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Review: Roosterfish

Grilled Crostini from Roosterfish

Grilled Crostini from Roosterfish

I have a general rule when reviewing a restaurant that I dine there at least three times. But I’m willing to make an exception for pop-up restaurants since the menu changes weekly.

You gotta love social media. Without it, it would have taken me much longer to find Roosterfish — New Orleans’ latest pop-up place by chefs Evan Benson and Cory Bourgeois.

It just so happened a friend of mine on Facebook liked the Roosterfish page last night. Me being the nosy foodie I am checked it out, salivated over the menu, texted a friend, hopped in the car and headed over.

Roosterfish pops up in the Tartine kitchen located at 7217 Perrier St. They’re popping up every Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. with a menu featuring seafood that’s expected to change weekly.

Last night’s experience is a great sign of things to come.My friend and I ordered six small plates to split.

Octopus Ceviche from Roosterfish

Octopus Ceviche from Roosterfish

First up was the Grilled Crostini with Lima puree, leek onion compote, buratta and truffled honey. Honestly, this dish had me at truffled honey and buratta. While I wish the bread were a little more crisp, all the flavors worked great together. Especially the truffled honey I had such high expectations for. The buratta was top notch as well.

Next up was the Octopus Ceviche with cilantro, watermelon and ginger soy citronette. This is by far the best ceviche I’ve had in New Orleans. It’s always surprised me with all the fresh seafood available that more restaurants aren’t doing spectacular ceviche in this city, but Roosterfish got it 100% right. It was vibrant on the plate, composed well flavorwise and had just the right amount of sweetness, saltiness and acidity.

Shrimp Dumplings from Roosterfish

Shrimp Dumplings from Roosterfish

Following the ceviche, the next plate was the Mussels with smoked tomato, chorizo, chilis and roasted garlic. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of mussels. I find them to be too much work for too little flavor, but these were good. I would have to mark this dish not applicable since I don’t have enough experience with mussels to know good from great.

Following that dish was my favorite dish of the night: Shrimp Dumplings with corn coconut soup, ancho bubbles and cilantro oil. Wow! I was ready to lick the bowl clean. The corn coconut soup made my eyes roll back. The shrimp dumpling was also one of the best I’ve ever had. To me, it was the perfect homage to dim sum just prepared in an updated way. I’m gonna do my best to recreate that corn coconut soup. Two major thumbs up on this entire dish.

Next was the Seared Gulf Fish (Drum) with brussel leaves, truffled cauliflower and beurre noisette. This dish, for me, was the low point of the whole experience. The cut of my fish was too thick so I didn’t get the crispiness I was hoping for. Additionally, the brussel leaves were a little overpowering for the subtlety of the drum. That said, the truffled cauliflower was a winner in my book. Notice a pattern with the truffles?

The final dish was the Lump Crab Gnocchi with smoked mushrooms, sage and sweet pea puree. A great finish to the savory portion of the meal. The gnocchi was light and pillowy, but the crab meat could have used a little seasoning especially combined with the pea puree. Still a good dish all around.

I should have been stuffed by this point, but how was I going to resist a slice of Lemon Icebox Pie? It’s just not in my nature. And I made the right choice. The pie had one of the best homemade graham cracker crusts I’ve ever had and the lemon filling was the perfect consistency. I didn’t want it to end.

Mussels from Roosterfish

Mussels from Roosterfish

Overall, I’m extremely glad I got the urge to go to Roosterfish. It won’t be my last time. I’m very excited to see this place continue and succeed because it’s that good. Do yourself a favor and mark your calendar for the next Tuesday you can and make the trip over.

Roosterfish is located at 7217 Perrier StS and open on Tuesday for dinner from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Be sure to like the Roosterfish Facebook page or follow @Roosterfishnola to stay update on their menu and news.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Capdeville

Capdeville's Soup of the Day

Capdeville's Soup of the Day

One of the things I miss most about working downtown is being only a few block from Capdeville. Now that I work more Uptown, it’s harder for me to make an excuse to jet over to Capdeville for lunch or after hour drinks or for Truffled Mac and Cheese (you read that right).

Capdeville bills itself as “an American interpretation of a British social house.” I would agree with their self-image. But I know what I, and most likely you, care about — the food and drinks.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I start with the Fried Red Beans and Rice. It’s just as unexpectedly delicious as it sounds. But frying anything in the South is usually a recipe for success, and coating red beans and rice in a fried shell is a major success.

The Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs are also a great choice for an appetizer. I’m a sucker for deviled eggs though so I’m easy to please on that front.

Capdeville's Chorizo and Manchego Fries

Capdeville's Chorizo and Manchego Fries

If salads are your thing, Capdeville has one of the best Cobb salads in New Orleans. Surprisingly, a good Cobb salad is difficult to find in this city. But I would give a strong nod to Stein’s Deli and Capdeville for their versions. I’m also a big fan of the Caramel Apple Salad. It’s fresh and not as sweet as it sounds, but I always get it with the grilled chicken to make it a little more substantial.

One of Capdeville’s biggest strengths is its fries. My favorite are the Manchego and Chorizo fries. If you’re willing to explore, you can build your own based on a variety of meats and cheeses.

Earlier, I mentioned the Truffled Mac and Cheese. It is quite possible the best thing on the menu. The dish is comprised of elbow macaroni in truffle oil, parmesan, brown butter, sage, pancetta and peas. It’s rich, but it’s a rare dish that covers all your tastebuds. Even the Umami part.

Capdeville's Brekky Burger

Capdeville's Brekky Burger

Capdeville is also well-known for the burgers. I have to admit, I’m not a fan. The components are there, but there seems to be an issue with the grill. I always order my burger medium, and Capdeville always cooks them medium-well or worse (as on my last visit) well done. Why anyone would be ok with destroying a piece of meat like that is beyond me. That said, I’ve come to rely more on the Duck Confit Club than the burgers.

The Duck Confit Club is layers of duck cracklings, lettuce, tomato and roasted garlic ailoi between slices of bread. This is one tall sandwich.

If you’re looking for less of a mouthful, I would highly recommend the B.L.F.T. It’s a BLT that uses fried green tomatoes in place of red tomatoes. That’s a tradeoff I 100% agree with. The pumpernickel bread is also a nice touch.

When you need to wash down your sandwich, mac and cheese and fried red beans and rice, I would go with the blackberry mojito. I’m sure it’s a pain in the ass to make, so much so it isn’t on the drink menu, but it’s one of my favorite drinks in New Orleans. Anything with whiskey involved is also a solid choice at Capdeville.

Capdeville's Truffled Mac and Cheese

Capdeville's Truffled Mac and Cheese

Overall, Capdeville is a cool place with food that backs up the concept succesfully. It may be a little off the CBD’s beaten path, but it’s worth the visit for lunch, dinner or just drinks.

Capdeville is located at 520 Capdville St and open Monday through Thursday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. They’re open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and closed all day on Sundays.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Mother’s Restaurant

Mother's Restaurant Sign

Mother's Restaurant Sign

Mother’s Restaurant is one of those restaurants both tourists and local New Orleanians can appreciate. While it may fall into the “tourist trap” category, the place does some things really well. That said, there are only a few things that really stand out.

The first, by far, is the Ferdi special (or Ralph if you add cheese). A po boy with ham, roast beef and debris. If you aren’t familiar with debris, it’s the part of the roast beef that drips to the bottom of the pan while roasting. It’s full of flavor and very juicy.

Mother’s has some of the best debris in New Orleans, but the roast beef itself is a little dry. The Ferdi balances out so well because of the debris being a central component. This is definitely the best sandwich Mother’s has to offer.

Mother's Debris

Mother's Debris

Mother’s must turn out a lot of these po boys since the menus boasts that they annually cook over 175,000 pounds of ham and roast beef and serve 150,000 loaves of French bread.

Another one of Mother’s dishes I’m a big fan of is Jerry’s Jambalaya. Every time I’ve had it, the rice has been cooked perfectly, the chicken pieces the right size and the sausage spicy enough to give it a nice kick. Although, I will admit to adding some Crystal Hot Sauce for some added kick.

Mother’s Gumbo is also tasty, but I generally like a thicker roux when I’m eating gumbo. However, it will do in a pinch.

Most people overlook Mother’s breakfast, but seeing as how they cook over a quarter million biscuits, that many people can’t be wrong, right? I have found Mother’s to have some of the fluffiest eggs in town. That said, as good as the breakfast at Mother’s is, there’s a superior breakfast nearby at Majoria’s Commerce at Camp and Gravier. And there probably won’t be as long of line.

Mother's Ralph

Mother's Ralph

All in all, Mother’s Restaurant is a New Orleans staple that probably does serve more tourists than locals, but the food shouldn’t be ignored. They’ve been around since 1938 for a reason and seeing as how they serve a ton of food, everything can’t be phenomenal.

