Sunday, April 22, 2012

Arthurs (HOT) VOODOO Sauce

Seafood Gumbo..just add Voodoo Sauce!
Strolling through the French Market you will come across a well organized store selling yet, what you think of, more spices and hot sauce.
Not true. Arthur Humphery and Tambourine Green are not "just" selling, they manufacture their own line and Arthur's family has been doing it for over 75 years.

Heat Seekers, from the Food Network, did a show featuring 
Arthur's own  Voodoo Sauce, so I had to check it out.  
I went down to the
French Market, scoped the place 
out, took a seat at the counter
and hoped for the best.
A group of fellow foodies from South Florida sat next to me and we re-enacted the scene from TV.
I poured more than a little Voodoo
Sauce into a spoon. "More than a little" means the sauce flowed out too quickly, so I said the hell with
it.  Hell and Voodoo Sauce is just that, in a good way!
Moments after my first spoonful
Voodoo Burger
of gumbo, I started with the hic-ups.  The bit of heat got increasingly more intense but was good and bread was consumed to kill off the heat, then more bread and then a couple of more pieces!

Another couple of more spoonfuls
made it taste even better.  I devoured the whole bowl, but need some sour cream to kill the burn, which lasted about 20 minutes.  As 
a "chile head", I will tell anyone to NOT drink water to kill a hot sauce 
burn.  You must have a a dairy product to quell the heat in your stomach.  A packet of sugar also works, just don't eat the packet it!

Arthur and Tambourine are two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. In fact, I enjoyed it enough to return the next day for more self-
punishment by ordering the massive Voodoo Burger:  a hot sausage patty
along with 2 burgers, bacon, jalapenos, pepperjack cheese and mushrooms along with some very good potatoes...Ahhhh, proud to be an 
American...what the hell, I'm on vacation not on a diet!!!

World Famous N'awlins Cafe and Spice Emporium Website



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Amazingly Unexpected - Jaques Imo's

Several years ago on a flight from New Orleans to New York City, I sat next to a guy who was on his way to check up on new restaurant in New York and he told me about some sort of alligator cheesecake he serves.  What did I know? Who was this guy that knew Chef Paul and Emeril?
This "guy" turned out to be Jack Leonardi. I think of him as someone you would meet in the mythical place of Margaritaville; wearing
a Hawaiian shirt, flip-flops and walking around with a drink in hand.
I wound up eating dinner at Jaques-Imo's
after walking there to check the place out. 

Panned Rabbit over Creamy Shells and Shrimp
Alligator Cheesecake

Within 15 minutes of opening 
the place was packed and a line out the door!  Something here must be right.

This place is so laid back but don't be fooled.  The cooks, servers and waiters are running around all over the place which is why they all wear sneakers
The waiters here REALLY know their menu in and out and are among the most accommodating I've ever come across. This probably is a result of the "coaching" session I witnessed

when I walked into the middle of it before the restaurant opened.  That was interesting

The menu here is a fantastic mix Creole and Cajun; loaded with  everything from high quality fish,shrimp, oysters and even fried chicken.
My dinner this night is what is pictured along with a 20 ounce or so fresh watermelon mojito made with at least 4 tablespoons of watermelon.  A salad of baby                                       
spinach topped with a fried oyster
began the meal along with delicious corn muffins drizzled in garlic sauce, a great tasting duo.
Fresh Baked Mini Corn Muffins
Somehow over the years I overlooked this establishment, but I'm very glad I finally made it.  Between you and me, it's far and away from the building with the  
striped awning on Washington Avenue, and I got to wear shorts!!
Not to be missed.

Bar Area

 Here's Jaques website              Click on pictures to enlarge.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Breakfast All Over Town

Whether you like traditional Southern Sunday brunch of large 
Gulf shrimp with tasso ham
and creamy grits at Elizabeth's....


 ...or REAL Bagels and Lox at
Artz Bagelz on Magazine St.
WHAT, in New Orleans??!!

