SBrooksB's Profile

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What rice goes with gumbo

Am in total agreement about Camellia beans. They're heads and shoulders above other kidney beans if you're making red beans 'n' rice.

I've been Googling online sources. Can't vouch for this place, but the prices seem reasonable:


Feb 22, 2009
SBrooksB in Home Cooking

What red beans to use with Red Beans and Rice?

Camellia red beans, absolutely. Accept no substitutes!

Feb 22, 2009
SBrooksB in Home Cooking

Creole vs. Cajun [split from Manhattan]

Classic New Orleans Creole cuisine is the blended cuisine of three cultures -- French, Spanish, and African. The city was founded by the French in 1718, ceded to the Spanish in 1763, and returned to the French in 1803. (Napoleon sold it to the U.S. later that year as part of the Louisiana Purchase.) A port of entry for the slave trade, New Orleans had, from its inception, a large African population, and black cooks were instrumental in shaping the city's distinctive cuisine.

Creole cooking has its roots in a grand European style of cooking -- refined, well seasoned, and not particularly "hot."

The peppery dishes often associated with New Orleans are really Cajun. Cajun food is country food -- rustic, and boldly seasoned. It's interesting to note that Cajun culture wasn't associated with New Orleans until the 1970s, when Chef Paul Prudhomme opened K-Paul's restaurant in the French Quarter. The success of K-Paul's made Chef Paul a celebrity, and his cookbooks kicked off a nationwide craze for Cajun cuisine. (It seemed, for a while, as though half the restaurants in the country had "blackened" fish on the menu!)

Which is to say that New Orleans only jumped on the Cajun bandwagon when it became commercially advantageous to do so. It wasn't until the late '70s that anyone associated "Cajun" with New Orleans. (You can see from this map that the Cajun heartland is, in fact, hours outside the city: (http://tinyurl.com/9hqfu7


Nowadays, the two cuisines borrow freely from each other, to the mutual enrichment of both. New Orleans' dining scene is better than ever!

I'm still waiting for a NYC restaurant to serve convincing New Orleans food. For some reason, we never seem to get it quite right.

Feb 22, 2009
SBrooksB in General Topics

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

Happily ever after -- I'm so glad.

I've been meaning to try sticky toffee pudding for years, so maybe this thread will inspire me!

Feb 16, 2009
SBrooksB in Manhattan

New Orleans Basics

Mother's has been spiraling downward for years. Don't know why word hasn't trickled up to the guidebooks. Skip it, and try Parkway Bakery & Tavern. Parkway's roast beef po-boys are fantastic. The fried shrimp po-boy ain't too shabby either!

Either take a taxi from the French Quarter to Parkway (a 5-10 minute ride), OR walk to the edge of the French Quarter and catch a lake-bound Canal Street streetcar. Here's a TripAdvisor thread, with details and useful links.


Feb 07, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

I don't know if this is the brand you're looking for:


It's widely available in NYC. For store listings, click "Available at" in the green sidebar.

Feb 04, 2009
SBrooksB in Manhattan

What bars serve absinthe?

Absinthe Museum of America


Jan 26, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Cheese "puffs?"

Two recipes, both with onions:


Cheese Puffs (Cooks.com)

3 green onions, finely chopped
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
24 toast rounds

Combine green onions with cheese and mayonnaise. Spread on toast rounds. In 8 1/4 inch shallow baking dish, heat half the rounds on medium for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until bubbly. Turn baking dish once during cooking. Repeat with remaining puffs. Makes 24 appetizers.


Cheese Puffs (Dean Ferring, chef at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.)

1/2 small yellow onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white bread

In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1/2 small chopped yellow onion, 3 tbsp fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

Remove crusts from bread and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 - 15 minutes, until golden.

Spread 1 tsp mixture onto each round and sprinkle with cheese. Brown under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes and serve

Jan 25, 2009
SBrooksB in Home Cooking

What bars serve absinthe?

A few quick remarks, plus a couple of links for anyone interested in more info.

For many years, absinthe's sensationalized "secondary effects" were erroneously attributed to thujone -- a component of wormwood. However, modern chemical analysis has turned up only trace levels of thujone in nineteenth-century absinthe. It is now believed that the drink's subtly "alert" intoxication is due to the stimulating effects of various herbs used in distillation.

The best modern absinthes are not "absinthe lite," as some would have you believe. In composition and methods of distillation, they are identical to those made before the ban.

Sites such as the Wormwood Society and The Absinthe Museum are good sources of up-to-date, level-headed information about absinthe:

Wormwood Society

The Absinthe Museum

Pravda!, The Old Absinthe House, Herbsaint, and the Pirate's Alley Cafe all serve absinthe. At least three of these bars have adopted the 1990s Prague stunt of flaming the sugar cubes. If you'd prefer a traditional absinthe drip -- sans pyrotechnics -- make it clear when you place your order.

