I love to cook. When my daughter was growing up, our family always shared an evening meal together, occasionally phoned in for delivery or pickup, but usually prepared from scratch by me.
Knowing my only child was about to take off for college, last summer a friend warned of changes to come.
“See that well-stocked refrigerator? Know how you like to cook? Just wait. In a couple of months, you guys will either starve to death, sustain yourselves on bowls of cereal or cheese and crackers for dinner or eat out every night.”
“No way. I love to cook!”
Yeah, right. I now stalk Taceaux Loceaux on Facebook. How fortuitous for me that they’re often parked outside of Dos Jeffes Uptown Cigar Bar, handily located two blocks from my house. My husband even acquired some special, flat, indestructible, environmentally friendly, reusable takeout containers that we bring over and have filled so our precious haul won’t get smooshed on the short walk home. So impressive and perfect for the job are said containers that we’ve elicited compliments from the food truck’s staff.
But just as I have become truly, hopelessly addicted to their Avocado Fries (wedges of perfectly ripe avocado battered in some light, magical tempura-like coating, quickly fried to a greaseless perfection and served with a magic potion/sauce) and the Seoul Man tacos (Bulgogi Chicken, shredded cabbage, cilantro, pickled red onions and Sriracha aioli on flour tortillas) New Orleans’ longest running contemporary food truck will leave the streets. Alex and Maribeth del Castillo are finally set to move – any day now – into a cavernous brick-and-mortar location in the Lower Garden District.
The restaurant, which will have the feel of a Mexican beer garden, will offer all of the cleverly named Taceaux Loceaux carnivore, vegetarian and vegan food truck favorites including Carnital Knowledge (slow cooked pork, shredded cabbage, radish, cilantro and chipotle aioli on corn tortillas), Messin’ with Texas (seasoned slow roasted brisket, shredded cabbage, radish, cilantro, crema and salsa picante on flour tortillas), Southern Decadence (twice fried chicken skins, chow chow and Jezebel sauce on flour tortillas) and All Hat, No Cattle (seasoned beans and rice, shredded cabbage, radish, cilantro, crema and salsa picante on flour tortillas). They will also have a larger menu, including meats and poultry from a wood-fired grill, as well as a full bar and off-street parking.
“This will be pretty amazing,” says Alex del Castillo, while my heart breaks. But my misery will be short lived. “We’re planning to put the truck back out Uptown after some much needed repairs.”
At the other end of the dining spectrum, my heavily tatted friend chef Neal Swidler, the kitchen king at swanky Broussard’s in the French Quarter, is offering a special summer menu in celebration of the year the restaurant was founded: 1920. Through the end of September, you can dine on the cheap with a three-course, pre-fixe menu for, you guessed it, $19.20.
The special menu will be offered daily and includes a starter of summer tomatoes with arugula and celery root remoulade and spicy boiled shrimp, turtle soup or soup of the day; an entrée choice of either Chicken Pontalba with Brabant potatoes and béarnaise aioli, or Gulf fish almandine with Lyonnaise potatoes and lemon butter sauce; and a dessert choice of a frozen parfait with fresh summer fruit or the chef’s inspired seasonal bread pudding.
The luck must be in the numbers – at least in the French Quarter. Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails is celebrating the birth year of Huey Long, 1893, with (take a guess) a special lunch menu priced at $18.93 through the end of September.
Chef Nathan Richard’s three course menu offers a choice of gumbo or pork steam buns; entrées of smoked roast beef poor boy with the chef’s special comeback sauce, or fried chicken panzanella salad. Bread pudding rounds out the menu.
819 Conti St.
Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails
337 Chartres St.
627 Celeste St.