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Monday, December 28, 2009

nola, baby! Part 5

So, we slept in on Sunday. We should have gone to church with the family to repent our indulgence the night before, but I needed all the sleep I could get. I figured that God would understand.

So we woke up and we were supposed to meet at Jackson Square. The FP talked to his dad, and we were going to go get him and walk together. But then the rest of the family was out of church already. And we needed coffee. So the FP told his dad that we would just meet him at Jackson Square. He started to say that he didn't know how to get there. Jackson Square is like 4 blocks away from the hotel. The FA (FP's dad) has been to New Orleans too many times to count, and he has wandered all over the quarters by himself a lot. I think he wouldn't have a hard time finding the square. And he didn't. I think he might have beat us there. Well, let's just say he did for dramatic effect. So we got our CC's and we decided we would eat at Stanley! Which was right there. This place is the brother restaurant to Stella! and it occupies the space that was once a La Madeleine. The decor was white tile like a bathroom. It was all bright and open. They had a counter with stools, and they also had lots of shakes and ice cream concoctions and stuff.

So there was a wait, of course. So we had plenty of time to look at the menu. Which in my case is probably bad, because I have all this time to change my mind.

So when we got our table, I think we all pretty much knew what we wanted.

This is the ceaser salad with pesto croutons that the FP's mom, sister and dad got. Well, I think the dad got a large one. He seemed to not want the pesto croutons on his plate. He kept trying to pawn them off on everyone, going, "here Food Pimp, take some of this bread." (He didn't actually say Food Pimp, he said the FP's real name.) And then he tried to give them to the others who already had pesto croutons. I don't even think he tried it. He just decided he didn't like it. He's like a child. Didn't like that green sauce so don't want it on the plate. And he also ordered fries "for the table."

He has this thing about ordering some appetizer for the table. Usually, when we order our drinks, he orders like a plate of onion rings or calamari. It's always fried food - another childlike disposition. It's funny because the server is never ready to take a food order, but he makes sure he gets that plate of fried food ordered. This is interesting to me, because he is never hungry and half the time he doesn't finish his food, but he can eat him some fried food. I guess it's like how people don't finish their entree and say they are stuffed, but then they go and order dessert and finish it. There's always room for your food weakness!

So back to me. You'd rather read about what I ate, right? This is the Food Ho's blog, not the Food Abstainer's Blog. Although that would be a good one.

They had green salad on the menu. I didn't get it. There was some weird kind of soup with greens in it. I didn't get that. The burger came with blue cheese. I don't like blue cheese. Maybe if I can get cheddar cheese instead I'll get the burger with fries. There was some kind of steak. It wasn't tenderloin. I didn't think I would like it. The pork loin looked good. I asked my son if that would be good. He was too busy trying to pick out his expensive multicourse meal. I was tired of eating all these meals with the family. My knee hurt, and I felt like I was getting heartburn. I just wanted to go back to the hotel room and relax, but they would put up a big stink if I left now. I wonder if there's anymore of that onion dip back at the hotel. My daughter might have eaten the last of it, even though I told her to save me a little.

So, getting back to the Food Ho and the Food Pimp.

So we shared a gumbo. This was really good. Good gumbo. Nice and rich and rouxy and seafoody. Best gumbo so far.

We split a softshell crab po boy. And they split it for us. That was nice. For some reason, in the kitchen, we cooks bitch about splitting food. I'm not sure why. But we do. So it was nice of them to split it when we didn't ask for it. So it had slaw and fried soft shell crab. So when we lived in New Orleans we cooked soft shell crabs at restaurants. When they were specials, we would sell a shitload. They were really popular. I tried it. It was crab. Fried, usually. I didn't really get it.

Now, I don't live in the east. There are no blue crabs here. There is dungeness, but they are not the same. Now I understand blue crab, and softshell crab. And gulf shrimp, and gulf oysters. It's all really yummy!

So, SPR. He's around the FA's age. So before he ordered, he wouldn't tell anyone what he was getting. So, I don't have a picture. I realized I was creeping him out by taking pictures of his food, so I stopped. So he got this like sundae with carrot cake and 3 scoops of ice cream and caramel and strawberry sauce and whipped cream and ... the works. So that's what he ate for brunch. Okay, in fairness, he had already eaten breakfast a couple hours before. So yeah. Two grown - older men - ceaser salad and french fries, and a sundae. Sounds like what two junior high or high school girls would eat!

Stanley Restaurant
My browser doesn't want to scroll the website, so I can't post the address and phone number.....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

nola, baby! Part 4


So, Canal Street, and some other streets were closed for the Grambling Southern game. You know, the "soul bowl." That's funny cause I almost typed the "soup bowl". Anyhoo, the hotel advised guests not to take their car out of the garage after 6pm. So we needed a cab to get about 6 people with large appetites 1.5 miles. The Food Pimp and I were discussing which route would be best. We figured go to Esplanade and then get on the interstate to the warehouse district. But then we jumped into one of those van/suv things, and the guy had his own ideas. He was from India. He had been in San Francisco, got laid off, then he moved to Nola. He had been there for 2 years. Quite a character. He got to Canal Street, and there was traffic. He complained about the police. He said how they did not know what they were doing, making traffic worse. And he talked about guns. In India no one had guns. So anyway, he got us there in about 20 minutes. I think it must have cost about $20 too. What a bargain. He gave VD his phone number, and he told her to call him when we were done.

So, Cochon. The FP and I had been looking forward to going back here since we last went. Last time was a great experience. But there was one thing we weren't really taking into account. The FP's family isn't too adventurous, culinarily speaking, or otherwise really, except for certain seedy occassions that are neither here, nor there. Well, they were there, but that's been discussed already. Anyhoo, Cochon. It's all about pig parts, and other animal parts as well. But there's something for everyone. Here is a sample menu.

