2011 there is something special for everyone who visits. The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) will present its 5-day annual event filled with new, exciting wine and food seminars and festivities. For new and returning oenophiles, several hotels are offering one and two night packages for guests who book their trip now. “These hotel packages are a great opportunity to see New Orleans in a way that fits your style, your tastes, and your budget,” states Jamie Peckenpaugh, NOWFE Executive Director. Hotel packages include accommodations for two, tickets to the Grand Tasting, and other special amenities. Packages vary by hotel property and include:
Headquarter Hotel New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center $199/night, plus tax
- Two VIP Grand Tasting passes (Friday or Saturday)
- Two tickets to the National World War II Museum
- Two tickets to Beyond All Boundaries 4D movie at the WWII Museum
- Two complimentary glasses of house wine with purchase of entree at John Besh’s American Sector restaurant
- Discounted overnight parking of $20
Host Hotel Hotel Monteleone: $799 total package, tax included
- Two VIP passes to the Friday Grand Tasting
- Two-night accommodations
- Welcome bottle of champagne with two complimentary 125th Anniversary stemware
- Welcome cocktails for two in the historic Carousel Bar
- Daily American breakfast for two in Le Café at Hotel Monteleone
- Complimentary 125th Anniversary history book of Hotel Monteleone
JW Marriott New Orleans: $244 two-night package, plus tax 7-day advance reservation required. Other terms & conditions may apply.
- Two VIP Grand Tasting passes (Friday and Saturday)
- Two-night accommodations
- Welcome bottle of champagne
- Daily breakfast buffet for two in the hotel restaurant
Hilton New Orleans Riverside: $242/night, plus taxes
- Two VIP passes to the Grand Tasting (Friday or Saturday)
- Welcome bottle of wine
- Complimentary breakfast for two in the hotel restaurant
Hotel package reservations may be made at www.nowfe.com/hotel. Additional nights may be reserved based on availability, and prices are set at the discretion of the individual hotel.All individual NOWFE event tickets are also available for purchase at www.nowfe.com. New Orleans ranks number one in ten categories in Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Cities” survey and NOWFE plays a big part in that, being named a “perennial ‘Top Ten’ Wine and Food festival” in Wine Enthusiast. The five-day wine and food extravaganza takes place throughout the city, showcasing more than just restaurants and hotels. Guests will find themselves sipping and tasting in antique shops, on the bustling French Quarter streets, and in the Convention Center situated on the Mississippi River. Each hotel package is based upon availability and subject to change. For more about the packages and complete information about New Orleans Wine & Food Experience visit www.nowfe.com. Press Release from Liz Bodet
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Steamed Pork Spare Ribs with black bean sauce. This were cut into bite size portion with the bone in. I love gnawing bones and the black beans added a spicy note to an otherwise rich and unctuous dish
Mango Glutinous Cake. Least favorite that day. Kinda like a very chewy snowball snack cake.
Dim Sum King
They even had a contest. Eat three fat and a double order of bacon cheese fries in 15 minutes and you got it free. Below is a Fried Feast containing fries, fried chicken strips, fried cheese, onion rings, cheese sauce, tomato, lettuce, mayo and mustard. It was ok if you wanted some calories without flavor. The whole thing just jumbled together and was also very sloppy.
3624 Ryan St
Lake Charles LA
Monday thru Sunday 11 AM to 10:00 PM $3 to $35
Most of the work done to this building to transition it from Appleby’s was on the outside. The interior remains the same except for some cosmetic touches. When you sit down they bring out the chips and two salsas. They see different form most places. I think one is a ground tomato and the other I think is a creamy cilantro. I say I think because they hit the table stone cold which suppresses any taste they do have.
I went for the Mayan Tamale on the appetizer menu first time in. However I found this is no appetizer but a meal. It is 9 or 10 inches long and 2 to 3 inches high. This behemoth comes smothered in chili and cheese. A somewhat dry masa surrounds chunk of pork. It seems to be somewhat typical Mexican tamale. The taste was good. Next I had the Nuevo Crab. Crab stuffed crepes instead of tortillas. It possessed three sauces: a mango red pepper salsa, creamy roasted poblano, and creamy roasted red pepper ancho. It also comes with two sides and I opted for SW mashed potatoes and poblano cheese grits. Instead of just putting the crepes on the plate and covering each one with a different sauce and the sides on the side, they had to stack. It comes to no good. On the potatoes went both crepes and the salsa. The two sauces and grits surrounded it. So instead of getting a taste of each sauce with the crepes it all became a jumble of flavors with no direction. I hated the dessert but that was partially my fault. I did not read the description so I did not realize I was getting a deconstructed Tres Leches. It consisted of cubes of pound cake in milk with sugar, whipped cream and blueberries on top. If I had wanted cereal for dessert I would have waited until I got home.
