Dining Out for Life 2017

Every year, AIDS service organizations join with restaurants for Dining Out for Life. The restaurants donate a portion of the day’s proceeds so diners get a great meal and the organizations get financial support. Crescent Care (formerly NO/AIDS Task Force) is my local beneficiary and I whole heartedly support their mission, so I make an effort to take in as many meals as I can for the event.

For lunch, I went to Cafe at the Square (reviewed here in 2010) with my friend Ryan and we interviewed Seth Bloom, a candidate for New Orleans City Council for possible endorsement by the Forum for Equality. I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT and the sandwich was just as good as I remembered – thick bacon slices, tangy green tomatoes and spicy arugula on a ciabatta bun.

For dinner, I went with my friends Charlotte and Thomas to the New Feelings Cafe and Bar (previously reviewed here in 2011) in the Marigny. We had been excited to learn that Chef Scott Maki had recently won Chopped and wanted to see how the menu and space had changed since we had last been there.

The space is light and airy, with lots of quirky and nostalgic artwork on the walls. The menu had a lot of the things that made them such a great place before plus a number of new items. They still have the beautiful courtyard but, we opted for air conditioning, so we ate inside.

We started with cocktails. Charlotte went for the one with mezcal and enjoyed it enough to order a second. I really liked the coconut rum in my Hemingway.

For appetizers, we had the mushroom sopapilla with black beans and avocado – nice combo of flavors and also the smoked trout dip (pictured) with house made kettle chips. Very tasty, especially with a couple shakes of hot sauce.


I had the fried chicken sandwich. Piled high with chicken, crisp dill pickle slices, lettuce and tomato and their special sauce, it was an explosion of flavor.

Charlotte went for the curry spiced fish with yams and a lovely peanut sauce. She thought it was very tasty, even the kale.

Thomas had Shrimp and Grits – the grits were made extra decadent with gouda cheese. It was so gooda, I wanted to steal another bite but Thomas was keeping a close eye on me. The BBQ shrimp were also very good with a deep, rich sauce.

Dessert was the Vietnamese coffee flan and chocolate hand pie. Delicate flavor on the flan and the pie was reminiscent of the Hubig pies. Served hot, it was very delicious.

Attentive and friendly waitstaff. Creative chef. Romantic courtyard. Lots of feels for the New Feelings Cafe. Worth going to, even without the excuse of your dollars doing good.

 

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Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

This is a quick recipe for buttermilk pancakes that is as easy as using a box mix and it includes Michelle’s favorite add in – blueberries. This recipe makes 6 to 8 pancakes, perfect for a meal for two. I started by using the powdered, dry buttermilk to make a cup of buttermilk for the recipe. To make sure it had that tang you get from real buttermilk, I added a little sour cream.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup blueberries (use fresh or thawed frozen berries)
2 additional tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Warm a pancake griddle over medium low heat while preparing the batter. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F, to have a place to stash cooked pancakes while cooking the next batch.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sour cream and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and gently stir until all the streaks of flour are incorporated. The batter will still be lumpy.

Brush a little bit of the additional melted butter on pancake griddle in the area where you will put batter. Using a ladle, pour out about 1/4 cup of batter over the butter. Sprinkle on a small handful of blueberries. Cook until the edges of the pancake are set, the top bubbles begin to break and the underside is golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side until it is golden brown.

Serve pancakes immediately or place them in the prepared oven. Using more melted butter, prepare the griddle for the next set of pancakes. Continue until all the batter is used up.