Hogs 2012

I wrote something about this year’s Hogs for the Cause in advance of the event and then somehow failed to post it. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened, but I’m chalking it up to general incompetence. It was a pretty slick time, kids. I got to judge the porkpourri category, and although the site was pretty moist, it was well-attended. I saw a lot of friends both inside the judging tent and around the grounds. My wife and I had a good time, but more important, Hogs raised a lot of money for pediatric cancer research. Here’s a press release I received the other day:

April 4, 2012 – New Orleans, LA –New Orleans went hog wild at the 4th Annual Hogs for the Cause pork cook-off, music festival and fundraiser on Saturday, March 24th raising a net amount of $320,000 and luring over 12,000 people to City Park for a day of pork, live music, beer and basking in the sun. Festival-goers had a chance to sample pork dishes from 58 teams competing in the Ben Sarrat Jr. High on the Hog Pork Cook-Off. Funds raised will go to support children with pediatric brain cancer.

“We consider this year’s Hogs a huge success, raising over three times as much money as we did last year and almost doubling the attendance,” says Hogs for the Cause co-founder and Chairman of the Board Becker Hall. “What started as a small get together at the Fly four years ago has turned into one of New Orleans premier events and we’re really proud of that accomplishment.”

This year’s cook-off teams were comprised of restaurants, amateurs BBQ competitors, and pork enthusiasts from Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, competing in up to nine categories, including ribs, pork shoulder, whole hog, “porkpourri,” fundraising and fan favorite. The team that took home all the bacon as the 2012 Grand Champion was Team Company Burger Gets More Cowbell, which was comprised of Adam Biderman of The Company Burger and Brack May of Cowbell. Local restaurants Fat Hen Grocery and Squeal came in second and third respectively.

“There was some serious competition out there this year and we had to step up our game,” says The Company Burger owner Adam Biderman and winner of 2011’s “porkpourri” category. “We’re thrilled at the win and look forward to coming back next year.”

This year’s musical line-up included Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Marcia Ball, Stooges Brass Band, The Gourds, Mississippi Rail Company and a special appearance by Dr. John, all on the NOLA Brewing Stage.

“One of the biggest winners of the day was last year’s Grand Champion, Swine Krewe,” says co-founder Rene Louapre. “The team raised an astounding $21,000 for the cause.”

Hogs for the Cause, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, plans on distributing at least 50 grants to children and families in need in the coming year. To date, the organization has distributed nearly $75,000 in grants to families with children battling pediatric brain cancer. The organization offers grants specifically filling the gap on expenses where insurance might not cover and alleviating the financial burdens associated with the disease.

For more information please visit www.hogsforthecause.org.

Just because you missed the event doesn’t mean you can’t still donate now, by the way.


04 2012

Sweet Olive in Haute Plates

Haute Plates today is about my recent lunch at Sweet Olive. It was excellent, and I swear to God the place is made for taking pictures. It’s like the entire dining room is one big white light filter. Anyway, here’s a picture of some pickles to prime the pump of anticipation.

These included sweet potato, green bean, hot-sauce pickled green tomatoes, baby turnips, bread and butter cucumber pickles and pickled beets. The plate also contains razor-thin potato chips and a buttermilk dressing.


03 2012

I have no idea

What the place I’m about to link you to is like, but I do have some thoughts about it based on the name. One of those thoughts is that if you are located in the United States and the name of your establishment includes “public house,” then you’re probably douchebag central.

As you were.


12 2011


This is not a recipe.

Go ahead, follow that link and read it. Then come back and tell me how you’re going to get anything significant from adding 2 small garlic cloves and a half-inch piece of ginger to the water in which you “wilt” spinach. “Oh,” you say, “but the recipe called for the dish to be lightly seasoned with salt and pepper! Surely that will give the wilted spinach some flavor?” Fuck you, my hastily constructed straw man. Look, I know the New York Times is my go-to place for scorn, but what the holy hell is going on here? Just read what the author of the recipe said about it:

I desperately wanted a pile of fresh greens and washed a pound for four people. The method was something I’ve come to think of as an oil-free stir-fry: I cooked a large handful of spinach at a time in a half-inch of boiling water, adding a touch of garlic and ginger and swirling the greens with tongs. As soon as they were barely wilted, I transferred them to a serving dish.

That’s not a stir-fry, David. That’s boiling spinach. You’ve boiled spinach in very lightly seasoned water. Congratulations, and thank you so very much for the recipe. I’m waiting for the follow-up article in which you provide variations such as carrots boiled in lightly seasoned water, leeks boiled in lightly seasoned water, water boiled with lightly seasoned water or possibly kale boiled in lightly seasoned water. What kills me is that the recipe is billed as “oil-free spinach with ginger.” Oil free indeed. As if oil is a bad thing? I use the word “fuck” too much, I know. But fucking hell…

Tanis, if you’re such a glutton that post-Thanksgiving all you can manage to stuff down your gullet is steamed fish and “lightly boiled” spinach, then I’m terribly sorry for you. I’m not sorry for your editors at the New York Times, who apparently don’t know their ass from a bowl of lightly boiled spinach. (tip: your ass is the one that’s not green and watery).

Update: God bless my pointed little head, I just realized that the author of the recipe above was the source of an earlier post I wrote about frying oysters, in which I expressed skepticism about the author’s ability to cook. I’m both embarrassed that I didn’t realize I was criticizing the same guy, and slightly gratified that I appear to have been correct about Mr. Tanis. So it goes.