But I would like to hypothesize that some people get squeamish and loose their appetites when they see things on a menu they don't like. It turns them off of things they might otherwise like, because they are juxtaposed next to things that are "gross". This reminds me of our Irish friend we knew in Bastan. We'll call him yellow corner. When he got really fucked up, he always had yellow spit or phlegm in the corners of his mouth. We also could call him Pirate Bob because he was just unintelligeable when he got that fucked up - partially because of his accent, partially because he would talk gibberish. Even his countrymen and brothers couldn't understand what he was "going on about" when he got that fucked up. Anyway, Pirate Bob Yellowcorner always used to say, "Aye, I hav ta leav tha room if somone's eatin pickles. I hate pickles. Celery too.

So, Cochon. This sample menu has fried alligator (not weird at all), fried rabbit livers (very french rustic), boucherie plate (yum!), paneed pork cheeks (what's gross about that?), hogshead cheese (okay, this can be sketchy - but they make everything from scratch at Cochon. They butcher the meat themselves!) and ham hocks (a very noble and reasonably - priced cut). But I guess it is weird and foreign and scary to some people. But maybe even moreso, not knowing what some of the words mean on a menu, maybe make people feel dumb. I'm fairly smart so I guess I don't understand that. (For those of you not familar with my style of "journalism" that last sentence was meant to be humorous sarcasm.)

Anyhoo, everyone finally picked some food out that they could stomach. While the FP and I decided to get several apps and split and entree, everyone else decided to get 2 apps.

So this is the boucherie plate. This was one of those menu items that made everyone feel confused and maybe not so worldly. I believe I was asked about 4 times what the boucherie plate was. Because someone would ask, then not really listen. Then a few minutes later they would ask again, not realizing that they had already asked. So I said its a charcuterie plate. Which they all understood. So VD ordered one, and the FP and I ordered one. So there was like a pork rillette, salami, and some other bologna type meat, and the hogshead cheese. Also wholegrain mustard and pickles. But we looked on VD's plate, and she had a wedged heirloom tomato. She wasn't really eating it, so we ate most of it. Everything was really good. Fresh, not funky, and just nice flavors.

This is a horrible picture of the fried rabbit livers. These I liked. They were livery, but I guess the sweet piquant pepper jelly and the batter coating balanced the minerally taste out. Really yummy.

Oyster Roast. Last time we went, people told us we should have gotten the oyster roast. Oysters at a meat restaurant. Well, I suppose the meat at my seafood restaurant is pretty good... So look at the rich peppery oily sauce on the oysters. To some that may not look appetizing. To me, it looked like there were not enough oysters. These were way better than the ones at Acme Oyster House, not surprisingly.

Okay. I don't know the exact description of this one. It's slightly different than the menu online. There were pork cheeks, and I think there was the goat cheese at the bottom. But then there was the lima bean and apple and arugula salad, that really made the dish. The pork cheeks, I daresay, were not as exciting as I thought they would be. Once again, I'm going to give one of those "relative to all the other dishes" speech. Relative to all the other amazing food, the paneed pork cheek was not as shining a star, but it would have held it's own in an objective court of law. So yeah. Great supporting actors, just a kinda weak lead - like Winona Ryder in Girl Interrupted. Man, I feel like I've used that simile before...

Ham Hocks. Pickled Greens. Sweet Potatoes. Hock Broth. Black Eyed Peas. Okay. This was like one of those dishes where you had to eat all the components to really get the artistry of the dish. Okay, I've probably had a ham hock that I liked better than this one. But man, with the sides it was like a symphony in my mouth. And all the instruments are in harmony. The ham hock was so big and smoky and meaty, like a trombone solo in my mouth (pervert it into your own dirty meaning if you like). But when you tempered it with the honey sweet sweet potatoes and the refreshing black eyed peas and greens - universal peace. My one gripe was that the proportion of meat to sides was too in favor of meat. I actually would have preferred more sides and less meat!

This was the salad that FP's mom got. Arugula and pecans and goat cheese balls, I think. It was good. They all got like a soup and salad. I kinda stopped taking too many pictures of all their food, because I think it made SPR (Sarah Palin Reader - the FP's bro-in-law) uncomfortable. And I didn't want that!

So we finished up, with everyone thoroughly unimpressed, and we called the cabbie. He said he would be there in 5 minutes. And he was. He pulled up, and he let a fare out. They exited the cab and went into Cochon. Coincidence, nah! He was trying to take them to Dooky Chase - a Nola institution of a restaurant, but it was closed. So he obviously convinced them that Cochon was a fine alternative. I hope they liked it more than the family did!

So we went back to the hotel. We had to wait in traffic again. And the roads were closed. So at every road block, either the cabbie or FA - FP's dad - had to approach the policemen and tell them that his wife has a bad hip and can't walk so could they let us through? So they all did! He dropped us off on Decatur 2 blocks from the hotel.

So then everyone else went to their rooms. The FP and I went back towards Esplanade to meet our peeps. First we were at Molly's for a few hours. Then we went to DBA. We got to catch up with old friends. It was a great time. But then by 4 am, I had had enough of stories of Budapesht and not having money but trying to open 2 new businesses and driving a fancy european sportscar. I am writing about no one in particular with that statement. It was just a general thing directed at no one in general. Finally we got to go back to the hotel in style... our buddy drove us back in his pimpin suv with the fancy rims. Sleep. That's what I needed. With all the coughing that VD kept doing - spittle spraying on me, I was sure to get sick.

930 Tchoupitoulas Street
Nola, 70130

Thursday, December 24, 2009

nola, baby! Part 3

So, we had a long first day in Nola. I slept in. The Food Pimp was pretty much obligated to get up for breakies with the M & P & S & B-I-L. So they went to the Rib Room downstairs. I guess there was a who debaucle about the breakfast buffet. The FP wanted to just order like coffee and something. But the FA (the FP's dad) kept saying, just get the buffet. So they all got the buffet.

