Almost every conversation I have turns into a discussion of food, drinks, dining, cookbooks, restaurants and chefs; this isn’t shocking given that I write about those things for a living, but it is intense. As always there are new spots and brilliant dishes to try, but there are New Orleans-inspired food blogs to check out, too. In case you haven’t heard, “blogging” is a popular way to write and read on the Internet about a variety of subjects – food, most notably. “Blog” is short for Web log and is a type of journaling done by anyone who has an opinion – that would be everyone.
Opening Soon: This month we anxiously and happily expect the re-opening of Dooky Chase, pictured at left, in Treme. Welcome home Mrs. Chase.
New and Duly Noted: Magazine Street is fairly bursting with new restaurants, and Italian is the rage. The Taste Buds’ (of Semolina’s and Zea’s fame) newest concept, will be the Italian-inspired Italia. Restaurant Civello, is an Uptown Italian eatery around Magazine and State Streets. New in the French Quarter is Eat New Orleans. Finally, what was once Culinaria (a cooking school) is now Cellars of Culinaria, a restaurant whose kitchen is headed by Napa native Michael Sichel.
HIDDEN GEM: Pho Bac Huong on 8th Street in Harvey for the delicately-flavored Hu Tiu soup with rice noodles, shrimp, sliced pork and strips of garlic chives, or the Banh Cuon Dac Biet, with slippery, steamed rice noodle rolls topped with lean meat, grilled sausage, grilled sliced pork and garnished with a fresh crunchy salad of mint, lettuce, lightly pickled cucumbers and nuoc mam.
FEEL THE BUZZ: New coffee shops to try include Urban Cup, Fuel, and Mojo.
NEW ORLEANS FOOD BLOGS: Some of my favorites are:
• (Poppy Z. Brite is serious about food)
• (not always all about food, but always funny)
• (Tom Fitzmorris writes about food and dining)
• (local writer Pableaux Johnson’s food musings)
• (the best and last word on boudin)
• (self-promotion – I write this one) • (friend promotion – Todd Price writes this one)
• (food thoughts and info)
• (more of the above)
• (a local lawyer on food)
• (“Mr. Lake’s Nonpompous New Orleans Food Forum”)
FAVORITE DISHES: Fellow New Orleans Magazine food writer, Todd Price (see Table Talk) and I were talking about favorite French desserts; we agree that Iles Flottantes (a thin custard sauce topped with a wedge of meringue and finished with caramel and toasted almond slices) ranks highly. Two of the city’s best versions can be found at Château du Lac and Café Degas. Speaking of French food, fools for escargots (snails) will be intrigued by the envelope-pushing rendition offered at Jackson – flash fried escargots; it really works, the escargot are perfectly tender and delicious.
TELLING TALES: Tales of the Cocktail will be held July 19 to 23. In addition to Cocktail Hour, a free event for serious swilling and the Spirited Dinners, there are two culinary panels which focus on flavor – one on flavor trends in general and the other on the unique flavors of New