New Orleans and Tales of the Cocktail 2012

Time to change pace and content on this blog for a while…so i`m taking a break from my normal cocktail posts…

I`m now in New Orleans again and will cover the Tales plus you may expect everything and anything New Orleans during the upcoming month depending on time permitting…so keep an eye for the Tales and other fun things coming up!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Soft Shell Crab with Smoked Creole Tomato Sauce at Muriel’s Jackson Square

Source: Uploaded by user via MurielsJacksonSquare on Pinterest

 

NOLA BEER GOES TO SWEDEN AND SWEDISH BEER GOES TO NOLA

It`s all about our beers…

It´s soon time for the “The Kindness of Strangers Beer Event” at the Avenue Pub in New Orleans. When i came back from Nola in august there was a Nola festival here at Akkurat Bar and Restaurant with Abita and Nola Brewing beers, Louisiana inspired menu and the yearly crawfish boils turned Louisiana style too, heck they even threw a belated Mardi Gras party! that´s not exactly what i expected to happen here coming back after almost a month in Nola. It´s actually the first time it happens and i hope it will be a tradition.

Now it´s time to send back those empty beer barrels this time filled with 18 different Swedish beers to Nola to be served at the Avenue Pub on the Swedish Beer Festival on january 21 – the first ever held in America. Also there´s gonna be a Swedsih Beer Dinner at Boucherie.

I think it´s a really cool idea to switch beers like that!

Among the beers to be served is one called the Stormaktsporter which is one of the most coveted imperial stouts in the world. It’s only available in a few places in Sweden and made in tiny batches. I have never yet tried it.

If you wanna read more about this and also see a list of the beers that are going to be served continue reading here.

Those of you my dear readers who are curious about some craft Swedish beers and living in Nola or going there in january, head over to the Avenue Pub on jan 21!

And if you go to Avenue Pub you`ll find one of my friend´s art there.

1732 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans
(Between stops #11 and #12 on the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar line)

NEW ORLEANS FOOD part 2 – Some serious Gourmet Poboy`s and Oysters

This is a slightly belated post about food during Tales week..or really anytime! this is part two.

Forget about your ordinary Poboy´s for a while..no matter how tasty they are…cuz i`m gonna present some killer one´s that i hope you`ll try when you get a chance, maybe next year at Tales?

I saw two pics taken by Lauren (Fleurtygirl) of these gourmet poboy`s and the first one got me to seriously drool..and the 2nd pic blew me away.  When i saw those pics i was happy that i was in Nola and not a thousand miles away from those sandwiches…i`m talking about the gourmet poboy´s at Ye Olde College Inn.

Ye Olde College Inn” is located on 3000 South Carrollton Avenue. They open at 4pm.

They use fresh produce from the Fig Street Farm, Crescent City Farmers Market, the Hollygrove Market and Clayton Miller Produce. Locally grown seasonal fresh produce ensures fresh crisp and good quality food.

I try to find fresh local produce if i can, wherever i am because nothing beats it and it´s always good to support local businesses.

Fried Green Tomato Shrimp Remoulade  Poboy,

Award-Winning Fried Bread Pudding Po-Boy with Rum Sauce

So how did they taste?

Well, i must say they are BIG – i only ordered a half loaf – and the pictures do not do them justice, not by a long shot. The bread is lightly toasted, it`s a lot that goes into your mouth so to me a half poboy was enough. But i also did order the award winning dessert Poboy – Fried bread pudding Poboy with Rum Sauce and it was droolingly delicious.

The other Poboy was a fried green tomato shrimp remoulade poboy (award winning “Best Of Show”) quite a bit of creole mustard in the remoulade sauce and it was of course also delicious.

My friend ordered a perfectly baked Baked Redfish topped with Louisiana Lump Crabmeat over herb roasted tri-color potatoes, asparagus & cherry tomato vinaigrette and it was of course tasty in a way food can be only in Nola..! Next time you go to Tales or just to Nola, try to stop by College Inn for some real good treats, maybe paired with something fun at the neighbouring Rock`n Bowl.

You can also take the st Charles streetcar to get there, ride all the way to the end station at South  Carrolton (it`s a scenic and enjoyable route) and then you walk a couple blocks until you see College Inn on your left side.

