Saturday, November 24, 2007

Turducken Dog

Easy Dogs in Gretna was indeed da best. Especially for the vegetarian-folk (like me). Now, I've never really liked hot dogs (lips and assholes right?), but the vegetarian Mojo dogs were delicious. I had the Mojo dog version of the Lundi Dog, which is covered with red beans and rice (a veggie version, of course). The only drawback to this dog was that I couldn't really pick it up without getting really messy - I had to use a fork and knife.

Jen and I split a Turducken Dog. No, it wasn't a hot dog stuffed in a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey. It was a special Thanksgiving hot dog topped with dressing, gravy, and cranberry relish. All vegetarian. Yum.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

how about a little go go action?

Let's take this blog in a slightly different direction for a bit and take a look at where folks "go" in restaurants. I don't know about ladies rooms but the set up in mens rooms can be pretty interesting, especially the urinals. There are some good ones around town. This time let's take a look at the mens room at Liuzza's on Bienville in Mid City.

Before we get to that, we can mention the menu. Liuzza's is one of just a handful of places in town that serve fried pickles. Mmmm....deep fried crispy breaded dill pickle slices.

They are also one of the few places to get a vegetarian po' boy that isn't just cheese. Their Italian breaded eggplant po' boy is quite tasty (but get it without the red gravy to keep it vegetarian).

And they have a frozen drink machine that makes a drink called the Bush Whacker, kinda like a frozen white russian daiquiri. They will give you a sample for free (perfect for lunchtime when you have to go back to work).

So, the urinal in Liuzza's mens room is basically a large drain in the floor by the wall filled with ice. The ice melts and helps flush down know. And about 4 or 5 feet above the drain on the wall is a water pipe that management can turn on to rinse off the wall. Oh yeah, the floor and walls are made of tile.

Next time: Kim Son on the Westbank

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The celebration of National Rum Day (two days late) included an interesting cocktail of people, gastronauts and guestronauts of various origins and ages. A few people I didn’t even know; others, I didn’t even know how they knew. But there we all were brought together by a shared love of… powdered milk?

Besides the fact that a giant box of Carnation was the real star of the evening. Let’s review a few of the cocktails features at our blessed event.
I provided
- the unnamed Big Top Creation: N.O. Cajun Spice rum, ginger ale, and crushed (sometimes obliterated and smashed) fresh basil from the pots in my from porch. Like a mojito, but not.
- the original Daiquiri cocktail: N.O. Crystal, lime juice, simple syrup shaken with ice either served on the rocks or up.

Jennifer brought the mixings for a various drinks, I think the main idea was for the Louisiana Lemonade: N.O. Crystal, Sour Mix, Club Soda, and 7 Up.

Liz brought some Tangerini (?) mixer, and I’m not sure with what it was mixed, perhaps powdered milk? But it was all natural, so much so that it had to be shaken to let all of the requisite “wholesome” particles surface from the bottom. We must keep our health into perspective.

Victor brought some Classic Coca-Cola for all of those rum-and-cokers, as well as fresh limes.

Out of the case of 12 bottle of rum, 6 were consumed. Nice Work, Kids.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's all gouda.

Here are the specs on the foreign cheeses featured at the fonduder party.

Gruyère- an unpateurized cow's milk cheese, named after its city of origin, Gruyères in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy, and complex. Sounds like my kind of cheese.
This is the one we fondued with Bodega Castano Monastrall Spain creating the mauve concoction.

I brought:
Fontina cheese, of Italian origins and made from cow's milk. Touted by many to be the premier melting cheese, we approached said title with trepidation, as it's aroma was overpoweringly earthy, a bit human like. (p.s. this is a nice way of saying that it was really really smelly cheese and I was afraid that my apartment would smell like an old Italian man's fart for a few days).
I was happy to bestow this upon Gulu, whose experienced palate could appreciate the sublime flavor profile.

I found this to be a delightful semi-soft cheese that was a bit more subtle than the Gruyère and Fontina. We were unsure whether it was melt-able, but we were feeling quite risky at this part of the evening, so we threw it in, and our instincts led us to a find conclusion of the evening.

Gouda- Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk and the city of origin is its namesake. Gulu’s the red wax covered wedge redeemed the old standby for me. Normally I must endure smoked gouda, which in my opinion is less than desirable. Ever had smoked mozzarella? Note to self: smoke ruins many a thing.
The term "Gouda" is now a generic name, and not restricted to cheese of Dutch origin. The term "Noord-Hollandse Gouda" is registered in the EU as a Protected Designation of Origin. Strangely the cheese itself was originally developed in Gouda which is in the Dutch province Zuid-Holland, hence its registered name seems incorrect.

