R and O’s Restaurant in Bucktown

My friends Mickie and Carol took me to lunch to talk politics and early voting (Geaux Vote!) and I surprised them by having never been to R&O’s Restaurant in the Bucktown neighborhood. It was one of their favorites and, after dining, they drove me around all the new changes to the waterfront out there.

We started with the shrimp salad tossed with remoulade sauce instead of dressing. Lots of big, whole boiled shrimp and recognizable hunks of bell pepper, tomato, onion and iceberg lettuce.

The roast beef sandwich was piled high with well cooked roast beef. It tasted like a pot roast on a bun, which we ordered well toasted so it didn’t get too soggy with the brown gravy. Came with lots of pickles for that cool, sharp crunch. As I still count the number of napkins required  as to how good the poboy is, I can tell you it came in at 4 paper towels!

Fried oyster sandwich had large fried oysters piled on. Good flavor to the oysters. It needed a crunch, so I added some pickles and it was perfect.

Our server was quick with refills on our ice tea and to check in to make sure we had all we needed. She even brought extra of the good mints!

I’m always looking for a good spot for lunch, and this fits the bill of lots of food, good prices, friendly staff and lots of parking! I think my folks are going to love their sandwiches, too.

Recommend!

R&O’s Restaurant
www.r-opizza.com
216 Metairie-Hammond Highway
Metairie, LA 70005

 

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Gabrielle Restaurant

I’m continuing my COOLinary New Orleans odyssey where you can get a 3 course dinner for $39 or less during the month of August. It is a perfect way to try out new restaurants or enjoy old favorites.

For dinner last night, I was able to go to Gabrielle Restaurant with my friends and local authors JM Redmann and Gillian Rodger. It is a small cottage in the Treme serving contemporary Creole cuisine. Gabrielle is a fairly casual place, where the bartender wandered to the planters out front to pick more mint for cocktails like the one I ordered:

It is called the JeniSu and is made of gin, champagne, mint syrup and lime. Very refreshing.

I neglected to get a picture of their starter of sea scallop wrapped in duck bacon!

My first course was meatballs three ways: Cajun duck, Italian veal, Greek lamb. Lovely flavor on each with rich sauces, too.

I ordered the Viennese Wienerschnitzel – crispy breaded veal over grilled eggplant. Yes, please!

Jean had the jambalaya – so much beautiful seafood!

Gillian had the fish filet served over a crabcake:

There were just as many varied dessert options as for the main course and they were all delicious. Jean had the chocolate pecan pie. It look very tasty.

Gillian had the bread pudding but the picture was blurry – sorry!

I had a bourbon milk punch with two moon pies. They call it shooting the moon and it was a smooth finish for a terrific evening.

For fine, casual dining Gabrielle will definitely go on my list of places to return. Everyone was friendly and attentive although they were super fast to clear plates so I left some of the delicious meatball sauce behind.

All in all, Greg and Mary and Gabrielle Sonnier have crafted a welcoming restaurant with a rich menu and ambiance that totally hit the spot. Thanks so much to Jean and Gillian for a wonderful experience.

Gabrielle Restaurant
www.gabriellerestaurant.com
504-603-2344
2441 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119

 

Coterie Restaurant NOLA

August in New Orleans can be tough to endure. To make things easier, there is COOLinary New Orleans, whereby local restaurants offer fixed price lunch menus for $20 or less. It is a perfect way to try out new restaurants or enjoy old favorites.

My friends Garrett and Leigh are in town as their son is looking at Tulane University as a potential place to go to college. I was very happy to join them for a meal, as it gave me a chance to eat at Coterie Restaurant and Oyster Bar in the French Quarter.

Coterie’s COOLinary lunch is two courses and I choose to have the boudin balls for my first course. The texture was terrific and the deep fried pork and rice balls had just the right amount of heat. The remoulade sauce served with them was tangy and refreshing.

For my second course, I choose the fried shrimp poboy (dressed, of course). A generous amount of shrimp, in a seasoned batter and deep fried to perfection.

The rest of the table ordered everything from charbroiled oysters to crabcakes to red beans and rice and jambalaya and it was all good. The chef’s take on traditional New Orleans food is very well done. Additionally, their bartender is also quite deft with the sazerac and hurricanes that started us off.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant, even outside of COOLinary!

COTERIE
504-529-8600
www.coterienola.com
135 Decatur St
reet
New Orleans, LA 70130

Blue Oak BBQ

I, and most of the city, seem to agree that barbecue is the perfect food for July 4th. After I did my reading for the Star-Spangled 4th of July Marathon Reading of the Mueller Report, my friends Charlotte and Thomas took me out to Blue Oak BBQ in MidCity.

The place was packed!