But last but not the least..there´s another place to get real good poboy´s i need to mention and that is Parkway Bakery, want some REAL GOOD poboys? go to Parkway. You won`t be disappointed and you will return, i promise.

Shrimp poboy

And last…but not the least – if you`re on Frenchmen and gets hungry there is of course places to eat and one of the good ones is Adolfo`s on the second floor above the Apple Barrel but also on the street you may see a couple selling wraps.

That`s Sarah and Joe, they sell homemade wraps and the menu changes daily from barbeque to regular wraps and at a very good price, it´s tasty too and very welcome late at night when you come out of  for example Dba.

OYSTERS AND ALLIGATOR

 



Charbroiled oysters and buttery garlicky cheeze sauce at Acme Oysterhouse.

Freshly chucked gulf oysters on the half shell at Felix´s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Opposite each other on Iberville st near Monteleone are two very good places for oysters, both on the half shell and charbroiled. The first one almost always has a long queue – Acme and the other is Felix`s.

At Acme we had a fantastic meal with charbroiled oysters, fries and hush puppies, a fantastic smoky jambalaya which i will return to eat, fried shrimp and fish platter, french bread to sop up all the buttery garlicky cheesy sauce…

Well..there´s a reason why there´s almost always a queue outside that place.

But the place on the other side, Felix`s – is also worth visiting and less queue. They have great oysters and their blackened gator is yum!

Don`t be afraid of trying alligator, the meat is not dark red and weird as so many seems to believe, it´s more like chicken and it really is tasty in all forms from sausage on a stick or in a poboy to cheesecake a la Jaques-Imos or like this, Felix´s blackened gator.

After all you´re in New Orleans, they know how to cook…so try things!

Blackened Louisiana alligator at Felix´s.

Many thanks to Tony Harion for the pictures of the blackened gator and the charbroiled oysters.

That was all from this year`s food adventure from me which this time was all about seafood and poboys.

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 – part 1 – Toast, Rum and Negroni

Saintsations and Young Pinstripe Brassband to kick off the Taless 2011 toast.

Brassbands…some of the best music you can hear.

The yearly toast to kick off Tales started with music and dance by the Young Pinstripe Brassband and the Saintsations! and as a huge Saints fan i was very happy to see them! And then followed the toast to Tales to honor the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society and the Sazerac Seal of Approval winners.

The 2011 Sazerac Seal of Approval recipients are Sylvain, Napoleon House, Tujague’s, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House, Dominique’s and Loa in the International House hotel.

This was followed by the the world´s largest Genever slurp toast –  the Bols Genever Kopstootje (pronounced kop-stow-tjuh) represents the original Dutch ritual of a beer paired with a Bols Genever shot.

So the street was set with long tables with shots, a Bols t-shirt and a cold beer and everybody who did get a space did the slurp together. Those who didn´t get a space (me for example) since the street was completely packed did get the beer and  t-shirt.

The calm before the storm..

People wanna do the Kopstootje slurp!

And slurp!

So with this Tales was on!

The first seminar i went to was not surprisingly a seminar about rum. “6 Rums You Will Probably Never taste Again” led by Ed Hamilton from Ministry of Rum.

THERE´S A LITTLE BIT OF MAGIC IN EVERY BOTTLE OF RUM…


Six very special rums is what we got to hear about and taste and these six were rums from Prichard`s – barrel aged (Tennessee), Botran Reserva and Solera 1893 (Guatemala) Flor de Cana (Nicaragua) Abuelo Centuria (Panama) Santa Teresa Bodega Privada selection (Venezuela) Neisson Réserve Spécial (Martinique)

Ed showed us pictures from the distilleries and told the story about these rums. These were all very good rums, i specifically liked Abuelo Centuria and Neisson Réserve Spécial.

Taste is personal…but here´s a little about how i found these six rums:

Prichard`s – barrel aged – fruity, a bit oaky and vanilla.

Botran Reserva and Solera 1893 – sweet, a little oak,  fruity and caramel

Flor de Cana, from a barrel sample that was put aside for Ed – lots of depth,  this was unfiltered rum right out of the barrel. Woody, oak, much complexity and long finish. each sip was full of flavor.