A few word equations:
Fuji apple + Gulu = happy
Apple + cheese = tasty, but obvious.
Apple + cheese + wine = not good
Apple + Velveeta + salsa = genius

I wasn’t sure if anyone was understanding my choice of music for the evening, but I was going for frivolous, slightly cheesey music which slightly nodded to the 60’s. Belle & Sebastian, Architecture in Helsinki, and the bird and the bee.

By the way, I passed by Storyville the next day, and to my chagrin, the Easy Cheese Grafitti was gone! And we thought they would be impossible to remove. The American dream is dead.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

CHEESE MAN: the melting of a star-bellied hippie cheese-bot


much talk of dairy to follow

This past Saturday the Gastronauts had a CHEESE MAN/fonDUDE celebration where everyone ate at least ten times the recommended daily serving of dairy products. And boy oh boy, did we all feel it the next day.

Why a CHEESE MAN/fonDUDE celebration? Well, July 29 is Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day. And how do we know that? The Nibble. And why even to think of food holidays? A couple weeks back, New Orleans Menu Daily (by Tom Fitzmorris) had this:

Food Almanac For July 19
It is reported widely on the Internet that today is National Daiquiri Day. The daiquiri has evolved from a good, slightly sour drink (rum and lime juice, shaken with ice and something sweet) to a frozen slush for adults, flavored with almost anything you can think of. Drive-through daiquiri stands have become a commonplace, against all conceivable logic. The answer to the question, "Where's the best daiquiri in town?" is "False."

The daiquiri is named for a spot on the southern coast of Cuba, near Santiago, where the drink is said to have been concocted around 1905, after the American invasion of the island.

And of course, I had to celebrate July 19 with a daiquiri from the pink place on Elysian Fields and St. Claude next to Gene's Po Boy.

I sent a list of the other July food holidays to the rest of the Gastronauts and Liz responded with "what the fuck is cheese sacrifice purchase day?!" We did some research and found this:

Despite the day being a day of purchasing cheese and sacrificing some to a mouse trap in order to have a mouse-free home, we made the day our own. We focused more on the sacrifice part instead of the purchase part and imagined Burning Man but with cheese, thus Cheese Man. And then Jennifer suggested melting him in fondue, thus fonDUDE.

In preparations of the celebration I found a foundue pot and fondue skewers at some thrift stores. The pot was a lovely 70s green. Oh man, the 70s had some great color combinations - green and orange and white (like the wallpaper in my parents' kitchen).

Before we sacrificed Cheese Man, we fondued (not fonDUDE) some gourmet cheese with some red wine. That purple stuff on the piece of bread is the melted cheese mixed with the wine. We probably should have used white wine. Oh well. We did have some white wine but it was mixed in a white wine sangria, a sangria blanco.

Cheese man was made of the finest cheeses available - Velveeta, Easy Cheese, and string cheese. I started with Velveeta for the body and head. Next, string cheese was used for the limbs. Part of a Triscuit was the neck. The string cheese limbs didn't stay very well in the Velveeta so I used some angel hair pasta to hold him together. I gave him an Easy Cheese face and star on his stomach and some string cheese for hair.

Here are some pics of the assembly of Cheese Man. Actually, it turned out to be a star-bellied hippie cheese-bot.

Jen Leslie made a Velveeta cat and I also made a bread chair for him.

Finally we put him in the fondu(d)e pot for the start of the evening's sacrificial activities.

We added some salsa and add he became a wonderful queso dip. Mmmmmm...cheesey.

Liz made a pie for desert. I put some cheese on it, some Easy Cheese. Hey, why not? Travis Bickle does it. Maybe not Easy Cheese though.
            "I had black coffee and apple pie
with a slice of melted yellow
cheese." - Travis from Taxi Driver

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm sure you were thinking it - we did cut a lot of cheese. I even found at a thrift store Fart: The Game. We didn't actually play the game, but we did make armpit farts. (At least some of us did. Some of us couldn't quite master the technique. See Ben trying to help Gulu with the underarm flatulence.)

The evening ended at Storyville for a Defend New Orleans party. There was some left over Easy Cheese which became graffiti.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Night of Nine Roses and Naughty Knight: brought to you by the letter N

On July 20 the Gastronauts ventured over the GNO CCC for an evening of food for the third time. Our destination - Hoa Hong 9 AKA Nine Roses, a Vietnamese restaurant near Stumpf and the Westbank Expressway. Nine Roses is a great place to go with a large group of people - big round tables with big lazy susans. This most recent time there were five of us, but I have been with a group as large as 12 or so (I don't remember exactly how many since it was almost ten years ago).