So they were like in line for the buffet. And the FA wanted something that they did not offer at the buffet, or the line was too long, or he was tired and cranky, or he was sick of standing with his family, or something. So he decided to sit down and order from the menu. Really. No kidding. No jokes, no jokes, bro. Yeah. So everyone else got the pricey buffet. Then they sat and ate.

Then the FP noticed that at the table next to them was a certain mayor of a certain crescent city. So the FP did one of those, don't look now, but at the table next to us... deals. So of course everyone looked. So I wasn't there, and this is all my perspective. If any of the family reads this, they will hate me even more than they already do. Such is lie, I mean life.

Sorry, I had like 3 beers and I'm buzzing. Anyway, the FA said, I'm going to ask him about (insert political issue relevant to New Orleans). And the whole family had to say, "No, FA, sit down. Calm down. Let the man eat his breakfast. Don't bother him." So they ate. Then it was time for me to wake up. I was just thinking about getting coffee, then the FP comes back and asks what the plans are. I say I need coffee. He says, okay, let's get coffee. So he also adds, VD (Verbal Diarrhea) and SPR (Sarah Palin Reader) also want to go for a walk. Fine. So I need CC's. But the FP wants Cafe Du Monde. Fine. So we got there. The line is like a quarter mile long. I'm hungover, and I need coffee. So we debate where the CC's is. The FP thinks it's towards Esplanade. Although he thinks there's one on Royal. But I say, let's just go towards Esplanade. And there is no CC's. It must have been in the other direction. And there's chatter. But they have all had coffee. I haven't. I just woke up. So finally, we get to Cafe Envie. Finally! So finally we get coffee, hallelujah! And then I'm a little better. So, we walk around. Then we go back to the hotel. We decide what we're going to do. I still haven't eaten, but I guess that's my bad for sleeping in and all.

So we finally decide we are all going to ride uptown. Except for the FA. He is working on a "flyer" on the laptop. He's a businessman. He has no idea how to put multiple pictures on one page. So I show him. But this is going to be the first of several times. If only I could just ask him what he wanted and do it for him. But I guess he had to learn. So we all leave him to his computer programming. We pile into the rented SUV and drive back to the old neighborhood. Such mixed emotion, looking at places that have been there forever, and places that are new. Like the gay couple flag shop. They used to have a store around the corner from one of our old apartments, and they would always ogle the FP when he walked by them. So then they moved down the street. But no matter where the flag store is, they keep 2 lawn chairs outside that they just sit in and watch the world go by. I mean, c'mon, how much money does a flag store make? Not like american flags, but the porch flags with like holiday pictures and sthuff. I think it's just a front for their real business of trafficking little boys.

Anyway, it is a very nostalgic drive. And then we go to Mahoney's. About time. I felt like I was going to pass out. So it was kind of busy. We waited in line to order. Then we ordered. I think for 5 people the bill came to like $80 or something. I found one of the few vacant tables in the back. I didn't have a long sleeved shirt on, and the stupid floor vent was blowing right at me. This was unusual. I expected a po boy shop in an old renovated shotgun to have bad air conditioning, so I didn't bring in a long sleeved shirt, damnit. If I had remembered it would have been hot as balls in there. And balls can be very hot!

So we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. The FP's former coworker owned the place, but we didn't see him. Also a friend who worked at Vega with the FP is the sous chef at Mahoney's (yes, they can have sous chefs at po boy shops! I was basically thought of as sous chef at a french coffee shop before!). The doors to the kitchen seemed unapproachable, as they were bringing orders out a lot. So the FP never went to see if his peeps were there.

So, about 45 minutes later, our food arrived. So what did we get? Samiches. So I'll go from worst to best.

This was SPR's turkey po boy. So it's dressed - lettuce, tomato and mayo. And then there is this paper thin sliced turkey. Thin sliced deli meats is good. Deli meats cooked in house, instead of premade "chubs" of meat is even better. But you kinda want more than like 2 really thin slices of turkey on your sandwich. I didn't taste it, so I didn't know how it was. He said it was okay, just didn't have enough meat.

I went for the cochon de lait po boy. I looooooooove pork, if you didn't know. My blog is called the Pork Porn Pages. So I was dead excited about having this. Until it came. Once again, it could have used a little more meat. It came with slaw on it, which was really good. But... the pork was dry. Boo! So disappointing! I'm sure it would have been delicious, what small portion of meat there was, if it had been moist. Moist. That's a word a lot of people don't like. Moist. Me, I don't mind it. But I dislike turd. It's just a yucky word for a yucky thing. You know?

Getting back to the po boy. I don't know. I know they were busy. If you overcook something like that that takes a long time to cook, you don't throw it away. But maybe they could have drown it in some... stock or something? I don't know. Disappointing.

The Peacemaker. This looked delicious. Fried oysters. Bacon. Cheddar cheese. Yeah.... I should have gotten that.

Shrimp, Fried green tomatoes and remeloude. This also looked delish. VD got this one. I didn't taste it, but she loved it.

Fried Chicken Livers and coleslaw. The FP had been talking about this fuckin po boy for a while. It was like featured in some big publication. I'm not going to name it, because I don't remember, and I don't want to get slagged off for false info. If you complain cause you don't agree with my opinion, fine. So anyway, I had a bite. The chicken livers were really crispy fried. To the point where I felt like I was eating a fried oyster until I got to the center, then it tasted like chicken liver. It was with that yummy slaw. I really liked it, except, I really don't like chicken livers. I want to like them, but I can't get past the minerally taste. So the FP really liked it, except he would have liked the chicken livers fried about a minute less. Me, I would have gone a minute more.

The piece de resistance. Gravy fries. Nice, crunchy golden fries. And the roast beef debris. It was beautiful. So rich and flavorful, and it was a big ole pile of food too! I should have gotten a french fry po boy! These have the french fries and the roast beef debris and like cheddar cheese. Next time. That's what I'm gettin.

