Thursday, January 28, 2010

Squeal BBQ

Hey so this blog is over a year old now.  A year and four days to be exact.  That's kinda a long time in foodblog years I think.  Though I don't really know.  Maybe there will be a Eating In NOLA year in retrospect post on Monday.

Today though you get a iPhone picture of food from Squeal.

We went the other night after a 504ward event.  It's in Kerry's 'hood so we had been wanting to try it out for a while.

Prognosis?  Eh.  It was okay.  But I have a feeling we ordered poorly.  There were lots of things on the menu that looked promising including an array of salads but I feel like if I'm going to a BBQ place for the first time I have to get the pork sandwich.

Now I immediately take issue with places that don't at least offer coleslaw on the sandwich.  I had to forgo the fries to get coleslaw to put on myself.  Also its on a roll rather than a bun.  I don't know, that's okay I guess, but for some reason it seems like a messier way to eat it.

That all being said they had a real good looking late night weekend menu.  Better than just good- like gourmet.  So it would be a perfect post Maple Leaf spot on the weekend.  So I wasn't terribly impressed but I think I could have been had I ordered something else.  For example Kerry got some cheese grits that I thought were delicious.

I'll be going back though and when I do I'll let you know how much better it was.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Boucherie lives on Jeannette. Lots of people love Boucherie -- like, really dig it. We had dinner there a few months ago and were not bowled over, but that didn't mean it wasn't worth another try. At least another try at lunch. Especially because I do like the tiny 12 hour roast beef po-boys they serve out of that purple truck.

They started us out with an amuse which was nice. I'm not sure I've ever gotten an amuse at lunch before. It was a perfect one-bite size and included duck, red beans, and a coriander creme which was my favorite part.

For an appetizer we got the French Fries with garlic butter and Parmesan Reggiano. They were the most memorable part of our first trip to Boucherie, so it was a must to order them again. We cleaned our plate, mainly because french fries are delicious and adding butter and cheese only makes that more true.

And since I'm a creature of habit I did actually get the 12 hour roast beef po-boy. Judge me if you want but it comes with pickled red onions and horseradish cream, and who can argue with that? And the bread is really good too. Though, I'll be honest, by the end it was a little much. There is a big difference between eating a whole one and the smaller ones they offer at festivals. But hey... no regrets. If I had it to do again I would have made the same call.

Kerry had the white peppercorn smoked scallops with sweet potatoes and a Steen's Molasses Veloute (just gonna pretend I know what that means). The scallops were huge and cooked perfectly, and the mashed potatoes beneath were roasted and topped with scallions to create a savory accompaniment rather than cloyingly sweet (which sometimes happens with sweet potatoes). The dish came with some fried ginger on top, which was crunchy and flavorful and not something we'd seen before. Seems like the new trend is serving seafood with sweet potatoes. It seems weird to me, but I guess people smarter than me know what they are doing.

Either way I think it's fair to say Boucherie redeemed itself in our eyes. Definitely a good place for lunch.
Thursday, January 21, 2010

LaCote Brasserie

So LaCote was pretty packed after the second game last Saturday night.  We headed over from Lucy's and I don't think we were the only ones.  I think it says something about a city when their football fans are just as comfortable at LaCote as they are at Lucy's.

Now, it was pretty late by the time we rolled in and ordered our two post game snacks... and I'll be honest and admit I don't remember ever detail of the trip to LaCote - but one thing I for sure don't remember was being incredibly wowed by the food.

Kerry got the Crabcake.  It was a pretty standard fried crabcake I guess.  It came over some sweet poatoes and corn covered in a cream sauce.  At the time it didn't see all that weird to me (very few things probably would have) but looking back on it now it seems like a bizarre combination.

I had the Alligator Croquettes.  It's not something I would normally order- looking back I wonder why I did actually.  They were covered in a sauce that was about 20 degrees too spicy in my opinion.

So not a great late night snack... I think we probably would have been happier with Lucy's version of Mexican food... but it was an interesting experience and a welcome haven from the crowds.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So where did you spend the game?  Wherever you were I'm sure it was great and exciting... but did you get free shots and Champagne?

There is a new place that just opened up in the CBD called the Precinct.  It's a bar/wing place that also calls itself a lounge.  Now I'm not sure all those things go together but they have a about 8 TV's, a projector and a clientele that hasn't quite grown to the point of a crowd yet so it is the kind of place I like to watch a football game.

