Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chevy's FRESH mex

We drove out to veterans to take advantage of Mr. Dahl's Mr. Manager position at Chevy's Fresh Mex (food fo free). Chevy's is a pig out place. I made the mistake of looking at the nutrition facts pre-dinner, and basically decided that everything is pretty terrible for you, but pretty delicious, so why even bother thinking about it??? Let's eat!
We started with a chicken flautas appetizer (not pictured) that is served with pepper jelly dipping sauce. Flautas are delicious and strangely comforting to me. Don't really know why. It came in an order of six flautas (larger than we remembered), and they were devoured pretty quickly.
I decided to go for fajitas--asparagus and portabello mushroom fajitas. The fajitas are served sizzling on this really large, really heavy, fajita get-up. Don't know any other way to describe it. The mushrooms and asparagus were served on onions and peppers and were kind of oily, but good nonetheless. I opted out of the fresh mex rice, but got black beans, cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream. I "built" my fajitas on flour tortillas made by EL MACHINO. OH and the BEST part of my meal was the tamalito (aka corn pone). How they make this corn mash so delicious, I do not know. But it is fantastic. The only bad part of my meal was one chewy/burnt asparagus stalk that tasted strangely like marijuana.
Ellie got fajitas too, but as she suspects she might have an iron deficiency, she ordered shrimp and carnitas fajitas. Her dad used to joke that carnitas were marinated in Dr. pepper, but I believe this is a lie. The carnitas were really tender and well-seasoned, whether sugary soda was used or not. She got the rice and refried beans.
Jolie went with the combination of two delicious tex mex favorites--- fajita quesadilla. I believe she had the carnita fajita quesadilla, which was topped with sour cream and guacamole. She didn't say much about it, but there was little to complain about besides lacking tamalitos (aka CORN PONE). It was one of the largest quesadillas I have ever seen.

As Dana loves flautas, she ordered flautas along with a chicken chimichanga, served with rice (she opted out of beans) and tamalito. She did not like the chimichanga, as the cheese on top resembled nacho cheese. I tasted it though, and I thought it was tasty enough. The flautas, as always, were a hit.
It is a tradition that we order dessert at Chevy's. And the dessert must be the Oooey Gooey Chewy Sundae. Fresh-baked molten brownie, topped with 3 scoops of rich, creamy vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and crumbled oreo cookie. It is drenched in some sort of chocolate sauce. Let me tell you, this dessert
was absolutely delicious. We split it between the four of us, as it's pretty huge.
The ice cream was a perfect ending to a fattie meal, but it was a delicious and a FREE meal, thanks to Mr. Dahl (whose real tall!) It's a tradition that should be taken advantage of at least once a year. Unfortunately, at the end of this meal, we had to say bye to Jolie, who hopefully will continue Eating for Sport in San Francisco, a food athlete mecca.

Marigny Brasserie

For one of our last collective summer food blogs; Rachel, Dana, Jolie, and I decided to splurge and tried a fancier restaurant than our budgets usually allow so Friday we went to Marigny Brasserie. I was personally very excited about the outing. I looked forward to it all week. I confess that by the time I had gotten to the restaurant I knew exactly what I wanted having read the menu repeatedly online (usually while I was at work, sitting in my cubicle and eating my standard turkey sandwich lunch). I had built Marigny Brasserie up in my mind but even in spite of that, the overall dining experience proved to be hit and miss (especially considering how much they were charging for the food, entrées ranged from $25-35 and the sandwiches were around $15). One of the things that we were struck by was the lackluster service for the decidedly upscale atmosphere of the restaurant. Supposedly there was a special and a Fish of the Day, but our waitress never informed us of them. Also, when we were given menus, only two of us got dinner menus while the other two got the lunch menus and so we played musical menus. One of the high notes of the meal was the bread and basil butter we were given, which we ravenously scarfed down before anyone could whip out a camera.

Everyone except for Rachel abstained from a small plate.She got a strawberry walnut spinach salad with chunks of blue cheese. Based on her reports and the bite I stole, I surmised that it was relatively delicious and quite refreshing. The strawberries were sweet and plentiful.

Rachel and I enjoyed our pricier entrées, while Jolie and Dana’s more moderately priced sandwiches left a lot to be desired. I ordered the blackened redfish accompanied by what was touted as a “shaved fennel apple salad with cider lemongrass vinaigrette” on top of the fish, which rested on a base of shrimp jamabalaya drizzled with creole tomato sauce. The apple salad just tasted like a bunch of apple bits, the fish and jambalaya were very flavorful with the perfect amount of spicy kick when eaten together with a bit of the tomato sauce. My only complaint was the fact that the presentation of the dish, while aesthetic, rendered eating the towering mass much more awkward than necessary.

