Big easy picks
Best Television Production Yet Starring New Orleans
HBO’s Treme, first of all, is NOT a documentary. It is a fictional story told about a real time; that time being three months after the Gulf Coast’s decimation by hurricane Katrina. It’s characters are based on real people and the real people are based on characters and they run a gamut: Rich man, Poor Man, Beggar man, Thief. Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief with a Chef and WWOZ DJ thrown in. Treme is a ‘you love it or you’re still sore from the last hurricane to enjoy’ program. I’m not sure that it will play in Peoria, where they’ll probably need subtitles but, check it out. Local Sundays at 9pm. Local musical performances and recognizable storyline.
Best Guilty Summer Pleasures
That too but…the Casino at City Park for a butter pecan cone under the oaks on a hot Summer afternoon is almost as good as good can be and …. a trip to Angelo Brocato’s at 214 N. Carrollton Av is simply a giddying experience and the iced creams and confections are nothing if not bordering on sensual; however, after reading Sara Roahen’s hunger inspiring Gumbo Tales I became a Hansen’s Sno-Blitz Sweet Shop (4801 Tchoupitoulas St) disciple and have joined the ranks of knowing New Orleanians that wait each Spring to watch for the updated sign outside updating the years that they’ve been in business that signals the beginning of their business year (now having been open 71 years). In Hansen’s you may wait in line because there are ‘no shortcuts to quality’ and the original snow making machine still operates at it’s own pace and the syrups are house made and new flavors are always surfacing to our amazement and enjoyment. Open 1 til 7 every day but Monday
The Very Best Local Cookbook
Books about our local foods have been written for over a century and a half and there is not a runt in the litter. Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana kitchen is where Creole/Cajun became cool for the rest of the world. Written in 1984, it’s in it’ 91st printing, it took two years to write because at the time he was not measuring any ingredients. Paulette Rittenberg stood next to him and cooked and wrote and tested, bless her heart and patience, consequently all of his spice mixtures (for every dish) are broken down by ingredient. The Remoulade Sauce is the blueprint for every one you’ll have today in New Orleans, color photos on how to make a roux and how to blacken a fish. Every basic recipe and I mean every basic recipe. Check out the Sweet Potato Pecan Pie and the BBQ Shrimp. $28.99 new but working copies can be had for less.
Best Unadvertised Restaurant
Café Maspero 601 Decatur St. at Toulouse not to be confused with Pierre Maspero which pales, has been open since 1974 and run by the same family from inception. The philosophy is simple; large portions, small prices, no frills.
The very best Muffelatta in the city; served hot, individual size and there is more filling than bread. Seafood platters as big as your head, $1.00 daiquiris and house wine; tap Abita in frozen mugs and a great onion soup among other offerings. No credit cards, no reservations, no dessert, no blaring televisions and no waitress in a uniform explaining the daily specials and telling you their name and that they’ll be your ‘server’. Cost conscious, brisk, casual with the occasional celebrity or walk in party of thirty. Open 11:00 am-10:00 weekdays 11:00 pm weekends. Closed Christmas and Thanksgiving.
French Quarter Computer Café in operation
Oxymoron? Pretty much. With the closing of the Bastille and other private ones that couldn’t hold on after hell and high water hit (not to mention escalating rents and naive management) The French Quarter Postal Emporium at 1000 Bourbon St. has been the only place to send anyone in need of computer time, fax services and mailing services. Into this breach comes That Internet Café On Toulouse, 717 Toulouse (off Royal toward Bourbon) to be exact next to Glass Magick. 522-2020. Summer hours are 7am until 2:30. They’ll be offering access, sales repairs, fax and tutoring. Again another locally owned and operated and in need of support in these trying times.