Next time in I started with the Ceviche. Acapulco style with shrimp and very few scallops tossed with citrus juice and pico de gallo. The ceviche was fine, I enjoyed that. I would have liked it better if served like pictured on the website. Instead I got a handful of green plopped a soup bowl with the ceviche on top. I did not order a salad and had to scrounge through the greens to get bits and pieces of the ceviche. The Corn, Crab, & Poblano soup proved wonderful. The roasted corn flavor came through and the chile added just enough spice to make it interesting. The cactus shaped cornbread added just the right note of whimsy and flavor to the soup. I ended with Milagros. This is basically cheese and ground beef stuffed into a roasted poblano pepper. This one was fried with a crushed tortilla crust not the usual way. It was topped with a chile and cheese sauce. It came with refried beans and Mexican rice. I love stuffed poblano chiles in all their forms. This one was very good and I would order it again. The sides were OK.
Last venture was lunch. I ordered the South of the Border Burger with bacon. Half pound of Angus chuck mesquite grilled and topped with Monterey Jack, cheddar, chipotle mayonnaise, and avocado. It came out stacked mile high on a jalapeno cheese sweet dough bun with some really decent fries. The first half dozen bites were a flavor whirlwind melding all flavors together. Then the bun disintegrated and it became a K&F job (knife and fork), less enjoyable. I ended up with the Godiva White Chocolate Bread Pudding. It came out swimming in a pool of white chocolate and Kahlua. This was fortunate because the pudding was a bit on the dry side. The wonderful sauce was welcome. It possessed great flavors.
This establishment seems well into deconstructing dishes and putting them back their way. I applaud the concept but the execution seems a bit off to me. For this reason and others I do not care to discuss, I will in all likelihood not be returning here. For me the vibe is wrong here. I am sure many disagree with me.
Coyote Blues Lake Charles
Sunday, March 13, 2011
At the top of the plate is a couple pieces of unagi (fresh water eel). I like the sweet eel sauce so I generally order it. They called the middle row of three a school of salmon. It consisted of Arctic Char, Scottish Salmon Belly, and New Zealand King salmon) The fourth piece on that row is Big Eye Tuna. Last row was a Bluefin tuna tasting of the o-toro (fattest), chu toro (med fat), and maguro(regular). I also had Amaebi (sweet shrimp) from Hokkaido which is not pictured.
These were all top quality items. The toro (belly) is the fattest and is like eating foie gras. The best tasting as far at being meaty and flavorful was the Bigeye recommended by the waiter. I have been eating sushi for awhile now but this opportunity to eat quality does not present itself to me on a regular basis so I went after it This menu had an unusual one in that it was fowl and not fish. That would be the foie gras below. I adore foie gras and seldom pass it up. As I thought more about it the less strange it seemed. Although often seared most foie gras is served very rare. It is also about as fatty a piece of meat you can get. You could compare with the toro (belly) of salmon and tuna. As a Cajun I have eaten rice with a grease gravy many a times. So in the end it did not seem as strange as first glace and I am certainly glad I did not pass it up If you love raw fish and sushi as much as I do this is a place to seek out in Houston. It is very high tone and fashionable for those who like such but the accessibility of fresh fish from the world is the selling card for me. The raw is only a part of the menu which is quite extensive and sounds great
Friday, March 11, 2011
631 Jefferson St
Lunch Tuesday to Friday 11 AM - 2 PM $2 - $32
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5PM - 10 PM
This establishment offers other things beside tapas but I went here especially for the tapas. The roasted Piquillo (small pepper grown in northern Spain) peppers were stuffed with red fish mousse and drizzled with garlic aioli. They looked very spicy in their red coat but they turned out mild and sweet. It paired perfectly with the rich creamy mousse. You get two to the plate. Next the Morcilla (blood sausage) and fried quail eggs came out. A round of sausage topped with a sunny side quail egg sprinkled with smoked paprika, four perfect bites stuck with toothpicks. The yolk fat coating your tongue plays well with the earthy minerally sausage. Galician Octopus had a similar presentation. On a slice of potato poached in duck fat they smear a nice layer of smoked paprika aioli. It is topped with a ring of octopus tentacle that has been pressure cooked to tenderness then flash sautéed. The rich earthy flavor and the smokiness uplift the octopus. Again four perfect bites hit your palate