So we ate. And we went back to the quarters. Just doing time until our next meal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

nola, baby! Part 2

So, our first night in New Orleans, LA. It's also the first night of the soul bowl. So we wanted to go to Cochon, but they were pretty booked. So we went to K Paul's. We had a fairly early reservation. We get there, and it's pretty busy. We get a table kinda near the kitchen which is cool. So we start drinking. We are suckers for cocktail drinks. I'm sure the bartenders love this. We typically go somewhere and might each order a different drink - 4 or 5 being cocktails.

We are that obnoxious family that you wonder, are they going to leave a decent tip? Which reminds me... yes, you should tip on the whole bill, including taxes. Aparently, the Food Abstainer, FA (or maybe he's more like a Food Philistine? But I won't call him that because that is FP, and that would be comfuzing!) and Sarah Palin Reader, SPR think that you should only tip on the bill before taxes. Okay, well there's no law about it, but I've been in the service industry a while, and I tip on the whole bill. I pretty much tip around 18 - 20%, and then if I was not really happy or I was very happy then I go lower or higher. Why should you tip on the whole bill? Because you've already gone out and spent that money anyway... what's a few more dollars, really? So if your bill is $100 pretax and say tax is 10% - will the 2 more dollars put you in the poor house? Actually, if you're really being a stickler for taxes, then you probably only tip 15% anyway, so... will the extra $1.50 kill you? If so, then you should budget your money more wisely and not go out to eat when it costs $100!

Sorry, total tangential high horse pulpit that I jumped on. That is so unlike me. I apologize deeply.

So, I'm looking in my photos, and I can't find the fucking K Paul's pictures. Do I have 3 copies of every other place and none of K Paul's?!!!

Here's some bread while you wait for me to get back in line.....

Okay. So I got some pomegranate and sparkling wine cocktail. It was not so good - but it had alcohol. That was my prescription for the weekend. As much alcohol as I could consume without becoming too kookoo. Mr. FP, who has an amazing poker face, took a sip of mine and said, "that's gross - tastes like cough syrup." He on the other hand, had a Sazerac. This cracks me up. I don't ever remember the FP drinking Sazeracs in all the years we lived there. I mean... here's the ingredients: rye whiskey, bitters, simple syrup and absinthe. So, he's not a whiskey man. Tequila, vodka - those are his liquors. But we were in K Paul's in New Orleans the night after Thanksgiving, so he wanted the most New Orleansy drink he could get. He wanted to absorb as much Nola as he could... since I drag him away from it all. I tasted his sazerac. It was gross.

Anyhoo, the breads were delightful. There was like jalapeno bread, cornbread, molasses bread and stuff. Here I go again, forgetting details and not being able to give you a concise report... that's why I don't work for Reuters. That's the only reason. That and I don't have a degree in journalism. Those are the only 2 reasons.

So, I opted to get apps as a meal. We had eaten a few hours before. Also, the entrees sounded so big and heavy, and nothing struck me as anything I had to have. But I did have to have some kind of soup. Like a light andouille and corn soup.

This was as light as a feather. A feather coated in lead and concrete...maybe. It was... delightful. Really good. So andouilley and corny at the same time.

FP had the turtle soup, of course. You know, I never really thought too long or hard about eating turtle soup. He always loved it. To me, I liked it, but wasn't crazy about it, yet I didn't really think much about the turtle lives that were given up to make it either. But I remember my childhood friend had a turtle named Barkley. She loved him and he seemed to have a personality. And I think things really changed when we went to Chicago for the NRA - National Restaurant Association - Convention. We went to Chinatown. There in a grocery store, we saw live soft shell turtles, in a cooler in shallow water. They were like a foot long. And there was other weird stuff there. We watched the butcher chop up some meat on this dirty wooden cutting board. It looked like he used the same dirty board for meat and fish. I didn't know how I felt about people taking a live turtle and chopping it up right there on the mega-cross-contaminated board. I remember not ordering turtle soup after that, not that I ordered it much before that. I know that cows and lamb and goats and pigs have personalities and all that. But I don't know how it's different. I guess because we don't have those markets where they have live animals for sale with the other food. What if they had old Bessie the cow tied up to a post next to the meat freezer, and they had to butcher her when you ordered steaks. Would we all order beef as often? Not at first, then we'd get used to it, I imagine.

So anyway, his turtle soup was delicious. It was deep and dark, yet had just the right amount of sherry in it. Really nicely done.

Now, this is where things get creepy. So the FP and I tend to share our meals, but since we both got appetizers, we didn't share this time. We just both ordered the same things. Except for the turtle soup and andouille and corn soup. Now we discussed what we were getting, but we both independently came up with the items we wanted on our own. I'm not saying this always happens, but it does often. We also randomly think of the same thing at the same time, when there was no conversation leading up to it. It's just that spending so much time together for the past 17.5 years of our lives, we've morphed into these 2 individuals that share the same brain waves. Scary!

So, meanwhile, VD has possibly lashed back five drinks all day by this time. I'm sitting next to her. So she starts in on the - we need to see you guys more - you need to come home more often - when you gonna have a baby - speech. Really? Really. Did I say this trip was a vacation. Partially work. I wonder if I can claim it on my taxes. Being around this family is not a picnic. Well, maybe a picnic of Albertson's dip and Cape Cod chips in the suite.

So this is what the FP and I both got. Fried green tomatoes with shrimp and remeloude sauce. The tomatoes and shrimp were good, but there was something weird about the remeloude. Not as creamy as I like. You know when you think of a dish and you crave it, then you have it and it's disappointing...

