Showing posts with label sazerac. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sazerac. Show all posts

Friday, March 11, 2011

Croquer: Son Of A Gun

It's no secret that I sort of worship Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook.
Their gut-busting ode to tasty carnage Animal is basically ChocoMeat's Shangri-la. So despite my slow growing love for devouring sea critters, I was still enthusiastically biased going into their new joint Son of a Gun. Hand me a bib and shell-cracker or whatever, I'll eat anything these guys can throw in a pot.

The 3rd street storefront (formerly Restaurant 3, and Cynthia's before that) has been gussied up the likes that Animal has never seen. Marine and boating gear fills most of the wall space whilst plaid-shirted servers circle a monolithic communal table (always open for walk-ins), and bartenders stir cocktails under a print of a monkey about to kill a parrot. The scene is set for beautiful food consumption.

While we waited for our table, Michael, Andy and I sipped on a round of dry Sazeracs. Upon moving to our table we were alerted that the kitchen was out of Alligator Schnitzel! I almost walked out right then! Considering the options we picked pretty easily, well prepped for the menu thanks to some previews we had read. But regardless, starting is always a given - Oysters.

S.O.A.G.'s Malpeque Oysters on the Half Shell with classic condiments were sweet, fresh and supple, nary a lick of grit.

Our second plate out was new to the menu, a Smoked Steelhead Roe with Maple Cream and Pumpernickel. After one smoky-salty-sweet-creamy-crunchy bite, an audible sound resonated in each of us. Very impressive and sophisticated dish. Highly recommended.

We couldn't finish these two items without some proper bubbly, and S.O.A.G. is stocked for just that. Michael picked out the Saint-Chamant a Epernay Blanc de Blanc Brut, one of the most bone-dry, delicate and handsome Champagnes I've ever tasted. A stunning compliment to the entire meal.

A modest Squid Salad with Garbanzo, Mirepoix, and Radicchio surprised our palates with complexity, character, and the perfect amount of spice. A silent warrior.

The Lobster Roll with Celery and Lemon Aioli is dinner roll size, topped with the tiniest potato chips ever made. Tasty, but fell under the radar with only a single bite. Dare I say too small to share?

The Mussels with Tarragon, Pernod, Fennel, Toast arrived in a deep bowl sans-shell - to get right to the point. The soupy pastis-kissed cream sauce was pure elegance. One of my favorite mussel preparations to date.

This is where the meal began showcasing some really unexpected surprises. An elevated classic, the Shrimp Toast Sandwich with Herbs and Sriracha Mayo was incredibly toothsome, and a collective highlight. Crispy, buttery, herby, spicy, and satisfying, we seriously considered ordering another...

Luckily the Fried Chicken Sandwich with Spicy B&B Pickle Slaw and Rooster Aioli appeared just in time to distract us, a large mound of non-oceanic awesomeness begging to be taken quickly. I have to say our entire table may agree with KevinEats that this is possibly the best chicken sandwich. Ever. Tender, juicy, piquant... perfection.

Now, as a blogger I am always embarrassed to admit that I am not a huge fan of fresh water fish. Maybe it was all those trips to the mountains as a kid, watching the trout we fished getting their guts removed by my uncles, occasionally dangled in my direction. I am happy to report that I'm recovering from these issues however and beginning to really enjoy a well prepared fish. The Idaho Trout, Carrot, Potato, Caper Dill Butter made me a believer. The flaky sweet flesh eased off the skin effortlessly and blended nicely with the roasted root vegetables. Somehow this seemingly straight forward dish was one of my palate's favorites.

By now we were pleasantly pickled but ready for one more drink to take us into dessert. We giggled at the "Temperance" (non-alcoholic) section heading of the drink menu, and found the bubbly cocktails. Andy and I opted for the Air Mail while Michael perused the digestifs. A twist on the classic Air Mail (rum, lime, honey, bubbly), S.O.A.G. spikes the bubbly with Chartreuse Green VEP and just a kiss of lime. Went well with our first dessert...

Incredibly simple, the Frozen Lime Yogurt, Graham Crumble, Toasted Meringue didn't need frills, it was balanced and refreshing.

Skeptical of the Flourless Chocolate Cake, Banana, Peanut, Coconut Ice Cream description, I actually quite enjoyed the deconstruction. The banana was brûléed, the peanuts glazed in a heavy caramel beside sprinkles of coarse sea salt. Sometimes deconstruction works, and a swipe of a spoon across this plate did it for me.