A round of a half dozen char-grilled oyster showed. The slightly cooked bivalves in their shells under a crust of cheese, bread crumbs, and herbs stood out. Bite after bite surpassing the last. Now I ordered a real indulgence in the form of Duck Rillettes. Duck meat poached in it own fat then made into a sort of pate with the cooking fat. A layer of fat lies on top to preserve it, it will last no more than five minutes on my plate. Toasted ciabatta bread slices to spread it on and a pea tendril salad to cut the richness complete the dish. What can I say, “Fat Rules”. On the table was also a quarter loaf of ciabatta with chopped green chile oil for dipping. To tone down the fat I also had Catalan Spinach, wilted spinach dish with raisins, pine nuts and green apples. Delicious except for the undercooked stem left on the spinach leaves
Dessert was Panna Cotta (cooked milk) with strawberries and balsamic syrup. Basically a cooked cream thickened with gelatin rather than eggs. It makes for lighter and more refreshing custard that goes well with fruit. It is just like berries and cream. The balsamic syrup adds both a sweet and tart note
I highly recommend this venue for an out of the ordinary meal while still being in the box.
909 East Napoleon Street
Monday thru Sunday 6 AM to 10:00 PM $1 to $23
This building has been around for awhile. It was a bar in my youth and a plate lunch place most of the rest of the time. The new owner continues the tradition. With its spiffy interior and good home cooking it remains a great neighborhood place
First round was a cup of Shrimp and Crab Gumbo. Really nice flavor with a back note of crab boil spice. It had lots of shrimp and for my taste too much rice. It ate like rice and gravy. Tasty but I prefer mine a little brothier. Next perfect Boudin Balls came out. A flour crust that was crisp and not greasy revealing an interior of shredded meant and perfect rice with a nice spice snap. I could eat these all day. The finale was excellent Fried Oysters and onion rings. The oysters possessed perfectly crisp crusts and moist juicy interiors, not overcooked and just the way I love them. The rings were medium cut, flour coated and wonderful. Again a way I love them
On a Friday plate lunch I ran into Shrimp Stew. It was thinner than I normally prefer but the shrimp flavor stood out. They gave less rice than the gumbo so this one ate like a gumbo. At this point I am just picking nits. The main thing here is not how it eats but rather the flavor as you eat it. The flavor was there in spades and I left a happy camper and would come back for more. The topper was the excellent banana pudding made in house and put the final touches on a great meal.
Establishments in Sulphur in my experience fry things well. It seems to be in their genes (jeans).
This place is no exception I thought as I tackled my Deluxe Seafood Platter. On a hill of fries were hushpuppies, popcorn shrimp, butterflied shrimp, catfish fillet, frog legs, crab cakes, stuffed shrimp, oysters, and a soft shell crab. The frog legs, butterfly shrimp, and soft shell crab has a flour coating and were excellent. The oysters, popcorn shrimp and catfish sported more of a corn meal crust and proved delicious. The crab cake and stuffed shrimp had a cracker meal crust and the thank God the stuffing had not been overworked. The in house hushpuppies suffered from not being fried all the way. Fries were ok. I like a good seafood platter every once in awhile and this certainly hit the spot.
Last time in was the Mikey Burger. I like a good burger and this one was good tasting and plentiful. My only complaint as with most stacked burgers the bun never stands up to them. This mouthful had two juicy patties. One topped with bacon and American cheese and the other with bacon and Swiss along with tomato, onion, and lettuce. It took awhile but I finished it enjoying every bite
I enjoy this place a lot. The snug feeling dinning room with a large party room in back. The friendly and competent staff was a joy. However sometimes the kitchen and servers can get overwhelmed but it all turns out alright in the end. They do
breakfast and if I ever get over there that early I will report on it on the blog
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The product mixed with beans and corn.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Here the gumbo in question. A medium dark roux with loads of chicken and sausage but a little much rice for me. The taste was there.