Posts Tagged ‘Cure’

EAT HERE NOW – THE NEW NEW ORLEANS

Friday, August 14th, 2015

The New New Orleans
By Abigail Gullo

Photo by Chris Granger

Photo by Chris Granger

Welcome back to reality, my boozy companions. Now that it’s time to begin thinking about Tales of the Cocktail 2016 (you know you’re already contemplating that seminar you want to submit) and joining 25,000 of my closest friends who come to New Orleans to celebrate my birthday every year I figured I’d highlight some of the newest places you may have explored a few weeks back or bring them to your attention so you don’t miss out next July!

Here is your yearly roundup of places to check out while you are here in the Crescent City.

First though, let us not bury the lede…I am in a new place! I’m settling in nicely to life on the other side of Canal; my barspoons and I have have taken up residency at Compere Lapin in the Warehouse District (Compere Lapin 535 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
504 599 2119 www.comperelapin.com). Compere Lapin is the title of a West African folk tale that became Briar Rabbit; like the rabbit (more on that later) the restaurant’s menu is a food journey to New Orleans that begins from the Caribbean, where our chef is from. Chef Nina Compton was a finalist on Top Chef New Orleans and won fan favorite.

Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Originally from St Lucia, with a stop in the kitchen of Miami’s Scarpetta, Chef brings all the French Creole influences of her island mixed with exquisite Italian technique and of course local Louisiana flavor. Crispy pig ears, conch croquettes and curried goat with plantain gnocchi have been stand out dishes; but it is all so very delicious.

Of course it couldn’t be New Orleans without a world class cocktail program…and we have literally World Class bartender Ricky Gomez running the good ship Lapin. Ricky is native Nola and was on the opening staff at Cure before heading to Portland and becoming America’s first Diageo World Class Bartender. The bar program is exciting and inventive; there’s carbonated coconut water on tap for the Jerez Highball with sherry and absinthe, Martini inspired sippers like the Noontide with celery and pear brandy, and a King-worthy TCB Sour. All the cocktails pair so well with our fresh raw bar, crudo and the dishes coming from our extremely talented kitchen. And our pastry chef does our breakfast goodies too, so stop my Old No. 77 hotel for a key lime pie donut or blueberry hand-pie with some of the best coffee in New Orleans from Tout La, our lobby coffee shop. It is just the jump start you need to get going to those morning seminars!

Working in a new neighborhood means exploring more neighbors! We are home to the classic Swizzle Stick bar at Cafe Adalaide, Cochon and Butcher (best Muffaletta in town!) and of course, Mother’s and the World’s Best Baked Ham is right across the street.

Cochon by Chris Granger

But we have some new comers too. Mexican is hot right now and the John Besh and Aaron Sanchez collaboration Johnny Sanchez has all your agave needs along with tacos galore! Besh restaurants are famous for their happy hour programs and Johnny Sanchez is no exceptions with great deals of tacos and pitchers of margaritas. Save room for dessert as pastry chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White are some of the best in the business.

As a matter of fact, just after you left town they opened a new pastry shop called Willa Jean in the Warehouse Districts’s new sub-neighborhood, The Paramount. Wood fired pizza, a Company Burger with boozy milkshakes and the Rouses are all located here so when you pick up supplies at our local super market chain, you can fuel your day with the best food Nola has to offer.

Speaking of one stop shopping, back in the new Marigny or St Roch neighborhood, we have a Nola foot court to end all food courts. The St Roch Market opened this year to great fanfare and some controversy this year. This traditionally poor neighborhood was a food desert for some time post-Katrina. Now with the rapid gentrification of this neighborhood, the St Roch Market became a beacon, and a bit of a target. Putting politics and gentrification theory aside, get to St Roch and go hungry (2381 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 609-3813 www.strochmarket.com).

Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB

Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB

Inside the breezy bright turn-of-the-20th century warehouse are local vendors offering coffee, fresh juice, oysters, Creole, Korean and African cuisine. Go to the Mayhew Bar for a cocktail, and get a dozen bivalves from the Curious Oyster stand next door then pick up some local made products like Cocktail & Son’s Syrups from Max Messier (www.cocktailandsons.com) and Tonic and Bitters from El Guapo’s Scot Maddox (www.elguapobitters.com), both bartenders turned entrepreneurs!

