Saturday, May 31, 2008
But I also don't think you can bring up Katrina without pointing to the resilience of New Orleans. The city finds solace and strength in its traditions. It's doing what it does best: celebrating the present by connecting to the past, whether its with the food they eat or the music they dance to. And New Orleanians love to share.
I really can't wait to go back.
And if you are planning on heading to New Orleans, here are some things you should check out. And you should go. Tourism is the foundation of New Orleans' economy. It certainly isn't dead post-Katrina, but it is not as strong as it once was. Go to New Orleans. And definitely eat in New Orleans.
Play With Me
www.cripplecreekplayers.org/ (Andy Vaught's theater company)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Beignet is French for bump. It's a square piece of fried dough doused in powdered sugar, hence it's nickname, the French doughnut. They come out of the kitchen in a set of three and still hot, very hot. Unlike a doughnut, beignets are surprisingly light... airy on the inside and crispy crunchy golden on the outside.
In New Orleans, you can come across a cooler full of crawfish, potatoes, and lemon halves just by walking down the street.
One thing we didn't get to try over our three day trip was a muffuletta. But we did peek inside the Central Grocery, known as the home of this New Orleans variation on the Italian hoagie. The smell of the place was a delicious meal in and of itself.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The cochon de lait po-boy deserves its own spotlight. Recommended to me by an old friend I happened to run into at the festival, cochon de lait is shredded suckling pig that has been seasoned and slow-roasted in a BBQ pit for up to 12 hours. The po-boy is the specialty of Wanda Walker, a New Orleans caterer. Like most po-boys, it's a french bread sandwich, but this one is dressed with fresh cabbage and a homemade horseradish sauce. The warm, tender meat and cool, crunchy cabbage was perfection.
The whole day was great. Daniel and I saw excellent music, the weather was close to perfect, and obviously, we ate very well. The Zydepunks were as cool as their name, Leah Chase is a dynamo, and Allison Krauss makes some beautiful music with Robert Plant. A complete list of the musicians we saw is below.
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band
And please forgive the lack of photos... it was rather hard to take pictures while walking with a po-boy in my hands.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Then I revealed to Blake my favorite cocktail in the world. The French 75. Instead of gin, he mixes champagne with brandy, adding a brandied cherry that beautifully sinks to the bottom of the glass. It was a bit heavier than the gin-based version, though very good.
And of course, Daniel and I had to have mint juleps while we were down south. And the place to do it was Columns, a beautiful old hotel with a grand front porch, known as the setting for the Brooke Shields film, Pretty Baby.
SPEC was profiled in Philadelphia Weekly's Lush Life column a few weeks ago. The author, Mara Zapeda, learned about the club from kitchenplay.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Aioli
Fried Rabbit Livers with Pepper Jelly Toast
Louisiana Cochon with Turnips, Cabbage and Cracklins
Rabbit and Dumplings
Strawberry Cobbler with Sweet Ginger Biscuits
Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Boudin balls were tasty, slightly spicy, mushy on the inside, crisp and golden brown on the outside. They were served with some kind of creamy dressing; I think it was a horseradish sauce.
The crawfish were amazing. Spilling out of their red basket, and topped with empty paper baskets for the shells, they were intimidating, to say the least. Neither Daniel nor I knew exactly what to do with them, but the waitress gladly gave us a demonstration: separate the head from the tail, suck out the juice from the head (if desired), pinch out the meat from the tail, eat.