(Also, please note that I was the only one with enough balls to sport the headband.)

Rachel had the rich and delicious Eggplant-Forest Mushroom Lasagne which was covered in a roasted garlic bechamel, spinach sauté, and shallot preserves.

Jolie ordered the soft-shelled crab po’ boy that turned out to be pretty average. There was a classy sauce (herb aioli) that was used in place of the traditional mayo, which might have been the only one of the po’ boy’s redeeming qualities. The crab itself was soggy and a little cold.

Dana’s Wild Blue Burger was a big disappointment. Sloppy and terribly greasy, this burger did not deliver on the delicious promise made by its description. The burger seemed like a safe bet with blue cheese and applewood smoked bacon; however, it fell far short of Dana’s expectations.

Both Dana’s and Jolie’s sandwiches came with “fries” which turned out to be 3 thick potato wedges. These fries were determined to be inferior to their shoestring counterparts. When the waitress boxed up Dana’s half-eaten burger, she threw out Dana’s last bite of fry, greatly distressing Dana.

As the evening progressed the surrounding tables grew louder and rowdier. I’ll give Marigny Brasserie the benefit of the doubt that they make better drinks than they do food. We chose not to imbibe so as to minimize our bill, but the drinks sounded very tempting.

Considering the myriad of other restaurants the city has to offer, chances are that you won’t get the most bang for your buck at Marigny Brasserie in spite of its otherwise pleasant ambiance.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Better Late Than Never

So...yes. I realize that in the beginning of the summer I promised to update with frequent tales of the delights of the cafeteria at the ADVANCE program, and sadly I never did. Not because I didn't want to, but simply because the Fine Arts education of fourteen 12-15 year-old girls unfortunately took precedence over updating this blog on any sort of basis. However...I did photographically record two different meals that I consumed and feel that now, as a way of ushering out summer 2009, I will finally write about them.

Both were free. I've always said...free food is the best kind of food a person can eat. Is it true? No, but I've always said that.

The first meal was a tuna salad sandwich consumed at the ADVANCE cafeteria. Well, the cafeteria is technically called the LSMSA Showcase (cafeteria for the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts) and this particular sandwich came from a section called the "New Orleans Deli." It's basically just a plastic buffet set-up with some lukewarm lunch meats hanging out on it...with a sad little placard above claiming its products are from the Big Easy, but it's pretty clear they're from Sam's Club. Anyway, I was left a little unsatisfied with whatever the meal of the day was, so in order to supplement it, I served myself what I believed to be chicken salad on a slice of wheat bread. I chose to ignore the unsettingly vibrant redness of some small chunks that were hanging around in there...even though I had not noticed them when I previously ate a chicken salad sandwich the day before. After a bite...it was still unclear whether it was chicken or fish. After another...it remained unclear. I, eventually, with the help of my olfactory senses and those around me was able to determine that it was, in fact, tuna fish. Long story short, it turns out that according to this New Orleans Deli, the biggest difference between mayonnaise/fish products, and mayonnaise/chicken products isn't necessarily the protein use, but rather these small red things. That's the only major difference I could discern.

All things considered, it was still kind of good. But not really. But at the time...didn't seem that bad. But mostly in comparison to what else I was eating. In retrospect...it was about as delicious as this photograph is flattering of me.

The only other picture I have of myself wearing this headband and consuming any kind of food is this one...which I'm realizing now that I probably took the same day...as I am wearing the same t-shirt. There is a chance though that I was really just wearing the same shirt out fo laziness, or possibly devotion to Emory University. That's beside the point. Because this was a special day.

This was free root beer float night at Sonic. There isn't really much to say about free root beer floats. They're delicious. And they're free. They're a little small I guess...but that's something you really have to deal with if you're going to somewhere for a free beverage. So...yeah. It was good. I will take a brief instant to comment on the merits of Sonic as a drive-in and as a place of acquiring sustenance. Since there are inexplicably two Sonics within two miles of each other in Natchitoches (which is barely two miles long itself), it was where many evenings were spent trying to get visions of bad casseroles and bad children out of our troubled minds. While not necessarily healthy...Sonic's assortment of hamburgers, chicken dishes, fried foods, wieners, and ice cream never disappointed. The only real complaint I have about Sonic is that when you order a hamburger, they say "What kind?" and then you have to choose ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. You can only have one...and it defines your hamburger. I don't like that. It's a hamburger. Don't try to put it in a box. It's got to float. It's gotta have wings, man. Anyway, I had a ketchup burger once and it was good. Like, it was really good. But I don't like idea of it. And I'm a little crotchety and I don't like it when this doggone kids start messing with the originals. The end.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