I have to admit, when I moved to New Orleans in 2007, I frequented Mother’s because it was close to my apartment and I liked it. But over the last five years, I’ve come to realize that most of the dishes at mother’s are inferior to some other places in the city. But I still love the Ferdi/Ralph and Jerry’s Jambalaya.

Mother’s Restaurant is located at 401 Poydras and is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Be prepared to wait in line.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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The ABCs of Mardi Gras

Endymion Parade

Endymion Parade

Yesterday marked my 10th Mardi Gras in a row. Somehow, my liver has survived all 10. I have to say that there’s nothing like a Mardi Gras celebration. It’s more than about Fat Tuesday, and I’m proud to know the ins and out of Mardi Gras — from Uptown to Downtown to the French Quarter.

In honor of my 10-year Mardi Gras anniversary, I’m sharing my Mardi Gras knowledge — from Alcohol to Zulu.

Alcohol — You better have a bottle, cup or can in your hand during the parades and celebrations.

Beads — You’ll see people going crazy for a set of plastic beads on a string. And you’ll think to yourself, “Why am I doing this for plastic?” But you’ll do it over and over again and love it. $10 says if you don’t recycle them, they end up sitting in your attic for years to come.

Santiago at Barkus

Santiago at Barkus

Costumes — New Orleanians love their costumes and are some of the most creative people when it comes down to play dress-up.

Doubloons — Going crazy for these little coins is slightly better than spazzing out for some beads. Why? These are metal.

Endymion — My favorite parade and the Extravaganza in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a party you don’t want to miss. Even if it is black tie tailgating.

Fat Tuesday — The day when the weeks of celebrating come to a head. Only 356 days to go until next Fat Tuesday.

Geaux Cups — Yes, you can ask for a to-geaux cup for your adult beverage. It may not feel right to out-of-towners to take a drink outside, but it’s highly encouraged in New Orleans.

Hurricanes — The drinks Pat O’s is known for. Just be careful, this syrupy concoctions come with a ton of rum. However, you can’t visit it without having one.

A throw from the Muses Parade

A throw from the Muses Parade

Ice — You can never have too much ice during Mardi Gras. Whether you’re along the parade route or swinging by a friend’s place, bring some ice. It’s like Mardi Gras diamonds it’s so valuable.

Jambalaya — Because you gotta eat. This Louisiana staple can be found at countless Mardi Gras parties throughout New Orleans.

Krewes — These are the organizations who make up all the parades we’ve come to love. Starting with Krewe du Vieux and ending with Rex.

610 Stompers

610 Stompers

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler — French for “Let the good times roll.” And that’s exactly we what we do during Carnival season.

Muses — Bedazzled and glittered shoes are the prized throw from this all-female krewe.

Neutral Ground — Aka the driver’s side of the parades. If you aren’t on the neutral ground, you’re sidewalk side (passenger side). I’m a neutral ground fan.

Orpheus — One of the superkrewes. Orpheus rolls on Lundi Gras (the night before Mardi Gras) and features a ton of floats. My favorite being the train.

Parades — Most of the festivities revolve around the parades. Some are better than others, but they’re all fun.

The Quarter — There’s no better place to be on Mardi Gras day. From the costumes, to the strong drinks to the revelry, it all happens in the French Quarter.

Bead-Dazzled Chalice

Bead-Dazzled Chalice

Religious Protesters — Every year they waste their time and money to try and tell us Mardi Gras revelers how sinful we are. They’re annoying and need to go home. We don’t bring Mardi Gras to the aisles of your church, don’t bring church to the streets during Mardi Gras. 90% of the people on the street on Fat Tuesday will be in church the next day, Ash Wednesday.

Saint Augustine — Odds are you’ll see this high school marching band in the majority of the parades. This purple and gold band know how to get down during the parades.

Averie Bug at Mardi Gras

Averie Bug at Mardi Gras

Throw Me Something Mister — You’ll hear this yelled every minute a parade is rolling. It’s the best way to get the beads, cups or doubloons you have your eyes on.

Uptown — In my opinion, the best place to watch the parades. The setting is more picturesque and the atmosphere is more of what Mardi Gras really is.

Voodoo — Not the religion, but the strong “purple drink” from Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Feels like it’s worth every sip when you’re out drinking, but kicks your ass the next day. Beware.

Walking — You’re going to do a lot of it. Cabs are hard to come by, the streetcar doesn’t run downtown (during parades) and you don’t want to risk a traffic gridlock because of parades. Wear comfortable shoes!

