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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by TAPrice

  1. Cocktails are becoming an expensive hobby. Recently, I've been trying to buy some "good enough" spirits, which are cheap enough to not feel like a splurge or to let me experiment without feeling like I wasted something precious. Cruzán rum is a decent example of this. So what "good enough" liquors does everyone recommend? Or what higher dollar mass marketed liquors that could be found in 1.75 L bottles (big savings there, normally)? I'm looking for liquors of every type.
  2. You're arriving a little late for crawfish season. Would you settle for shrimp? I agree that Cochon is great. It seems to keep getting better. For music, I would recommend just heading to Frenchmen Street. There are always tons of clubs with live music, you can sample from the street before going in, and the covers are cheap. So what are you looking for? High? Low? Typically local? Don't overlook Parkway Barkery in Mid-City for a po-boy. Probably the best around right now. Also, Hansen's in Uptown will be open for snowballs.
  3. One difference is that you only need a single buyer for a painting, while a menu has to be sold to hundreds of people. It does seem that El Bulli has almost escaped the economic demands of a restaurant. A seat there is so scarce that they serve only the customers who truly want the full experience. Could other restaurants duplicate that? I don't know.
  4. I've never had the pleasure (or perhaps merely the "opportunity" ) to try a challenging, modern meal. My thoughts are based strictly on what I've read, so take my comments in that light. It's hard to deny the connection to the early avant-garde movements. The Futurist embrace of technology and industry seems to have a clear parallel in molecular gastronomy's embrace of the food science more often employed for junk food and processed items. The desire to confound the diners expectations, make them focus on material (in this case ingredients) by dislodging them from their typical context, and force them to approach a traditionally sensual experience as a intellectual one all point to the influence of these 20th century art movements. The sense of play recalls how important jokes were to the surrealist, Dada and Situationist movements (among others). If we accept this pedigree, though, how do we explain the appearance of avant-garde food at the end of the 20th century and start of the 21st? Marinetti issued his Futurist Manifesto in 1909. This is a movement that will celebrate its centennial next year. Is cooking just a 100 years behind the times? Perhaps. Although to accept that premise, wouldn't you have to think that artist genres (and I'm assuming here that we agree that, at least in some cases, cooking can rise to level of art) follow an evolutionary path? If it's taken cooking 100 years to embrace the avant-garde and enter the 20th century, is that just because until them we were cooking like it was the 19th century? I don't agree with that position. I believe that artist movement reflect the current culture. And given that view, I would either have to reject Chris's initial premise that avant-garde cuisine is closely connected to these early 20th century art movements or accept that these culinary movements are actually quite retro and reactionary (which also doesn't seem to be the case).
  5. Isn't this common practice when U.S. glossies cover celebrities? Perhaps they don't allow the celebrity to make the final edits, but the subject gets to approve the writer and set limits on the topics covered. A friend who writes for bigger publications spoke with the editor of a major, serious magazine about this (we're not talking the New Yorker but nor is this People). The editor said he spent half his time negotiating with the camps of celebrities for magazine's cover stories. Not that I would like to see this practice spread.
  6. I'm going to have to disagree on that one. Plenty of Chicago 'cue joints have smokers, and space is even tighter than it is in NOLA. ← Good point, although I wonder what the city regulations are here on smokers?
  7. You could be right about that. If you're only making one or two dishes, then you can afford to spend all day smoking meat. It could also be that restaurants in a city have a hard time finding the space for a proper smoker.
  8. You're husband is doing a good job. Tried that pulled pork at the Freret Market this month. Lots of great smoke flavor on the meat. Is it just me, or are catering-type operations (the Cue Truck would fit that category, wouldn't it?), doing the best job with barbecue in New Orleans these days? Another favorite of mine is Walker BBQ out in New Orleans East. It's a year-round source for cochon de lait po-boys. They've got a permanent little stand down (I'd hesitate to call it a restaurant), but they started as a catering operation.
  9. But would you ever do it again? Was it worth it?
  10. I agree that these guys are great. Not sure if the menu changes a lot, but I've also had some killer grit fries and pot stickers off the truck. They set up outside most shows at Tipitina's (or they did six months go--since having a baby I have been prowling the bars much). I've also seen them at the monthly Bywater art market. Does anyone know where else they set up? Anyone have a contact number for them?
  11. I also don't get the local adoration of the place. The fish sandwich is good. The guac was pretty good, but the animal crackers perched on it kind of turned my stomach. The gumbo was terrible. My bowl tasted like uncooked flour. Not sure if the roux wasn't fully finished or they tried to thicken it at the end. Either way, not pleasant. I'll go back and try the BBQ, but you are not giving me much hope. Is there a name for that BBQ that comes pre-soaked in sauce? If not, there should be. I think J'Anita's is the kind of friendly, funky place that gets a lot of affection in this city regardless of the food quality. The funky vibe, I've come to realize, is the New Orleans equivalent of the big city hipster vibe.
