Staying in or Heading Out: The Best for This Weekend
This past was a particularly crafty weekend. I spent it carving elaborate pumpkins with my niece and creating one of those monster-themed candy shoot things so we can issue candy to trick-or-treaters from a distance. That Halloween is on a Saturday, a full moon night, in the never-ending dirty trick bag that is 2020, and three days before the most divisive election probably ever in history makes it feel like anything could happen.
We had better have our fun while we can.
In addition to the regularly available take-out menu Del Fuego(4518 Magazine St., 504-309-5797, delfuegotaqueria.com), a casual and colorful family-owned taqueria, is offering an El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) Ofrenda and Family Meal for pick-up only on Nov. 1 from 11:30 a.m. -2 p.m. The restaurant will be closed for service on this day. Orders must be placed no later than TODAY by clicking here or calling. The generous meal includes pozole rojo, Mamita’s Beef Hot Tamales, roasted chicken and mole negro, homemade tortillas and accompaniments, and Lisa B’s Pumpkin Custard Empanadas and can be ordered to serve one, two or four people—prefect for the 3:25 p.m. Saints game. Orders over $50 get FREE fresh-squeezed JELLO SHOTS (w/ proper I.D.)
Del Fuego family, friends and neighbors have come together to create an art installation featuring over 2,200 monarch butterflies representing the 220,000 people and counting who have passed away from COVID-19 in the U.S. this year. Each monarch represents 100 souls. Attendees are invited to bring photos of and offerings for loved ones who have passed. The altar will be open through Saturday (Oct. 31) by reservation during regular restaurant service and 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. for family meal pickup. Guests are asked to wear masks and observe six feet of social distancing.
For those seeking an upscale Halloween Broussard’s Restaurant (819 Rue Conti, 504-581-3866, broussards.com) is hosting a wickedly witchy Halloween brunch and costume contest on Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday. Guests are encouraged to don a costume, and mask, of course, and enjoy the full brunch menu, spooky sparkling specials and wickedly witchy themed cocktails. The jazzy sounds of The Gumbo Trio will entertain guests throughout the day. Drink specials include specially priced champagne by the glass and bottle and two spooky cocktails: the Tell-Tale Heart (Knob Creek bourbon blackberries, lemon honey-sage syrup), and Elphaba’s Elixir (crème de menthe dark, crème de menthe light, crème de cacao dark, crème de cacao light, heavy whipping cream). Any guest indulging in a bottle of Dom Perignon will also receive two complimentary goblets. Enter the costume contest by posting a photo of the outfit to social media and tag it with #BroussardsHalloween. Bonus points given for COVID-safe costumes with creative masks. The winner of the costume contest will win a $100 Broussard’s gift certificate and Broussard’s swag.
NOLA Pizza Co (3033 TchoupitoulasSt., inside the NOLA Brewing Tap Room, 504-896-9996. nolapizzaco.com) brought to us by New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Company (makers of Sparkling Hop’d Tea and NOLA Hand Sanitizer) will open on Sunday. The indoor/outdoor pizzeria will serve up traditional NYC style pizza from Brandon Byrd, the group’s culinary director. Byrd’s extensive New York culinary background includes stints at Momofuku Noodle Bar, Two Boots Pizza and Pinello’s Best Pizza. Pies run the gamut from classics like mushroom, olives and onions; and white pizza with ricotta, provolone, garlic and parmesan to a bit more creative like sausage, broccoli rabe, breadcrumbs and pecorino; and a square pizza with vodka sauce, pepperoni and basil. The 5,300 square foot recently-renovated space has plenty of seating, both indoors and out televisions scattered throughout for game days.
Every Halloween I serve Chef Susan Spicer’s (Bayona) Goat Cheese Croutons with Wild Mushrooms in Madeira Cream with the suggestion that the utterly delicious dish is “Toadstools on Toast.” Enjoy.
For the Goat cheese croutons:
- 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (chèvre), softened to room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 4 slices 7-Grain (or any whole-grain) bread
For the Madeira cream:
- 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
- 1 cup Madeira (such as Rainwater or Sercial)
- 1 cup heavy cream
For the Wild mushrooms:
- 1/2 pound wild mushrooms (preferably a mix of oyster mushrooms, shiitakes and/or chanterelles)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Madeira Cream (see above)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
- Goat Cheese Croutons (see above)
- In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the goat cheese and butter. Lightly toast the bread. Spread equal portions of the goat cheese mixture on the toast. Trim the crusts and cut the squares in half. (The toasts will have a cleaner edge if you trim the crusts after spreading on the goat cheese.) Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, simmer the shallots in Madeira until the liquid is reduced to1/4¼ cup. Add the cream, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 5-10 minutes, until the cream thickens slightly. Set aside.
- Turn on the broiler. Remove the tough stems from the mushrooms and discard. Slice or tear the mushrooms into pieces. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbling but not browned, add the mushrooms and cook until they’re golden brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and Madeira cream. Turn the heat to high and boil for about 2 minutes, until the mushrooms have absorbed most of the cream. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the 2 teaspoons chives.
- Broil the goat cheese croutons until bubbly and lightly browned. Arrange the croutons on plates and spoon the mushroom mixture over them. Garnish with chives.
Happy Halloween! I will see you on the other side of Next Week…