Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feux de Joie / Fires of Joy. Xmas tradition near New Orleans, Louisiana

Between Baton Rouge and New Orleans a wonderful thing happens on Xmas Eve. People will gather for Feux de Joie, which means Fires of Joy, and set a ton of bonfires on the banks of the Mississippi River.

The blog entry on Opinionated Catholic: A Louisiana Christmas Tradition- The Feux de Joie covers this in more detail.

Katrina-displaced cooks spread love of Cajun, Creole fare

Katrina-displaced cooks spread love of Cajun, Creole fare

By Vicki Smith
Associated Press Writer
CLARKSBURG It’s midmorning at Bon Appetit, and the beignets are long gone.

Behind a plexiglass wall, a cook is chopping vegetables for lunch. Music heavy with brass is blaring, and chef LeRoy Crump Jr. is rushing about with cell phone in hand, periodically stepping outdoors to greet a passer-by and tout the special, a Cajun shrimp cream pasta.

The sign above his 2-week-old restaurant promises “Authentic New Orleans Cuisine and Spirits,” and that’s what he dishes up — in small-town West Virginia, 1,000 miles from the French Quarter.

Read the FULL STORY.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Réveillon :: New Orleans dining Christmas 2007

Réveillon :: New Orleans dining Christmas 2007

A reveillon is a long dinner, and possibly party, held on the evenings preceding Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The name of this dinner is based on the word réveil (meaning "waking"), because participation involves staying awake until midnight and beyond.

The food consumed at réveillons is generally of an exceptional or luxury nature. For instance, appetizers may include lobster, oysters, escargots or foie gras, etc. One traditional dish is turkey with chestnuts. Réveillons in Québec will often include some variety of tourtière.

Dessert may consist of a bûche de Noël. In Provence, the tradition of the 13 desserts is followed: 13 desserts are served, almost invariably including: pompe à l'huile (a flavoured bread), dates, etc.

Quality wine is usually consumed a such dinners, often with champagne or similar sparkling wines as a conclusion.

Here is Tom Fitzmorris' list of the 10 best Reveillon menus this year based on his past experience

  1. Pelican Club 615 Bienville St. Every year, this is the most extensive Reveillon menu and one of the best. It begins with a turtle and alligator soup or oyster mirliton soup, then Daube Glacé, a local Christmas classic little seen in restaurants. Then a duck with orange sauce, or beef short ribs with truffled mashed potatoes or the tremendously delicious seafood fricassee. Along with the selection of five desserts, they’re serving homemade eggnog spiked with Southern Comfort. Prices for the four courses range from $46 to $54.

  2. Windsor Court Grill Room 300 Gravier St. Chef Greg Sonnier has transformed the Grill Room into a superb Louisiana restaurant and its Reveillon menu has taken on a whole new appeal. It begins with the classic beef Daube Glacé or turtle soup, then the rarely seen and wonderful confit of goose or fried artichokes with wild hen of the woods mushrooms. Entrees include two more neglected Creole classics: redfish courtbouillon and a stuffed Cornish game hen with cornbread dressing. Eggnog bread pudding and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. $59

  3. Cafe Adelaide 300 Poydras St. Four courses, beginning with a honey butternut squash and foie gras soup, or a goose and oyster gumbo. Then roasted shrimp with herbs and tomatoes or a salad. Entrees: lacquered quail, crabmeat-stuffed flounder or crackling-crusted duck breast. $49.

  4. Broussard’s 819 Conti St. This long-running Creole restaurant again celebrates the holidays in the high-class German style of owners Gunter and Evelyn Preuss. Since most American Christmas traditions started in Germany, this is delightfully right. It starts with an incredibly good Hungarian gulyas soup or Westphalian ham, then a celery root salad with beef roulades, smoked pork loin and bratwurst with sauerkraut, or a pork shank for the entree choices. Apple strudel for dessert. Four courses, $46.

  5. 7 On Fulton 700 Fulton St. This intriguing menu assembled by Chef Michael Sichel includes three or four choices in each course. Dishes include warm crab and gnocchi, steak tartare, a fish course (scallops, drum, salmon) and a meat course (lamb roulade with spinach, filet mignon with oysters and bacon, and “pork, pork and pork”). $50.

  6. Cafe Giovanni 117 Decatur St. Chef Duke Locicero is a newcomer to the Reveillon but not to big dinners. His holiday special runs six courses by you for $65. It starts with shrimp rémoulade with fried green tomatoes, then oyster and artichoke bisque followed by a superb veal bolognese ravioli. An entree of duck breast with raspberry chipotle sauce is followed by another: Colorado lamb chop with goat cheese polenta. Peach and apple cobbler with mascarpone sabayon for dessert.

  7. Upperline 1413 Upperline St. The Upperline has been reaching back in time for dishes to revive in recent years, and that works especially well for a Reveillon menu. After a choice of soups (or a glass of Madeira), the etouffee of duck and andouille, shrimp remoulade on fried green tomatoes and the sweetbreads and mushroom ragout are the most appealing second courses. Entrees include that incomparable shrimp and grits dish, salmon with oysters, roast duck with sweet potatoes and pecans and a rack of lamb with a couple of other choices. The vanilla custard glazed with a hot poker is Thomas Jefferson’s recipe. The dinner is a bargain at $38 with a few modest upcharges. They have a wine-pairing package, too.

  8. Brennan’s 417 Royal St. Brennan’s jerked its Reveillon price up a good bit this year to $75 but it’s worth every nickel. Five courses straight off the regular menu all with an undeniable holiday feel. Turtle soup, consistently one of the best around, is followed by a choice of the two best egg dishes from the breakfast menu. Then it’s either a rack of lamb, a steak au poivre or trout amandine, with a complimentary glass of wine. Bananas Foster for dessert. I wish they’d bring back their homemade eggnog.

  9. Hunt Room Grill Monteleone Hotel, 214 Royal St. The Reveillon offering at this obscure restaurant is superb every year. You start with foie gras or gravlax then a woodsy salad or lobster bisque. Among the entrees is the only roast goose in all of the Reveillon menus, and a Christmas grill of veal, duck and lamb. The four courses range from $46 to $55.

  10. Commander’s Palace 1403 Washington Ave. The four-course dinner for $42 is a steal. Start with the gumbo, then a special salad composed specially for the Reveillon. Entrees includes a black-iron-skillet seared redfish with truffle crabmeat butter or a sugar-cane-smoked duck with a bourbon demi-glace and foie gras. Banana toffee cake for dessert.

All Reveillon menus are posted on Tom Fitzmorris' site at nomenu.com Christmas and check his links often because more menus, restaurants, and recipes are continually being added to the Christmas Page!