  12. You went by on Tuesday, right? I think she's normally closed on Tuesday. If I remember right, last year Hansen's was open from Thursday to Saturday (or maybe Sunday?). I think she is opening on Wednesday this year.
  13. Any luck on finding ramps? I assume that they won't grow this far south. Surely Whole Foods imports that kind of thing, although I haven't seen them. I never tried one, but I would certainly like to. The northeast food media sure makes a big fuss about ramps every season. Sounds like they've become something of cliché in New York. Last May, I was visiting some friends who are interested in food but not obsessed. Without me broaching the subject, they mentioned how sick they were of getting ramps on every plate they ate.
  14. Have you tried the drink? Is it any good?
  15. The Washinton Times reports that mixing drinks with vinegar is all the rage: Trend stories always make me suspicious, but maybe vinegary cocktails will soon be more common than mojitos. Anyone tried vinegar as ingredient? Any success with drinks less baroque than those given in the article? This three-year-old topic touches on the same subject.
  16. I was there in line yesterday for a tart lemonade snoball. It was so good, I didn't mind waiting six months for Ashley to reopen.
  17. How early can you get a drink? I don't understand this question. Do other places stop selling liquor during certain hours? Getting a drink is never a problem in New Orleans. For more generally food questions, it might be best to start a topic in the Louisiana forum. More locals and frequent New Orleans visitors will see it there.
  18. I've been playing around with alternatives to simple syrups recently. Pure cane sugar syrup, honey syrup, etc. While my plain simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar) sits happily on the shelf, my honey syrup (3:1 honey to water) went moldy after a few weeks. Why is that? My honey doesn't get moldy? I can add vodka to make it stable, right? Buy how much?
  19. I have to agree that the Fest is the main food event. While lots of cool music events occur around the Fest, I can't think of any specific food events.
  20. Today at the farmer's market, I bought a fistful of the most fragrant tarragon I've ever encountered. Tonight, I chopped a little and sprinkled it over some fresh black drum that I also got at the market. Very nice. But now I'm still got lots of tarragon and wondering how to do this bunch of herbs justice before it goes bad. Any suggestions for a dish that uses a lot of tarragon?
  21. Wow. Good find. I've got to buy a bottle before the Tales of the Cocktail crowd cleans them out.
  22. There have always been a lot of challenges that are basically exercises in catering. It's been a little monotonous this season, but I'm still interested. I used to the think all the catering challenges didn't make sense. But I've come to realize that any chef who wants to have a high profile in their town needs to have serious catering skills. How much of a chef (and restaurant's) reputation is built on catering events like charity function, demos, festivals. Sure, Thomas Keller probably doesn't do it, but these guys aren't going to run the French Laundry. In most towns, it seems like catering type events are the best way for a chef to expose people to his or her food. And you have to get across your style in a single bite finished under less than ideal conditions.
  23. Yeah, the oysters are pretty bad right now. The Mississippi has been incredibly high, which has push fresh water into the oyster beds. They're find for frying and cooking, but they're really just not salty enough to be eaten raw. I didn't know anyone spoke of Cochon in hushed tones, but it's hard to know what rep these places have outside of town. Glad you enjoyed the stay. PM me the next time you come into town. Edit: Rancho, I heard that you have a new bean variety that might be particularly good for red beans? What is it and can I mail order it?
  24. Just curious, why didn't you like the episode? I think that you can download the episodes soon. Either on Hulu or Amazon.
  25. So how was the IACP conference? And what did you eat? Due to an unexpected family emergency, I only attended one event and wasn't able to meet up with any of you. Sorry about that. Hopefully some people will be back for Tales of the Cocktail this summer. I attended an invitation only breakfast at Herbsaint sponsored by Market Umbrella, the group that runs our local farmers market (among other projects). The idea was to bring together New Orleanians involved in food (chefs, writers, farmers, academics, directors of charities) with visiting movers and shakers. It was informal event. A few words were said at the start, but no one was forced into any sort of formal brainstorming (I hate that kind of thing). And Donald Link fed us well with a three-course breakfast. His crawfish bisque was divine. Personally, I'm giving up breakfast cereal for bisque. Not sure why I didn't think of it sooner. A soft shell crab that he fried as a lagniappe just for our table was also killer. I was lucky enough to be seated at a table with Rick Bayless. I don't know if Market Umbrella's plans to make connections between visitors and locals worked at other tables, but it certainly did at ours. Towards the end of breakfast, the local farmer (whose name I can't remember at the moment) seated between Bayless and myself asked about ways he could add value to his pepper crop. Bayless then basically gave a crash courses on how to process peppers and the history of processing them. Fascinating stuff. The man has a very academic demeanor. Always taking notes. And there is no doubt he knows his stuff.
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