This coming Monday at 6:30 is the benefit for Chef Tran. See all the details below.
This coming Monday at 6:30 is the benefit for Chef Tran. See all the details below.
Last week we wrote about the Barcadia project going in across from V.I.N.O. We’ve got some more news on the project as well as a few changes on what we originally reported. First, the strange (at least as far as I understand it) Beauty Bar concept has been dropped from the project. This means Barcadia and the Ohm Lounge are going to take over the entire 10,000 square feet.
The space is going to be laid out in 4 different “bays.” Barcadia looks to take up three of the bays with Ohm Lounge occupying the fourth. Bay 1 is slated to be Barcadia’s main dining room, Bay 2 a room with a private patio and Bay 3 will house the main arcade. While the Barcadia concept heavily features 80s nostalgia games, there will be some modern games as well as plenty of skeeball, air hockey, foosball and other similar non-video games. While the ultimate game inventory isn’t set, we’ve been told that it will be released on the twitter and Facebook feeds.
While the concept hails from the Dallas area, they’re trying hard to tap into the local food scene. Some folks from Generations Hall has been brought in as managing partners and Miles Tully, formerly of Ste. Marie, has been hired to be a food savvy general manager. Barcadia has reached out to Baton Rouge based food truck chef Nick Hufft of Curbside to create the menu. We’ve been promised that the kitchen will stress fresh, local ingredients.
When Barcadia opens it plans to do so from 11 am on, seven days a week. Currently, Barcadia is looking to open in the end of December/beginning of January, just in time for everyone to blow their holiday money on some old school video games. Of course, as anyone who has ever opened or tried to open a business in New Orleans it could be just as likely that they don’t open until 2014 through no fault of their own.
The details on the Ohm Lounge are slim at the moment, but it is scheduled to open one Barcadia is up and running. One thing we do know is that it will still be a high-end lounge, it will not be an all night, well into the next day lounge.
As usual, should we find out anything more we’ll be sure to update it.
Chef Quan Tran, the former executive chef at Tamarind, was diagnosed with stomach cancer last March. Since then he’s been through the ringer with Chemo and surgery. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, Chef Tran’s insurance will run out on December 1. To help Chef Tran pay for his treatment and afford his COBRA payments, Chef Dominique Macquet and many others in the New Orleans bar and restaurant scene are pulling together. For more details, here’s the official release:
Please join us on Monday, Dec. 17th at 6:00 p.m. for a benefit for Chef Quan Tran, hosted by Chef Dominique Macquet. Quan has been battling stomach cancer since March. To complicate matters, his insurance will end on Dec. 1st. Together, we can help Quan to get the treatment he needs, and assist him and his family during this difficult time. (Please see below for price and ticket purchase info!)
An array of New Orleans’ top chefs and mixologists have already signed on, including Rene Bajeux of Rene Bistrot, Brian Landry of Borgne, Tory McPhail of Commanders Palace, Alon Shaya of Domenica, and Matt Murphy of The Irish House. On the mixologist side, Abigail Gullo of SoBou, Ian Julien of Dominique’s on Magazine, and Nick Detrich of Cure will be stirring it up. This promises to be a fantastic evening in a beautiful venue, the always wonderful Le Fôret (129 Camp Street at the corner of Common).
You can also play Santa for Quan’s three children, as the family will need some extra help with Christmas this year. If you would like to donate a gift or clothing, please contact Chef Dominique (604-292-2319), Wendy Macquet (504-261-8253) or Elizabeth Porter (347-610-0409). Gifts and clothing can be dropped off at the event.
There are so many ways you can personally make a difference for this wonderful man and his family this holiday season. Let’s get together and do what New Orleanians do best: surround those members of our community who need it with our love and support.
Tickets are $125 (all inclusive) and can be purchased by calling Le Fôret at 504-553-6738. ONLY 150 TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE, so be sure to call and reserve your place!
I know any assistance is deeply appreciated by Chef Dominique and the Tran family – please let me know if you’d like to help, and please do forward this on to anyone else you think might be interested! I created a Facebook event with all this information on it, as well, so people can visit that as a resource. (https://www.facebook.com/events/491604267546819/)
What a hell of a week (or just short thereof)! Starting on Tuesday with registration and a handful of events, things for Tales of the Cocktail basically only picked up steam from there. Events, tasting rooms, seminars, cocktail legends and free booze abounded. Boy was there ever booze. I don’t think you could walk two feet without there being a tasting room, snack tent or some other marketing ploy to induce you to consume free beverages. After a week of testing most of my limits, I’ve learned a thing or two. While they’ll do us no good right now, they will be preserved for next year.