Then the frog legs. The onion rings were nice big ones. I guess they completed the bar food appetizer theme to the plate. The frog legs were kinda big. They were buffalo style. I have to say, the buffalo sauce was so hot that it kinda ruined it for me. It was so spicy and vinegary, but the frog legs maybe weren't marinated enough? When I bit into the breading, it would just fall away from the frog leg. I hate that. And then the frog leg meat underneath tasted...bland. Especially after the flavor blast from the breading. Such a huge disappointment. I remember at Herbsaint they had these yummy frog legs that were smaller, and just more delicate and the sauce had a great heat level.

So, yeah. We loved our soups and bread. Did not really like the other two dishes. We should have shared them or gotten an entree to split.

So, one was an eggplant pirogue with shrimp in a tomato butter sauce. This actually looked really good. Really a lot of food. Really heavy.

Another thing was like a fried fish with some rich heavy fatty sauce. Butter or egg or both.

Another was pork tenderloin. I really got burnt out on pork tenderloin early in my cooking career. Give me pork loin or tenderloin any day of the week.

And then there was the steak. I think SPR ordered like prime rib or new york strip or some nice meaty cut, and they gave him the hanger steak instead. Weird. He was very annoyed, but he didn't complain. I love hanger steak, but it's different than a steak, ya know?

Then dessert. I think all their dinners came with choice of pumpkin cheesecake or bread pudding. So we got 2 of each. You can see, I didn't have a chance to take pictures before everyone dug in. These were both very good. Again, cheesecake is another food item I'm kinda burnt out on... But this was really good. The bread pudding was delicious. Very nawlinsy. Very liquory, but still good.

So then we went back to the hotel and everyone was going to call it a night. We were exhausted. We were supposed to meet some friend, but it didn't look like it was going to happen. They were uptown, we were in the quarters. So we were in bed, thinking we were going to call it a night. Then we compromised. We would walk the mile to DBA to meet Metry Fireman and his wife. So we got there, and we ended going even farther, to Mimi's for a too late night. Of course a bunch of people were there who heard we were all there, and some who just happened to be there. Then we got to walk all the damn way back to the hotel because Metry Fireman had already split. It was okay though, because King of Couches walked us all the way back to the hotel. Which was nice. We hadn't talked to him in forever, so it was nice to spend that time with him. That walk back to the hotel was one of the highlights of the whole weekend.

K Paul's Kitchen


Mailing/Physical Address:
416 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Reservations Phone:

Catering Phone:

Monday, December 21, 2009

nola, baby!

Why am I so lazy? I've had the apartment all to myself, and I'm only blogging now.

So, yeah. On Black Friday, we went to New Orleans. The Food Pimp family set it all up. A family vaca in the Crescent City. They all wished we never moved away from there. Even though they thought all of our abodes in New Orleans were so ghetto - they hated that we had some cracks in the walls and ceilings, rotting door jambs, rats running around in our roofs, dilapidated shed for a laundry room, permadirt, lead paint in the walls, creaky floorboards, outside door opening into the bedroom, quiet dangerous streets at night. One man's ghetto is another man's character. So now we live in San Diego where we can't even afford to rent a one bedroom apartment some months, let alone buy one.

So we flew out on the red eye. To Denver. We had a hot dog at 9:30 am. Why is that so weird? People are allowed to have pancakes at midnight. Breakfast all day? Hot Dog all day. My mom used to slice hot dogs in half lengthwise and fry them for breakfast, served with rice and itlog (egg). That's comfort food for me.

So, the FP had chili and cheese and mustard. I prefer a more scantily clad weiner lately. Not quiet au naturale, but just mustard, ketchup and relish. I gotta say, I didn't really expect much so early in the morn, but this was a good dawg. Unfortunately, the bread was stale. We were the first weiner biters of the day, so obviously we got the leftover buns from the day before. Oh well, the tube meat and the chili had a good taste.

So, we flew United. I don't remember the last time I flew United. That particular airline reminds me of.... United Airlines disasters That's 11 major incidents since 1972. The planes are actually really nice. One was small - 2 seats on either side, which is nice for antisocial people as ourselves. They had headphones in the seat pocket, which is kinda germy when you think about it. Of course, my headphones never work properly, but I hate calling the attendant. We watched the Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and Dhani Tackles the Globe - on both flights! Didn't they rotate shows?

Anyhoo, we got into Nola around 2:00. The Food Pimp Senior picked us up. Actually, he is no Food Pimp at all. He is ... what's the opposite. A Food Abstainer, almost. So the FP was so excited to be back home, and he just wanted to get into New Orleans and stuff. And the FA burst that bubble. We had to go to the grocery store. Because they had already had 2 pricey meals without us - Thanksgiving dinner at the Rib Room and brunch at Maspero's - so he wanted to buy provisions. To me, going to the grocery store is an anthropological study. I don't really mind.

So we got beer - abit, of course. Restoration Ale and some other kind. Some mid level cheap wine, chips. Lots of chips - 6 - 8 bags! Only one or two Zapp's! The FA stocked up on Cape Cod!!! WTF! That's like eating McDonald's in Korea. Oh, I think he does that. And he got Albertson's brand dips and guacamole. Gross. I'm not being a food snob, but, I have tasted Albertson's dips and I don't like them. And we're in one of the best food cities in the good ole US of A, and we're getting chips and dip? It didn't really bother me because I knew I would only consume the beverages - water, beer, wine.

So finally, we got out of there and headed down I - 10. We were staying at the Omni in the French Quarter. Fancy, I know. But I was just along for the ride. Free ride. Yeah, free. But you have to understand. It wasn't totally free. Hanging out with your family can feel like a job, no? It's like you wake up and you clock in when you go to breakfast.

So we checked into the hotel, then we went up to the parents' suite. It was one room, but it was naaaaaaaaace. (nice) Big 4 poster bed, although the tv seemed too small and far away. Jacuzzi tub. Funny, the FP's mom asked us to pick up bubble bath, but I was pretty sure no one would use it. With the schedule that these people keep and the tub being in the room...

