Saturday, February 26, 2011


Pizza, a triangular slice of heaven. No fork required, great for kids (and drunk adults), super cheesy, and it always hits the spot. Over the years, America has truly bastardized Italy's wonderful creation. Commercializing it as a thick crust circular pie with triangular slices (unless you're getting square pizza from Domino's of course). However, that is not how the Italians originally meant it to be. Luckily, outside of Papa John's and Digiorno, America has created a whole new kind of Pizza.

American Pizza is cheesier, chewier and varies from region to region. Of course New York pizza is the most famous, but Chicago's deep dish version is a close second. What people don't know about is New Orleans Pizza. Now this is probably because honestly we don't have very good pizza, but we make do with what we got, and it's no longer Pizza Hut.

My roommate Taylor and her boyfriend William are Pizza fiends, they eat it at least three times a week, if not more. So naturally I tagged along on one of their many Pizza outings. Having only eaten New Orleans Pizza at the Doughbowl, a hole in the wall directly attached to the Boot (a bar basically on Tulane's campus); I was excited to try something new. We decided to go to Slice, a cute date spot with a location on Magazine and St. Charles.

It turned out I knew my waitress Holly (and she told me she follows The Hungry Heretic) so of course I had to include her restaurant in this post. Slice has a large menu of really interesting Pizzas with toppings I never thought of trying before. At this point I've begun just ordering the strangest thing on the menu, so when I saw their Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Pizza I had to get it. It was definitely an interesting combo. I'd recommend using a fork and knife for this one, and definitely using hot sauce.

But my favorite odd topping Pizza in the city comes right from my Restaurant's kitchen for family meal. Before the Restaurant opens for business the chefs prepare a meal for the staff. I'm not always a huge fan, but Pizza Sunday is AWESOME! Luckily, one of the chefs used to work at Domenica (our Rustic Italian sister restaurant) so he knows how to make a bangin Pizza. They have all sorts of toppings on them, most recently my favorite was the roasted duck, but sunny side up eggs and bacon are incredible toppings too! And anchovies are surprisingly delicious.

With all these odd ball Pizzas roaming around Mackenzie decided to make her own version... on a grill. Its like bringing BBQ chicken pizza to a new level. She kept it simple with sliced tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella; but I decided to top it of with some hoison sauce and a little sriracha. BEST IDEA EVER. When in doubt always add some asian sauces.

Dough Bowl on Urbanspoon
Slice Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to New Orleans

As I have made explicitly clear in my previous posts, my new home is truly the modern mecca for food lovers like myself. So of course, after months of bragging about fried chicken, crawfish, and jambalaya one of my friends from back home had to take the plunge and come see for himself.
Like me, he is a food network fanatic, and a devoted HungryHeretic follower. So obviously we through caution to the wind and ate like there was no tomorrow. It was the food tour of a lifetime. I always like to say New Orleans is explored with your nose and mouth first and then your eyes and ears catch up, so clearly food was the number one priority.
We kicked off this chow marathon at Mother's, a famous Restaurant in the CBD just a few buildings away from where I work. Following in Adam Richmon's footsteps we got the "Ferdi Special" and seafood gumbo.

The "Ferdi Special" is a po boy which starts off with Mother's famous honey baked ham, and then is piled high with roast beef, debris, and gravy. The biggest challenge in this Man vs. Food competition was attempting to keep the sandwich together. Unfortunately, a po boy stuffed with debris smothered in gravy makes for quite a soggy sandwich.
Mother's Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Because the Ferdi Special didn't live up to Adam Richmon's hype, I needed to prove why Po Boys are as good as I say they are. So again using the Food Network as a guide to where to get some grub we checked out Mahony's Po Boys, one of Guy Fieri's picks for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I'm still a hard core Crabby Jacks girl, but this fried shrimp Po Boy with Remoulade sauce was damn good.
Mahony's Po-Boy Shop on Urbanspoon
After being impressed by Guy Fieri's Po Boy pick, we checked out Joey K's. I've driven by this restaurant about a million times on Magazine Street and I never knew how good their food was. First of all, they have All You Can Eat fried Catfish. That's right, as much as you can fit in your belly. Never-ending. It just keeps coming! I'm usually skeptical of All You Can Eat seafood, but this catfish was so fresh, I swear it must have been the catch of the day. With a little lemon and some cocktail sauce and a little but of hot sauce, it was just incredible.
And I haven't even started on the best part. The Shrimp Magazine Special. Named after the Street where Joey K's resides, this pasta dish blew my mind.

