Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"We’ll Have Big Fun on the Bayou ..."

Those are the Hank Williams' lyrics that came to mind when I stopped for lunch yesterday in the small Cajun town of Beaux Bridge.

If life should find you cruising along Interstate 10 in southern Louisiana, I would heartily recommend the Crazy 'Bout Crawfish Cajun Cafe (337-332-3071). It's located in the town of Beaux Bridge, about 1 hour and 45 minutes west of New Orleans.

The cafe, small and casual, serves up tasty food. I had the crawfish etouffee over crawfish cornbread. There is nice artwork on the walls, and prices are moderate to expensive.

Exit I-10 at Beaux Bridge, head south about 100 yards and the cafe will be on your right.

A Seafood Possibility

This recipe from the NY Times' website sounds good. It's scallops with cream and basil.

Of course, it includes a little garlic. Is there any good main course that doesn't include garlic in the recipe?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wine Prices in the Stratosphere

The duck schnitzel at Emeril's last night in New Orleans was fantastic -- pounded thin and just the right amount of breading. Just about everything at the restaurant in the city's warehouse district was superb Monday night.

Having said that, this restaurant (and many others) deserves to be taken to task for at least one thing.

Soon after sitting down, I scanned the wine list, and I noticed that of roughly 125 bottles of red wine listed, roughly 100 of them were priced at or above $150. Don't get me wrong. There were some extraordinary bottles on there. A 2001 of Penfold's highly celebrated Grange, for example, as well as some great bottles of Brunello di Montalcino.

I could understand why a number of them were priced well over $100, but there's something wrong when 80% of the reds on a wine list (even one at a top-flight restaurant) are priced at or above $150.

C'mon, Emeril's. Quit adding a luxury tax to your wine prices. It's ridiculous, and it's part of the reason why diners get so intimidated around wine. Not all of us have country club memberships and a Porsche in the garage.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I ordered the $55 bottle of Gigondas, and it was excellent.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just the Right Amount of Cheese

It's not easy being fussy. I like more cheese on my pizza than the pizza makers normally use at Vace, an Italian deli in the Washington neighborhood of Cleveland Park. But order a pizza at Vace (pronounced Vah-Chay) with "extra cheese" and they overdo it -- so much so that it's all about the cheese and the toppings and tomato sauce are, frankly, overwhelmed.

Vace makes good pizza so even with the cheese predicament, it's still tasty. But I just wish they could find a happy medium.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks this deeply about pizza. Meet Ruthie Rutabaga. I enjoyed her post, but I'm not sure I'm ready to agree with her assessment about pizza: "Even when it's bad -- it's good."

Passionate About Java

This article in Wednesday's NY Times details just how far coffee importers will go to find the best, most exotic grades of coffee.

A man who heads a coffee importer-roaster in Acton, Mass., tells the NYT: “We’re finding flavors we’ve never ever tasted before, different fruit and floral flavors from really pristine, clean coffees. These are flavors that have been lost or diluted in the old methods of blending coffee down to an average product.”

An average product. In other words, what you'd get if you went searching for a cup of java at a Denny's restaurant.

As far as coffee goes, I'm a French press guy. I would like to buy fair-trade coffee, but it seems hard to find any that has been ground for a French press. The only grinder I own doesn't do a very good job producing a medium grind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Apple Cider Donuts Mean It's Almost Fall

On the edge of suburban neighborhoods in metro Detroit, I arrived Saturday at the Franklin Cider Mill in Oakland County, Mich. The apple cider donuts were wonderful. And I bought a quart of fresh, unpasteurized cider to go with them. Marvelous.

The Franklin Cider Mill began operating in 1832, which makes it older than the State of Michigan.

Friday is "pie day" there, according to signs at the mill. I was one day late. (Sigh)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Nation of Ketchup Lovers

According to a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, the average American consumes 3 bottles of ketchup each year. Eeh gads! Who are these people? I doubt I go through a single bottle in a two-year period.

I don't get the use of ketchup on eggs, and the only time I drizzle french fries in ketchup is if the fries really aren't that good.

Here's a weird side note. I read wikipedia's listing for "ketchup," which states that ketchup is "also known as Red Sauce . . ." Huh? I've never heard that usage before.