If you are keeping in the French Quarter, we have some great new spots that have opened up in the last year. Salon by Sucre is an upstairs lounge with Storyville inspired cocktails and full tea menu. Downstairs at Sucre is a candyland of color and taste for a quick pick me up of gelato and coffee…and maybe some signature macaroons thrown in a box too (622 Conti, www.shopsucre.com/store-locations/).

Next door to Sucre, we finally have our famous Vietnamese cuisine in the Quarter with the 9 Roses Cafe. An extension of the famous West Bank spot, come here for restorative Pho, and bright Bun and summer rolls with local pork and shrimp (620 Conti www.ninerosesrestaurant.com).

Chef Alex Harrell left Sylvain to open Angeline in the old Stella space on Chartres street. And homage to his mother, Angeline has the comfort food you crave after a long day of tasting and drinking, all in a refined setting with perfect technique.

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Photo courtesy of Angeline

The bar program is sherry and mezcal heavy, so it’s a cocktail nerd’s delight! This is a great place to stop for dinner before making your way to dance and jive on Frenchmen street (1032 Chartres St. www.angelinenola.com)!

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Good coffee is a must and why not do some vintage barware shopping while you are at it? Arrow Cafe on North Rampart street is also a bike repair and vintage shop (628 N Rampart St.). Jane pulls the best espressos in the Quarter, hands down. And she pairs shots of espresso with lime cordial, tonic syrup and good Topo Chico for refreshing pick me ups that fuel my trips to the gym and work. You can rent a bike next door, and pick up some cool Bike Nola t-shirts from Dashing Nola and some vintage martini pitchers from Nola Drift. (Full disclosure, my dog Ronnie Magic is the mayor here and these ladies have been kind enough to do doggie day care while I run errands in this hot Nola sun.) The sense of community here in Nola is what makes it so very special. And I am so lucky to have this community in my life looking after me and my little dog too.

Marin Tockman (right) with her friend Julia and her new Public Bike at arrow cafe

On the next block, at 700 Rampart st, is a new bar called the Black Penny. They have an extensive selection of beers and some great spirits. The bar wraps between two spaces and the white leather banquets make this a cool place to sip on some suds right across from Louis Armstrong park and the legendary Congo Square.

And or course there is the long awaited Latitude 29 from Beachbum Berry. Believe the hype (and order the Tiki room service if you can). I pretty much have my own stool at the bar here and worked my way through the extensive tiki drink and food menu within a month of their opening. Luckily, the talented rooster of bartenders create their own drinks for Happy Hour, so I have always have something new to try (321 N. Peters Street www.latitude29nola.com)!

Next time you’re in town please come and visit me at the Rabbit (open a week and we already have a term of endearment for our Compere Lapin) and I will toast to good friends and good cocktails here in the city of New Orleans!

Photo by Chris Granger

Photo by Chris Granger

ANNOUNCING THE 2014 JAMES BEARD AWARDS SEMI-FINALISTS

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

JamesBeard Award Medallion

Before spring officially kicks in the annual food & drink rite of passage begins; a close read of the names of anointed hospitality industry leaders who are fortunate and skilled and lauded and connected enough to have their names land on the semi-finalists’ list for this year’s James Beard Awards. And then the ensuing chatter about whether those nominees are deserving and who was “robbed.”

They say, it’s an honor just to be nominated, and that’s true. In our book, everyone who makes a difference in the lives of restaurant, bar and hotel guests every day is a winner, but for now, let’s just see who the James Beard Foundation (www.jamesbeard.org) might be handing an award to on May 5th where the theme for the 2014 Awards is “Sounds of the City.”

This year’s theme explores the enduring relationship between music and food, celebrating the many ways in which the culinary community is inspired by music and the artists who create it. Music has continually played an important role in the culinary world, from inspiring chefs in the kitchen to setting the tone in a dining room and everything in between. A surprising number of chefs have crossed over from the world of music to food and even more continue to express themselves as musicians in their downtime. From Nashville to New Orleans, Detroit to Seattle, this year’s gala reception will feature chefs from some of America’s beloved musical cities creating dishes inspired by their favorite sounds, whether it’s a local musical act, special song, or impactful musician.