We started with a couple of orders of spring rolls - one with tofu and one with shrimp and pork. They have some other wonderful appetizers that we did not get - jellyfish salad and seafood salad are perfect for a hot summer day.

With the lazy susan, a large group can order family style. We had several sharable entrees - lemon grass tofu (which is not technically on the menu - just ask for it), green beans, Buddha delight mixed vegetable, and coconut curry with shrimp.

With a good size group, you can get out of there for under $20 (sans alcohol) and have a taste of several different things and have a full belly. Each of the five of us pulled out a credit card to pay for our tab. After the waitress took our five cards to the counter, the hostess looked over at our table at started to laugh. At least she didn't scowl at us and shake her fist.

Once again the evening was not over until we hit a Westbank dive bar. Just a couple of blocks away on the Westbank Expressway feeder road next to the Cigarette Connection sits the Naughty Knight Lounge. Stepping into an unfamiliar bar is always exciting and this time was no exception. The bar had several regulars celebrating someone's birthday - there was a cake and food on one of the two pool tables. The bartendress and several other ladies looked pretty tough, they even had to escort out a very drunken patron. We stayed for one Budweiser and one game of pool and then called it a night.

Who is ready for a Westbank bar hopping night?!!! So many more to explore. Oh yeah, I guess we can hit a Westbank restaurant before the hopping begins.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

curry on my wayward son

...curryosity killed the cat. I still curry a torch for you. Bicycle curryer. Sometimes all I need is the curry that I eat and to love you. Not, i'll not, currion comfort, despair, not feast on thee.

the old curryosity shop... curry in a hurry ... curryculum vitae ...

Friday, July 20, 2007

where to begin?

Maybe I should first retrace the beginnings of baking (and drinking) night at the Purple Palace.

Back in April on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter), after an afternoon of thrifting on the Westbank Jen Leslie, Li, and I decided to break in my then unused new Kitchen Aid mixer. We made a cake to take to the Circle Bar for the final show of local band Brain Rex. Large vodka tonics were consumed during the baking process.

The cake was chocolate with strawberries and chocolate icing. It was a little dense but I think it was finished off by the end of the night at the Circle Bar.

More drinks were consumed at the Circle Bar including PBR, Jager, tequilla, and who knows what else. Ratzinger closed out the evening (quite blurry at this point) at the Circle. And afterwards, I believe that we had a dance party in my living room for a while.

Baking and booze - what a combo.

So that was the birth of the baking adventure. Next came Red Velvet night about which you can read in the June Oh Seven archives. And that brings us to Cupcakes night, July 13.

The evening was to consist of baking cupcakes in celebration of Friday the Thirteenth and Bastille Day. Both sweet and savory cupcakes were to be made. Before folks arrived, I started on cheese-jalapeno cornbread muffins made from Jiffy mix. Ok, they are not technically cupcakes but we needed something to eat before we took the dive into a sea of sugar. I also started on a tomato soup cupcake recipe that I found on a blog called Vanilla Garlic. I decided to add fresh basil to the recipe of what I thought would be savory cupcakes. The tomato soup cupcakes were tasty but turned out more sweet than savory. They tasted like something that would be served as a dessert at Thanksgiving. My third and final batch was a peanut butter batter that was mixed with Jennifer's chocolate batter to make dark and tan cupcakes. Unity!

With the oven going and 12 people, the kitchen got pretty hot. So we went through several bottles of wine, quite a bit of rum, and a special surprise of a gallon of chocolate daiquiri from Daiquiri Place Cafe on St. Charles.

Of the many many photos taken that night, there were only a few pictures of the cupcakes. And of all the photos that I took, none had flash so they are blurry or, as I like to think, arty.

So, did I mention the daiquiris already? And if you didn't know, Friday is Daiquiri Day or more succinct, Daiquiri Friday. The gallon of chocolate daiquiri was the tipping point of the evening. After the gallon of frozen goodness arrived, soon came painting and dancing and shirt off o'clock.

Apparently folks were still hanging out on the porch talking and smoking cigarettes until 5 a.m. or so. By that point I had "fallen asleep" on a couch as did some other folk.

Here are the remains of the wine and rum that was consumed.

And daylight pics of the painting party.

Did I even mention that we had TWO Kitchen Aid mixers whipping up cupcakes?!!!!! And at some point Saint was wearing a pet t-shirt.