5. Patience: If you’re not a particularly patient person, this is going to take some work. Don’t expect things to kick off exactly on time or to be able to slide in anywhere without a line. The seminars often require complex setups (like 10 different tasting glasses all filled with different styles of gin) and these set ups are done, for the most part, by volunteers. This all means things will take a bit extra time. Plus, so what if your seminar doesnt’ start on time, it just gives you an extra few minutes at the nearest tasting room. And if you want to go to something, it is a pretty safe bet to assume a whole bunch of other people are too. The doors to these events are only so wide, so lines are inevitable. Just keep your cool, grab a drink from the little freebie stand behind you and before you know it you’ll be in.
4. Water: One of the first things most people do when they enter a bar/event/party is locate where they can score a drink. At Tales, you need to do the exact opposite. Find the water. Whether it is in bottles at the back of the room or pitchers on the table, you’ll need to know exactly where the water is. Hydrating often can be the difference between walking down the steps of the Monteleone and sliding down.
3. Skip Things: Tales is serious business for sure, but you aren’t trying to graduate with a four-year degree in two years. Don’t jam in every event, seminar and tasting room or you won’t be able to make it to the end of the week. Take time to rest, relax and take a nap or sit by the pool. This leads right into the next bit of advice.
2. Don’t Take Every Drink: Alcohol of every size and color is available for your tasting pleasure at every turn. But this doesn’t mean you’ve got to down each one. If you’re not comfortable with saying no to a drink someone with a pretty face handed you, remember you don’t have to drink it all. Considering that the free drinks start up as soon as the sunrises, passing on a few drinks could very well keep your afternoon schedule in tact.
1. Go: Despite the crowds and organized chaos of the Monteleone, Tales offers so much to anyone with any interested in drinks and drinking. You can learn about the 40-something different distinct aromas of gin (that was a cool class), learn how to make your own bitters, taste exotic liquors that aren’t available in your market (or even the United States), have drinks mixed up by some of the country’s best bartenders or discuss the merits of classic cocktails with Gaz Regan or David Wondrich all in an afternoon. When you sit down and think about it, that’s a pretty cool thing to have right in our backyard. So if you haven’t been before, mark your calendar for the end of July, because you’ll need to go.
I had a very fun opportunity last night to catch a sneak peek at The Fresh Market that is opening on St. Charles. At first glance the store is beautiful, but by actually touring the store with some of their fancy corporate team members yesterday, I gained a new appreciation for all of the care and consideration taken in planning out a store like this one. The Fresh Market focuses on high quality, fresh produce and other perishables, with nice grocery staples and gourmet additions thrown in for good measure. The store is designed to suit both shoppers who are hoping to grab something quick for dinner and those who want to browse for new inspiration.
This location is unique for The Fresh Market team because its the first location with retail on two floors. Lots of people have been wondering how they’d handle that and whether there’d be a Target-style “cart-scalator” to move shoppers between the floors. (Fun fact: those cart-scalators are actually called Vermaports. Oh the things you learn when your dad’s an engineer…)Turns out they opted not to use up space with an escalator and instead will rely on an elevator for that purpose. BUT never fear, although the second floor is predominated by beer, wine and booze, there are also some quick selections of beer and wine downstairs, so you could complete your quick run to the store without ever having to pop upstairs. If you do plan on browsing the selection upstairs, it’s convenient enough that you could just grab a cart and head straight there before you start makin’ groceries downstairs.
This location is also the first to offer gelato by the scoop. Many of the products at The Fresh Market will be sourced locally and the store proudly prepares a multitude of options right on the premises.
I can’t wait to head back to The Fresh Market. After my sneak peek last night I can already tell you its going to be hard to get out of there without a very full basket.
The Fresh Market opened this morning at 9:00 with a ceremonial “cheese cracking” rather than a ribbon cutting. It’s in the old Borders located at 3338 St. Charles Ave.