So the FP and I had not eaten since our breakfast hot dogs, and we were pretty hungry. But everyone else had eaten an hour or two ago. So we wanted to go eat something. But of course it took an hour or so to get it together. The FP's sis and bro in law decided to come with us. We decided on Acme Oyster house. It is a sad day when you used to live in New Orleans, but you have to look up what street Acme Oyster House is on. It was about 7 blocks away. On the corner there was a street band playing. Percussion. Drums and buckets and stuff. They were really good. It was so beautiful and good to hear good street music!

We got there, and they had the tension rope out. There were 2 or 3 tables waiting ahead of us. So we waited for about 15 minutes, while the FP's bro in law (we'll call him SPR - Sarah Palin Reader - that's the book he was reading over the weekend) told us the sordid tale of his night on Bourbon street with the FA. So I will tell you the sordid tale of the FA and SPR's night on Bourbon Street - censored of course, for the benefit of the FP's sis and me:

So, the foursome - the Food Pimp's Mom - FPM, the FA, SPR, and the Food Pimp's Sis - we'll call her Verbal Diarrhea - VD, had a big Thanksgiving dinner. So they seemed to go to bed early. FA ate like a big prime rib or something, so he couldn't sleep. So he called SPR, who was in his jammies dreaming of soccer moms and designer skirt suits, and asked him if he wanted to go for a drink. SPR said "sure" thinking it was a joke. Five minutes later, there was a knock at the door. It was the FA. So SPR got dressed and they walked out into the French Quarter night. Streets were pretty desserted. Except for a group of nice young african american men who were all wearing the same color scheme. So the FA took it upon himself to approach them and ask, "you all look like you know where the best strip bars are. Can you tell me which ones are best and give me directions?" So they said the Penthouse Club - which was across the street from the Acme Oyster House. That one was closed already. So they wandered Bourbon Street and ended up at the Hustler Club. The FA paid $30 a piece for "all Access" passes. They went it and it was empty. They had a drink and sat at the stage. The FA struck up a conversation with a woman seated near him. He asked why it was dead. She said, everyone's at home with their families - it's Thanksgiving. So he told her how his family was on vacation in New Orleans for the weekend, their wives were at the hotel in bed. She asked SPR why they weren't at the hotel in bed with them? Then it was her turn to dance. The FA decided it was time to go. So then they went to the hotel bar. The bar was closing, but when the FA said how he used to be in the... army(?) the bartender said he had served in the military too, and he bought them a round. So then they ended a pleasant night out at 1 or 2 am.

So then our table was ready! The FP and I got straight down to business. VD and SPR said they weren't really hungry. So the FP and I ordered 2 dozen oysters and gumbo. The SPR and VD got a dozen charbroiled oysters. We also got a pitcher of Restoration ale. In my excitement to be going out to eat in Nola, I forgot my camera. VD took pictures on her blackberry and emailed them to me, but I never got them!!!! Damnit! The oysters were so voluptuous! They were sweet, not briny and anorexic like the pacific ones we get. And the charbroiled ones were all garlicky and hot and pretty good. Not as good as the raw ones of course.

So then we walked back to the hotel and had drinks in the suite while we decided where we were going for dinner. When you hang out with the FP's family, we talk about dinner while we're eating lunch! So we didn't know how the "soul bowl" would play into things. This is the annual Thanksgiving weekend football game between two rivals - Grambling State Tigers and Southern University Jaguars. Really. It's like the basis for Drumline the movie. These two have amazing marching bands. Anyway. They decided to close off Canal Street on Friday and Saturday nights so the kids couldn't cruise and congest traffic. So the traffic would just be on the other side of Canal Street instead of on Canal Street. So we finally decided on K Paul's for dinner. It was about 4 blocks away. I was happy with that. I had never been there cause it's expensive!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


So, I have this problem during holidays. I get fucked up, and then I forget to take pictures. I hate myself for this, among other reasons. So, once again, I'm presenting to you an incomplete blog!

Anyhoo, on Thanksgiving Eve, the Food Pimp had the day off of work. So he cooked all day! I mean, he mashed potatoes a day ahead! So there was not much work at all left to do. So on Thursday morning, we woke up and started finishing cooking... and we waited until maybe 11 am to start drinking. So we had a lot of people over. I have to try to remember what they all brought. Thankfully, I don't think any of them read this regularly, so I can talk smack about them and their food. Just joking...maybe.

So here is the FP's taramasalata and tatziki. Taramasalata is carp roe dip. It's like fish egg mayonnaise. Sounds gross but it's delicious.

So here is our tomato plant. It is anorexic. The FP laughed at the plant, and said I can't wait to eat the tomatoes. Then one day, there was a tomato. And we watched it grow. I was waiting for it to get cherry tomato size. Then one day it got too heavy and snapped the branch. So we brought it in. The FP sliced it and put it on the platter in the corner. If you look closely, you can probably see it. It was green. But it was really delicious. The plant looks like it's dying now, though. I think it wants a bigger pot for Christmas.

So the Green Flash Grinch and his younger girlfriend, Girl With 2 First Names (GW2FN), brought enough food for another dinner party. This is the cheese plate and the charcuterie plate they brought. The meat used to make the one pate is questionnable. At the restaurant, there was this kitty that was coming in during service every night. She was very at home walking all around, being a health violation, then one day she disappeared. And the GFG and GW2FN brought a delicious pate in. Hm.... I'm still chewing that one over.

Here's some more of the same. See the Wild Turkey? They brought that too. They do this thing called like Wild Turkey Day calls or something. Call a relative and everyone has a shot. I think I had one, which was plenty for me.

So this blog really misrepresents the day. It was a great day. Great group of people. They brought a ton of food! But I didn't take nice pictures! Here's what I got

GW2FN also made a lovely curried turnip soup. The FP made gumbo. We had turkey and prime rib, which I didn't take pictures of either fresh from the oven!!!! Military Dreamgirl Friend brought green bean casserole - really yummy! Dreamboy brought over creamed onions - pearl onions in bechamel. PrimaDrumma brought over butternut squash. I made succotash and stuffing (yeah, the easy stuff). FP also made chimichurri sauce and gravy. Oh, I made cranberry mango sauce too. Yeah, that's really easy to make also.

