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Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice

Thanks to this board!

Transplanted Texan Nov 2, 2009 06:19 PM

My DH and I visited NOLA this past week to meet family members celebrating a major birthday. I didn't post any questions to the board because there was already such good info available. Thanks to y'alls postings, we had some absolutely amazing meals:

Muriels: The pork chop on the table d'hote menu will knock your socks off. It has to be almost two inches thick, glazed with apple cider and amazingly moist and tender. I had an equally wonderful pecan-crusted fish -- puppy drum -- on wilted greens (arugula?). It was topped with wonderfully fresh crabmeat. Service wasn't quite as attentive as you might like it to be but quite friendly.

Elizabeth's -- an amazing brunch. The calas were better at the Old Coffee Pot and we didn't care for the praline bacon like we thought we would, but the shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, redneck eggs, and smoked salmon/brie grilled cheese were all excellent.

The Old Coffee Pot: Seafood gumbo, jambalaya, and calas were excellent. The Eggs Creole weren't impressive, or perhaps we were expecting something other than eggs with little more than canned tomatoes on them. Service was very good.

Gumbo Shop: The seafood gumbo and the gumbo z'herbes were awesome. The barbecue shrimp had the most amazing sauce with whole garlic cloves. The shrimp were huge and fresh. The sauce isn't "barbecue" as most of us think of it.

Acme Oyster House -- grilled oysters! Wow.

Green Goddess: those sweet potato biscuits. Truly a revelation.

Our only misstep was The Praline Connection. My DH's fried catfish was excellent. The greens were tasty. I had etouffee and was puzzled. The rice seemed to have been cooked in unsalted water and was consequently tasteless. The etouffee didn't seem to have been made with the dark roux that I associate with etouffee and seemed to have cream in it -- is that possible?

Anyway, thanks for all your opinions on restaurants and for welcoming us to your fair city.

Praline Connection
542 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Coffee Pot Restaurant
714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Green Goddess
307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

Acme Oyster House
1202 N Highway 190, Covington, LA 70433

  1. edible complex Nov 2, 2009 06:24 PM

    Thanks for visiting and reporting.
    Those are my two faves at Muriel's.
    We've got lots more to eat here, so hurry back!

    1. h
      Hungry Celeste Nov 3, 2009 05:45 AM

      RE: Praline Connection...my default meal is fried chicken livers w/baby green limas & rice. I don't use roux in my crawfish etouffee, but the dish continues to evolve into a wide range of styles (roux, no roux, tomato, no tomato, etc), so I wouldn't entirely be surprised to find cream, cream of mushroom soup, or God-only-knows-what-else.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Hungry Celeste
        BayouTeche Nov 3, 2009 06:08 AM

        To follow up on HC's post, agreed on the default meal at Praline Connection. As to the etouffee, there are no hard and fast rules. Some thicken it using a roux (usually a blonde, not a dark roux) or a cornstarch slurry. Others don't use any thickening agents at all....just smother the seafood or meat in the seasoning vegetables. Cream? It does seem a peculiar addition....not exactly traditional.

        Praline Connection
        542 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        1. re: Hungry Celeste
          hazelhurst Nov 3, 2009 06:43 AM

          Well, as you probably know, the can of cream of mushroom soup in an etouffee goes back many years but is isolated to certain areas. I like to say I can point to the western-most boundary of it (on LA 14) but it is a murky region altogether. I suspect it came into existence at a hunting camp.

          I done a lot of work on etouffees and there really is no single Original Recipe but , as we have mentioned before, the early ones had no roux since it started of as a thrown-together meal.

          1. re: hazelhurst
            Transplanted Texan Nov 4, 2009 05:05 PM

            This is really interesting. In East TX, where I'm from, the etouffee I've had is always made with a roux. However, up here in the DC area where I live now, there are three different restaurants that serve Cajun and Creole food. All 3 chefs are supposedly from Louisiana, and all 3 etouffees are different. Two are made with a really dark roux and one was not. Now I can understand why!

            I can definitely say the etouffee at Praline Connection did NOT have cream of mushroom soup in it!

            Praline Connection
            542 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            1. re: Transplanted Texan
              hazelhurst Nov 5, 2009 06:11 AM

              The can of soup trick (it is really a "stretcher" and thickener) used to be limited to a small area below Lafayette. It used to be that you never saw it in lake Charles but it has made inroads there in the last 20 years. Etouffee never really took hold in New Orleans until the 1970's. Cooks in the City have largely just made it up as they go along, whichis consistent with its origins.

        2. b
          BuckyE Nov 3, 2009 04:13 PM

          Willingly second a general vote of thanks to this board!

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