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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


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416 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

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