Its in an old firehouse down on Annunciation.  They were serving 2 for 1 beers up until kickoff which meant 2 Bud Lites for $2.50.  They also gave out shots of something green when the Saints scored.  I think its worth trying out next week if your looking for a place to enjoy the game with friends but not trying to stand in a crowd for 4 hours.

They have food too.  Kerry got this Veggie Pizza.  She said that it tasted much better than it looks in this picture so I guess that some something good about there food and something bad about my photography skillz.  I actually had a bite too and shes right.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

I went a less healthy route and went with Cheese and Bacon Fries with Ranch.  I dont regreat it.  They were as good as they look.

So try it out this weekend if you want... but if you want to wait until next season I'm okay with that too.  Every bar I like in New Orleans is destined to either close down or get too crowded for my liking.  So I'm going to enjoy it while I can.
Monday, January 18, 2010

Ralph's on the Park: Wagyu Beef

Wagyu = Japanese Cow

There is something interesting going on at your local, park-view, fine dining establishment.  Ralph's on the Park is serving up something you aren't likely to get anywhere else in the city... or the state for that matter.  For the last month Chefs Haley Bittermann and Chip Flanagan have been serving certified Japanese Wagyu Beef to diners in the know.  Why only diners in the know?  Because up until now it hasn't been on the menu.

Kerry and I were lucky enough to be invited partake in this delicious secret last Thursday. 

So whats the big deal about this beef?  Well to start it has a $12 an ounce price tag with a 3 ounce minimum.  So that's pretty pricey but you really do get what you pay for.  What you are paying for is beef from a cow who spent its 2 year life drinking beer and getting body massages.  And you know you aren't getting ripped off because if you ask, Chef Chip will probably let you see the certificate that comes with each nine pound rib-eye that comes into his kitchen.

So by my calculations what you see below is a $1,700 hunk of culinary heaven.  What is important to realize is this isn't the "Kobe" beef you had on that one trip you took to Vegas.  You probably got a steak from a Wagyu/Angus hybrid.  This stuff us the real, straight off the plane from Japan, deal.  According to the chefs, there are only two suppliers of this stuff in the country and their supplier only is supplying 15 other restaurants.  None of them being in Louisiana.  Look at that marbling.  The stuff just melts in your mouth.

So what does it taste like?  Kinda like a rib-eye on crack.  It is served with a little bit of cauliflower puree and a dash of salt and pepper and that's it.  And that's all you want because you really want to taste this stuff.

Above is about two ounces of the Wagyu.  I would suggest sharing a 4 or 5 ounce portion before your meal.  It's always exciting when local restaurants are doing something a little different.  So go give it a try... you know or don't, but either way lets all appreciate that Ralph's on the Park is willing to offer us something that isn't available to the masses.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fresco Cafe

Hey it's Carnival Season... kinda.  I'll be honest the Phunny Phorty Phellows parade last week wasn't the most impressive parade I've ever been to, but it was a good excuse to have a few beers with friends.

After the parade I was hungry.  My friends suggested heading over the Fresco Cafe.  I hadn't been in quite some time but I have no real problem with with the place so I headed over and got a to go order.  I was told the Baked Fusili was enough food for three meals so I went with that.  I was either really hungry or a glutton because it was only enough for one meal.

There isn't really a ton to say about it.  It's not the best looking to go order but who cares about that right?  What it was perfect for was the situation.  I wanted something quick, fast, and with garlic bread that I could just sit and eat at home.  This foot the bill but I think a better option would have been the chicken parmesan at Roman Pizza.  But that doesn't mean it wasn't okay.  It for sure was okay.

On a history note it turns out I got the same exact thing for the very first Eating In NOLA restaurant post back a year ago.  That's at least a little interesting right?   Right?  Oh.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grand Isle

I had been looking forward to trying Grand Isle for quite some time.  I'm not exactly sure what had me so excited about it.  I do know that I wouldn't be excited to try it again.

We went last night to celebrate the start of our last semester as Tulane MBA students.  We don't venture down to toward the Convention Center very often so it seemed like a novel choice to us, but what started out as a novel trip to a new restaurant turned into a pretty big disappointment on all fronts.

