It's been a while, I know, accept my apologies the madness of the holidays overtook me and the combination of the holidays & being underemployed has left my wallet on the light side, making dining out less of an option. So while I haven't been anywhere new on the list, I thought with the end of the year upon us, I would recap some of my favorite drinks, foods, places of 2010. Many of the places are in my Nola, since that's where we spent most of 2010 and one hails from our home in Richmond, VA. Without further ado my 2010 faves!!! Oh and I should mention that for the most part they are in no particular order, so what popped in my head first!!!
Abita Strawberry Beer- "Ripe, red Louisiana strawberries are harvested at the peak of the season in the early morning chill. The scent of the juicy red Ponchatoula berries fills the air as they're picked and pressed for Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. The end result is a light, crisp lager with just a hint of strawberry sweetness." "Strawberry Harvest Lager is a wheat beer made with real Louisiana strawberries, picked late in the season when they’re at their sweetest. This brew has earned quite a reputation in a short time, causing the brewery to up their production year after year. When this brew is found, emails and phone calls fly to friends informing them of the store’s location." Trust me when I say Ponchatoula Strawberries make the world a better place. When it's season, everyone stocks up on Abita Strawberry Beer and when it gets toward end of season, you stockpile to get you through until next season. And if you're like me and missed the end of season last year, you pray that a friend will take pity on you and share theirs to get you through until next season- Thank you Nikki!!!
And while we're talking Ponchatoula strawberries let's discuss the Ponchatoula Punch:, from Coquette, Strawberry Infused Vodka, Amaretto, Lemon & Soda. " Coquette is a French bistro located in the Garden District, Coquette serves bistro fare with a focus on local fresh ingredients with a menu that changes daily. The bar features seasonal house infused spirits, signature cocktails and an eclectic wine list."
If you ever have or ever plan to make a trip to New Orleans for Jazz Feast, you know or will learn the Jazz Feast experience is as much about the food as it is the music. And when the locals discuss Jazz Feast usually the first question you hear is what'd ya eat? Now, I don't eat seafood but I know the reigning favorite seafood dish is the Crawfish Monica at Jazz Feast, but my personal can't wait to eat is the COCHON DE LAIT PO-BOY. "Cochon de lait literally translated is milk fed pig. It's actually roasted pork. The whole pig is slow roasted on an open pit. It's fork-tender, juicy and seasoned perfectly. Then, it's put on French bread to make one of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat. Look for it at the Love at First Bite booth" My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!!
Sometime in early spring 2010 I attended the Louisiana Road food Festival and fell in love with the Natchitoches Meat Pies! To be honest with you I had heard folks talk about meat pies and had always turned my nose up, until I tasted. "The Natchitoches meat pie is a regional dish from northern Louisiana, United States. It is one of the official state foods of Louisiana.Ingredients include ground beef, ground pork, onions, peppers, garlic, oil, and a pie shell. Natchitoches meat pies are often fried in peanut oil because of the oil's high smoking temperature. A number of restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve meat pies, and frozen pies are available from grocers in northern Louisiana.
This has a savory meat filling in a crescent-shaped, flaky wheat pastry turnover. It is similar to a Spanish picadillo beef empanada. Varieties are throughout the colonies of the Spanish Empire. The Natchitoches meat pie is nearly identical to the traditional ground beef empanada of Argentina." Thank you Wikipedia for the description!!!
Next stop on my list is the Cafe Con Leche at my favorite restaurant in Richmond, VA. Kuba Kuba, http://kubakuba.info/ I love everything about Kuba Kuba- it's got a great neighborhood feel, wonderful wait staff and the food is consistently delicious. And then there's the Cafe Con Leche- iced or hot it's all good- but treat yourself and get it with the sweetened condensed milk. Wish I had one now!!!
I couldn't make a list of 2010 without including my amazing fries dipped in Peanut Butter, served up at Leons Full Service in adorable downtown Decatur, GA. I think about them often!!!
Speaking of yumminess in the Atl, my new favorite cocktail: The Grapefruit Rosewater Martini served up at Cafe di Sol in Poncey Highlands area of Atlanta. I'm not a huge fan of grapefruit, but dare I say this drink was darn near perfect. It's on my must have again soon list!
While we're still in the Atl, let's talk Flip Burger Boutique on Howell Road- O.M.G. so good it's almost a sin. "Fine dining between two buns" is right on. The burgers are amazing.. a must try even in a town full of top notch burger restaurants! Oh and do yourself a favor and order the Onion Rings also!!!
I'll be honest, I was never a fan of Grits. That is until I tried the Grits at Refuel
It's tough to narrow down what you love the most, when you live in great food cities, and I could go on forever about the foods, drinks & places I love. But in the interest of keeping your interest I'll just touch on a few more spots in New Orleans.
Chef John Besh's (who I'll admit I have a TOTAL crush on) Luke on historic St. Charles Avenue has the best Croque Madame et Frites. Shawna, swears by the Shrimp & Grits at Luke, so much so that she's nearly stopped ordering Shrimp & Grits from anywhere else!
Start off with a Champagne Au Peche and you'll be enjoying my favorite brunch cocktail.
If you are looking for heaven in the form of an Almond Croissant, look no further than O'Delice French Bakery, uptown 6033 Magazine Street. I. DIE. just thinking about it.