Thursday, May 28, 2015

Green Goddess, New Orleans

Nestled in one of the most picturesque alleyways in the French Quarter is the unassuming Green Goddess, a restaurant serving new American/Southern/Louisiana cuisine. I remember my cousin telling me about their sweet potato biscuits before moving down here to New Orleans, so clearly I had to try them out. 

The first time I ate at Green Goddess was actually with Henok probably back in September. I figured it would be a good place to bring a vegetarian, and it was! They have a lot of vegetarian friendly options (though they also list some pescatarian options as vegetarian...), and he tried  the uttapam, which is kind of a like a crepe topped with coconut curry. I had the crab special, which was lump crab meat served with squash and salad.

Since that warm September evening, I have had brunch at Green Goddess, and I must say that their sweet potato biscuits with pepper jelly are pretty darn delicious. I had yet another crab special last weekend, which was a crispy toasted crab melt with Creole mustard. 

If you're in the French Quarter and the weather is nice, I would recommend stopping by Green Goddess for some creative modern goodness. They have about 95% outdoor/alley seating, which couldn't be a more charming and peaceful location to do so. 

Green Goddess
307 Exchange Place
New Orleans, LA

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Avocado Himbasha Toast

I eat a lot of avocado toast for breakfast. Avocados are always 10/$10 these days, so I always keep my kitchen stocked with a couple for mornings when I just don't want to bother. My typical to-go breakfast is a toasted whole wheat English muffin with half an avocado and a dash of Slap Ya Mama with a side of cherry tomatoes or a handful of arugula. Savory breakfasts for the win. It's a dose of whole grains, fiber, and unsaturated fats, which will keep you satisfied and running until lunch time for sure. 

When I was in Atlanta, Henok made sure that we bought a loaf of himbasha before our drive back to New Orleans. Himbasha is an Ethiopian bread that is slightly sweet and consumed during special occasions. It comes in a large wheel and can be made with raisins. It's light and airy and slightly reminiscent of one of my favorite breads, challah. I had a lot of himbasha, so I made a list of variations ranging from egg in a hole to pb &j. But my favorite of course was himbasha with a fresh sliced creamy avocado. I love mornings. 

Avocado Himbasha Toast
1 slice himbasha (or your choice of whole grain bread)
1/2 avocado*
pinch of Cajun spices
optional: 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 cup arugula/salad 

1. Toast bread. 
2. Spread sliced avocado on toast. Feel free to mash!
3. Sprinkle with a pinch of spices and serve with tomatoes or salad. 

*I wrap the other half of the avocado with the pit and leave in the fridge for another morning. The whole pit helps prevent some of the browning! 

✓ fiber
✓ potassium 
✓ unsaturated fats 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pelican Bay, New Orleans

Is it socially acceptable to upload yet another fried chicken related post yet? Even if it's not, I have another one for you. On my days off, I like treating myself out to one of the many great restaurants in New Orleans. Today I decided to head to Pelican Bay, a sports bar, daquiri joint, and restaurant (complete with neon lighting) serving American/ New Orleans/ Soul food. You know, only the best combinations of American cuisine.

I just wanted a hot southern meal today. so I headed over to Elysian Fields to check out Pelican Bay. I forgot where I read to eat here, but it was next on my list to check out. Glancing at their menu, it's bar fare with a Southern touch. There are wings, burgers, finger foods, and dips. But now there is also a home cooked meals section as well as specials. Today's specials included chicken and waffles, chicken and grits, and shrimp and grits. I really try to not eat fried chicken too often, but it was meant to be.

I got the fried chicken (dark meat) with their creamy cheesy grits, garlic buttered biscuit, and spinach collards. I don't know how I did it because I really was planning to bring half of it home, but I ate the whole thing. The fried chicken thigh was juicy and fried well done with only a light batter, making it extra crispy. I also ordered their house made Auntie Eddie's iced pound cake. It was served with a generous drizzle of strawberry sauce and that I actually had to bring home to enjoy. But man is that pound cake good. When was the last time you had fresh baked pound cake?? It was dense, buttery, and sweet. MmMmm! I promise you can't just take one bite.

