Monday, December 31, 2012

Recipe | Tujague's Brisket

Tujague's beef brisket with creole sauce

Opened in 1856, Tujague's Restaurant is the 2nd oldest restaurant in New Orleans. A longtime menu staple is its beef brisket with creole sauce. You can sample the brisket at the French Quarter Festival, too. Here is their recipe: 

  • 4 to 6 lbs. choice brisket, preferably the butt end
  • 1 large onion, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 medium turnip, cut into chunks
  • Leafy tops of 1 bunch celery
  • Stems of 1 bunch parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 2 bay leaves, broken in half
  • 2 cloves (not essential, but it makes the kitchen smell good)
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup Creole mustard
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce (or ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
1. Bring two gallons of water to a boil in a large stockpot.

2. Trim all huge slabs of fat from the brisket, but don't be too severe about this. Cut it if necessary into two or three pieces to fit your pot. (It's okay if it sticks out a little bit.) Put it into the water (no need to wait for it to boil). Add all the other ingredients. Cover the pot.

3. When the pot comes to a boil, lower it to the lowest possible temperature. Simmer for four to six hours, or whatever it takes for the brisket to pull apart when clutched with tongs. Skim off the scum that may rise to the surface.

4. Remove the brisket and set aside. Strain out the vegetables and discard, but save the beef stock for other uses--notably vegetable soup. The stock can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week, or it can be frozen almost indefinitely.

5. Slice the brisket it or serve it in large cubes, but cut against the grain with a sharp, non-serrated knife. The meat will be falling apart and easy to eat. Serve with boiled cabbage, potatoes, and carrots.

6. To make the sauce, blend the three sauce ingredients. Serve cool.

Serves 8.

Tujague's Restaurant is located at 823 Decatur Street, New Orleans. Reservations are recommended - 504.525.8676.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Brunch | Ralph's on the Park

I love eating out in New Orleans this time of year. Restaurants are decorated and diners are celebrating. There's definitely a festive feel in the air.

Today I joined some friends at Ralph's on the Park for Sunday Brunch. We started with cocktails ... Sazeracs and such.  None of us chose the prix fixe brunch menu. Instead, we all ordered appetizers and entrees. 

I started with the cane glazed shrimp fried with corn meal tempura batter and served with a pickled peppers, jalapeño and lime crème fraîche. The combination of textures and flavors worked perfectly. 

Cane glazed shrimp

Other appetizers included the blue crab beignets with pepper jelly cream.

Blue crab beignets

Pickled beet salad with baby arugula, red onion, and creamy feta cheese. 

Pickled beet salad

For my entree, I ordered the eggs Sardou with browned buttered artichoke hearts, creamed spinach, poached eggs, tomato hollandaise, topped with lump crab meat. 

Eggs Sardou
Other entrees included steak and eggs: a blackened bistro steak served with brabant potatoes, wild mushrooms and topped with a brandy butter sauce.

Steak & eggs

And, the fried chicken liver omelet with roasted corn grits, mixed mushrooms, and a chicken reduction sauce. 

Fried chicken liver omelet

A good time was had by all! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Saint & A Killer Walk into a Bar

Historically, bar food in the French Quarter consisted of burgers, nachos, and cheese fries. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But two relatively new spots have, ahem, raised the bar.

Saint Lawrence NOLA

Saint Lawrence NOLA,  named for the patron saint of cooks,  is owned by Brendan Blouin and Jeff James. It is located at 219 N. Peters, between Iberville and Bienville Streets. St. Lawrence's web site claims their mission is to "... humbly present a seasonal approach to elevated, epicurean bar fare."

I walked over there for lunch yesterday. The menu is surprisingly sophisticated: Roasted Beets, orange, shaved fennel, goat cheese, arugula, & Steens cane vinaigrette; Crispy confit wings, pepper jelly glaze & goat cheese dressing; Reuben Spring Rolls - corned beef, chowchow, Gruyere & 1000 Island; Turducken Burger - trinity of birds, green apple remoulade, duck cracklins & dirty rice; Fried Chicken - apple cider brine, mashed potatoes, & chicken demi gravy ; Pork Chop - Duroc Pork, apple butter, braised greens & crispy onion; and  Lamb Stew with shoestring potatoes & Bearnaise. This is only a sample of the menu items offered. Not like any bar menu I've ever seen.

Alas, I was in the mood for the burger: Two Run Farm grass-fed beef on a brioche bun served with hand-cut fries. The brioche bun was just firm enough so as not to fall apart - a big plus in my book. And the fries were thin and perfectly fried. It was delicious.

Two Run Farm burger

Saint Lawrence Nola on Urbanspoon

Killer PoBoys

Killer PoBoys  is located in a small space at the back of Erin Rose, a bar at 811 Conti Street, between Bourbon and Dauphine Streets. Killer PoBoys is owned by Cam Boudreaux and April Bellow.  It is a tiny operation, but they are serving terrific food. The limited po-boy menu offers: Roasted seasonal vegetables with red bean puree chimichurri; Coriander lime gulf shrimp with marinated radish carrot, cucumber, herbs & a special sauce; the "Dark & Stormy" with NOLA Rum braised pork, lime slawgarlic aioli; the Moroccan spiced lamb sausage with tzatziki sauce, sumac carrots & torn mint; and the Guinness & garlic braised beef with horseradish aioli & pickled onions. All are served on perfectly delicious french bread from Duong Phong Oriental Bakery in New Orleans East, and range in price from $8 to $12.