I ordered a sandwich – the chopped brisket with a side of roasted garlic mac and cheese. There was a spicy rub on the brisket that was very tasty but a little spicy. The heat was cut by the coleslaw that was served on the sandwich. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the mac and cheese but that’s mainly because I didn’t think it wasn’t cheesy enough.

Charlotte got her pulled pork plate with baked beans and garlic mac and cheese. She tried all the sauces (Jerk, Carolina, House) and like the house bbq sauce best.

Thomas got his pulled pork with the spicy green onion sausage. His sides were the potato salad and baked beans. He was definitely a member of the clean plate club.

Blue Oak BBQ has a full bar but I stuck with soda.

There was a long line that extended out the door but it didn’t take more than ten minutes to reach the front and order. We waited just a short time for a table (the tables outside are cooled with misting fans but the theater was not air conditioned, so I wanted to stay inside). There were a ton of people who had ordered ahead and just came in and grabbed brown paper sacks of meaty goodness.

The staff was fast to bus tables and bring out the food – all of which is smoked in their on-site pit. I always judge a bbq joint by the smell of smoke and meats and this one place is wonderfully perfumed for carnivores.

For the size of the crowd and the lines, everything ran smoothly and everyone had a smile on their face.

I would definitely return to give the rest of their menu a try.

900 N Carrollton, New Orleans
504-822-BLUE (2583)
www.blueoakbbq.com 

 

Blackberry Mojito

The other night, I pulled out the mortar and pestle and most of Michelle’s bar supplies in order to play mad scientist with a batch of blackberries and limes. After a few experiments, I came up with a delicious blackberry mojito using more of the blackberries Michell had picked and a generous helping of Cajun Spice Old New Orleans Rum. The drink was so delicious and refreshing. It went really well with the pulled pork sandwiches that Michelle and I had with our friend, Lydia.

Mojitos usually include mint but none of our pots of mint had survived the most recent dry spell, and I didn’t really want to use the dried mint in a cocktail so we skipped that step. While our drinks were excellent without it, next time, I will add some to the muddling.

Optional – top with a splash of club soda. I didn’t have any, so we just enjoyed the drink in all its intensity.

Blackberry Mojito

Blackberry simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen

Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir regularly until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the blackberries and let sit for 30 minutes, mashing the berries. Pour the simple syrup through a sieve to remove the seeds. Put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Per drink:
1 lime, quartered
handful of blackberries
1/4 cup rum
2 tablespoons blackberry simple syrup

Muddle together the quartered lime and blackberries in a shaker. Add the rum and simple syrup and shake well with some crushed ice. Strain as you pour over ice.

Cochon Butcher’s Muffaletta

I’ve written before about my trips to Cochon Butcher (here in 2012 and again in 2014). On Friday, I had friends in town who had never had a muffaletta. For those who aren’t familiar, visualize a cousin of the Italian sub. Layers of various meats and cheese—ham, capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone are typical–plus some sort of pickled veggies. In the case of muffaletta, it is typically an olive salad.

The Cochon Butcher version has smoked meats on a sesame seed Sicilian bun. They were a really nice flavor addition. The olive salad wasn’t overpowering, it gave just the right amount of tang to the sandwich.

We also had the Brussel sprouts, mac and cheese and pretzels but we inhaled all of those too fast for me to get picture. Trust me, they were all delicious.

I’ve yet to have anything that wasn’t good at this place.

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans, LA
504-588-7675

Brennan’s Restaurant

My friends, Leigh and Garrett, brought their family through New Orleans on their way to a vacation and we went to Brennan’s Restaurant for dinner. If you’re looking for a lovely dinning experience with lots of old New Orleans’ charm, this is a place to go.

We started with cocktails. Garrett and I had the Caribbean milk punch with bourbon and rum and cream and vanilla. It was like drinking a glass of melted vanilla ice cream – if only ice cream had a sneaky little kick to it.

Their son, Jake, had the good taste to order a number of terrific appetizers. The frog legs were light and crispy with the tempura batter.

 

The foie gras was smooth and buttery.

 

The roasted oysters that the others ate were large.

 

Michelle had the the summer corn and coconut soup with shrimp. Very good flavor.

 

I ordered the spiced tuna, rare. While the outside had a lot of heat, the creamy black eyed peas took away the burn.

I tried the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with octopus that the rest of the table ordered. Very smokey and delicious.

For dessert we had bananas foster, of course. I took a lovely video of the table side, flambe presentation but it didn’t turn out so I’m afraid you’re missing out both on the experience and flavor.

The walls are covered with paints of old carnival floats and the secret patio is lovely to look at from the air conditioned dining room. The wait staff was attentive and knowledgeable. The general manager even stopped by the table to make sure all was well.

I would definitely recommend Brennan’s for your next high level, culinary affair.

Brennan’s Restaurant
417 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-525-9711