New Orleans has been home to an Italian community for hundreds of years, and over time a fantastic style of cuisine had emerged: Cajun Italian.Just blocks away from the Irish Channel, a traditionally Italian New Orleans Neighborhood, Joey K's did an incredible job of showcasing the fusion of Italian and Cajun cuisine. The Shrimp Magazine starts off with buttery al dente spaghetti and is topped with a creamy artichoke and shrimp sauce. It's one of the best pasta dishes I've had in the city to date. Spectacular. If you're ever in the area and looking for some grub you know where to go.

Joey K's Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

However, even with that rave review I just gave, it was not my favorite destination during the week of culinary adventures. For almost a year now I've been pining for some good BBQ, enough so that I was almost tempted to drive to Mississippi to check out the Shed, a spot notorious for the best BBQ in the US. But lucky for me I heard we have a close contender right here in Orleans Parish. In fact it's in the Bywater in the Upper Ninth Ward only 6 blocks from the Nursing Home I've interned at for three years. With succulent pork this close to home it's shocking that I hadn't checked it out yet. But with a Westerner in town I finally had an excuse to pig out at The Joint.

This cozy shack is home to the best ribs I have ever had. The meat was cooked to perfection, and the rub was so good that I literally had to stop talking and just savor the flavors in my mouth. The sugar in the rub gives the outside layer of the rack a nice crispy coating, and the meat is marinated the whole way through. It was so good that it actually made the pulled pork taste rather mediocre in comparison. I'm sure the pork is good too, but the juxtaposition of the two killed it for me.

However, the sides were phenomenal as well. You really can't go wrong with Mac and Cheese, but the baked beans took the cake. Jalapenos, hunks of pork, and beans: redefining comfort food. Everything just made you feel like curling up under a blanket. I'm sure that was partially due to the masive food coma, but it really was just such down home southern cooking. It's the type of food that makes you feel like a little spoon even when you're sitting up. So decadent and so good.
The Joint on Urbanspoon
The last major stop of this taste bud driven tour was Verti Marte. This tiny corner store is found in the heart of the French Quarter surrounded by residential homes and tiny pubs. To the untrained eye it's merely a corner store with liquor and maybe some shotty questionable food, but to a New Orleanian Verti Marte is a gold mine. It caught fire nine months ago and litterally just reopened a few weeks ago. We were there on a mission to try their Jambalaya, which many claim is the best in the city. Unfortunately, we were not alone in this quest and it was all out by the time we reached the Deli. But fear not, all was not lost, their shrimp creole was also finger lickin good, as was their meat loaf and Mack and Cheese. You really just can't go wrong.
Verti Marte on Urbanspoon

A motto to live by in this city: Never underestimate the Corner Store.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Better than Kix

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. A meal that can be enjoyed at any time of day or night. A meal for losers and champions alike. A time when you can reconnect with your inner child and enjoy a bowl of cereal while watching early morning cartoons. The king of the sweet-savory dynamic.

Sausage. Biscuits. Bacon. Eggs. Coffee. Hot Cakes. Grits. Orange Juice. Oatmeal. English Muffins. Omelets. Toast. Waffles. Cheese. Hash-browns. Milk. Syrup. Really it all speaks for itself.

My taste buds were quite abnormal as a little girl. Unlike most hyperactive tots, sugar cereal was not my idea of tasty. My sweet tooth has kicked in since then, but as a child my favorite cereals were Kix, Special K, and Wheat Chex (boring, I know). This was a bit of a problem because my house was usually fully stocked with Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, and other ridiculously sugary dry cereal. And since my mother was a terrible cook back then I began to hate breakfast. For years I would skip this beautiful meal, entirely ignorant to what I was missing.
But that is no longer the case. I have clearly become a devout believer in the breakfast gods and pay them respects every morning when I make my scrumptious and nutritious day starter. To me, the term "Balanced Breakfast" that gets tossed around so often in Kellogg's commercials actually means the carb to protein to fat ratio (aka pastry to egg, cheese and bacon). When making my own American breakfast I like to have three things present: 1. Eggs 2. Some sort of toasty bread like substance 3. Bacon or Sausage.

Number 3 can also be swapped out for cheese, and my new favorite breakfast is golden syrup. It is the best syrup you will ever have, puts maple to shame. Now when I make my faux McDonalds McMuffin I dip it in this glorious sweet sauce and it magically transforms in my mouth into a McGriddle!!!!! It's like Magic!

Until just a few years ago I hated eggs. My recent change of heart is in part due to living in Ghana for five months as a vegetarian, where that was the only protein available to me, and partially due to a recent discovery.