X-Ray Vision — Odds are you won’t need it if you’re in the right place (or the wrong place). Enough said…

Voodoo or Purple Drink

Voodoo aka Purple Drink

Y’at — The question you’ll be asked most frequently during Mardi Gras. Translated, it simply means “Where are you?

Zulu — The most fun you’ll have at a parade. Be advised they don’t throw much if you’re watching on Canal so get to a side street to catch that coconut you’ve been wanting.

Like these photos? Be sure and check out MiguelSolorzano.com for a lot more pics from this year’s Mardi Gras.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Livin'

 

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Review: Superior Seafood

Oysters Superior

Oysters Superior

Superior Seafood is the latest venture from the group behind Superior Grill. Maybe I’m alone in my thinking, but when I think of Superior, I think of drinks. Specifically, drinks that get you shit faced. The food is always an afterthought. Am I right?

That said, the menu at Superior Seafood is a beast. Fresh catch specials, sandwiches, hot apps, cold apps, soups, salads, steaks, it seems to never end. With a menu of this size, it would take months to sample everything so I’m sticking to what I’ve had.

By far, my favorite thing I’ve had is the frozen pomegranate mojito. The team behind the famous margaritas may have one upped themselves with this new frozen concoction. To make things better, the mojitos (pomegranate and plain) are 2 for 1 during the happy hour (4-6 p.m.). Getting wasted on a budget — always a plus.

Marinated Crab Claws

Marinated Crab Claws

Drinks aside, the best food item I’ve had is the Marinated Crab Claws. The claws are served cold in a marinade that has a subtle kick — I’m pretty sure it’s horseradish. Whatever it is, it works. I might have to stop in for these regularly.

Next, I moved on to the Oysters Superior platter, a sampling of Chargrilled Oysters, Oysters Bienville (shrimp stuffing with bacon and cheese) and Oysters Rockefeller (spinach and Herbsaint). All three of the oyster variation were very good, but just short of excellent. I didn’t get enough of the oyster taste I was expecting.

I did get the oyster taste I was hoping for with the raw oysters. Superior Seafood sources them locally so you know they’re worth shucking and slurping.

Tuna Tartar

Tuna Tartar

The Tuna Tartar was decent, but I’ve definitely had better. The toast overwhelms the subtlety of the tuna, but the wasabi and avocado due add to the tuna itself. I would highly recommend ignoring the toast that accompanies the rest of the dish.

A dish that fell completely flat for me was the Shrimp and Grits. I will commend Superior Seafood for using milk or cream as the grits based versus water (lots of restaurants make that amateur mistake). I can also forgive the fact that one of my shrimp wasn’t fully shelled (it happens). What I can’t forgive is serving peeled shrimp that haven’t been deveined.

To me, that’s a little lazy and would have helped the dish out some. The tasso cream sauce accompanying the Shrimp and Grits was also very watery, almost soupy, and just didn’t add anything.

All things considered, I’m sure I’ll be back for dinner, but I’m not in a rush. I would rush back for happy hour to drink and nibble on some of the apps. Either way, Superior Seafood is a welcome addition to St. Charles and Napoleon for a spot that had been empty since Katrina.

Superior Seafood is located at 4338 St. Charles Ave. and is open daily at 11 a.m.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Sucré

Santiago at Sucre

Santiago at Sucr&eactue;

Sucré is THE place to go in New Orleans for all things sweet. Executive Pastry Chef Tariq Hanna has many tricks up his sleeves that even Willy Wonka couldn’t have fathomed.

Sucré’s bread and butter item is the macaroon, a sweet meringue confection similar to a cookie. The macaroons at Sucré are plentiful and the flavors change regularly. Some of my favorites (and I’ve tried just about all of them) are Pecan, Bananas Foster, Salted Caramel, King Cake (seasonal to Mardi Gras) and Peppermint (seasonal to the holiday season).

But Sucré didn’t build its house on macaroons alone. They also have top-notch chocolates in unique shapes and flavors. I’ve never had one that disappointed, and I’m not the world’s biggest chocolate fan. Each one has its own unique flavor profile that is more than a taste, it’s an experience.

Both the macaroons and chocolates from Sucré ship out of New Orleans. Fortunately, living in New Orleans offers me the opportunity to order off the boutiques dessert menu (can’t ship those).

Smores Skillet

Smores Skillet

My favorite things to order are the adult milkshakes. Delicious gelato is mixed with chocolate or caramel syrup and liqueur to create perfect shakes. No burger and fries necessary.