We’re pretty stoked in this corner of the internet because Tales of the Cocktail begins tomorrow! For those of you with an intense interest in learning everything booze, you’ve had your seminars reserved and your scheduled all laid out for months now. However, not everyone shares our love for the cocktail and the nuances of booze. So how do those folks get involved?
All this cocktail geekery aside, there are still great opportunities to participate in Tales even if your only interest in the hows and whys of booze is “how can I get it” and “why isn’t it in my mouth?” The easiest way to get in on the cocktail fun is through the Spirited Dinners on this coming Thursday night, which are all about pairing your favorite drinks with food at your favorite restaurants. Word on the street is that there are a number of seats still available for many of these Thursday dinners. That being said, I highly recommend getting in on one of these dinners ASAP before they all sell out.
Hope to see you around the seminars or at a Spirited Dinner!
This Friday marks the start of Art You Can Eat at Cafe Noma (the Ralph Brennan restaurant that lives inside the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)). Art You Can Eat “is an interactive demonstration of the tips and tricks behind classic and contemporary cooking, mixology and presentation, with special emphasis on professional techniques made easy.”
Every Friday at 7:00 for the next twelve weeks, a different chef from the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group family (with occasional appearances by Leah Chase) will be holding court on a variety of topics for free (with paid museum entry). All they ask is that you please try to RSVP, which you can do here. That being said, they’re not going to kick you out if you forget to RSVP. The demonstrations are scheduled to run about 30-45 minutes and will include free samples of whatever the chef is whipping up and recipe cards so you can practice at home. And if you’re interested in making a night of it, Cafe Noma is open Fridays until 9:00 for dinner. I’d personally opt to head across the street to Ralph’s on the Park and enjoy one of the best restaurant views in the city.
Here’s the full Art You Can Eat Schedule:
June 8 – CHRIS MONTERO, Culinary Curator – CAFÉ NOMA
Bring ‘Still life’ Veggies to Life in your Kitchen!
Learn to pickle vegetables, cure bacon and make condiments at home.
June 15 – BRETT GAUTHIER, EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF – RBRG
Artistic License – Cocktails Reinterpreted as Dessert
Grasshoppers, Peach Bellinis and more!
June 22 – CHIP FLANAGAN, Executive Chef – Ralph’s on the Park
Louisiana Surf, Turf and Sparkle
Recipes from the rich bounty of Louisiana waters and wetlands
June 29 – GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER, TBD
Fabulous Food Photography
Tips and tricks for mouth-watering food photos, even with your camera phone
July 6 – CHIP FLANAGAN, Executive Chef – Ralph’s on the Park
Summer Grilling and Chilling
Gourmet Rubs, Sauces and Accompaniments for the ultimate July BBQ
July 13 – CHRIS MONTERO, Executive Chef – café b, with LEAH CHASE
Do it yourself Creole cream cheese, mozzarella and ricotta
ART-isan cheese traditions and tasting with special guest Leah Chase
July 20 – HALEY BITTERMANN, EXECUTIVE CHEF – Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
The crossroad of Art, Science and New Orleans Cuisine
Do-it-yourself molecular gastronomy meets bananas foster and other New Orleans classics
July 27 – BRETT GAUTHIER, EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF – Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
Offbeat Sweet and Savory Desserts
Overlooked ingredients transformed into fabulous desserts
August 3 – MICHAEL GOTTLIEB, Executive Chef – Red Fish Grill with LEAH CHASE
The Art of Roux Making and other Gumbo tales
August 10 – HALEY BITTERMANN, EXECUTIVE CHEF – RBRG with LEAH CHASE
The Soul of New Orleans
Modern twists on New Orleans classics and other family-friendly comfort foods
August 17 – THOMAS REGISTER, Beverage Specialist – Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
Muddling and Mixing; The art of the cocktail
Enhance cocktails with infusions and garden fresh fruits and vegetables
August 24 – STEVEN MARSELLA, Executive Chef – Heritage Grill with LEAH CHASE
Take a Walk on the Lite Side…
Creole Classics undergo an extreme makeover…Will you miss the butter?