Today I enjoyed the Moroccan spiced lamb sausage po-boy. I have to say, Vietnamese french bread, made with rice flour, is far superior to other local french bread. One: it doesn't fall apart. Two: it is crispy but doesn't tear up the roof of your mouth.

Moroccan spiced lamb sausage po-boy

Next time, I'll try either the "Dark & Stormy" pork or the Guinness & garlic braised beef. And I'll likely get it to go -- smoking is allowed in the bar which is only a few feet away.  (By the way, Killer PoBoys is cash only).

Killer Poboys (Erin Rose Bar) on Urbanspoon


Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday Supper at Lüke

In 2007, Chef John Besh opened his 3rd restaurant, named after his 3rd son, at 333 St. Charles Avenue. Lüke is a brasserie in the Franco-German style, typical of New Orleans neighborhood restaurants of years gone by. 

The Executive Chef at Lüke is Chef Matt Regan who worked at the Victoria Inn in Lafitte for seven years. In Lafitte, Chef Regan learned about our local seafood, “whether from the softshell crab factory right down the road or finding the best picked crabmeat at Higgins Seafood.” Prior to taking the reins at Lüke, Chef Regan worked at other Besh restaurants including American Sector and Besh Steak.

One Sunday a month, Lüke hosts its “Sunday Supper,” a 4-course feast served family style for $45 per person. I’ve been to Sunday Supper twice, and both times it was delicious. On my most recent visit, I was the invited guest of the Besh Group.

The menu:

1st course:

Plateaus of P&J oysters both raw and baked with persillade crust.

Alaskan King crab thermidor.

Confit chicken gizzards, spicy local greens, & yard eggs. (Sorry, no picture).

Jambon persillé, ham terrine in rich parsley aspic, country bread and mustards.

2nd course:

Covey Rise Farms winter squash and shrimp bisque.

3rd course:

La Louisianne Coq au Vin: local roosters slow-cooked in red wine, bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions with roasted root vegetables, buttered handmade noodles.

4th course:

Baba au Rhum: rich brioche cake soaked in spiced rum and local citrus syrup.

The food is served family style to diners seated at long tables.

We had a wonderful time breaking bread with new friends.

Lüke is a CBD gem, always buzzing. Lüke’s Happy Hour features discounted raw oysters as well as cocktails. Recently New Orleans Magazine voted it Raw Bar of the Year for 2012.

Some of my menu favorites are: anything from the seafood bar, the Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with garlic & thyme with house-made fries, the Lüke burger with Allan Benton’s bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, Emmenthaler Swisscheese with house-made fries, and the Flamenkuche –a thin Alsacien onion tarte, with bacon & Emmenthaler cheese.

Lüke is located at 333 St. Charles Avenue. It is open daily from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The phone number is 504. 378.2840

Lüke on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Toups' Meatery

My friends Bob and Greg were in town from San Francisco for their yearly visit recently. Each time they visit, we go to a restaurant they've never been to. This year I recommended Toups' Meatery in Mid-City. What a good decision!

We started with the meatery board for the table. The board is filled with house-made: charcuterie, boudin balls, sausage, pickled vegetables, mustards, and ...

Toups' Meatery Board
 their kick-ass, habit-forming cracklins!

Toups' Cracklins

The entrees were fantastic. Bob and Butch got the double cut pork chop served with dirty rice and cane syrup gastrique. This "chop" was tender, juicy and FULL of flavor.

Double cut pork chop with dirty rice
On the recommendation of our waiter, Larry Nguyen (also the general manager), I got the confit chicken thighs with white beans, mustard greens, and gizzard gravy. Talk about good!
Confit chicken thighs with white beans, mustard greens & gizzard gravy

Greg went with an appetizer combo as his entree. He started with the mixed green salad with tempura gouda and pecans. Nice combination.  

Mixed green salad, herbed vinaigrette, tempura Gouda, pecans
Next, he chose the meatballs with ginger-lemongrass BBQ sauce and sprinkled with gruyere. Very, very tasty.

Meatballs with ginger-lemongrass BBQ sauce, & gruyere

Kathy ordered the tri tip steak served with creamed potatoes, oyster mushrooms,  and sauce bordelaise - it was divine!

Tri tip steak, creamed potatoes, oyster mushrooms,  & sauce bordelaise
Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the mussels in a white wine chili broth served with grilled bread, but Vicki raved about them.
Chef Isaac Toups was born and raised in Rayne, Louisiana, and  "made his entry into food as a cook at Emeril’s Delmonico and spent the following decade within Emeril’s Restaurant Group." His wife and business partner, Amanda, has an extensive background in wine and wine education. And, general manager, Larry Nguyen, is a native New Orleanian who "has worked in every aspect of the restaurant industry for over 15 years." 

The dining room is comfortable, the service friendly & attentive, and the food fantastic. I can't wait to go back! Put Toups' Meatery on your "Don't Miss" list.

Toups' Meatery is located at 845 N. Carrollton Avenue (a stone's throw from City Park). Their hours are Lunch: 11-2:30 Dinner: 5-9 Tues — Sat and Fri & Sat Open till 10pm. Reservations for dinner are recommended: 504.252.4999.

Toups' Meatery on Urbanspoon