Aside from the shakes, my favorite dessert at Sucré is the Smores Skillet. Served in a mini iron skillet, chocolate cake is layered between graham cracker crust and a marshmallow topping. This dessert beats camping any day. It also comes with a scoop of Sucré’s vanilla gelato.

The Red Velvet Cake is also a delicious treat, especially if you get it warmed.

If you’re looking for cooler (temperature-wise) desserts, the gelato and sorbets will hit the sweet spot. They frequently rotate, but my favorite by far is the Coconut Basil sorbet. The Cookies and Cream gelato is also solid. All the gelatos can be turned into a sundae as well including some of Sucré’s signature sundaes.

Sucre Cupcakes

Cupcakes at Sucré

Sucré also receives a lot of attention for its king cake. It’s covered with an edible glitter icing that makes it one of the prettiest king cakes in town. That said, the flavor is just ok for me. I read an interview where Hanna said he didn’t want it to be a sweet version, so he succeeded in his vision. After eating it though, I do wish it was sweeter, but it’s not bad by any means.

I could go on and on about Sucré and still fail to cover just all of the sweet stuff this place offers. It’s best you go in and experience this New Orleans candyland for yourself.

Your sweet tooth and taste buds will thank you extensively for treating them to Sucré. There are currently two boutiques in the New Orleans area. One on Magazine in New Orleans, the other near Lakeside Mall in Metairie.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Bouligny Tavern

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

Bouligny Tavern is one of my favorite places to imbibe in New Orleans. Not only do they craft some serious cocktails and feature some great wine and bubbly, but they turn out some badass bar food.

The tavern is the brainchild/extension of Lilette executive chef John Harris, and he manages to keep both restaurants unique yet doesn’t sacrifice his overall cooking style.

The decor is a throwback to the Madison Ave. era so stepping inside transports you to another era and one you wouldn’t expect to find in New Orleans. But it’s a welcome transportation.

Even if you don’t go inside, you can enjoy the outdoor patio in the area between Bouligny Tavern and Lilette. It’s a nice place to be nestled on a day or night with nice weather.

Nice weather, patio furniture, good friends, sipping cocktails, that’s just the New Orleans way. My favorite cocktail on the menu is the Teaticket Fizz. It’s Oolong tea-infused vodka, cranberry liqueur, lemon juice and soda. It’s like an adult iced tea with lemon. It’s light, refreshing and not too sweet.

New Year's Toast

New Year's Toast

Some of my other favorites are the La Madrugada (tequila, St. Germain, grapefruit juice and Campari), the La Paolista (cachaca, lime juice, Roi Rene Rouge and prosecco) and the Aperol Spritzer (Aperol, prosecco and orange peel. A great friend of mine turned me on to subbing Piper Heidsieck in the Aperol Spritzer in place of prosecco and it’s a great substitution.

Now, onto the food. The food at Bouligny Tavern is phenomenal. It’s appropriate for a bar, but refined enough for a find dining experience.

Always, always, always start with the Gouda Beignets. They’re lightly fried pillow of air and Gouda. Fried cheese has never been so appetizing.

You also can’t go wrong with the Fritto Miso, a nice fried blend of seafood. Another nice dish from the Fried portion of the menu is the Gnocchi with Truffle and Parmigiano.

Gouda Beignets

Gouda Beignets

Bouligny Tavern also offers a nice variety of bruschetta and crostinis. My favorite is the Marrow and Garlic. I know a lot of people are apprehensive about eating or trying marrow, but it’s such a rich and buttery experience — one I highly recommend. The White Bean Pesto is also a nice one, as is the Burrata, Fleur de Sel and Truffle Oil.

Another highlight is the seven-ounce sirloin burger. It’s not as big as some of the other burgers in town, but it packs just as much flavor between two buns. It’s served with tomato, arugula and an herbed aioli that really elevates the nice cut of ground meat. And the sesame bun is toasted to perfection.

The desserts at Bouligny Tavern are a little lacking, but since you can order from Lilette’s menu, I usually just do that.

I’ve had just about everything on the menu and I’ve never been disappointed. What I’ve outlined in this review are just the menu items that are highlights for me. Bouligny Tavern is a great place to celebrate with friends in an environment that is never stuffy. Just make sure you get there early to get a pretty good spot since they don’t take reservations.

Bouligny Tavern is located at 3641 Magazine Street. The hours are Mon.-Thurs. 4 p.m. to midnight and Fri. and Sat. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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