30 December 2009

tasty 2009 memories (plus a cocktail recipe)

We heart the Big Easy. Big time. Rock ‘n’ Bowl at Mid City Lanes, music at Donna’s Bar and Grill and famous drinking establishments with storied pasts make us swoon, but it’s the unforgettable meals we’ve had that makes New Orleans one of our all-time favorite dining destinations.

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of dining at the Bar Chef Table at Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar in Loews New Orleans Hotel with the grande dames of the Big Easy – cousins and co-authors, Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan.

To say it was a mere meal would be a huge understatement – it was a multi-hour, paired cocktail and culinary adventure woven with colorful stories and true Southern hospitality. Reigning over our escapades was Bar Chef Lu Brow and Executive Chef Chris Lusk, a creative tag team of taste that will make your mouth very, very happy.

Recently. Ms. Brow has been left to her own creative devices and just debuted a brand new wave of cocktails. According to the PR peeps:

“Each drink has some New Orleans whimsy or was created for a special New Orleans occasion – all have Lu’s love of her city and her profession crackling in the glass.”

And here are some of Brow’s latest cleverly-named concoctions:

Whoopsie Daisy, Oh What A Night!, Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl, Wild Magnolia (named for the famous Mardi Gras Indian tribe and made with Brow’s own housemade bitters), Sloe Gin Bliz (an homage to Brow’s favorite summer snoball stand) and Bewitched (has ingredients that hail from a local voodoo shop). The drinks start at $9 at Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar.

Lusk complements Brow’s menu with creative Louisiana-inspired Bar Bites divided into “Tastes,” “Nibbles,” and “Big Bites.” Our faves: Blue Crab Cake Pound Cake with Port Salut “Icing” & Truffled Crab Claws, Shrimp & Tasso “Corndogs” with Five Pepper Jelly, Pickled Okra, Chicory Greens and Crystal Hot Sauce and Beef Bourguignon Debris “Smashed” Po-Boy and Potato Crusted Onion Rings and Roasted Mushroom Aioli.

We know by now you can’t wait to taste Brow’s liquid handiwork, so here you have it:

Red-Headed Stepchild

Lots of redheads in the family– Adelaide was a redhead, and so are Dottie and Ti; and – coincidentally enough – so is Lu. The cayenne rim makes this drink a redhead, too.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 teaspoon super fine sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground cayenne pepper
1 lemon wedge
2 ounces peach brandy
1 ounce Calvados
1 ounce orange juice

Combine the sugar and cayenne on a saucer and mix well. Wet half the rim of a chilled martini glass with the lemon wedge and dip into the sugar-cayenne mixture. Set aside.

Combine the brandy, Calvados and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the prepared glass and serve immediately. Makes one cocktail.

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