Emeril’s New Orleans

Had lunch today at Emeril’s and it wasn’t bad at all. This restaurant is just a couple of blocks from my office and it was a beautiful day for a walk.

The oyster bisque was creamy and flavorful but a little too salty for my taste. My lunch companion got the smoked mushroom and pasta appetizer. Nice and smokey although pasta was a bit strange as a starter. She had the Marcona Almond Crusted Rainbow Trout and I had the “B.L.F.G.T” (Bacon, Lettuce & Fried Green Tomato on Brioche with Boiled Shrimp and Mustard Aioli). Mine was the perfect combination of salty and sweet and sour. The sweet potato chips were a good addition. I’m not much of a trout fan but the flavor was good, although the prosciutto outside the skin was a bit wasted. Dessert was creme brule and a chocolate torte–both good.

I’m tempted to go back and order the fried chicken and waffles and there was enough variety on the menu that I’m sure that I will find plenty of people to go with me. The acoustics were much better than his other restaurant (NOLA), so you can actually have a conversation without shouting or hearing what the neighboring tables were talking about.


Reginelli’s Pizzeria

My parents were in town last week and we spent the majority of the days working to whittle down a list of chores. On two of the nights, too tired to go out to any of the restaurants on my wish list, we ordered pizza for delivery.

Reginelli’s Pizzeria is my first choice for pizza in New Orleans. I like Louisiana Pizza Kitchen and Theo’s to go out to but for convenience and a wholly satisfying slice of pie, Reginelli’s can’t be beat. The delivery time is usually 35 to 45 minutes and the hand tossed pizza crust is chewy, the sauce is flavorful and the toppings fresh. I’m not much of a salad fan but the Ceasar is darn tasty.

McHardy’s Chicken and Fixin

So with all the parades this weekend, I decided to make a chicken run on my way home between Tucks and Endymion instead of having to cook. I could have gone by Popyeye’s but I decided instead on McHardy’s.

McHardy’s Chicken and Fixin is at 1458 N Broad St @ Esplanade

This isn’t the place to go when you want chicken strips or to dine in. Their take out menu only starts at a half chicken and ends with 100 pieces. They also do fried fish and have good, thick fries. The coating is dry, so it isn’t too thick and it is deliciously spiced.

I got 10 pieces so I could enjoy it cold for lunch on Sunday between Thoth and Bacchus. Quite delicious.

Mother’s Restaurant

At the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Poydras is Mother’s Restaurant. They claim to have the world’s best baked ham. Now, I’m a salt fanatic and have about 19 different varieties of salt in my house. So when I say the ham at Mother’s is salty, I know what I’m talking about. If you do decide to go for the ham, get it on a Ferdi (ham, roast beef, debris and gravy poboy) and the salt will be balanced out.

Ham, notwithstanding, their Debris Poboy is absolutely fabulous. In a city that rates poboys not by stars but by the number of napkins it takes to wipe off your chin, this place ranks in the top 5. Additionally, they dress their poboy with cabbage instead of lettuce and that adds a crisp, clean crunch to each bite.

Don’t be discouraged if there is a line out the door. They turn the tables very quickly and you’ll soon be inside with a menu of your own. The new line winds past the food prep area, so you can see the various sides and other offerings before you move to the register to place your order.

The Butch Cookbook

butchcookbkWhile this blog is primarily going to be for restaurant reviews and recipes, I will also talk about cookbooks and cooking. Today, I’m going to pimp a cookbook that I’m a contributor to: The Butch Cook Book. Containing lesbian lore and humor, this book shows that there is more to butch cooking than burning stuff on the grill or opening a box of mac and cheese.

There are three of my recipes in the book–Chile Con Carne, Mustard Chicken and Quadruple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Don’t just take my biased word that this is a fabulous addition to your bookshelves–the book has even been reviewed. Check out what they have to say:

Butch: Its What for Dinner by Dana Rudolph

Beyond Beer Can Chicken by Malinda Lo

Ad Hoc

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a fried chicken aficionado. I make a point to visit all the best chicken joints in any given city. Heck, during my last cross country drive, all my stops were mapped by Chick-Fil-A restaurant locations.

