Brandied Peach Ice Cream

Summertime in the South means putting up with heat, humidity and mosquitos the size of small cars. As a consolation, summer also brings us peaches. It makes my soul happy when I hold its softly in my hand, breathe deep of its perfume before biting into it and letting the succulent juice run down my chin.

Saving a few of them for ice cream makes me even happier. And, adding a little brandy to the mix can make a person nearly expire from happiness! Of course, if you choose not to use brandy, you can replace it with 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

Brandied Peach Ice Cream

2 pounds peaches (about 5-6 large peaches)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy

Peel and pit peaches; cut into chunks. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until cold.

After it has set for a while in the refrigerator, blend everything one last time to ensure it is well mixed. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to plastic container and freeze until firm.

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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

Rocky and Carlo’s Restaurant

I was over in Chalmette to see a Pride month showing of To A More Perfect Union and we decided to go old school for dinner.

In 1965, Tommy Tommaseo, his brother Rocky and his brothers-in-law Carlo, Mario and Giuseppe “Joseph” Gioe opened Rocky and Carlo’s over in St Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans. They wanted everyone to know their new place was a restaurant, not a bar and that men and women were welcome so they put ‘Ladies Invited’ on the signs and it remains on the front windows and cups to this day.

We walked to the back to place our order at the counter from a large menu of classic Italian and New Orleans dishes. I had heard good things about their baked mac and cheese, so that was definitely what I wanted but I asked the person taking the order for a recommendation and she said go for the veal parm.

I’m glad I did. I received a heaping portion of baked macaroni and cheese topped with veal parmesan and a thick marinara, along with a basket of bread.

Very yummy. And the one piece of veal parm I didn’t eat then went really well in a sandwich for lunch the next day.

Charlotte ordered a hearty bowl red beans and rice and that thing was huge. It did need some hot sauce but the flavors were good and deep.

Very happy with our visit. We received generous portions and fast, friendly service. It was reasonably priced, too! Definitely consider a trip to Rocky and Carlo’s next time you’re in Da Parish.

Rocky and Carlo’s Restaurant
613 W. St. Bernard Hwy.
ChalmetteLA 70043
504-279-8323
Hours of Operation:
Open Tues – Thur 11:00am – 8:00pm & Fri – Sat 11:00am – 8:30pm
Closed Sunday & Monday

Undertow

For Mother’s Day, my sister and brother-in-law took us to the Undertow in Orange Beach, Alabama for their $10 all you can eat Crawfish and Royal Red buffet. Sure, there were also potatoes, corn and sausage but we were there for the seafood.

Royal Reds are a variety of shrimp that live the deeper waters off the Alabama Gulf Coast and are large and sweet. The meat is comparable to lobster and that’s why we had ours with drawn butter.

The Undertow is a casual, local hangout and the staff are friendly, even as they worked their tails off keeping up with refilling the buffet and slinging drinks. They run the buffet on weekends during the shrimping season but get there early – it runs from 2pm to 7pm or until they run out! Smoking is allowed at the bar and there is outside seating as well.

The Undertow
25025 Canal Rd
Orange Beach, Alabama

Revisiting Oceana Grill

After Latoya Cantrell’s historic inauguration ceremony, my friends Lisa and Vincenzo and I followed Madam Mayor’s second line out of the Mahalia Jackson theater into Armstrong Park.

Madam Mayor in the light blue dress and white umbrella, stage left

Afterwards, we went seeking sustanence. It was Monday and our first two options weren’t open. We went with number three – Oceana Grill on Conti @ Bourbon. The last time I was here was 8 years ago and it stands the test of time as a casual dining establishment. It was as filled with local workers as tourists and we were served quickly with large portions of good food.

I went with the fried shrimp platter. Lots of them on the plate, plus hushpuppies and french fries. Nice bite to the jalapeno hush puppies and a nice fry on everything else.

Lisa had the Black and Bleu burger with blackening seasoning and blue cheese. Nice and beefy burger with a tangy sauce.

Vincenzo had the seafood platter, pilled high with oysters, catfish, shrimp. Lovely cornmeal batter on the thin and crispy catfish.

The server was friendly and quick with refills. For French Quarter dining, the prices are reasonable. I’d definitely stop by here again.

Charlie’s Steakhouse

For my birthday dinner, my folks came into town and we went to Charlie’s Steakhouse. Located on Dryades in Uptown, it is only open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday. This is an old school steakhouse with no menus because there not much else on the menu but steak and sides. Exactly what I was looking for in a birthday dinner.

We started with onion rings. Thinly cut and deep fried, they were quite delicious. We all ate more than we should have based on how big the steaks were going to be.

Dad had half a wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing. He used some of the left over onion rings as a crouton.

We all went for 14 ounce ribeyes. Simply prepared with just salt and pepper, they came to the table still sizzling. All were cooked perfectly to order (from blue to rare to medium rare to medium) and were very succulent.

The sides were choose potatoes au gratin and sauteed button mushrooms. The potatoes were a little over salted but quite good with hunks of potato and lots and lots of cheddar cheese. They paired well with the lightly salted steak. The mushrooms and onions went very well with the steaks with their buttery flavor.

As it was my birthday, they brought out spumoni, a very rich ice cream. And, yes, I did share.

We finished every last  bite of dessert (although, we each had some steak left over for sandwiches the next day – and the day after that).

The atmosphere is relaxed and casual. The server was polite and very attentive. Everyone we came in contact with was friendly and personable. We even got a history lesson from the manager/owner about the original family, the restaurants they opened and were related to– so basically a success story of immigration to America. Oh, and a couple fun ones about bootlegging during Prohibition.

I would definitely recommend Charlie’s steaks. I know I’m not going to wait for another major milestone to go back again.

Main Street Cafe – Collins, MS

If you’re ever near Collins, Mississippi at lunchtime consider stopping in at the Main Street Café. It is smack dab between I-49 and US-84 on Main Street (Highway 184) in Collins. They have an all you can eat buffet for $10 that includes your drink, and a wide selection of down home, Southern classics (a mess of peas, a pot of beans, fried okra, greens, gumbo, cornbread, a large variety of desserts and a salad bar). For the meat selection, they offer ribs, chicken and sometimes catfish. You need to get there by 2pm, though, as they are only open from 9:30am to 2pm on weekdays.

As you can see from my plate, I didn’t waste much stomach space on veggies. Their fried chicken is excellent. Very tasty and juicy, with crisp skin and a good seasoning. I got my money’s worth on fried chicken alone!

The tea is fresh, the servers are friendly and the food is quite good. I definitely recommend it.