Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This and That

Last night we had a very interesting program presented by Walter Wolf - thanks, Walter - which was attended by people interested in opening a food based business in New Orleans. It was very heartening to see people who are interested in taking the plunge and start a new business in the city.

I am also excited about the success of the Invitation to the Southern Table events. We have events coming up in Memphis and in Lafayette. More are in the works.

We have a summer camp called "Eating in New Orleans - Who I Am" starting in August. This camp will combine art projects and culinary projects, teaching the art of dining and good nutrition.

We are planning a great event with the French Cultural Attache in New Orleans, our newsletter is being received by an ever-expanding list of people, our library, our artifact collection, archives and menus are growing. We are just riding a rocket, and it is a great experience, establishing this new institution in a city that is emerging from its disaster.

Thanks to everyone who is part of this. And here is a way to celebrate. If you make a show of preparing this, it is even more festive. Ladling flaming coffee into cups is very dramatic. Enjoy.

Café Brûlot

Serves 8

8 sugar cubes
peel of one orange, without pith
peel of ½ lemon, without pith
1 small stick cinnamon
½ tsp. whole cloves
½ cup brandy or bourbon
3 cups hot, freshly brewed dark roast coffee (with chicory if possible)

Rub the sugar cubes with the orange and lemon rinds. Place a sugar cube in each of 8 demitasse cups. Heat the cinnamon stick, orange and lemon rinds, cloves and brandy together in a chafing dish. Flame the mixture. Carefully add the hot coffee. Stir. Ladle the mixture into the prepared demitasse cups.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Yesterday I went to Lafayette to meet with several supporters about a fundraiser we are planning to hold in Lafayette sometime in October. They included Michael Doumit, a local restaurateur, Marcelle Bienvenu and Sandra Day, food writers and recipe creators, and Judy Corne, my aunt and Lafayette resident. We discussed several possibilities, but the one that recieved the most interest was to have a boucherie brunch. All of them remarked that true boucheries are held less and less these days. They are such fun but an awful lot of work, and more than anything require a commitment of time---something everyone seems to be in short suppy of these days. I thought having this kind of event would be perectly in keeping with the museum's mission to support the culinary traditions of the south. We are still deciding on a location, but as soon as we do, I will let you all know about it. I bet it will be delicious.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bash in DC

That's me in civilian clothes. From left to right at Chefs Louis Osteen, Ann Cashion, Linton Hopkins, David Guas and Jeff Tunks at Acadiana. Photo by Glade Bilby © 2007.

The fundraiser in Washington, DC at Acadiana on Sunday, June 10 was so much fun. The chefs all outdid themselves, and this was after some of them had driven in with equipment and food from Pawleys Island, SC (Chef Louis Osteen from Louis at Pawleys Island) and Atlanta (Chef Linton Hopkins from Restaurant Eugene). Thanks are also due to Chef Jeff Buben from Vidalia, Chef Ann Cashion from Johnny's Half Shell, Chef David Guas from Acadiana, and most special thanks to the staff and owners of Acadiana, especially Chef Jeff Tunks.

The food was so good that it made me happy to have a stomach. I had gone prepared by wearing lose clothing. We had fried soft-shell crabs, barbeque on biscuits, fried oysters and crawfish, crab, pork belly and shrimp. It was fun. It was full of sparkling conversation.

So now as we plan these events - Invitations to the Southern Table - in other cities, we have a very high bar set. But you can look forward to events in Memphis, Natchez, Boca Raton, Nashville, Lafayette, Jackson, MS, and Dallas, just to name a few.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

NO Rum

Well, actually, there was plenty of rum at Celebration Distillation Corporation, where Old New Orleans Rum is made. You might know this beverage in some of its older incarnations including NO Rum and New Orleans Rum. But its newest moniker, post-Katrina, is Old New Orleans Rum. Though immediately after the storm there was concern they would not be able to re-open, they have returned and are thriving. That should not come as a suprise to anyone who has had the fortune to sample their tasty wares.

Last night I attended a party to promote some of their new rums, including a very spicy and not too sweet Creole Spice Rum. The attendees were mostly local bartenders, but relatives and friends of the employees were also welcome. I took a tour of the distillery with master distillers Gavin and Chris and then got to sample not only the new spiced rum, but also savor their new ginger rum served up in a great cocktail called a Gingeroo: rum mixed with freshly pressed ginger juice, sour and soda. Delicious!

My friend Monique (who is the sister of one of the employees) and I also had special access to the lab where we sampled some really outstanding and startlingly flavored rums. The strawberries steeped in Crystal rum was my favorite flavor, but I won't soon forget the extra spicy rum with 6 chile peppers in the bottle! Memorable, to say the least. I am hoping that the museum will be able to partner with Old New Orleans Rum in the near future and create a special tasting event for our members and others in the community. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I think I'll go have a nip of their aged Amber rum with a lime. To keep the scurvy away, of course...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Off to DC

I am off to Washington, DC today. Tomorrow night there will be a grand fundraiser for SoFAB at Acadiana restaurant. Many of our Board members are either participating as chefs or attending. This is going to be such a fun event. I am still half asleep, having gotten up at the crack of dawn to make it to the airport in time for the flight. But I am full of anticipation.

Things are full of promise for the museum right now. We are right on the cusp of an explosion of activity. We have begun to actually plan the museum - its design, the permanent exhibits, and the way that it will operate. We are already making in roads all over the South, meeting people who have collections of artifacts and books, who are interested in supporting us. More people are sending us menus, so that important collection is growing. We are taxiing down the runway, about to take off. And it is very exciting.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Culinary Corps and PoBoys

On Friday night I joined a group of culinary students, instructors, and supporters from all over the country, who have traveled to New Orleans to do good. We all sat eating the very best roast beef poboys at Kevin Parker's Jazzy Poboys on Port Street. This is the kind of poboy that is so juicy that juice drips down your arms to your elbows. I looked at everyone and smiled at how the communion of poboys can make us all happy.

The people who traveled to New Orleans are going to be here doing good for about a week. Some of them have decided to live here. We are trying to enlist them in collecting menus for the Menu Project of SoFAB. We are collecting menus from restaurants throughout the entire South. In addition we are collecting menus from restaurants which consider themselves southern restaurants in other parts of the United States and the world. If you have a menu from a cajun restaurant in Tokyo, we want it.

Culinary Corps is the brainchild of Christine Carroll. She is showing us once again, how much heart the people in the culinary industry have. I want to thank all of the participants for their generosity. And our thanks to Christine for not only having a great idea, but for having the tenacity and the creativity to make the idea a reality.