That being said, the best fried chicken I’ve ever put in my mouth is from a small place in Yountville, California. If you are ever in Northern California, especially around Calistoga, plan on making Ad Hoc one of your destinations.

Ad Hoc is one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants and offers a prix fixe meal for around $50 a person. The buttermilk fried chicken is worth it, though. Be sure to call first–as they don’t always serve it (Monday is usually a good bet).

They use a wet batter but the chicken is brined beforehand and the taste and crunch is exemplary. Perfectly seasoned, it is fried with just a few sprigs of rosemary in the oil to give it an extra dimension for the nose.

Now, I know that it is a bit out of the way for many people. While I encourage the trip, I do want to let you know about a way to cheat and get the experience in your own kitchen. Williams-Sonoma offers those who cook a chance to create this incredible meal at home. The Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit contains nearly everything you need and no-fail directions, too.

Whatever choice you make, your mouth and belly will thank you.

Cochon Restaurant

One of my favorite restaurants in the city (and by that, I mean one of the ones I’ve gone to more than twice) is Cochon. I love fire and the open kitchen with fire pit is incredibly attractive but, it is the food that keeps me coming back. The rabbit dumplings were so good, I burned my mouth in my haste to gobble it down. All of the pork dishes are sublime and even the fish was well done.

When the Saints are playing at home, they offer fried chicken for lunch. A wet coating is used that is crisp but just a bit too dense. The chicken itself is juicy and flavorful.

Their sides are pure Southern comfort from the mac and cheese, the creamy grits, the stuffed twice baked potato.

Be sure to go around the corner to the Butcher for high grade cuts of meat and artisan sausages and salamis. Place your special order for rabbit, etc on Wednesday and get it on Friday. One of these days, I will have to try their lunch menu as the sandwiches looked delicious the last time I stopped by.

Oh, and Chef Donald Link’s book Real Cajun is a delightful read. While several of the recipes are a little too involved for most chefs, the love of food comes through. He doesn’t just have pork recipes, although bacon plays a big part in many of them. There are plenty of finds for those who love the simple fare the Cajun’s are known for.

Green Goddess

This place is mouth porn.

Hiding in Exchange Alley, Green Goddess has two wonderful chefs and a menu that defies a quick or easy decision. There are so many choices, I recommend bringing friends—they’ll love you for showing them this jewel and you have a better chance of trying more food by eating off their plates. As they only have seating for about 15 inside, just don’t bring too many.

I ordered the wild mushrooms in cream gravy on sweet potato biscuits with grits and found myself taking smaller and smaller bites just to be able to keep enjoying it. The stuffed French toast (stuffed with strawberries and goat cheese) had a multitude of flavor layers. The lox and blini was deconstructed on the plate and was quite a delight for the mouth.

To die for, though, is the “Notorious” Bacon Sundae. This thing starts with pecan praline ice cream, topped with a creamy bacon caramel sauce. Finally, there is whipped cream that they sprinkle with Pink Himalayan and Black Lava Salts and some bacon.

I’m going back soon for dinner and fully intend to take advantage of their extensive wine selection.

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant

Picked up my aunt and uncle from the MSY airport and drove immediately to Drago’s in Metairie. We arrived around 6:30pm on a rainy Thursday and were seated almost immediately.

Starting out with 2 dozen charbroiled oysters was a great idea. They were perfectly done, with just enough bread to sop up any remaining juices.
The salad was the usual iceberg style and pretty boring but my Herradura Shrimp with sun dried tomatoes and portobello mushroom was very tasty. My uncle’s mahi mahi special was a little over cooked (hardly any pink flesh) but a good flavor and the baked potato went surprisingly well with it. The Crescent City Shrimp was only okay and doesn’t even begin to compare to Pascal Manale’s BBQ shrimp.
I’d definitely return but would stick with the oysters next time.