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.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Deadly Cupcakes

Our cupcake night was a huge success. Gastronauts and guestronauts alike enjoyed mixing, baking, decorating, and eating both sweet and savory cupcakes (even though, in general, savory cupcakes suck). A surprise gallon of chocolate daiquiri didn't hurt either.

I brought a batch of chocolate cake batter and some yummy buttercreme frosting. Fortunately, there is an Easy-Bake Oven at the Purple Palace, so I was able to relive some childhood memories.

Some of the highlights of the evening (IMHO) include:

1. Bastille Day Cake

2. Dancing with Victor

3. Saint in a t-shirt (this still cracks me up)

4. graffiti

I think we're all still recovering.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

back to the bestbank

The Gastronauts made our way across the river once again, this time to go to the recently reopened Pupuseria Divino Corazon. Originally the plan was to eat some pupusas and then hit the Hong Kong Market for some asian food grocery shopping. However, the market closes at 9 and we were not heading across the river until about 8. So the trip to market was put on the backburner. Plus we barely made it in time to the restaraunt, which we found out closes at 8. Actually, they had already locked the front doors and we snuck in through the side door.

The restaurant had not been licensed for liquor yet, so the cerveza, sangria, and margaritas on the menu were off limits. For a beverage, I decided to choose from the bebidas latinas. Unfortunately, they were out of horchata. I picked the pina (pineapple) drink .

For the food choices, I went a la carte - shrimp ceviche, sweet corn tamale, and one pupusa. I was a bit disappointed with ceviche. The shrimp wasn't fresh, seemed to be pre-packaged frozen small shrimp. The pupusa was a different story - a tasty treat of corn masa filled with beans and cheese. A pupusa originated in El Salvador and is sorta like if a pita were made of corn flour. It was served with curtido, a coleslaw of vinegared cabbage, onions, and carrots. Mmmmm...tasty. The sweet corn tamale was to be my dessert, or at least a starter dessert. We wanted to try the nino envuelto - what could a wrapped child be?!!! We were not to try a nino envuelto that evening, but were persuaded to get not just one but two pieces or tres leches cake. One would have been plenty for us, two put us over the edge. Nonetheless it was a sweet treat.

One of my favorite things about the Westbank is finding adventure filled bars like the Knaughty Knight near Nine Roses. One such discovery was Floozies next door to Divino Corazon. How could we not go to a place called Floozies?! But first we wanted to make a pit stop at the fireworks stand in the parking lot of the restaurant. We walked around to the front of the trailer to see that they were closed. Oh well. On to Floozies.

From the outside, Floozies seemed a little sketchy - no windows at all. With some trepidation we tried to peer into the bar through the mail slot on the door. We decided to take the plunge and head in. Oh man, what did we walk into? A good ole boy haven. The place was pretty crowded as it seemed to be pool tournament night.

The House of Flooze had it going on, dude. They had shirts for sale - regular t-shirts, girly shirts, wife beaters. A lovely framed painting of a nude woman reclining on a sofa. A cardboard John Wayne. A cross-stitched Floozies sign. A jukebox full of country. Lots of NASCAR signage. A US Marines poster.

UPDATED ENTRY (with photos borrowed from Meg R on Facebook):

After returning from the Westbank, we headed to Kun Flama on Magazine Street to catch a set by Ratzinger. It was the closing party for an art show and there was free Killian's Red, Moet, and Hennesey.

During the final song of the evening we were saved by Cardinal Evan. Make the sign of the cross.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

3rd o' july zephyrs game

you can't hear it over the picture, but playing in the background, that's Neil Diamond.

And this is a bucket of fries with free tartar sauce and honey mustard, for when you're just not up to spending that extra dollar on proper cheese fries.

Zephyrs lost 3-2.

Happy Independence Day, dudes.