Nacho Mamas

On a rainy Saturday, instead of doing touristy things with my in town visitors, we went down to Magazine Street. We saw the sign outside of Nacho Mamas Mexican Grill advertising 5 Corona for $10 and knew that was the place to hang out for a while.

We started with the chips and salsa and guacamole before ordering the half sized fajita garlic lime shrimp for me and the combo fajita platter of marinated skirt steak and garlic lime shrimp for my Dad. Very good flavor and came with lots of fixings. My Mom ordered the traditional tacos in steak and chicken and couldn’t decide which one she liked better. We finished the meal with Tres Leches cake that was marvelous with the crushed candied pecans on top.

As we headed home, I made sure to give the “We Believe” Bead Dog a pat on the head for luck as we walked past him.

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Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar

I’ve been meaning to get to Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar that opened at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles Avenue. There were mixed reviews at first but I’ve heard enough good things to want to try it. They serve a lot of traditional Louisiana dishes and are right on the street car line, so the view as good as the food.

We got there in time for happy hour, so I started with the 2 for 1 frozen mojito that was a perfect mix of mint and lime. My folks stuck with Stella on tap that the waitress made sure kept coming as fast as my parents could drain the glass.

We tried the mix of oysters (Angels on horseback, Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville) first–all of which were smoking hot from the oven and quite flavorful. Dad followed that with another half dozen raw. His entree was the Buffalo Trace shrimp on skewers with grits and squash. The shrimp were good, grits creamy and I didn’t touch the squash. I had the Shrimp Andouille Brochettes (bacon wrapped grilled shrimp stuffed with cheese and sausage. Absolutely fabulous and the mashed potatoes that it came with were delicious as well.

Stuffed from the good food and tipsy from the drinks, we left my car there and walked back to my house. I’m glad to know that there is another winning neighborhood restaurant within walking distance.

Surrey’s Cafe – Lower Garden

We had a big day planned for today, so we decided to start with a good breakfast. I hadn’t been to the Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar in the Lower Garden District, so we headed over there. After a brief 15 minute wait for a table, we were inside and ready to order.

My Dad ordered the Banana’s Foster Stuffed French Toast–perfectly cooked with a little crust on the outside, soft center, and a lovely praline syrup. My Mom had the Irish Stuffed French Toast with Bailey’s and cream cheese. Quite excellent. I went with the shrimp and grits and the spice level was perfect. I really loved the rosemary in the grits, it was a very nice touch. The biscuit was a little on the heavy side and I would have preferred some local honey or jelly for it but the meal was otherwise very good and filling.

Houston’s Restaurant

My folks are in town and, after touring the tall ships for NOLA Navy Week, we wanted sandwiches for lunch. After several days of po-boys, we decided to go a little upscale. We headed to Houston’s on St. Charles Avenue. They serve what they call ‘diverse American’ that includes lots of meat and plenty of grilled items.

Our goal was the French Dip sandwich made with sliced prime rib. The sandwich is decadently good–the meat cooked medium rare and oh, so tender. We also tried the chicken and friends sandwich, which was good with the cheese and coleslaw on it but it just couldn’t hold a candle to the prime rib.

The booths are quite comfortable and feel private enough for even business conversation. The staff was quick on refills and to check in to make sure everything was all right. While it can get a little loud, I would recommend this place for lunches that could get business expensed.

Crabby Jack’s

I picked up a friend from the airport who had only had airport food since 6am. She was hungry for some good food, so we stopped by Crabby Jack’s (428 Jefferson Hwy-right over the parish line) for lunch around 2:30pm. I rank this as my favorite po-boy place in the Greater New Orleans Area. While the folks at the counter were a little more self-involved (they were trash talking a previous customer while we stood there waiting to order) and the ambience even more pared down than on previous visits (no more cooler of Barq’s!), the po-boys were still top notch.

I got the fried green tomato/shrimp remoulade po-boy. Piled high with shrimp and a delicious sauce, though a bit skimpy on the fried green tomatoes (they had twice as much red tomato on my dressed po-boy). My lunch companion had the slow roasted duck and, even though she claimed at the start she wasn’t going to finish it, she ate every bite and most of the onion rings!

The eats are priced nice and the food is great. Just keep in mind the place closes at 3pm most weekdays (only open until 5pm on Thursday and Friday) and is closed on Sunday.

Bayou Beer Garden

Bayou Beer Garden is on Jeff Davis in Mid City. More than just a neighborhood bar, it has a good sized interior but the real selling point is the back covered deck area, perfect for watching a game on TV or just enjoying a few rounds with some friends. Beyond the cocktails at the bar, they have a sizeable selection of bottle beers from around the world.

I was there after a Board meeting to meet up with a friend on her birthday. I enjoyed a spicy Bloody Mary and a shot of Praline liquor–quite yummy with a nutty and sweet flavor. I also ordered some of their disco fries. These are French fries covered in melted cheese and debris gravy and they made me swoon. The sweet potato fries were good, too, but couldn’t compete with the disco fries!

While I might not go there for a Saints game, this place has just become one of my favorite Mid-City hangouts.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies / Strawberry Margarita

The Quaker Company has changed the recipe for their Vanishing Oatmeal cookies. They’ve reduced the butter and the white sugar. I’m posting the original here because the extra butter definitely improves the final product. As I was on a strawberry kick, I made margarita’s while baking the cookies and they tasted pretty good together.

Oatmeal Raisin cookies
Quaker Oats original recipe

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups uncooked oats
1 cup raisins (put raisins in a double boiler for a few minutes to plump them up)

Preheat oven to 350

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix into butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins, mix well.

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack.

Strawberry margarita

• 2 cups crushed ice
• 1/2 cup strawberry puree
• 1 cup tequila
• 2 limes, juiced
• 1 shot Triple Sec

Combine in a blender, ice, strawberry water, tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and simple syrup. Puree until smooth. Pour into rocks glasses that you’ve sugared the rim and serve.