Hands clenching the sides of the barrel, your head plunges into the icy water and while holding your breath, you try to get a grip on the apple bobbing before your lips. Your teeth slide across the slick surface denying purchase while water makes it’s way up your nose and into your ears. Bubbles rise out of your open mouth, sending the seemingly unattainable apples further from your lips.
Suddenly, just when you think your lungs can take no more, right before your brain starts to spin, you manage to hone in on one of the red-skinned beauties and using a deft combination of suction and willpower, your teeth finally sink into the crisp, juicy flesh. Pulling your head out of the water, hair splashing other contestants, you frantically suck air into your nostrils while displaying your sweet prize for all to see.
Just so you know, there is an easier way.
All joking aside, there are so many ways in which to enjoy the ubiquitous apple that don’t require getting wet. For kicks, head on down to Frenchmen Street in the Marigny and less than a block away from the Apple Barrel Bar (ahem), lies a double-gallied building that houses Three Muses. Open for two years now, this chic, French-influenced tavern offers nightly music from performers like Kristin Diable and Luke Winslow King, inspired cocktails and a highly eclectic menu.
Though this popular venue is owned and managed by three people, it is the culinary skill of Chef Daniel Esses who created one of their signature dishes, Kurobuta Pork Belly. Rich, decadent pork belly squares are braised in NOLA Brewing’s Brown Ale and apple cider, topped with a dollop of tangy apple chutney and served upon delicate scallion pancakes. Chase it with a local brew and your wallet won’t even break a sweat.
Another option is to make the trek to the other side of town and discover one of the latest food destinations on Oak Street, Breads on Oak. Right on the corner of Monroe and about a block away from Cowbell, the wholly refurbished brick building that was once a hardware store is now bustling every weekend thanks to owner and baker Sean O’Mahony. His ambitious and well-received plans are to carry on the Old World tradition of baking, true to the history he studied of old bread-makers in New Orleans.
Although it seems he has a distinct passion and skill for creating the ultimate French baguette, his baker also produces such leavened delicacies like heavy loaves of multigrain, aromatic Gruyere cheese bread, brioche, croissants, cookies, brownies and more. One particular bit of wholesomeness is the Organic Apple & Fig Bran Muffin that proves to be dense, moist and sweet…an optimal choice for a filling breakfast.
*Article originally published in the September 2012 issue of Where Y’at Magazine