There’s no doubt that being nominated for a James Beard Award has an impact on careers. The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year. According to sources at the Foundation this year, over 38,000 entries were received, a list which the Restaurant and Chef Committee goes through to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 20 Restaurant and Chef awards categories, some of which include Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters), Outstanding Restaurant, Best Chef in ten different U.S. regions, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional, Outstanding Bar Program, and Best New Restaurant.

The list of semifinalist nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine

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EAT HERE NOW – NEW ORLEANS 2013

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
By Abigail Gullo

Tales Walk 2013 Iron Man on N. Peters statue

“Baby please don’t go. Baby please don’t go. Baby please don’t go down to New Orleans, you know I love you so baby please don’t go.” – Big Joe Williams….and Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison and AC/DC and Aerosmith…..

I know you all long for New Orleans as you plan your annual summer trip down here and well after you leave. This city has a magical pull that brought many into its orbit. And you truly miss that good feeling when you are gone. But, this isn’t all I’m talking about; I am talking about missing New Orleans, the real New Orleans. While you are here you don’t want to miss the real New Orleans and the things that make it great.

I fell in love with this city during Tales of the Cocktails. Every year I came earlier and stayed longer. My boss and mentor, St John Frizell at Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn went to college here and lived here until 1999. He said that New Orleans had a special magic and a real appreciation for hospitality and service. St John encouraged me when he said he saw that special light in me too and knew I would do well here. When an opportunity came up to work with the Brennan family, who has been running the best restaurants in New Orleans for over 100 years, I thought the signs were all pointing me leaving New York for New Orleans.

Tales 2013 Jackson Square with card reader
Brennan
So finally last year I just could not live without New Orleans any longer and I left the Big Apple for the Big Easy. There is lesson number one. There are many things not easy about living here. There is heat, hurricanes, violence, crumbling infrastructure and judging from the caterpillar sting I have on my

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Turning Japanese

Friday, May 14th, 2010

East Meets West At The Bar With Uyeda-San
By Jason Littrell
All photos courtesy of Lush Life Productions

Over the course of two days I was side by side with some of the greatest cocktail minds in the country who sat quietly in the Hiro Ballroom in the Maritime Hotel (www.themaritimehotel.com). These bartenders, mixologists, writers, scientists and all around mega-nerds surrounding me all came to check out the cocktail master himself, Kazuo Uyeda from Ginza, Japan, owner of the Tender Bar, and learn the famed Hard Shake from the man who had created it.

Uyeda-san’s visit to New York, courtesy of Greg Boehm’s Cocktail Kingdom (www.cocktailkingdom.com), Beefeater Gin (www.beefeatergin.com), Suntory Whiskeys (www.suntory.com) and Smirnoff Vodka (www.smirnoff.com), drew this collection of America’s brightest drinks practitioners together in anticipation of learning the precise ways of Japanese bartending from this internationally known cocktail-zilla who has spent the last 45 years behind the bar perfecting the art of cocktail deliciousness – his ultimate goal. We didn’t know it then, but an eye-opening cultural exchange was about to take place.

Over those two days we sat listened, percolated, drank, and laughed with this man who has spent the last four decades perfecting his craft. The style he taught us was as specific, detailed, exacting and considerate as the Japanese tea ceremony or the hand-crafted Samurai sword. To the drop, and in absolute detail, he explained the minutiae of every element of his cocktail execution.

That first morning I was introduced to Uyeda-san’s concept of executing cocktail perfection. He discussed the intrinsic and philosophical elements of his style that are embodied by drink after drink being delivered with the same stance, same shake, same pour, and same snapping wrist motion that releases the last drop from the shaker. His decades of research and experimentation have been driven towards a singular goal: the pursuit of perfection and deliciousness.

He first discussed the “Japanese Mindset” which introduced me to the idea of putting your mind into your cocktail. This was interesting in the respect that the process was the product. The concept of creating the anticipation with your guest was something I tried to picture myself doing, with little immediate success. This, he explained takes time and “training yourself to concentrate.” He went on to explain that one’s technique and performance are a direct expression of one’s self. Now, I always knew

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