If you’re interested in cocktails and haven’t made it to Tales of the Cocktail, you’re missing out. Running from July 25 through the 29th, Tales offers something to satisfy every aspect of your cocktail interests. Seminars held throughout the week range from the industry specific (Building a World Class Bar Team) to the practical (Bittercube Hands on Handmade Bitters Lab) to the delicious (Tasting the World’s Greatest Spirits). The Spirited Dinners teach you about pairing your favorite drinks with food at your favorite restaurants. And of course, there is everyone’s favorite part: the tasting rooms. But Tales goes beyond just the seminars, dinners and tasting rooms. There are Spirited Lunches, Excursions, and a number of other sponsored events.
Now I know Tales isn’t happening until late July, so why are we talking it up now? Because if you want to get in on the best stuff, you need to act fast. Year after year, Tales continues to grow in size and popularity. While this allows Tales to grow and expand their offerings, it also means a bit more competition for the best events. Top it all off with the fact that all of the Spirited Dinners occur just on Thursday, July 26th and you’ve got to get a move on if you’re going to score your table at your favorite dinner. And because Tales is for serious cocktailing folks, the seminars fill up just as quickly. So hop to it and get your spots now. We’ll see you there for sure.
Tales of the Cocktail
Home base in the Hotel Monteleone
Jazz Fest is seven days of endless music, over 130 craft vendors and, more importantly, 70 food booths across 5 main different areas. None of the food I’ve had at Jazz Fest has been bad, but you still need to maximize the room in your stomach and your Festing dollars. These are the favorites from each area (check the map here):
FOOD AREA 1
Food Area 1 is easily the largest collection of food vendors, so plan accordingly.
Panorama Foods: The crawfish bread and the sausage & jalapeno bread are consistently crowd favorites. While both are full of cheesey, gooey tastiness, in more recent years they seem to be coasting on reputation alone. Of the two, I’ve found the sausage and Jalapeno bread to be a better buy, I usually buy one through six days hoping it will reclaim its former glory and always end up being a little sad at what else could have been for my fistful of wrinkled dollars (like another Love at First Bite cochon de lait po-boy).
Love at First Bite: A veritable to-die-for cochon de lait po boy. Love at First Bite hides the fixings under the pork to ensure nothing, including the great flavor, slips out. If you missed this at French Quarter Fest, you can’t pass it up again.
Vaucresson Sausage: A New Orleans fixture since 1899 and an original vendor of pretty much all of New Orleans’ great festivals, Vaucresson has seen it all. While the crawfish sausage is great, the Creole Hot Sausage Po Boy is their standout. Cupcake disagrees and prefers the Crawfish. Luckily for us, we buy both and share so everyone wins. I’m a huge fan of Vaucresson and their products, but they are at all the big festivals. If you’re local and have some choices to make, you can skip it. If you’ve never had one before, trade one $35 Jazz Fest beer (or whatever usurious price they charge now) for a sausage. YOu’ll be glad you did.
Mrs. Linda’s Catering: Most people will tell you line up for the Ya Ka Mein, and they’re not wrong, but for some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for the fried pork chop sandwich. Since it is nothing more than a fried pork chop slapped between two pieces of white bread, it isn’t going to win any culinary beauty contests. But I still find it a decent bite, particularly if you’ve been a tad over served.
FOOD AREA 2
Food Area 2 is the other large food vendor collection at the Fairgrounds. Always easy to get to on your way to Congo Square or the back of the Acura Stage crowd.
Conseco’s Markets: The Cuban sandwich is as simple as it gets. At first, I thought it might be a little too simple, but then I took a bite. In this case, simple means simply delicious. I really enjoy Cuban sandwiches, and this one is no exception. This is definitely one of my must haves at Jazz Fest.
Galley Seafood: People seem to love the soft shell crab po-boy (pictured above), but I’ve never been that in to them (here or otherwise), I much prefer the catfish.
Kajun Kettle Foods, Inc.: Crawfish Monica is another one of those Jazz Fest icons that doesn’t make much sense to me. Jazz Fest is hot, there’s usually a lot of beer involved. Creamy pasta dishes just don’t call to me.
Cafe Reconcile: Easily the biggest draw for the Congo Square group, the strawberry lemonade might not technically be food, but on a hot Fest day it will cool you down.
The Heritage Square food booths seem to be the ones I remember about at the end of the day, as I retreat to the sun safe tents which surround them. At that point, my stomach is running low on space, but I always manage to fit in one stop.
Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine: Ba Mien is usually that one stop, but it typically has a pretty decent sized line. While I normally can’t stand lines, I use the time to decide between the spring roll or the Bun (Vermicelli w/ Shrimp or Beef).