Will definitely come here another meal during a game day! ..did I just find the best sports bar food ever?

Pelican Bay
1701 Elysian Fields Avenue
New Orleans, LA

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cibo, New Orleans

I'm from New York. And that means I need Italian food (and Jewish food and Korean food and Japanese food and Indian food...) on the regular to keep me happy. I went to elementary school in an Italian neighborhood, so pizza, Italian icees, garlic knots, and lots of pasta is a big part of what I grew up eating. And though New Orleans does have some Italian roots, there really isn't an Italian culinary scene down here.

I had to do some searching to find an Italian restaurant that was neither too American nor too New Orleans nor too modern. I was set on checking out Vincent's on St. Charles, only to realize that of course it was open only for dinner on Sundays. Not surprised, but definitely disappointed. Was very excited to try sauteed oysters with green onions, garlic, and olive oil over angel hair pasta. So I went for a drive up South Carrollton and parked on Oak Street. I was about ready to give up and just go for a basic cold sandwich from a coffee shop, when I turned the corner and saw the familiar colors of the Italian flag and CIBO in big letters. Cibo means food in Italiano, so this place besta be stocked with some Italian goodness.

Turns out that Cibo is more like an Italian deli, offering a selection of subs with bread straight from New York made by guys straight from New York. I was leaning towards a meatball sub, but was convinced to try their popular chicken parmesan. I of course also had to order the caprese salad, which was served over a bed of arugula and made with this delicious and a little smoky fresh mozzarella. I added broccoli rabe to my chicken parm (sorry I'm not sorry I'm addicted to vegetables), which was flavorful and served on perfectly toasty crispy bread. Really all my favorite ingredients in a meal: mozzarella, arugula, olive oil, and broccoli rabe.

Now I know exactly where to hit up whenever I'm craving a meatball/ chicken parm/ eggplant parm sub!

1114 South Carrollton Avenue
New Orleans, LA

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fresh Pesto and Green Pasta

This week is all about the green. 4/20 and Earth Day? Time to reevaluate how you treat and perceive our planet. In celebration, I made a green vegetarian pasta with lots of pesto and veggies.

Making pesto is one of my favorite culinary pasttimes, especially when I'm home in New York. I love plucking fresh leaves off from my mini herb garden and using them in my recipes. The smell of freshly made pesto is simply the best.

Anyways, in honor of the holidays, remember to respect the earth. Not just this week, but every week. So here are two green recipes that are perfect for any day of year (but especially summer summer time!).

Fresh Pesto (yields about 8 oz)
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley 
1/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic

1. Take all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Green Pasta (serves 6-8)
1 lb pasta (I used rigatoni) 
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 cups mushrooms
3 cups spinach 
2 cups broccoli rabe, chopped 
5 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh pesto 
1 cup cherry tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Toss zucchini and mushrooms in olive oil and a pinch of salt/pepper and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned. 
3. Cook pasta according to directions. 
4. Sautee broccoli rabe and spinach in about 2 tbs olive oil with garlic until cooked. 
5. Add cooked pasta, roasted zucchini and mushrooms, and raw cherry tomatoes to the cooked greens. 
6. Mix everything with the fresh pesto. Serve immediately or chilled. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Church's Chicken

I don't know why everyone hates on Church's Chicken. This morning I was extra hungry and needed something to hold me over on the way over to Tulane's Crawfest (yes, I needed breakfast before devouring pounds of crawfish boil). Henok suggested getting biscuits and there was conveniently a Church's. Never heard of it until I moved to New Orleans, but it's a southern thing.

I don't remember the last time trying a new fried chicken fast food chain, so I don't have much of a comparison.* But come on now. $1.29 for a spicy thigh and 2 for 1 honey butter biscuits? How could you not. The chicken was juicy and flavorful, and the biscuits were warm and fluffy. Definitely devoured it within minutes of walking out of the joint. I have yet to have Popeye's down here, but Church's isn't bad!

*Nevermind. I tried Chick-fil-a for the first time back in October after a long day of river tubing.