Independent Food Festival and Awards

I agreed to participate in the first annual Independent Food Festival and Awards, sponsored by Taste Everything because it looked cool, and well organized. I haven’t seen the other awards, but I can vouch for the organization, and based on the other websites participating, this should be outstanding. (Edit: after checking out the other awards, I can verify that this was one hell of a good idea, and that Hillel Cooperman, who set it up, is a swell fellow.)

The idea was for each website participating to come up with a unique award. I thought for quite a while about it, and with some help, came up with the following:

Most Sublime Use of a Potato.

There are a number of restaurants in New Orleans that fit the description “Classic Creole.” These are places like Antoine’s, Galatoire’s, and Arnaud’s, where the menus and preparations remain largely un-changed from the late 19th century.

As a matter of course, the menus at these grande dames of the restaurant world feature a lot of the same dishes. One that is common to all of them is Souffle Potatoes. These are thinly sliced on a mandoline (Escoffier calls for 1/8th inch), then fried twice in oil until they’re puffed and golden. They are served with a small dish of béarnaise sauce on the side.

The result is absolutely addictive – finger food brought to new heights. The potato slices turn into pillows, with a bit of crispness and a bit of airy tenderness. I always place at least one order per person, along with any other appetizers. The pommes de terre soufflées always arrive first, along with the traditional (well, for me anyway) pre-meal cocktail.

The dish is, as I mentioned, available in more than one restaurant, but my favorite place to order it is Galatoire’s. It probably has something to do with the atmosphere there, which seem so conducive to public dining with friends; this is a dish best shared. The award for “Most Sublime Use of a Potato” goes to Galatoire’s pommes de terre soufflees.

image by Matthew Wilson

Posted by on February 22, 2005 8:00 AM | Permalink

Comments

My goodness… to anyone who has had them, that picture will induce immediate salivary excitement.

Great choice of Award!

Posted by: oyster | February 22, 2005 8:22 AM

Rats, missed out on another deal. I visit over 20 blogs every two days or so and never ran across this fun thing. Damn.

Biggles

Posted by: Dr. Biggles | February 22, 2005 10:56 AM

I agree with this award 100%. And now that the Souffle Potatoes are “award winning,” I feel a little less guilty about all the times that the #1 reason I went to Galatoire’s was for those wonderful potatoes.

-Jeff

Posted by: Jeff Richardson | February 22, 2005 12:52 PM

Now THESE sound decadent…in that way that only greasy, puffed-up, gorgeously cooked potatoe slices can be!

What a great addition to the awards, Robert – I knew you would come up with something amazing..and you didn’t disappoint!

Posted by: Jennifer | February 23, 2005 9:04 AM

appetites.

glad to have found your blog… i’m new to the blogging world…

is that the blue cheese dressing you have with your frites?

u.e.

Posted by: the ulterior epicure | February 23, 2005 3:24 PM

No, the “frites” are in fact a variation on fried potatoes, in which very thinly sliced potatoes are fried twice, so that they puff up. The sauce you see there is bernaise – hollandaise sauce with tarragon, essentially. I would imagine blue cheese dressing would be pretty good too though.

Posted by: Robert | February 23, 2005 8:50 PM

That photo has convinced me to do Galatoire’s our next visit to NO, hopefully next JazzFest. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your site.

Posted by: Groovin’ Gourmet | May 22, 2005 1:56 AM