Abuelo Centuria – The only one of these six that has been commercially bottled and fetch a price of USD 136. It´s a blend of rums, where the oldest rumis over 130 years old.

Very tasty and fullbodied, sweet, round, sugarcane, excellent rum.

Santa Teresa – As part of their Bodega Privada selection, the Santa Teresa sells a blend of aged rums to those who want their own rum which is stored in casks at the Santa Teresa warehouse until it is bottled for the owner.

This sample belons to an anonymous friend in the industry. The oldest rum in the blend is 12 years. A quite light rum with flavors of vanilla and oak.

Neisson (1993) – 18 yo, a bit higher proof. Rhum agricole made from sugarcane juice. Excellent, dry, rich and aromatic, very flavorful – superb.

That was a rum filled and interesting seminar with some good rum samples to enjoy!

Next seminar was all about the Negroni.

NEGRONI AN ICONIC COCKTAIL


I went to this session because i`m a lover of the Negroni and of Campasri and so this was a must. We got the history of the Negroni told with some very interesting photos to see from the old days in italy.

This seminar was moderated by Paul Clarke and the panelists were Jacques Bezuidenhout, and Livio Lauro

The Negroni – both a perfect and icoic cocktail, fresh and vibrant with a deep and true history which you`ll soon be able to read in a new book that is coming out.

The book is written by Kuca Picchi and is called “The true Story of the Negroni Cocktail” and if you´re interested you can send an e-mail to – Negronibook@gmail.com for further info and to reserve a copy.

The Negroni originates from the italian coffeeshops and the aperitivo is a way to keep italians from going home…and the ritual started in Turin, Florens and Florens or Firenze is the capital of the Negroni.

We tasted 3 different Negronis, one classic, a Negroni Swizzle and one carbonated. What vermouth adds to a cocktail is both sweetness and acidity and bitters adds some spice and fun! The appeal of the Negroni is that it uses bitters, speaks of it`s place (Italy) and is a very special cocktail!

There was actually much more Negroni to come during this Tales…


There was also the Negroni with a Twist Party with the World’s largest Negroni cocktail ever made at the Sonesta and a more packed room than that one i have never seen before, i tweeted “How much people can they possibly fit into a room”??????

It was almost impossible to move…much less balancing two cocktails and a plate of food….seems like most everybody wanted a taste of the world´s biggest Negroni…which was served from a huge ice block. Well, huge crowds is very much a part of the Tales…

The recipe included Campari, Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin and M&R Sweet Vermouth. Also other twists of the Negroni was served made with talian brands such as Luxardo, Aperol and Mionetto Prosecco.

 

 

To go with the Negroni cocktails was served crispy grissini sticks, strawberries with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and some very fat yummy green olives.

The third Negroni event was a Negroni toast hosted by Campari to celebrate the nominees of this year’s Annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award and Negroni´s was served in the Monteleone lobby.

This was all  for now – part two from Tales is soon to be posted. I apologize for being late with my posts but i just came back to Sweden after almost a month in New Orleans.

Next up are the sessions about the Mai Tai, the 151 Swizzling around the World, Vanilla and Agave spirits followed by part 2 about some good Nola food.

NEW ORLEANS FOOD – Do you love Seafood and Poboy`s?

Charbroiled oysters at big Al`s

Prior to Tales of the Cocktail i just wanna post a little about this wonderful city which has such amazing food. Of course the food here isn´t only seafood and poboys, there´s tons of different things, but I´ve mainly been eating fried seafood here since i came back – since that`s what i like the most and also cannot get where i live unless i make it myself.

And as you know, it always tastes better in place and what i make at home may be tasty but it doesn´t even come close to what you get here. One reason is the fresh produce, gulf shrimps for example has more and different flavor than any other shrimps i´ve had anywhere, same with the oysters.

They sure got flavor down here!

Not been here for more than a couple days but lawd what an amount of great food i already have had. OK i won`t be able to post about that many places in this post, so i´ll most likely post more later on. But maybe this post can help to point out a few good places to go for those of you coming in for the Tales in about a week from now. i know you wanna eat! (not only drink..)

