There are so many restaurants to frequent in our little hamlets of Uptown; we sometimes forget the one’s right around the corner. A walk to the neighborhood hardware store led me to stumble into Noodle and Pie. I’d been there before and enjoyed it, but now found a delightful Summer Menu with a few new additions.
The main ice cream parlor of any small southern town is a summer staple. It’s usually on Main Street. Ours, in our little town of “Uptown”, is on Prytania. The Creole Creamery sits snugly in the middle of the block in the most nostalgic of locations, the old Mckenzie’s Bakery.
It is exactly as an ice cream parlor should be. There’s a long counter where you can pull up a stool and order a malted, bright red vinyl booths that invite sharing a banana split, and glass cases to peer in to oogle the flavors. Oddly enough, we seem to have only one ice cream parlor Uptown, but the quaint charm of this one is all we need.
Every Tuesday, Uptowners clamor for Homemade Tamales, Artisan Cheeses, Fresh Diary, and Spices. They’re not at Whole Foods or St. James Cheese Company.
Instead, they crowd a tented open-air area of the old Uptown Square where Free Range Eggs, Watermelon Frescas, and Organic Honey are among other homemade, freshly harvested, and artisan produced items. You can start with an Iced Coffee and an Authentic Breakfast Burrito before filling carrier bags with fresh picked blueberries, okra, and butter beans. And there is usually live music playing.
The bright, clean flavors of the Mediterranean have arrived Uptown just in time for Summer. While we have Shaya to accommodate our fine-dining yearnings for authentic Israeli foods, we didn’t have a casual counterpart – until now. Tal’s Hummus opened three weeks ago in the space formerly occupied by McClure’s BBQ. Already the small space is packed. This time, the neighbors aren’t complaining (to be fair, McClure’s is beyond excellent, but the neighbors didn’t like the smoker).
When perusing menus and speaking to chefs, “locally sourced,” “farm-to-table,” and “seasonal greens” are the phrases most oft repeated. The current widespread movement of farm-to-table is replacing the larger food suppliers with a more personal experience. Chefs know the farmers. There is a running dialogue of what will be ripe in two weeks. The food is fresher. The flavors are more intense. Menus are dependent on the seasons and the day’s harvest.
Let’s be clear: District isn’t just a foodie’s donut paradise. There’s a lot more to District than just great donuts. Granted, the donut creations are innovative; frequently decadent, and, depending on the day, crazily inspired fun. The slider specials follow suit in innovation, but one can always skip the Fried Oyster with Micro-chi Kara and Caper Aioli Slider, or the Fried Chicken All Natural Thigh, Sweet & Spicy Slaw, Scratch Candied Jalapeños, & Crispy Chicken Skin Slider, and just order the perfect little gourmet Black Angus Cheeseburger – either choice leaves room for a donut!
‘Debbie Does Doberge’ has found a storefront and has combined it with cocktails. That’s right: the Doberge darling’s cakes can now be purchased from a brick and mortar address. The concept is Cake, Cocktails, and Savories. The setting is the Lower Garden District—the old location of Eleven 79. The vibe is casual and comfortable. The décor brighter. There’s a light-filled dessert case. A dark whiskey lined bar. Shelves filled with carefully selected books and a staff of the hip and young variety.
If you didn’t know, ‘Debbie Does Doberge,’ is the local success story of couple Charlotte McGehee and Charles Mary IV. Local names. The partner is Coquette’s and Twelve Mile Limit’s Jeff Schwartz, the newcomer from up North. Charlotte Bakes. Charles is the charmer who does everything – including the baking. Jeff creates craft cocktails, teaches cocktail history at the bar, and runs the operation.
Summer is coming, and New Orleanians are seeking lighter fare. Many are also seeking healthier choices. Magasin Café offers both. The restaurant is popular and has become a mainstay for both the Magazine foodie crowd and the health-conscious. Magasin Café has proven so successful in fact, that late last year, the small restaurant expanded, adding a second location, Magasin Kitchen, in the CBD.
The husband and wife team of Kim Nguyen and Luu Tran, along with Kim’s mother Luot Nguyen, create each of the restaurant’s dishes. It could be said that Magasin is one restaurant with three chefs, but endless ways to customize one’s meal. Kim Nguyen states that their goal was to “take the best of our Vietnamese roots, combined with countless hours of research, to create dishes that we grew up eating and introduce them to the rest of the world.” They have also created one of the few uptown restaurants where it’s easy to monitor nutritional content.
Guy’s is back. Marvin is back. Lunch is back.
Guy’s Po-Boys reopened last week. There was little fanfare, but owner, chef, and sole sandwich maker Marvin Matherne doesn’t operate on fanfare; he serves lunch. The restaurant is already packed daily, the small dining room filled. The exterior paint is brighter, the fixtures newer, but the menu remains unchanged.
