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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Creole Creamery

The slogan of the Creole Creamery is "Eat ice cream, Be happy!" This is a very happy place--with a huge selection of homemade ice creams from Lavender Honey to Avocado to Sweet Potato Sassafras Praline in addition to lots of sundaes. They even serve a bowl with 4 or 6 mini scoops so you can try out all the deliciousness. If that isn't enough, they have a food challenge called the Tchoupitoulas that is 8 large scoops of ice cream. Finish it in a set amount of time and you get your name on the wall of fame.

We ordered two of their speciality sundaes. Mom had the Sky Scraper with cookies and cream, chocolate and vanilla layered with caramel, hot fudge and crushed oreo cookies. I had the Peanut Butter Fudge with I Scream Fudge ice cream served in a peanut butter coated glass with hot fudge, chopped peanuts and whipped cream.

Very wonderful--the ice cream is luxurious and the sauces divine. We were definitely happy after consuming every last bite!



The Trolley Stop Cafe

On St. Charles Avenue, in an old, converted gas station is the Trolley Stop Cafe. It is located at Streetcar Stop #12 and is open from 6am to 2pm most days of the week. Every time I've driven by here, I've seen at least NOPD car in the parking lot, so you know the food has got to be good and filling.

It serves lot of standard diner fare with a terrific $2.99 breakfast special (2 eggs, bacon, grits and toast) if you arrive between 6am and 8:30am. We went at lunch time and my Mom had the patty melt--good, all beef burger with grilled onions and cheese on toasted rye bread. Melt in your mouth good. I had the regular cheeseburger--good size patty of Angus beef, very juicy and flavorful. Our food plus three Buds ran us just under $30, so it is cheapish eats and, with it back to being 24 hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the perfect place to stave off a hangover with some drunk dining.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Theo's Neighborhood Pizza

My Mom is in town, so we splurged on pizza for her travel day. I went and picked up the pizza from Theo's Neighborhood Pizza down on Magazine Street.

We started with an order of cheesy bread sticks. They had lots of garlic and mozzarella and were very dense and delicious.

The pizza itself is thin crust with a full-bodied tomato sauce and fresh toppings. We had the pepperoni and mushrooms with mozzarella. Mega yummy! One of New Orleans' best pizzas and definitely the place to go if you like crispy crust.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sun Ray Grill

My friend Kenny took me out to dinner tonight. We went to Sun Ray Grill in the Warehouse District. It was pretty empty when we arrived at 6pm but the $5 margaritas were strong and we had plenty to chat about, so we enjoyed the space and privacy.
We started with the sweet potato fries--crisp outside and soft and sweet inside. We both couldn't decide on anything from the large menu of latin and asian inspired dishes so we went with the server's recommendation on the special of the day--Athena Chicken with Roma tomatoes, artichokes and yellow rice. Very tasty.

We both ordered a second drink and continued our conversation as the place gained a few more diners. The service stayed friendly and personable. Worth a repeat, especially to try the guacamole that my food buddy Kim recommends!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Palace Cafe

I was taken out to dinner by a couple of friends and we went to one of their favorite restaurants, the Palace Cafe. Located in the old Werlein Music Store Building on Canal Street, it is one of the restaurants owned by Dickie Brennan and his sister, Lauren Brennan Brower.


They both started with the Werlein salad, a southern take on a Cesar salad. I just sipped my Blood Orange cocktail while waiting for my entree. I had the Shrimp Tchefuncte, which had a deep, dark flavor to the Creole meuniere sauce. Julie had the duck which was served a little too rare for her but upon its return from the kitchen, I found to be quite good. Bridget had the crab meat cheesecake (which was divine) and the turtle soup.


For dessert, Bridget had the white chocolate creme brulee. It was a small bowl of velvety deliciousness. Julie had the pecan pie with the peanut butter ice cream that had a bit too much crust for the filling but the ice cream was terrific. I had the strawberry shortcake and, while the strawberries and cream were quite good, the shortcake biscuit was just too big for the plate and dry, too. 


The service involves a lot of staff, with all plates arriving at the table at the same time and servers dividing the tasks of drink and dessert and entrees. Even with a 20% tip from every table, I'm not sure how any of them are able to make a living after the tips are split. The group serving our table was good, just chatty enough to make us feel welcome but unobtrusive enough that we could enjoy our conversation.