I don't think we are very hard to please.  I'm pretty forgiving of sub-par service and I can get by on mediocre food but both at the same time is hard to get past.  Especially on a night where we were one of maybe 6 tables.  The host and the server were both pretty abrupt and unfriendly.  I had to ask for the specials one by one.  Even when standing at the table the server was more interested in watching the Villanova Louisville game.  The most talkative person of the night was the food runner.

And like I said, the food didn't make up for it.


We started with the onion rings which the menu claimed were the best in town.  I don't know if that's true or not but unfortunately they were the best thing we had that night.

Kerry had the fish with chili butter.  It came with some potatoes and zucchini.  Thankfully it was a little better than it looks here but still nothing special.

I had the Hand Cut Pork Plate.  I wasn't sure that meant so I asked the waiter and he said it was a carved pork tenderloin.  That sounded okay to me.  This was definitely some sort of chop though.  It came with collards and grits.  I don't know one thing about collards so I won't comment on those.  The grits weren't bad though.  Even though the pork wasn't what I was expecting I still think it would have been better if the sauce tasted like something/anything at all.

So not a great meal.  Maybe not the worst meal covered on this blog but definitely the one that has let me down the most.

It's not that I'm mad at you Grand Isle... just very very disappointed.

**Oh and I just realized why I thought it was going to be good.  It was that great poboy at Poboy Fest.  Last time I base my expectations on 3 inches of poboy.
Monday, January 11, 2010

Doors Pub

So, in general, haven't the pictures on this blog been a lot better?  Yeah not today though, so prepare yourself for that.

I had a buddy come down the day of the BCS Championship.  Thinking I would show him New Orleans has some great bars to watch football at I took him to Mid City Bulldog... packed.  So I figured Bruno's wasn't the worst option in the world... also packed.  So we ended up at Doors Pub across the street from Brunos.

I'm pretty sure this location has been three different establishments in the 19 months I have lived here.  Probably not a good sign for Doors Pub but hopefully they make it. Besides having the most bizarre theme I have ever heard of (... doors), it's not a bad place to watch a game and have some beers.  Its clean and comfortable with pretty good TVs and a decent selection on tap, including Andygator.  On Thursday during the game at least, they had 2 for 1 drafts which worked out to $2 beers.

So those are the good things.  The food wasn't great- though in all fairness they have pizza that we didn't try.  What we did try was the below pictured burger.

I think it was called the Big 'n' Hot but it might have be the Big 'n' Spicy.  Either way you get the idea.  It's half beef and half hot sausage.  Now normally I wouldn't get something like that but is said right on the menu it was Voted Best Burger in 2007.  Looking back that seems weird since this place opened up about 2 or 3 months ago so maybe some alarms should have gone off.  My friend said he could have gone with 75% beef and 25% hot sausage... I think I could have gone with 100% beef.  it came with some broken corn chips though so, that's something at least.

That being said It was a good place to watch a game.  Good beer at cheap prices and I'm sure the pizza is okay, we saw a lot of people ordering it.  So if you are ever trying to watch something at Bruno's and it's a little too crowded, head on over to Doors Pub.  It would be nice if they had a little longer tenure than their predecessors.
Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quick Post 4: Butcher Brunch

I was away for a few days... but I'm back now with a Sunday quick post, and what is a better Sunday post than Cochon Butcher brunch?

I had been itching to try their brunch for a while so I went with a friend today.  I had the Bourbon French Toast with Satsuma Maple Syrup and Fleur de Sel Whipped Cream.

I normally don't like sweet things for brunch but it sounded too good to pass up.  I'm glad I didn't.  It was great.  I mean it was a little rich but what do you expect.

Okay, that's its for now.  Eating In NOLA will be back to it tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Felipe's Taqueria

I know plenty of people that think Felipe's is pretty good.  I'm not sure that I'm in that camp, but it for sure could be a lot worse.  As far as the whole "we make your Mex-American food while you watch" thing goes, I'd say its of pretty standard quality.  One thing that they are really good at is being about 400 meters from my house, so I end up there every six weeks for so.

I think they must be making a killing.  If lines of people at 3pm and being able to open up a location in the Quarter is any indication, their "quick and cheap" business model is working pretty well for them.