Finally, an absinthe subsitute called "Absente" has been available in liquor stores for many years. Absente is NOT absinthe, and don't let any bartender try to con you into thinking otherwise!

Jan 25, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Surprise! I'm at Your Door

One morning thirty-five years ago, a friend just "showed up" at my NYC apartment, rousing me from a sound sleep. It so angered me that I wouldn't let her in the door. For fifteen minutes she stood in the hall, pleading and weeping, before finally giving up and going home.

If it happened today, I might -- if I were feeling charitable -- agree to meet her at the corner coffee shop in 30 minutes. But I would still be infuriated by her lack of consideration.

I can't imagine showing up on someone's doorstep unannounced. It's just one of those things that's totally beyond me.

Jan 16, 2009
SBrooksB in Features

Suggestions needed for 4 chicas to NOLA

RE: Friday night.....

It'll be close to midnight by the time you taxi in from the airport, check into the hotel, and venture out in search of food. I'm trying to think what's open late. Coop's, maybe.....Verti Marte.....Clover Grill......

Clover Grill is more greasy spoon than "New Orleans". Verti Marte is take-out (good po-boys) but the place might scare NOLA first-timers!

Coop's is probably your best bet, but phone before heading over to confirm that the kitchen is still serving: 504-525-9053.

Jan 15, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Two Po Boy Questions

Right you are. I should have read more carefully -- the word "Muffuletta" derailed me!

Jan 08, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Two Po Boy Questions

Results from the second annual Po-Boy Festival:


Parkway Bakery & Tavern wins for Roast Beef Po-Boy. (Worth the short taxi ride.)

Jan 08, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans

best po boys

I absolutely second the vote for Parkway's roast beef! Well worth the quick taxi ride to and from the Quarter. http://www.parkwaybakeryandtavernnola...

The local taxi company of choice is United Cab, so put these numbers in your cell phone: 522-9771 and 524-8380.

Jan 05, 2009
SBrooksB in New Orleans


I wonder if you mean Kolb's -- the old German restaurant with the amazing 19th-century belt-and-pulley ceiling fans? The wonderful sign still adorns the building, but the restaurant has been shuttered and empty since the mid '90s. (A pic of the sign from someone's Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maitri/3... )

Dec 06, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

I want to fall in love with NOLA again

Stella! is tremendous.

Nov 09, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best absinthe cocktail in Manhattan?

The place to go is White Star. The bar stocks a number of absinthes, and for now, Obsello is the best of the lot.


Bar owner Sascha Petraske (of Milk and Honey) is a pro, and the fountain drip is done correctly, sans pyrotechnics.

Oct 22, 2008
SBrooksB in Manhattan

Another Muffelata Question...

Don't hesitate to ask for cheese and olive salad -- no meat. I've done it many times.

Jul 25, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Hubig pies - where to buy

If I'm not mistaken, the A&P was bought by Rouse's this year. Same store, new name.

Jul 16, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Good dessert in the quarter

Sounds like you've encountered a lot of stale desserts in the Quarter! Please let us know which restaurants are serving stale desserts, so we can avoid those restaurants and/or their desserts.

I'm a bread pudding fan, and have enjoyed the BP at places such as Palace Cafe, Bourbon House, Gumbo Shop, and Galatoire's.

There's Bananas Foster at Brennan's, of course, and I'm sure any dessert at Stella, Bayona, or Irene's will be terrific. Emeril's has great desserts. I'll go out on a limb and predict that any restaurant that gets above-average reviews for its menu overall will do a good job on desserts as well.

As you probably know, Creole, more than Cajun food is the name of the game in New Orleans. K-Paul's is Cajun, though, so you might want to search for recent reviews.

Good luck!

Jul 16, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best Drinks In New Orleans

Indeed, "choose the way you like and enjoy." When you're paying fifteen to twenty bucks for a glass of absinthe, no one should be lecturing you on how to drink it.

Absinthe "purists" aren't a such a weird breed. We care about good absinthe, and feel that caramelized sugar doesn't do the drink any favors.

But that's just our opinion. To each his own. Cheers!

Jul 02, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best Drinks In New Orleans

Gambit Magazine's "Top 50 Bars":


Pravda was, until recently, the only bar in the Quarter that served absinthe properly. Now, they appear to have sold out to the Bourbon Street crowd. If you don't want your sugar cubes flamed, speak up.