There's a lovely website that has tips and tricks from the kitchens of the Dickie Brennan Restaurants that I was able to find for a copy of the Palace Cafe's Creole meuniere sauce. I've posted it below.


Chefs Lagniappe


In French, meunière means "miller's wife," and refers to a style of cooking where a protein (usually fish) is seasoned, lighted dredged in flour and sauteed simply in butter. Thus, to cook a la meunière is to cook it by first coating it in flour. A Meunière sauce is the simplest in preparation; it traditionally consists of butter, chopped parsley and lemon. In New Orleans, we add a bit more flavor and body to the sauce by adding Worcestershire and hot sauce, as well as heavy cream.



Creole Meunière Sauce
1 lemon, peeled and cut into quarters
½ C Worcestershire sauce
½ C Crystal Hot Sauce
¼ C heavy whipping cream
2 C butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Combine lemon, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in a heavy saucepot. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is thick and syrupy, whisking constantly.


Whisk in the whipping cream and reduce the heat to low.Add the butter one piece at a time, mixing until the butter has been completely incorporated after each addition.


Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Season with kosher salt and white pepper. Strain through a fine strainer into a sauce pot and keep warm.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pecan Caramel Mousse Pie


I had a fairly mediocre mousse at an event last week and had been craving a much more chocolatey version. And, since I was already kicking it up a notch, I decided to go whole hog and added a pecan caramel layer.

For the chocolate mousse
One 16-ounce package bittersweet chocolate chips

4 large egg yolks

6 tablespoons strong brewed coffee

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup granulated sugar

6 large egg whites

4 teaspoons warm water

For the pecan-caramel layer
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

Pinch salt

1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream, divided

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecan halves

Store bought Oreo cookie pie crust 


Make the mousse
1. Place half of the chocolate into the dry bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, add the remaining chocolate through the food tube and process until the chocolate is ground to small beads. Add the egg yolks and process 5 seconds, or until blended.
2. Heat the coffee, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is simmering. With the processor running, pour the hot coffee mixture through the food tube. Stop the machine to scrape the sides and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine the egg whites and water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until the whites are whipped to firm peaks. With a large spatula, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and pour into the pie crust. Refrigerate until almost set, about 30 minutes.

Make the pecan-caramel layer
1. Put the chopped pecans into a bowl. Heat the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small heavy saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add the cream, stirring constantly. Heat to boil and simmer until the caramel thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Pour the caramel over the chopped pecans; mix and then immediately pour over the cooled mousse. Refrigerate for several hours, until firmly set.

There will be extra mousse as the recipe was originally designed to be used in a 10 inch spring form pan. I usually fill several tumblers and cover with plastic wrap for snacks throughout the week.

Note: To adultify this recipe, substitute 2 T of Amaretto for 2 T coffee. Add the liquor after you've poured the coffee mixture into the chocolate.

Further Note: This freezes beautifully, well wrapped. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mint Julep


As you prepare for the Kentucky Derby, it is important that you have the proper adult beverage. Whether you are watching the most exciting two minutes in sport or sitting on the veranda watching the world go by, this mint julep recipe will hit the spot. I make sure to always have mint on hand by growing my own. As I don't want it to take over the rest of the garden, I keep it in containers.

Mint Juleps are traditionally served in silver cups but don't sweat it if you haven't got a set that's been passed down in your family for generations. Instead, use a highball glass.

Mint Julep

Mint leaves
Crushed ice
2 tablespoons mint simple syrup (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons water
2 ounces good-quality Kentucky bourbon

Crush or muddle a few mint leaves in the bottom of an 8-ounce Mint Julep Cup or a highball glass with the back of a spoon until mixture forms a paste.

Then fill the Mint Julep Cup or glass 1/2 full with crushed or shaved ice. Add prepared mint syrup, water, and bourbon. Stir well.

To serve, garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.
Mint Simple Syrup

1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
A large handful of mint (leaves and stems)

Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Pour over the mint and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove mint and strain. Store in the refridgerator in an airtight container.

Mint simple syrup can also be used to sweeten and flavor iced tea and to make a killer mojito.