Speaking of skepticism, after asking what the Hoboken Special was, the table shared a guffaw over the answer - frozen chocolate custard and... Pineapple Fanta. But who am I to turn down a challenge? Bring it on, we said. And son of a gun, we actually enjoyed it quite a bit. All of it.

8370 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90048; 323.782.9033
Son Of A Gun in Los Angeles on Fooddigger
Son of a Gun Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buvare: NOLA Hotel Bars

There's something terribly civilized about sipping a cocktail in a classy hotel lounge to me. But finding one that isn't overly stuffy or embarrassingly dated can take a little bit of work. Effortlessly cool New Orleans however has a handful of winners in this department. One of which was the site of our Friday nightcap, the Swizzle Stick Bar at Café Adelaide, in the Loews New Orleans Hotel. The Arts District hotel lobby bar was recommended to me by Harriet Bell (publisher; Emeril's cookbook maestro) as THE place in NOLA to have a Sazerac... or two. And we did!
The Sazerac, official cocktail of New Orleans

From the Brennan family (behind NOLA's celebrated Commander’s Palace), Café Adelaide is an homage to the family's Aunt Adelaide, who "personified the avant-garde cocktail culture of the late 1950s and 1960s, and represents the joie de vivre of all that is New Orleans." Despite the more contemporary digs, the timeless spirit of the city comes through the cocktails and stellar service.
The most famous hotel bar in town is easily the Carousel Bar in New Orleans' historic Hotel Monteleone. Built in 1886, the grandiose Monteleone on Royal Street was the first (and to this day, only) high-rise building in the interior French Quarter. The off-lobby bar, originally opened as the Swan Room, was transformed in 1949 with the installation of a 25-seat circular bar turning on 2,000 large steel rollers, powered by a 1/4-horsepower motor, rotating one revolution every 15 minutes.
The Carousel Bar in 1968

The Carousel was renovated in 1992 with the addition of a new circus-like top and fiber optics in the ceiling to create the appearance of stars in the night sky (a shooting star can occasionally be seen crossing the room).
The Carousel Bar is known for more than its signature ambiance, a bevy of signature cocktails have too achieved notoriety including The Goody and The Vieux Carré Cocktail (above). Last year in the spirit of the bar's 60th anniversary, the hotel hopelessly searched for the lost recipe for The Monteleone, a cocktail served in the bar up until the 1960’s. Luckily NOLA-native cocktailian Chuck Taggart stepped in to their aid, re-imagining a cocktail in honor of the institution.

Vieux Carré Cocktail
1 ounce rye whiskey
1 ounce Cognac
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 teaspoon Bénédictine D.O.M.
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients in a double Old Fashioned glass over ice; stir.

The Monteleone Cocktail
by Chuck Taggart
1 ounce Sazerac Rye (6 year old)
1 ounce Bols Genever
1 ounce Dolin Vermouth Blanc
1/2 ounce Averna
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6

Combine with ice in a mixing glass and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass (serve up). Garnish with an orange peel twist.
As the bar slowly turned and I savored my nectarous Vieux Carré -like most places in New Orleans- the ghosts started to come out. I imagined the faces across from me that of past patrons Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner, chatting over the tunes of Liberace (the first person to play the piano that still resides in the bar).
I may not have been able to actually see it, but I could taste it.

The Swizzle Stick Bar
Loews New Orleans Hotel
300 Poydras St. New Orleans, LA; 504.595.3305

The Carousel Bar
Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St. New Orleans, LA; 504.523.3341

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Voyager Bien: New Orleans, Day 5