Whether you're having turkey bacon or fancy BBQ swine bacon, the key to good eggs is cookin them right up in the piping hot bacon grease. Apparently this is common knowledge, but considering the fact that bacon was blasphemous in my household, I never knew how transformitive its' grease could be. It's becoming my new favorite secret ingredient, although now it's probably not so secret.

Oh and of course the ultimate breakfast condiment: hot sauce. Obviously it's pure love.

If you're finding my All-American/English breakfast descriptions boring, fear not, the last morning dish I'd like to share with yall is quite the strange one. Breakfast pizza. Oh yes I said it. And I don't mean cold left over pizza the next morning. This handcrafted pie was created by one of the chefs at my restaurant for family meal and I was legitimately freaking out when I saw the toppings. Bacon Lardons and a Sunny Side Up Egg, CRAZYYYYY!!!! And so good!!!!!

I must get food now! The last thing I ate was a bite of a Philly Cheese Steak Po Boy from Gene's Po Boys at 6 am... not my healthiest choice, but sooooo delicious!!!!!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Blues

To my dearest Bachelors and Bachelorettes,

I felt bad leaving out all my fellow single ladies and gents in my last post, so here's some tips if you're rollin solo this Valentine's Day. Even without a significant other, you can still celebrate the day of love. I too don't have a Valentine this year (and have to work on Monday night), but that doesn't mean I won't be joining in the fun!

First of all, aside from Sweethearts drug store aisles are filled with chocolate right now. There's no better way to forget that you're a third wheel than gorging yourself in Twix and Hershey's. If you're feeling extra adventurous on Cupid's holiday check out Vosge's Haut Chocolate. This fancy cocoa is sold at most whole foods and comes in all sorts of strange flavors, including my favorite, "Mo's Bacon Bar." It's a little strange, but definitely more interesting than M&M's... although the new pretzel variation is fantastic.

You can also always buy yourself a box of chocolates (which I've been doing the day after V-day for years now), but if that feels too pathetic I have a solution for you.
A great way to get your mind off your love life is keeping busy, so why not kill two birds with one stone and quench your cocoa craving at the same time? If you haven't guessed what I'm talking about yet, you must have never lived with me. You should bake of course! Whether it's brownies A La Mode, bread pudding, or frosted cupcakes as long as it's sweet and home baked it'll do the trick. I'm hoping to whip up some bacon cookies myself if I'm not too tired after work on Monday.

Finally, my last piece of advice is probably pretty obvious... and no it's not bacon (although bacon always helps, but I've already mentioned it too much this post), two words: ice cream. You can go for the classic bon bons and truly embrace your pathetic situation, or be a champ and dig into a pint of Ben and Jerry's. The best part is since you don't have a date you don't have to share!

I'd reccomend splurging a little and buying yourself some good quality gelato. Pistachio has always been my favorite, but my mind was recently blown to pieces when I tried King Cake gelato. If you live in New Orleans and you see this in a store BUY IT. IN BULK. I kid you not, it is incredible. Words can't come close to describing the perfection this gelato achieves. Eating this luscious ice cream out of the container was probably the most religious experience I've had in months. It's that good.

And if all else fails, DRINK. Screw it, it's one night, and you deserve it. It might be a Monday but you're single for god sakes, go wild. Plus, the Tuesday morning hangover might even help you drown out your friends stories about their romantic dates. Happy Valentine's Day. May you all express your love for food and drinks openly this holiday.

Love Always,

Your Secret Admirer

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Date Night

With Valentine's Day just around the corner I felt it necessary to post about fun date locations around the city. When the weather is better my first choice for a date is definitely a picnic on the levee, in Audubon Park or City Park. But alas, it is February and very cold. So here are some indoor alternatives.

Whether you're on a first date, or going out with your husband of twelve years, one of my absolute favorite date spots in New Orleans is Creole Creamery. For starters, they have the best ice cream I have ever had in my entire life (on par, if not better than Mashti Malones). They feature over thirty insane flavors, which change every day.
Some of my more tame favorites include Creole Cream Cheese, Red Velvet, Thai Basil and Lavender Honey; but the best flavors are always the really strange ones. I've tried hundreds of quirky combinations over the past 3 and a half years, but the ones that stand out are Cucumber sorbet, Goat Cheese and Fig, Blue Cheese, and Smokey Salty Chocolate.

Leaving their ice cream aside (because I could go on for days about it), it's a great spot for a casual and inexpensive date. Plus, Creole Creamery is only a few blocks away from the Prytania Theater, a great spot for a movie date if you don't want to drive far away.