And then the Swinging Couple brought pecan pie. And the FP made sweet potato pie. It was all delish. Really. Great night! Lots of good friends and food and drink. Then we left the next day for Nola.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Did I show you this before? Polenta and pork picnic roast....yummy. With some squarshes from Sage Mountain Farm and some other veggies. I love pork! I'm sad for Kevin that he didn't win Top Chef last night, but he seemed to have sabatoged himself by stewing over Preeti's lack of help. That Michael Voltaggio was kinda one of the dicks through the whole competition... but I think this finale had the best competition ever as far as all three deserved to be there, and if they redid the competition several times over a different guy would probably win every time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stop Me Oh Ho Ho Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before

So, I am so backed up (on the food blog...not in the bathroom, silly)that I can't believe some of the posts that I have missed. So instead of laying around or doing important work or Christmas shopping, I'm going to try to do some old posts. I just feel like I might have already done some of these before...

What the hell is that, you ask? I don't know! Any guesses out there?

Here's some food from a mystery Japanese restaurant on Convoy.

I remember everything being...okay. Not spectacular, but not gross. Okay. The little dumplings kinda seemed like they were packaged premade frozen deals. Maybe they weren't but, that's what they tasted like. The Hamachi Kama was pretty good, but small. We could eat two really big yellowtail collars and probably not be satisfied!

The Original Pancake House. We had been talking about going there for years, but it's always busy when we want to, and the rest of the time when we're on Convoy street we want asian food. So we finally went there a couple times. Really good pancakes. Big interesting menu - I'd like to try the crepes and that one big blown up pancake or omelette or whatever it is. The poached eggs were really nice. I love poached eggs, but I don't order them as often as I would like to. Don't they seem like an old person thing? I bet the older I get the more I'll order them.

Junz Island Style or Teriyaki & BBQ or whatever it's called. It's on University Avenue right by 30th street. This was...okay. I've only had food from there twice, but I really like that L&L place better. The macaroni salad at Junz was just like macaroni and mayo...no salt, no crunchies or anything.

Bean curd and short rib or pork (man, I am really informative today!) at Convoy Noodle House 4647 Convoy Street. This is our default pho shop. The bean curd is really good there! I think that's all for now folks....

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Sunny Tijuana Afternoon

Wow, I can't believe that I didn't post about this. I think what happened was, I started to use it for an article for a certain online publication that did not post it, and I forgot that I never posted it on this here sorely neglected food blog. If you follow this blog regularly, you must think that we are stick figures...on the contrary. I feel like I just don't have enough time...I was too busy reclining on the couch all day yesterday...all day. I left the house once with the FP to get beer.

Anyhoo, about 2 months ago maybe, we went to TJ for a food excursion. This time we were going to hit up Zona Rio, which was said to have good restaurants.

So we walked down to the trolley station and went south. I kinda wrote down restaurants, addresses, and I had directions to zona rio in my mind. Walk on the near side of the river and take the third bridge or something. As soon as we got to TJ, when you go through the revolving fence thing, we saw 2 dogs just laying in the middle of the sidewalk. I love that! We were in Mexico. So then we were accosted by all the cab drivers. Taxi, taxi, taxi, take you on a tour, where you going, you needa taxi, taxi? So that was very annoying. Any desire for a taxi was dashed immediately. So we walked. We walked across the bridge we were not supposed to. But somehow we found the right street, and we walked. And walked. And it was sketchy. And I thought about how everyone is scared to go to TJ, and I was thinking how the Food Pimp's family would probably freak out if they knew. So we walked. We were in the run down area. Then we saw interesting restaurants...bbq and such. But it was pretty early, and we had this one restaurant I wanted to go to. So I kinda had a crappy map. The area we were in was off the map, so it was useless. I really felt like we were in another country. I tried not to stop in plain view and look at the map because taxis would slow down and beep. It's very nerve racking to hear the taxis every couple minutes. So it looked desolate. Lots of empty buildings. Then there was a Costco and a mall and stuff. So I knew it had to be the right direction because I read about a mall. And it was hot. We were both on the verge of jumping in a taxi, but not yet. So I kept track of the street numbers. But then I realized they were in no order. It went from like 266889 to 1838887! I was so frustrated!

Then we saw a kinda upscale Brazillian place! So we had to be near. It was hot though, and street numbers were useless. So finally, we relented. We jumped in a taxi. The guy didn't speak english of course. So I said the name of the restaurant, but no comprende - so I handed him the paper and pointed to the first place. No clue. He flagged someone down on the side of the street and asked. They said turn around, go that way...blah blah. So he drove up the street, and asked someone else. They said go that way. Then I saw it across the street. A half a block from where the cabbie had picked us up! So we handed him a five and jumped out. We walked up... and it was closed. Only open for dinner on Sundays. I don't know if I read the times right or if they changed.

So we didn't know what to do. I had names and addresses of places, but no map! If only we had an iphone! So there was this shopping center area behind Cien Anos, and I saw margarita on a sign - it looked a little like an upscale run of the mill mexican place. So we cut through to look at the restaurant. It looked open. Then on the right - saw Villa Saverios. It rang a bell. Sure enough, it was the restaurant on the bottom of my list! It was Mexican food with a Mediterranean spin. My last choice, but it had made the list and there we were. So it opened at 12. And it was 11:50. It looked dead inside. We stood outside for a bit, then we walked in. They said something in Spanish and then led us to a booth. This was a very large restaurant. It was decorated in this kinda cheesy older Italian restaurant theme style, but with expensive looking decor, except for some weird pieces that you would find at those bargain closeout stores - the one in New Orleans I would go to was called Stein Mart. And it was huge! There must have been at least a hundred seats in the main room, 30 - 40 in a side room, 30 - 40 in the bar, and then there might have been an upstairs area too. And there seemed to be a lot of staff.