The vampires had crawled back into their coffins, spirits retreated into the swamp, and the pirates set back out to sea... The first day of November brought an even calm to New Orleans, a ghostly quiet in streets on sunny All Soul's Day.
And speaking of haunts, everyone wanted Clover Grill for hangover brunch, though late last night's hubcap burger was definitely still with me. Still, I went along to get the full Clover experience.Just in time to nab the last table before the breakfast wait began, I embraced the greasy air filling the cramped diner. Service is definitely a large factor in Clover's appeal, sassy as you've ever had it, the brash men behind the counter here in the heart of Bourbon Street's gay district serve up a side of camp with your bacon. The unassuming menu even is chock full of laugh-out-loud witticisms.Hubcap burgers grillin'Craving a simple starter, I ordered grits, bacon, and coffee. (Plus I had high hopes for the river cruise jazz brunch party next on the agenda). The guys still needed their hangover fix though and dug in, ordering club sandwiches and burgers.
After breakfast we strolled to the waterfront where the Steamboat Natchez was docked and ready for our chartered river cruise and brunch, the Steam Calliope (a 32-note steam pipe organ) blasting tunes while we waited to board. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for a boat ride. The sun sparkled on the surface of the Mississippi as bartenders on the deck mixed up spicy bloody marys with pickled okra. We sipped our drinks and watched the massive red paddle wheel begin to slowly turn and propel us out into the river.
After a while in the sun, we checked out the dining room on the main level where local jazz vocalist Anais St. John and the Harry Mayronne Trio were performing. A buffet of New Orleans soul food was being served as well. Still searching for my appetite, I had a tasty bowl of gumbo filé but skipped on the red beans and rice. I did however partake in my first New Orleans bread pudding which was delicious.
We returned to the deck for more warming sun and mimosas. I kicked up my feet on the railing and truly relaxed for what felt like the first time in ages. We enjoyed each others' company and secretly prayed that the dock wouldn't invariably reappear before us. But alas..

Back on land, Michael and I parted from the guys to catch a cab to City Park New Orleans to catch The Flaming Lips perform at one of the city's leading music festivals, Voodoo. No stranger to an outdoor music fest, the setting at City Park was a refreshing change of pace, giant ancient oaks draped in Spanish moss lining the main walk between stages, crisp autumn air, the smell of N'awlins food, and a clear full moon lighting the evening into night.We were in and out within hours, happy and fully satiated from our rather laid-back festival experience, free of mobby crowds, endless lines, and ridiculous parking. We hailed a cab immediately and were back in the French Quarter in minutes.

Definitely feeling hungry as night fell, we tried to decide where to spend our last supper in the city. We referred to a local foodie friend's list we scribbled down a few nights prior, somewhat randomly selecting Mr. B's Bistro, a new spot for both of us.
Mr. B's induces an immediate golden era time warp upon passing through the heavy rotating door. Starched waiters buzz between clothed tables, dark woods and golden hanging lanterns evenly lighting the room in a dim sultry haze. Prepared for the wait we were met with, we moved to the bar and ordered Sazeracs. The adroit bartender showcased his well-seasoned preparation of the New Orleans classic cocktail, capturing the attention of most as he created our perfect cocktails. We literally whimpered upon first taste. Another lovely sensation arrived in the form of a fragrant Creole barbecued shrimp dish to our neighbors at the bar. Oh man, this was going to be good.
Once seated, we didn't waste any time and started with the Gumbo Ya Ya – A rich country style gumbo made with chicken and andouille sausage. This was the most piquant gumbo I had in NOLA, and was so very pleased to find the recipe on Mr. B's site!
Next we shared the Mr. B's Crabcake – A pan sauteed jumbo lump crab cake served with a ravigote sauce. Seriously the hugest and most luscious crab cake I've ever had. Delish.
The fried oysters on the half shell shocked me at how light they were in texture and flavor – fresh mouthwatering cornmeal-battered bites, toothsome in part from the drizzle of bacon-horseradish hollandaise...
For the entrée we had a hard time deciding between the shrimp & grits and the New Orleans barbecued shrimp we had seen (and smelled) in the bar... We decided ultimated against the barbecued shrimp (but bonus: the recipe is on their site here!). The shrimp & grits was an amazing choice – a sauté of applewood smoked bacon wrapped jumbo Gulf shrimp served with creamy stone ground yellow grits and chicory red-eye gravy... We're talking death row last meal kind of good here. I could drizzle this chicory coffee reduction demi-glace on anything.
As tempting as hot buttered pecan pie or bread pudding served warm with Irish whiskey sauce was following the meal, we felt sick with riches and threw in the towel. We took a LONG walk home to work off some calories, and taking in the last stroll under the gas lamps before leaving the following afternoon. Not sure if from the life-changing meal or the thought of leaving, but in better light a small tear may have been seen in my eye.

Clover Grill
900 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116; 504.598.1010
Clover Grill on Urbanspoon

Steamboat Natchez
Toulouse Street and the Mississippi River

Mr. B's Bistro
201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130; 504.523.2078
Mr. B's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Voodoo Fest pics via flickr &