One of the few remaining Fest secrets is the Kid’s Food Area. There aren’t many vendors, but its secluded location means it’s likely you’re not going to be facing huge crowds. As long as you can handle the hordes of children, you’re golden.
Lil’s BBQ (also available in food area 1): The BBQ chicken sandwich will knock out your hunger pains, but the jazzy cupcakes will satisfy your sweet tooth. That you can usually get the two as a combo makes the deal sweeter.
French Quarter Fest is now all but set up and we’re bursting at the seams for it to get here already. One of our favorite parts of FQF (and almost all festivals) is the overwhelming amount of food for the tasting. Part of FQF’s charm is that it takes over the French Quarter, stretching from the foot of Canal Street all the way to Esplanade, but this can make tracking down your favorite foods a bit trickier. Step 1 is to print and bring with you the food listing found here. Next is to plan your food strategy appropriately, where are you going to eat, how much, and how often. Ultimately at the festival, cash is king so bring plenty with you. Although FQF is sponsored heavily by Capital One, I’ve had little success counting on their ATMs on site for cash.* Cash flow problems aside, we’re here to talk about the food, so here are our favorites from each section:
Boucherie-12 Hour Roast Beef Po-Boy. We have a hard time passing this sandwich up, no matter what the occasion. Only problem is, it seems everyone else feels the same so lines can be long.
Crescent Pie and Sausage-Bad Bart’s Jambalaya has been a growing regular at festivals large and small. The addition of black
beans eyed peas [thanks to Jacob and Ashton for catching the error] provides a nice twist on traditional Jambalaya. It appears CP&S is bringing in a new dish this year, the creole shrimp and tomato chow chow which definitely looks worth a taste.
Love at First Bite-They have a great Cochon de lait Po-Boy that’s been a must have since they came on to the scene in 2009.
Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant-Woldenberg Park’s most intriguing new vendor for one simple reason, meat pies can be amazing and we’ve been underwhelmed by the usual meat pie offerings at French Quarter Fest.
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse (which is actually the Bourbon House Booth)-Prime Beef Debris Po-Boy probably runs neck and neck with a Vaucresson Sausage po-boy as our must haves from Jackson Square.
Vaucresson Sausage-With a great collection of hot sausage, crawfish sausage and BBQ chicken sausage (new offering this year) you really can’t go wrong. Fortunately they’re usually located next to the Bourbon House booth so Cupcake and I each line up for one and then split the spoils.
The Bombay Club-Our list of FQF favorites is clearly heavy on the beefy po-boys, the Gulf Shrimp Escabeche from Bombay house provides a nice change of pace.
Blue Dot Donuts-Without a doubt one of the new vendors that has me most excited. I had the Thai Pulled Pork “Dough Boy” at Po-Boy Fest this past year and can without a doubt say that it was the best po-boy there by miles. If they can come close to replicating what they produced at Po-Boy Fest, they will undoubtedly be the Must Have from Jackson Square.
Ristorante Carmelo-The crabmeat ravioli is a great dish and could be highly recommended, but the portion size is so small that you’re left feeling unfulfilled and cheated. Since they raised the price by a $1 and not increased the size at all, matters have gotten worse. Since your cash supply is most likely to be smaller than your stomach, I’d pass.
The Old US Mint
The Joint-Always a great pulled pork sandwich (get it topped with slaw), you can’t go wrong here.
Amy’s Vietnamese-Much like the Bombay Club, at some point you may get tired of having meaty po-boys. All of the offerings at Amy’s are good enough to pinch hit and not leave you feeling disappointed.
Dunbar’s-Not sure any explanation for why you should get Dunbar’s catfish and potato salad is really necessary. Just check it out.
Three Muses-Clearly another of FQF’s newcomers that appear poised to put some of the more long-standing favorites to the test. The Lamb Sliders would be our call here. At any rate, if you haven’t been to Three Muses yet, you really owe it to yourself to go check it out.
For a different take on the foods to have, we highly recommend you check out He Said, She Said’s 2012 Food Guide here.
**Cash hints: Below Bourbon Street between Canal and Jackson Square you’ll find a branch of many different banks, head to those before surrendering to the outrageous fees extracted by the nameless ATMs in bars, t-shirt shops or otherwise found in the French Quarter.