Guy’s doesn’t serve fancy food. It serves great food. The Po-Boys are of the variety found in the traditional corner New Orleans Po-Boy shop. Overfilled seafood with pickles and hot sauce and Blue Plate slathered, messy, gravy-laden Roast Beef – all on Leidenheimers.
Daily Brunch, Goat Cheese Enchiladas, and Mirlitons in a French Country Setting
The Standard. Did you ever stumble upon a restaurant so delightful you immediately wanted to text all of your friends, but also wanted to keep it all to yourself? I found one on Wednesday. The Standard. It was one of those cool rain drenched days in New Orleans–the kind where you can’t decide if outside is worth the effort.
Wellie-clad, I peered through the window of the new place across from Magasin Café. I saw a roaring fire. I was sold. Provencal décor at its most simple and elegant. Reclaimed wood. It looked expensive. It wasn’t. It should be.
The tradition of the corner snowball, snoball, or sno-ball stand in New Orleans lives on. If you’re a local, you already know all about the famous Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. The Hansen family invented their Sno-Bliz machine in 1939. The Nectar Cream, the beloved Wedding Cake flavor, and the line around the corner on Tchoup. Visitors see the line and ask: “What are those people waiting in line for…?” If you’re not a local, you’ll know soon enough.
The latest entrée into the snowball scene is Imperial Woodpecker Sno-balls on Magazine near Harry’s Ace. Gourmet flavors such as Cardamom abound, the service is uber-friendly, special flavors are made daily. The Natural flavor range is a big hit and locals are taking notice.
Ancora Pizzeria and Salumeria’s website quotes the Vera Napoletana Rules: the pizza must be made with flour, water, salt, yeast only, no fats. The pizza must also be a particular width—12 inches—and must be hand-rolled, cooked at 400 degrees, while the oven must be refractory and fired with wood. The laws of Naples and Italy are strictly adhered to on Freret. The Pizzeria’s site further specifies that Neapolitan Pizza should be well done, fragrant, and the border high and soft, never crusty.
The Vera Napoletana Rules are perfectly executed at Ancora. The oven is exactly as it should be, as are the local fresh ingredients. While the Rules mention only four official types of Neapolitan Pizza, the Margharita, Four Cheese, Marinara, and Calzone, variations are allowed if the Rules are respected.
Friday luncheon traditions are entrenched in New Orleans. Amongst professionals and the ladies who lunch, Uptown’s luncheon tradition is Commander’s Palace—since 1890. It still is. While the CBD traditional crowd may also focus on Galatoire’s, an upstart founded in 1905, the grandest of luncheons continue to be enjoyed daily under the moss-covered oaks where Washington joins Coliseum. Actually, the statement is true any day of the week. Weekends are reserved for Commander’s Brunch. Bourbon Milk Punch sets the pace.
Commander’s, famous since the turn of the century, became a Brennan’s restaurant in 1974. Much remains constant, although in recent years Ella, Dottie, Dick, and John Brennan passed the reins to cousins Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan. The residents of the Garden District still stroll to frequent the most elegant of historic restaurants and its Haute Creole Cuisine, as do I. The walls are still “Commander Blue.” The cocktails unequaled. Reservations are usually needed. Coats are still required. Martinis are still 25 cents.
The Irish House Pub, St. Patrick’s Day, Tracey’s, Parasol’s, Street Parties, and Parades!
It’s that time again. Green Beer. Green Hair. Green Everything. Cabbages flying. Jameson poured straight from the floats. Street parties. Corned Beef and Cabbage. Even Corned Beef and Cabbage PoBoys.
New Orleans and Uptown’s proud love of their Irish Heritage will be on display all week. Expect the NYPD, NYFD, and Chicago police department to join the party in uniformed kilts. For a few days, our historic Irish Channel will once again be Irish, if not exactly authentic, then at least New Orleans’ own brand of Irish. Along the parade routes, expect to see ladies of all ages kissing marching club members in exchange for paper flowers and grandmothers going long to catch hurled cabbages and the accompanying carrots and potatoes.
Tartines, Croque Madame, Rillettes, Rustic Pate’, Croque Monsieur, Quiche,
Brioche, Crepes and … AebelSkivers!
AebelSkivers! Danish puffed breakfast pancakes. On Laurel Street no less. Have you tried them? If so, you know the only place in town that serves warm, round, puffed Lemon Curd, Maple Syrup, Caramel, Chocolate, or Nutella-filled Danish Pancakes. That’s Toast on Laurel. A sister restaurant of sorts to the Francophile breakfast and lunch bistro Tartine, located on Perrier. On whichever side of the park you live or seek a unique petit-déjeuner, these two cafés deliver.