The first place i wanna point out is Jaques-Imos. I wrote about Jaques-Imos last year and it was the first place to go when i came back last friday. You find it in uptown on 8324 Oak Street right beside the Maple Leaf bar (which i also recommend and where Rebirth brassband plays on tuesdays)

The menu is as ecclectic as the place itself and reservations are only taken for parties of five or more up to 30 days in advance. All other parties will be first come, first served. That means – since it´s so popular you might have to wait for a table, we waited 2 hours almost, but it´s well worth the wait believe me. And while you wait you go to the Maple Leaf of course and have beer;-)

Lump crab meat stuffed shrimp at Jaques-Imos

Alligator cheesecake

We ordered a big mix of all kinda things and shared the sides which one of them was the unforgettable alligator cheesecake – make sure to get that one. I also had lump crab meat stuffed shrimp, fried oyster salad and BBQ shrimp…

As you can see i`m a seafood lover and have no problem in ordering two different shrimp dishes at the same time paired with crawfish and crab…but there´s more than seafood here of course. When you been to Jaques-Imos you`ll think that you never ever will be able to be hungry again!

Another place i want to recommend is Palace Cafe on 605 Canal Street, between Chartres and Royal Streets. If you wanna get something REAL good, go here! Their BBQ shrimp is “to die for”.  I also had lump crabmeat cheesecake with fried crab claws on top with a New Orleans style barbecue sauce, spiked with Abita beer and served Creole toasted French bread.

BBQ shrimp at Palace Cafe

This lump crabmeat cheesecake is baked in a pecan crust with a wild mushroom sauté and Creole meunière sauce and topped with 3 fried crab claws. Butter sauteed crawfish at left.

Then i had butter sauteed crawfish, turtle soup and finally a bananas foster. To that i drank Abita andygator – but there´s cocktails if you want – why not try Peter’s Planters Punch with New Orleans Amber Rum, fresh lemon & orange juice and housemade cardamom syrup? I´m gonna do that the next time which will be soon.

Bananas Foster at Palace Cafe

If you get a chance to get out of New Orleans and happen to love seafood i recommend big Al`s Seafood in Houma, about an hour drive or so from NO.

Here is seafood heaven! I had fried softshell crab (fried to perfection) fried shrimps, crawfish, hush puppies, charbroiled oysters, sweet potato fries..all served with various dipping sauces and of course washed down with ice cold abita beer. YUM YUMMY and YUM! Ah…those crunchy crab legs…

Fried softshell crab and sweet potato fries at Big Al`s.

Then we have the Poboy´s…anyone who have been here knows what that is and there´s many places to get them and i won´t try to go into where´you get the best sandwiches since i haven´t tried all places yet. But here´s two places, yes only two…i wanna recommend for now – if you wanna find out more about where to go, just google “best poboy” – you´ll get a few hints…i have also saved a real good one to have its own post – soon to come.

So one is Gene’s on St. Claude & Elysian Fields, (1040 Elysian Fields Ave) their hot sausage Poboy is wicked, and then we got Johnnie´s on 511 Saint Louis Street in the french quarter. They are everywhere and they are tasty and they are the best dressed sandwiches on the planet.

And they all share one thing, they got that bread…Leidenheimer…it has has a crunchy crust with a very light center. And they should preferably be dressed. (That is with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles etc)

So make sure you get yourself  Poboy`s and try many different ones! shrimp, hot sausage, alligator, oyster, catfish, softshell crab, french fries,  roastbeef…you won´t be hungry.

Well, that was a little about some of the food here, more to come…

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL AND NEW ORLEANS 2011

It´s soon time for Tales of the Cocktail again! so let´s see what gonna happen this year. I hope i will be able to keep up with all that´s going on during Tales which is a LOT and at the same time enjoy everything New Orleans has to offer which also is A LOT!

If anyone wanna check out some good Tales survival tips for first-timers – go read here and all the pre-Tales posts presenting the top of the iceberg of what`s going to happen you can read at the Tales blog.

I can really recommend anyone who likes cocktails to visit the Tales of the Cocktail! it´s like a Mardi Gras for booze nerds…but also it´s so much more than that – it´s also New Orleans! a city like no other… with a rich and deep and resilient culture…that celebrates life and the moment. Music, food, colors and textures.

I`m leaving now, i might post something about New Orleans before the Tales, in any case i`m planning to participate in the next week`s MxMo but apart from that – see you at the Tales!

Let´s get dat pawty stawted..