Whiskey Bites and Lipstick on a Pig

Hey kids, do you like bars? I know I do! Well, if you like bars, and you eat food, then Whiskey Blue may be for you. The bar in the lobby of the W Hotel on Poydras Street has started serving small plates prepared by the hotel’s restaurant, Zoë. Things are priced between $9 (for the cajun-spiced fries) and $19 (for the Kobe beef sliders), which is a bit steep; then again, this is not typical bar food. Besides, someone has to pay for all those tiny incandescent candles.

Popcorn Oysters are odd-looking; the fried bivalves are pressed into disk-like shapes and served with rings of pickled onions and a slightly spicy aioli sauce. The breading is a bit heavier than most, but is seasoned well, and the combination of oyster, pickled onion, and aioli created an addictive harmony.

The Kobe sliders feature similarly well-seasoned meat on miniature brioche buns, topped with sweet caramelized onion, bacon, and avocado slices. $19 may, again, seem a bit much, but the sliders come three to an order with a side of fries. I’m not generally a big fan of fries seasoned with anything but salt, but these are pretty good, and the kitchen at Zoë demonstrated a deft hand with the fryer.

Other items on the menu include fried alligator with pickled okra and a pepper jelly aioli; a crawfish quesadilla made with Louisiana bugs, pepper jack cheese, caramelized peppers and onions, and served with a chilled sauce piquant. Shrimp tempura come with a sweet chili dipping sauce, and a similar sauce glazes chicken wings served with pickled vegetables. Desserts change fairly frequently; as I write this, there’s a Kahlua cheesecake on offer. Other choices include bread pudding and crème brûlée. Ask your server for the current options.

The new menu is available at Whiskey Blue from 5 to 11 p.m., and at the hotel’s other lobby bar, the Living Room, from noon to 11 p.m. Both are located in the W Hotel at 333 Poydras, between Tchoupitoulas and S. Peters. Streets. Call 207-5016 for more information.

Tariq Hanna of Sucré will be named one of the top 10 pastry chefs in the country by Dessert Professional magazine in its August issue. I was briefly confused, as Tariq does not, to my knowledge, spend a great deal of time in hot, arid climates. Then I felt silly.

Anyway, it’s another in a long list of honors for the slightly insane pastry chef and this weekend you’ll get to sample one of the desserts Tariq prepared in New York City when he received the award. He’ll be giving away samples of “Lipstick on a Pig” on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Sucre’s 3025 Magazine St. location, and Saturday from 12 to 3 p.m. at the 3301 Veterans Blvd. boutique. The dessert is made of double dark chocolate bread pudding, crispy bits of feuilletine, peanut butter mousse, and whipped strawberry blossom. You will have to show up to ask Tariq about the dessert’s name. Though he is slightly insane, he’s largely non-violent, so feel free to approach him. Call Sucré’s Magazine Street location at 520-8311, or the Veterans shop at 834-2277 to learn more. Mention my name, and Tariq will give you a kiss.[1]

[1] Tariq may not give you a kiss. He will probably not, however, bite you. Neither the author nor Myneworleans.com takes responsibility for anything Tariq might do. Dude is crazy, you know.

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