So the waiter said something to us. I have no idea what. It's sad that I have been here for so many years and I know little Spanish still. He brought us water, and I tried to order a margarita. It never came. So I drank a lot of water because I was very thirsty. The FP didn't drink the water, even though he was parched. He was scared of Montezuma's revenge. We looked at the menu, and my mind was going crazy! It was too much to process. The Food Pimp got a Negro Modelo and I tried to order a margarita again. He seemed to understand me. So he was gone forever. I heard the blender going. I was worried. I wanted one on the rocks with fresh lime, but he was blending it. I hoped it wasn't one of those border ones made with bottled margarita mix! So finally he came back, and it looked beautiful!

And it tasted so fresh and refreshing and balanced and just yummy! Boy was I wrong!

They brought whipped butter and a bread basket with several different breads – focaccia, olive bread, and parmesan bread. These were delicious, very fresh and fragrant breads - all really good. And I have to say, I love whipped butter. It just is all the more yummy when it's been fluffed up!

So around this time, another couple came in. They wanted to go down to look at the wine cellar. Then they sat in the middle of the restaurant. Also from the US. I wonder if any locals go to this restaurant?

So after a bit of deliberation, we decided on some things.

This was a very delicious smoked marlin tiradito with a habanero and mango vinaigrette, avocado and radish, and crispy grilled flour tortilla. I've never had smoked marlin. I still have not had the smoked marlin tacos at Mariscos German. I know... what's wrong with me. One day I will. But this first dish was amazing! And this was the restaurant on the bottom of the list! It was fresh and beautiful and several flavors in my mouth! It was like in the movie ratatouille when he eats the cheese and the blackberry at the same time!

Second course - beef tongue cazuelita. I've never had such good tongue. Maybe the best tongue I've ever had. Tender braised meat in a luscious brown mole, with a smoky spicy emulsified salsa, minced onions and cilantro with fresh made corn tortillas. God, this was so good. It was like a mole, but very refined and delicately made. It doesn't make sense, but it did in my mouth!

Third course was earthy, rich oyster mushrooms with an olive and soft farm cheese mix and more crispy tortillas. This mushroom dish was very simple yet complex. Although the FP thought the cheese was totally unnecessary. It was strong, and it kind of did not match the mushrooms, but it wasn't bad together.

We had eaten all the bread at this point, so they brought us more.

This was a braised beef short rib and panela cheese appetizer topped with a tomato pico de gallo and fried tortilla strip salad. Ok, in another restaurant, this might be good. But in the context of what we had already eaten, this blew! The short ribs were strips cut off the bone... and it was just kinda a glorified Chili's dish. But we were kinda getting full anyway, so we weren't too worried that this dish didn't live up to the standards of the previous dishes. So after 2 or 3 negro modelos, one margarita and four upscale appetizers the bill was $47. Gotta love TJ! So we happily skipped out.

We were hoping to hit another restaurant on the way. I was keeping a look out for the cross street or the name of the restaurant, but we missed it. So we kept walking. We had already hit Hotel Lucerna, so we went in. We went to the courtyard, and it was like an oasis.

We went into the bar. There were TVs with football games on. The door to the courtyard was open and a cool breeze was blowing. It was perfect. The FP was so happy to be able to watch football. And I wanted to be kinda outside. So we had margaritas on the rocks. It didn't look as good as the one at the restaurant, but it still tasted really good. The bartender had a simple syrup bottle, but I guess he made fresh lime juice and put it in the bottle. That was one of those perfect moments that you can't recreate. The bartender was cool. He was working on being a party promoter. He wanted to eventually move to Puerto Vallerta, I think, but he was currently trying establish a rep in TJ first. He offered us some marinated spicy olives. They were in bloody mary mix. Yummy. The FP got another margarita with a better tequila. I'm not sure which one. But it was definitely better than the first. So then we left and were hoping to hit one more nice spot before getting back to the border.

But we didn't see any more cool places. And then we were back. We wanted one more drink and maybe food. So we had to settle for Nelson Restaurant. This was the first place we ever ate at in TJ. We really liked it back then, when just crossing the border and eating any cheap mexican food was a novelty. So we went in and sat at the bar. The whole place is so dirty. We were in two very lovely spots that were clean, that being in there was a culture shock. We had Negro Modelos. The FP wanted a seafood cocktail, which I thought was a weird choice, but I really didn't care. I have and iron stomach compared to him. So we got the small, thank god.

So I believe it was shrimp and octopus. And the marinade is like the bloody mary sauce, which I really like. I tasted a shrimp. It was okay. Then I tasted an octopus - not a big fan. It was...slimy. So I had a few more bite, but I didn't want to eat it. The FP pretty much ate around the octopus. I went to the bathroom, and it was cleaner than I remember, which isn't saying much. I went to the sink, and the water was shut off. There were rat turds on the counter behind the faucet!!! Ew! I could help but imagine big scary Tijuana rats, so I got out of there. There was a sink outside the bathroom that worked. I scrubbed my hands good, then I scrubbed the faucet with soap and rinsed it and scrubbed my hands again then turned it off. Does anyone else do that? Cause you don't want to wash then touch the dirty handle, right? So we got the fuck outta there and headed to the border.

On the way, we stopped and got 2 orders of churros. They were good, but they had been sitting for a while, so not as good as the freshly made ones. But I was happy. We ate them while we stood in line - the shortest line we ever had to wait in crossing back... maybe 30 - 40 minutes at the most? Anyway, it was a great day, whoever says that TJ sucks hasn't found the diamonds in the rough, the coffee beans in the civet poop, the mushrooms growing around the cow shit.