Pining for Press Street Station

In addition to a two-bedroom in the French Quarter (renting for $950 no less!), one of the first apartments I looked at was in Bywater. It was a gigantic half of a double with two bedrooms, high ceilings, transoms, hardwood floors and a built-in bookcase in the parlor going for $495 a month. Instantly I was sold, but I had to convince my mother.

Crispy fried green tomato ... mmm!
Crispy fried green tomato … mmm!

“There’s a bar right across the street,” she pleaded “this couldn’t possibly be a safe neighborhood.” Luckily for my mom, another prospective tenant beat me to the punch and lucky for me, I ended up spending my first year in the city living only a block away from St. Charles Avenue on Harmony Street.  But I always wondered how my first year would have been different had I scored that incredible apartment. Could I have fallen in with a hipster crowd? Started raising my own chickens? Wear a beanie and long, school girl-type dresses while plugging away on a laptop inside the corner coffee shop? I doubt it. But I do know that I would have been within walking distance of Press Street Station.

If I lived in the neighborhood, this would be my go-to breakfast spot seeing as they serve it all day long … and y’all know how I feel about breakfastNot only that, the food is simple, but prepared with fresh, quality ingredients that can’t help but impress.

Our first outing to Press Street Station was months ago when John and I stopped in for a bite. Though their menu has changed since that first fateful mid-morning meal, perhaps this will give you an idea of what to expect.

Pumpkin Coconut Pound Cake – a dessert I will never forget.

After ordering a strong, iced coffee, we dove straight into a couple of entrees. John got a Southern-style B.L.T. with fried green tomatoes, Nueske’s bacon and lettuce on house-made sourdough bread. While I ogled his sandwich, my entree arrived … a “Bywater Benedict” with perfectly poached eggs resting atop fried boudin and buttery, homemade biscuits all draped with a creamy, smoked-paprika hollandaise.  I also ordered a side of breakfast potatoes that were crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and simply seasoned with salt and pepper.

We finished it all off with barely enough room for a dessert our exuberant waitress couldn’t stop raving about, a Pumpkin Coconut Pound Cake. It was so good that John and I were fighting over the last bite and John claims to detest pumpkin. I guess it’s alright with him if it tastes like heaven! I just wish we didn’t have to trek all the way across town to get it. Maybe it’s time for a move?

Press Street Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s OK, eat the whole bag. Love, Cookie

Unless I’m overcome with a nostalgic craving for Double-Stuf Oreos and ice-cold milk, most store-bought cookies are just not worth the calories they cost. Not that I’m watching my figure (it’s pretty much the same … fat), but I estimate that if you’re going to gorge yourself on sweets, why not indulge in the good stuff? Admittedly, I did have a thing for Pepperidge Farm Brussels, but even they have gradually lost their luster, blatantly falling victim to cheaper ingredients and large-scale mass production all in the name of profit. When it comes down to it, nothing can beat home-made cookies, particularly my cookies, fresh out of the oven.

You could eat all three bags, too!

So, since I generally ignore cookies in the grocery store (even the ones in the bakery), I never would have noticed or even tried Love, Cookie  unless they sent me an email promoting their product and offering a free sample for my review. Who turns down free cookies?

Love, Cookie is a new, little offshoot of Baker Maid, a New Orleans-based company founded in 1953.  Their focus is on small-batch cookies using fresh, quality ingredients and I have to say, you really can taste the difference. The PR folks sent me three different kinds, the Almond Toffee Crunch, Midnight Almond and Dark Chocolate Mint. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but all three bags were demolished in one evening by John and I. Need I say they were good? They were so good, in fact, that I went to Rouses the following day and purchased two more bags.

All of the flavors we tried are quite enjoyable, but naturally, we had favorites. John liked the Almond Toffee Crunch with chocolate chips, toffee and sliced almonds, and while I enjoyed their buttery flavor, I thought the cookie itself was a little too soft for something with “crunch” in the name. My favorite was the Midnight Almond pictured at the top of this blog. Though they look like cocoa-dusted plugs of dirt, they taste like heaven. Picture a rich, dark chocolate interspersed with a strong almond lace, an almost biscotti-like flavor (possibly some anise?) with a slightly softer than shortbread texture.

The Dark Chocolate Mint was also quite enjoyable, reminding me of Girl Scout Thin Mints in flavor with a crumbly, shortbread feel. Finally, I simply had to try the Lemon Coolers which is why I picked up a bag, plus more Midnight Almond, on my trip to the store the next day. In case you were wondering, those were equally delicious.