Yes! I passed by Artz earlier in 
the week and schleped back
there  by bus for a late breakfast of bagels  and lox and was joined
by owner Kim Zacharczyk, Art's
wife.  Being a "tribe member",
I enjoyed my typical sandwich
in a not so typical bagels and lox town for breakfast at 1 o'clock in
the afternoon.  When Kim asked me my thoughts, I replied it was very
good but the bagel was slightly smaller than what I'm used to in the New Jersey/New York area.  Not complaining, just an observation.  She agreed.  At least it was a REAL tasting bagel and not, God forbid, LENDERS!! Thank you Consumer Reports!  When in New Orleans,
go to Artz Bagelz...take the #11 bus.    click here for a nosh

Artz is art deco on the outside and bright new
on the inside.
In the French Quarter, if you want a traditional Creole breakfast, visit the Old Coffee Pot on St. Peter Street for callas cakes and grits.
Callas cakes, not cake, is described by the waitresses as
fried rice pudding.  Not really rice pudding either, it's balls of rice, held together by something, battered and fried.  It comes with powdered sugar.  Just pour syrup on it and eat it!  It's good, although your cardiologist  may think otherwise.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Orleans Revisited (in several parts)

I finally made it back to New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, yes things take time, and that time has allowed many new restaurants to take shape.
Not such a new restaurant is Commander's Palace, a fine dining institution that should be on everyone's list.  I have dined there in the past to stellar service; there seems to be a waiter for everything from buttering your bread to wiping your face after eating.  They do everything here except eat your dinner and follow you into the bathroom! 

 Tonight's fare pictured here include filet mignon over mashed potatoes, a cut of beef garnished with crawfish tails served over rough-cut grits and creole cream cheese cake for dessert.

Commander's has a semi-formal dress code
which apparently was not enforced this day
Several diners, including this one, were a bit annoyed to see a couple seated with the guy wearing jeans, sneakers and a shirt that was not tucked in.  Has Commander's lost their formal way of doing things in the 21st century?  Were they tourists  who were 
unaware of the dress code and admitted                                  
 because the hostess felt sorry for them?  Let's hope not.  On top of all this and an otherwise beautifully presented meal, we sent everything back except the cheesecake,and received a heartfelt apology from our waiters and the Captain. A disappointing evening.  I guess not everyone can be 100% all of the time.
Beef with Crawfish Tails over Grits
Filet Mignon over Mashed Potatoes

Creole Cheesecake


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The United Nations I Never Knew: Corona, Queens

Destination:  Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue stop on the "7 train"
to seek out another place from Diners, Drive Ins and Dives; the now world famous Rincon Criollo Cuban Restaurant!  
Walking off the train, you are immediately hit with the delicious smells of grilled/roasted/steamed foods from the many street-food vendors below. Fresh meats, drinks,
sweets and anything imaginable from Ecuador, Mexico and beyond.
Each block is a different country ranging from food carts to food trucks selling everything from pork to pozelle..and the train was a mere $2.25, so much less than a flight. 
Now on final approach to Havana, or Habana, we land at the front door of
The disco ball and rope lights lit up for a birthday suprise
Rincon Criollo.  Greeted by 3rd generation owner Rudy, we were welcomed into his house as if we were old friends.  A drink order was placed for cerveza.  Although Cuban beer is not permitted here, a non-embargoed Estrella Damm from Spain was brought to the table ahead of the order of homemade goodness.
Dinner included yucca in garlic  
sauce. It's pronounced YUKE-a
because it sounds better than YUCK-a, from what Rudy told me,and ropa vieja with bell peppers.  This tastes really homemade.  Accompanied by the must-have  Cuban black beans and rice, as well as a red beans with meat serving, both delicious, followed by what was probably the best flan EVER and an espresso. As Rudy said, "We're not a diner, drive in or a dive, we're a restaurant!" A winner, for a change, from Triple D.  Go here.