I very nearly eliminated the New York Times Dining & Wine section from my newsreader this evening, because I so rarely find anything there worth reading. Then I realized that a fair portion of my content here comes from making fun of the NYT Dining & Wine section, and I reconsidered.


11 2011


Root opened recently in the space formerly occupied by Feast. I’ll be writing about it in the near future; in the interim, here’s an image of the restaurant’s “KFC” wings – Korean-style fried chicken wings.


11 2011

A Pig

No, not me. Rather this is an image that I took recently at an event which I will discuss tomorrow in my Haute Plates column. Enjoy.


11 2011

You Must Be This Attractive to Enter The Ride

I received an email this morning from a fellow with Pilgrim Studios, the folks behind reality shows like American Chopper, Top Shot, Ghost Hunters, Swamp Loggers, and others. I can’t say I’ve ever seen any of those shows apart from a few 20 second clips on the Soup, but that’s not a judgment on my part. The email I received involves the search for a… aw just read it:


Are you a chef, restaurateur, foodie or gourmet who is ready to find the love of his life? Pilgrim Studios (www.pilgrimstudios.com) is looking for a single, attractive and charming culinary enthusiast to be our featured bachelor on a new, unscripted show for a major cable network.

If chosen, you will be featured on your own series and have the opportunity to date a select group of amazing women who share your love for great food and the culinary arts. You MUST have a strong background in cuisine (food writers and connoisseurs welcome as well!), and be the kind of man who thinks that there’s nothing sexier than a woman who can cook her way into your heart.

If this sounds like you, and you’re ready to make spectacular meals with the perfect woman, then contact producers TODAY! Email CulinaryBachelor@gmail.com with your name, age, location, a recent photo and a brief description of why you’d be perfect for this show.

Deadline to submit is November 9, 2011! Producers are waiting to hear from you NOW!

Anyway, if you’re interested, the email address to which you should direct your efforts is above.

Bread at the Courtyard Grill

The Courtyard Grill is a Turkish restaurant that opened about a year and a half ago on Magazine Street near Napoleon. I’d been meaning to check it out for a while now, and I’m glad I did. You can read more about it in the near future, but in the interim, here’s an image of one of the highlights of a meal there:

House-made bread at the Courtyard Grill


10 2011

A New Product Attracts My Attention

Via the New York Times, which has become the object of my derision more than normally lately, I learned that you can now buy pre-formed parchment bags for cooking en papillote. The company, suspiciously, is Canadian, but at $3.99 for 10 bags it’s not outrageous. You could probably make 30 similarly-sized bags from a roll of parchment paper that costs a buck less, but that assumes you have hands and know how to use them, and who can assume that these days?

I started writing this post to make the point that if you can’t make a bag out of parchment paper, then you probably shouldn’t be cooking en papillote, but I found myself entranced by one of the comments on the product at Amazon.com. See if you’re not equally spellbound:

I LOVE THESE PARCHMENT BAGS!!! Brilliant, fabulous!! Simply fantastic shortcut for cooking. I saw them at the Fancy Food show, I got a few samples there thanks to the generous staff present, then, I cooked several things at home with the parchment bags. Fish is fabulous, vegetables luscious, and chicken comes out lovely. From what I have learned, they are a FANTASTIC SHORTCUT!! You don’t need any liquid to add, just aromatic herbs — fresh ones work the best, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, pop the pack into a hot oven, and you have a lovely, fast, meal — and cleanup is just throwing out the paper!!! It just doesn’t get better. WIth three kids, a hungry husband, a job and more, these paper bags are now my favorite new cooking tools. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THEM!! Thanks for selling them on amazon.com.


I don’t want to suggest that comment was left by someone who also happens to have an ownership interest in the company that produces those bags. No, that’s a lie. I desperately want to believe that the person who left that comment either has a financial interest in PaperChef, or has children being held hostage by the owners of PaperChef. Because if that’s just some random customer? Oh dear.

Though who am I to criticize a woman who has found a way to rid her house of the fishy smell that previously dominated? Would I, in similar circumstances, not also be so grateful as to TYPE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS AND ADD EXTRANEOUS EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! ? What I want to know is what the fuck this woman was doing to make her house smell of fish in the first place? Was someone forcing her to cook fish? Was the cod mafia all up in her shit? Does her kitchen window open onto a river where spawning salmon, crazed with lust, jump periodically into her cupboards, to remain hidden until they rot?

Clearly I should feel pity for this woman. Though perhaps not as sorry as I feel for the other commenter at Amazon:

These bags work ok; but don’t put too much liquid ingredients in them, or they fall apart at the seems. I made some baked fish in a white wine sauce and it was just too much liquid for the bag.

I believe that comment argues in favor of my point that if you can’t fucking make a bag out of parchment paper, perhaps you shouldn’t be cooking en papillote?


10 2011

Oh dear…

“I used to run a restaurant in Santa Fe, N.M., another far-flung spot for an oyster to show up. We garnered quite a bit of fame for the fried-oyster sandwiches we served at lunch. The reasons for their much-deserved success: the plump fellows were coated in flour and egg, rolled in soft bread crumbs and shallow-fried in clarified butter until crisp and golden. To this day, it’s really the only way I like to cook them. ”

The above quote is from the increasingly hilarious New York Times food section. David Tanis, whom I’m sure is a fine chef, should probably pontificate on things other than the best way to fry an oyster.

Perhaps that’s just me.


09 2011