I wonder if I can get them to send me review samples of the other flavors like Espresso Chocolate Chip and Butter Pecan Praline? It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

House of the week: Double on Scott Street

If you squint, you can see me waving through the window.

All I want for Christmas is a house of my own.  Do you think this year you’ll swing it Santa, help me get a loan? As much as I love to rhyme, I’m sure you’ll find it lame. This is a blog, after all, and not a reindeer game!

Stopping there, before it gets ridiculous, I found another house the other day that I’d throw down the cash for this very minute … if I had it. Located in Mid-City less than a block from Canal Street is this lovely four bedroom, two bath double with all the features I covet. It’s got a huge front porch, hardwood floors, fireplace mantles, transoms, floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, pocket doors, two stories and a pretty nice backyard.

As with most of the homes I desire, the location is rather choice. It’s less than a block to Canal Street, which means easy access to the streetcar and a nice spot to hang out for Endymion during Mardi Gras. Plus, the literal cornucopia of good restaurants in the area is staggering with spots like Juan’s Flying Burrito, Mandina’s, Canal St. Bistro and Cafe Minh all within walking distance, and that’s only scratching the surface.

I’m pretty sure Santa has me on his “naughty” list, though so I doubt this beauty listed for $489,000 is in my future. Maybe next year …

Livin’ easy at The Big Cheezy

When you dine out regularly, it can be a relief to go to a casual restaurant where you don’t have to be concerned about whether or not your food will taste good, or even worse, if you’ll be able to afford it. I’m sure you all can relate to restaurant “sticker shock” … or should we call it a “check crash?” One too many Old Fashioned’s or extra appetizers can easily push you far beyond your food-cost comfort zone. There’s also that possibility that, by no fault of the chef, you simply didn’t like your dish. Then you’re left paying through the nose for a partially full stomach and an afternoon of disappointment. Continue reading

Hanging out in The Backyard

Easily the best hot dog I've ever eaten...
Easily the best hot dog I’ve ever eaten…

In general, I am not a huge fan of kids. While I realize people have all kinds of arguments to refute this particular point of view, nothing has been said or done to change my mind. Kids are invariably messy, selfish, smelly, sticky, noisy, irritable, ornery, time-consuming, aggravating, angsty little money pits who rarely fail get on my nerves in record time. I realize I was one of these putrid little beasts long ago who likely tormented people like me, but that still doesn’t alter the simple fact that I am wholeheartedly Team Mama Fratelli, frequently echoing her eloquently stated sentiment that “kids suck.” Continue reading

Eat all the pie at District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar

Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken

Often I joke about ordering the entire menu at a restaurant, but once I actually did. A few months back when John and I were starving in our food-less apartment (we desperately needed to go grocery shopping), we decided to eat first in order to avoid buying everything in the store. After hearing so much about it, we visited District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar on the corner of Arabella and Magazine Street and ordered one of every hand pie they had. Was this a wise decision? Probably not, but it sure was a tasty one. Plus, when we went shopping afterwards, we were too stuffed to fill the buggy with items that were not on the list. Continue reading

Ghoulishly gourmet dinner at Kingfish

Eat “Odd Bites” at Kingfish on Oct. 28th 2015

A few years back I wrote a gruesome food piece in Where Y’at Magazine dubbed “Eat it! I dare you.” for Halloween. I featured dishes that might not be so daring for the seasoned gourmand, but for the average diner might have required a bit of derring-do.  After all, items like squid ceviche at Santa Fe Restaurant, fried sweetbreads at Bayona and even raw oysters (that daunt many!) seem rather everyday to me now, though for many people they might require a measure of bravery.  Continue reading

Cheering for Bao & Noodle

Sweet and tangy shishito peppers drizzled with black vinegar.

People may be inclined to argue the point, but there is a real lack of good, authentic Chinese cuisine in the Crescent City. Of all the Chinese restaurants I’ve experienced since moving here, Jung’s Golden Dragon is the closest I’ve come, that is until I dined at Bao & Noodle.

A few months back, my friend Anne and I ventured out into Bywater to get a taste of Chef Doug Crowell’s take on Chinese cuisine. When we arrived at the baby-blue building that looked as if it once might have been a corner store, the restaurant was empty of diners. We walked straight up to the front counter (a.k.a. fold-out table) and picked up a paper menu before a woman appeared from the back all smiles, offering to help us order. Continue reading