For a brief video on the correct way to prepare absinthe, visit the Wormwood Society:


Jun 24, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best Drinks In New Orleans

THIS JUST IN: It looks like the first of the Jades — Nouvelle-Orléans — is due to land on our shores this fall, along with Claude-Alain Bugnon's wonderful Clandestine!


Jun 23, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best Drinks In New Orleans

As you know, US governmental bureaucracy, in all its Byzantine stupidity, prevents many fine absinthes available in Europe from being sold here. You also know that it's a cinch to order fine European absinthes online and have them shipped to the US -- indeed, most absinthe fans have been ordering from Europe for years. (Visit The Wormwood Society for a list of recommended absinthes and reputable vendors.)

No bar in New Orleans can legally offer you an absinthe that hasn't gotten the US stamp of approval. But do ask at the bar, because you may get lucky. If you don't ask, you'll be offered Kübler, Lucid, and possibly St. George.

The Old Absinthe House, Pravda!, and the Pirate's Alley Cafe were all serving absinthe the last time I visited (fall of '07). By now, I'm sure that every reputable bar serves it, including Arnaud's 75 and Swizzle Stick.

Things are moving forward on the absinthe front, with at least four new absinthes scheduled for US release before the end of 2008. Currently, Ted Breaux has no plans to release his Jade line in the US.

RE: Flaming sugar cubes: IX-NAY the flames when placing your order. Pravda doesn't flame their cubes, but the Old Absinthe House will if you don't speak up. You can also say "no sugar" if, like, me, you prefer your absinthe without.

When ordering a Sazerac, request absinthe in place of Herbsaint.

Good luck!

Jun 19, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best Drinks In New Orleans

Great to know. Thanks!

Jun 15, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Best Drinks In New Orleans


Chris McMillian is no longer at the Library Lounge, and I've heard no word as to his whereabouts. The Library Lounge has been converted into a private, members-only club.

Chris Hannah at Arnaud's 75 Bar (next door to Arnaud's restaurant) is a great bartender -- maybe the Quarter's best. Chris makes my favorite Sazerac in the city!

If you order an absinthe drip at any bar in New Orleans, tell your bartender not to light the sugar cube. It's a cheesy stunt with no historical precedent, but several bars (including, sadly, The Absinthe House) flame their sugar in order to pull in the frat-boys.

Jun 12, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Muffelata Sandwich...

Lost, that was a fantastic report! You took on the Muffuletta Challenge with gusto....I'm so impressed!

I love bataille2's prediction that at some point you'll find yourself questing for the perfect po'-boy. Food quests for "the best" (and the ensuing debates over what is, and what isn't) have kept the city entertained for centuries. In New Orleans, it is possible to fill any conversational lull by saying something -- anything -- about food. It's the conversation everyone is eager to have. New Orleanians are ready to discuss your next meal, your last meal, or the meal you had twenty years ago if only you could remember the name of that place on Arabella.

What's adorable about the New Orleans food scene is how happy and enthusiastic it is. New Orleanians are not stuffy when it comes to eating. In that sensual and celebratory culture, food is something to be excited about.

Napoleon House is one of my favorite places on earth. I sometimes think it's at its best at three or four o'clock in the afternoon, when the rain is coming down in sheets. You can sit quietly with a Pimm's cup and read, or just listen to the storm roll in from the Gulf. I go to Napoleon House to feel the old city....to time-travel.

Come back soon!

Jun 10, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

Favorite place for your birthday cocktail?

For beautifully-made cocktails, Chris Hannah at Arnaud's 75 or Lu Brow at the Swizzle Stick are the absolute tops.

May 12, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

anyone making sazeracs with absinthe now?

I second Rum Runner's endorsement of the Jade absinthes. They're excellent.

If you're just learning about absinthe, do your homework before buying. Educational sites such as The Wormwood Society can help steer you in the right direction.

Too many substandard products are hitting the market, so choose your vendors with care. I like Liqueurs de France, which sells well-crafted, traditional absinthes (including the Jades) sans hype.

I've never ordered a Sazerac at Pravda!, but the bar has an absinthe fountain, and stocks three or four absinthes. Slightly Goth-y in feel, Pravda! appeals to artists, writers, and local hipsters. (Pravda! 1113 Decatur Street, between Ursulines and Gov. Nicholls.)

Apr 23, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans

anyone making sazeracs with absinthe now?


Sadly, Chris McMillian is no longer at the Library Lounge. We're all eager to see where he turns up next.

Vickib recommends the Sazeracs at Arnaud's French 75 Bar (next door to Arnaud's restaurant), and she's right. The excellent Chris Hannah is making the best Sazeracs in the city right now.

Apr 19, 2008
SBrooksB in New Orleans