If you're looking for something a little fancier for your Valentine and you live uptown, Cure is a great choice. It's a gorgeous mixology bar with incredible cocktails, mood lighting and a romantic courtyard. It's hard to go wrong there, but you should probably expect a crowd on the 14th, so it may not be the right choice if you're looking for some privacy.

Of course, you can never go wrong on Valentine's Day at a Wine Bar. My top picks would be Oak or Delachaise (for the duck fat french fries), but Bacchanal and Wino are supposed to be lovely as well.

If you're looking for more of an activity focused date, look no further than Rock n' Bowl. Live Music, Drinks, and Bowling turns out to be a great combination!

Another fun place for a casual date is none other than Cafe Du' Monde. Famous for their piping hot heavenly beignets, it is perfect for a couple on a budget. But be forewarned, you will absolutely get powdered sugar all over yourself, which is half the fun of course... so you may want to dress accordingly. As they say at Carl's Jr. "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face."

As long as your in the Quarter for beignets, you can spice up the date with a walk down Royal Street or around the Riverbend.

The views over the water of the steam boats are spectacular at sunset, perfect for a romantic evening.

Speaking of views, I have a secret spot for catching the best views of the city, and in honor of the upcoming holiday I'll share it with yall. Get ready for it... the Harrah's parking structure. I'm not even kidding, it's not romantic, but it is one of the tallest points in the city so the views are incredible. If you're already planning to go downtown, it's a great place to park so you might as well drive up to the 10th floor and look around. I promise you won't regret it.

Another great looking spot is the Canal Place parking lot (just across the street from Harrah's). It's more expensive to park there, but they're building is even taller! There isn't much in the Canal Place Shops that's very date friendly except the movie theater, which actually has seat service (including cocktails).

Of course, you can also splurge on a fancy dinner at one of our many fine dining restaurants around the city, but these dates are way more creative and wallet friendly.

Cafe Du Monde on Urbanspoon
Cure on Urbanspoon
Creole Creamery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 6, 2011

American Sector!!!!

I am the luckiest girl in the world. After posting about American Sector's lovely Happy Hour on Friday I couldn't stop myself from going and enjoying some Sloppy Joe sliders. Little did I know that one of my managers is a follower of this very blog. Just a few weeks ago my manager Kyo switched over to American Sector, and after reading my post he hooked me up!!!

Aside from the succulent pulled pork sliders and tasty alcoholic beverages, my friends and I tried 5 different dishes that were mindblowingly good. I'll start with my favorite, which not surprisingly revolves entirely around pork. It's called the Perfect Pig Po Boy, and it is the Sector's version of a traditional Banh Mi, so obviously I'm a die hard fan. It has five different cuts of pork, all served hot with pickled vegetables on french bread. It's definitely on my top five list of best sandwiches I've ever had. It had the perfect savory-sweet balance. Truly spectacular.

My second favorite dish also is a piglet focused masterpiece, the Pork Cheeks. I was a little skeptical at first, but let me tell you, cheeks are incredible! These juicy hunks of meat were thoroughly salted, slow cooked, and paired with sweet corn bread and garlicy black eyed peas. It was the epitome of comfort food; which is saying a lot because we had meatloaf too!!

I've never been a meatloaf fan, but this 1950's delicacy was almost tied with the pork cheeks. The meat was absolutely smothered in a delicious sweet ketchup sauce and paired with green beans, brown gravy and creamy mashed potatoes. Definitely not like the meatloaf I remember from childhood.

But wait, there's more! A lot more! Kyo also made sure I tried American Sector's famous hot dog. My friend Jenn and I have been talking about this hot dog for months. It's HUGE. And unlike many people our age, we both genuinely enjoy hot dogs. So what could be better than a giant hot dog with grilled onions and cheese?!?!?!?!?

There is an answer to that question, and it is Chicken Fried Steak. Now I've had chicken fried steak before and it's been good, but it's never been this GOOD. For starters, their white gravy was incredible, a key component to making some good fried steak. To top that off they sprinkled the dish with bacon lardons (my favorite garnish). Together with the rice, greens, and mushrooms- there are just no words to describe it. It's just one of those things that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (and stuffed because it's so good you won't be able to stop eating it)!

All the dishes I tried were equally soothing and delicious. The chefs at American Sector have somehow managed to recreate nostalgic classic dishes, usually found in school cafeterias and turn them into something spectacular. American Sector has proved to me once again why it is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. My dining experience on Friday blew me away, and I have Kyo to thank for most of that... it's good to have friends in high places.

PS The leftovers were the best breakfast ever the next morning! We devoured everything in a matter of seconds, it was magical.

The American Sector on Urbanspoon