St. James Cheese Company

I met ellie and camille on my lunch break at St. James Cheese Company, a mere half block away from Camille's house. I can't believe we've never eaten there before given the vicinity to some of my other favorite eateries (Kyoto, creole creamery, crepe nanou). The small dining room was pretty crowded, as it was around noon at this popular lunch spot, so we had to sit outside even though it was sprinkling. We ordered at the counter covered in blocks of varieties of cheese from around the world. Ellie and I both ordered the gruyere (gruyere cheese, caramelized onion "confit", on multigrain bread).
Camille ordered the beechers cheddar (smoked turkey, basil, avocado, white cheddar and tomato on cibatta). We all got side salads, though you could also get kettle chips. The gruyere sandwich tasted kind of like french onion soup.... in a sandwich. Though this may not sound that good, it was really delicious.

It was pretty much like a grown up grilled cheese. The bread was really nutty and seedy. Camille's sandwich was also really good. The basil was a perfect compliment to the relatively mild cheddar and smoked turkey. The bread was really fresh and soft. I wish you could have tasted the avocado, though, as the basil overpowered the flavor a bit. St. James also has salad options which sounded really good, but the bread is so good and fresh that it's hard to pass up the sandwiches. The table next to us (full of belching children) ordered cheese and charcuterie plates which offered a variety of cheeses, meats, grapes, apples, bread, etc... and allowed for a sampling of different things. Maybe next time I'll give that a try. But for lunch, a filling and flavorful sandwich from St. james just hits the spot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slice of Awesome

Rachel and I arrived at Slice Pizzeria a little earlier than Jolie and Camille, just in time to catch the last 10 minutes of happy hour.  2 words: abita pitcher.  Huge and literally overflowing with beer (it sloshed all over the table when we tried to pour), this $5 pitcher was worth the trip to the downtown side of St. Charles.  Our waitress was sweet and tried to get us another pitcher before the end of happy hour, but alas, her efforts were in vain and we were in no mood to spend $10 on it. 

Back to the food side of things, the selling point of Slice Pizzeria is intuitive…you can buy pizza by the slice.  We started things off with half salads all around; because it sounded so good, all four of us got the spinach salad with mushrooms, red onions, pine nuts, and pepperoni bacon. The salad came with a gorgonzola smeared crostini.  We all agreed that they were stingy on the gorgonzola and the salads a little dry.  Overall the salads weren’t terrible, just less than amazing.

There were many interesting and delicious sounding pizza options, Jolie and Rachel got a slice each of the Spinach, Artichoke, and Sundried Tomato; Camille got a slice of “Fresh” which included basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes; I got a slice of Bacon, Basil, and Garlic.  All of the slices were delish.  I especially liked the whole cloves of roasted garlic that lay like landmines on my pizza.  Slice Pizzeria offers unique and inexpensive pizza options as well as copious cheap beer.  

Rachel Hahn: Top Chef in my heart

A few weeks ago (I know…late post), Rachel threw a dinner party that was simply divine.  Our wonderful hostess served Jolie, Camille, and I appetizers of baby mozzarella balls on a toothpick with grape tomatoes and freshly picked basil leaves.  These were delicious and refreshing; when we ran out we just went in her yard and picked more basil.  


As a person who intensely dislikes tomatoes, this is high praise indeed.  The only thing we had to look out for was exploding tomato guts.  Rachel also made us some lovely sangria with white wine and limoncello as well as mixed fruit.  It tasted great and we also got to munch on wine infused apples and strawberries as we drank. 


The main course was sooo delicious.  Rachel made naan pizzas topped with goat cheese, zucchini, and eggplant.  If that weren’t enough, she brought out parfaits in fancy wine glasses for dessert.  The parfait consisted of angel food cake topped with strawberries, blueberries and cool whip.  Rachel is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, she concocts original meals that are good and good for you.   Rachel truly is an all around food athlete.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

St. Joe's

So this entry won't say much since there is actually no food involved (minus a post-bar trip to wendy's for frostys). All I have to say is that blueberry mojitos at St. Joe's are perfectly delectable and fantastic. They each cost $6.00 and aren't actually that alcoholic... but they're so tasty that they are just worth it. Drinking is a sport too!!!

Additionally, the ambiance at st. joe's is pleasant. There is a back patio with pretty iron tables and lots of fans to beat the heat and blow away skeeters. There are also asian themed lanterns above the bar in the back (it looks a lot nicer than it sounds). Inside, there is a pool table and a semi-classy bar. Or maybe I'm just used to college bars and this isn't actually that classy. But it was still nice, nonetheless.