As far as the food goes you pretty much get the same mess of food you get at any of these types of places.  I paid somewhere around $7 for what you see below.  Under all those accompaniments are three carnitas flautas.  I got the chips, queso and drink with it as well.  I could have just as well gotten the tacos or anything else and it would pretty much be the same thing.  That's the genius of these places.

So Felipe's is what you expect it to be and in some cases probably what you want.  Now I think there are better options out there.  I like Sarita's and Tacos San Miguel and Juan's better but those are farther away for me at least, and not as fast.  So for cheap Mexican(ish) food its not a bad option but chances are you already know of a better one.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lebanon's Cafe

I'm not big on Middle Eastern food.  It's just not my thing.  I don't hate it or anything but there is almost always something else I'd rather be eating.  Because of that, it took me a long time to get to Lebanon's despite hearing nothing but good things about the place, including that they have no corkage fee.

Last night, being hungry at 9:15pm was enough o break my non-Lebanon's streak.  Kerry and I went and had a pretty good meal.

We started with the hummus.  I don't know- it was pretty standard hummus.  I'm not sure I even know how to pick a good hummus from a bad hummus.  I'm pretty sure this one wasn't a bad one though.  What was for sure good, was the pita that came with it.  There is a lot to be said about a place that serves you warm fresh pita at 9:15 on a Sunday night.


Kerry had the spinach salad.  The only real complaint about on the night was that it came out pretty different than was described on the menu.  The dressing was a tomato based one and not the advertised vinaigrette and she got pecans instead of pine nuts.  Those are two pretty big discrepancies in my book but she was pretty positive about it.

I had the chicken kabob sandwich.  As you can see i tore a little hole in the pita so you could see the goodness inside.  It was much better than most kabob sandwiches I have had at other New Orleans Middle Eastern establishments.  The chicken was marinated well and there were some pretty tasty onions in there and I like tasty onions in things, so that was pretty good.  Plus it was quite large taking into account the $5.50 price tag.

So yeah, Lebanon's is pretty good.  Like I said, I'm not big on Middle Eastern fare but it is definitely the place I would recommend if someone asked me about Middle Eastern food.  And the
Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quick Post 3: Dough Bowl Pizza

So I resurrected the Quick Post for a short Sunday post about pizza.  Its a quick post for a few reasons.  One I have written about the Dough Bowl before (but not their pizza), and two it's Sunday and chances are you aren't reading this.
So the Dough Bowl has some pretty great pizza... and not just if you're a Tulane undergrad and its 3am.  Its good all day long.  The slices are big and the dough is good and the cheese is melted.  Throw some Parmesan cheese on there and some red pepper flakes and you got yourself the best lunch in the city under $3.01.  Now there might be better pizza in the city... but while you're eating a slice of Boot pizza you are too satisfied to care.
Saturday, January 2, 2010

Clover Grill

Healthy eating was a disaster... lets pretend it didn't happen.  And how are we going to do that?  By eating at a diner of course.

New Years Eve day we headed down to the quarter to see what people from Ohio look like.  We were hungry but everything place we tried was packed with mid-westerners and panhandle dwellers.  Eventually though, we came across Clover Grill.

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but Kerry liked that they were supporting the Saints with a black and gold ballon arch, and I liked that they the only thing they advertised on their windows were "Eggs",  so we went in.  Immediately we were told they were crowded and if we wanted to eat we needed to wait outside.  Okay, sure.

Clover Grill has a certain charm... a charm described as "not for homophobes"  by the Zagat review hanging wall.  But thats not the only kind of charm that Clover Grill can claim.  There are two clocks on the wall reading incorrect times.  The "City Hall" clock reads 4:50pm because "whenever you need something at City Hall they act like they are 10 min from closing" and the "Chalmette" clock which is slow because "Chalmette is behind the times".

In the 10 minutes we waited for Kerry's Burger to cook under a hubcap, the guy behind the counter told another 10 groups of people they were going to need to wait outside if they wanted to eat.  So at least we weren't the only ones.

And the food was what you would expect but just a touch better.  Like I said, Kerry had the burger.  I went with a grilled cheese on wheat with bacon and tomato.  We shared a side of fries which was more than enough for us to share.

We don't spend a ton of time in the quarter but maybe you do.  You should to to Clover Grill... unless you're from Chalmette.  And don't be put off if you are told to wait outside.  They move quick... you're probably only 15 minuets away from sinking your teeth into a hubcap burger.