Monday, October 15, 2012


Not much free time on a quick trip to New Orleans, a city about which I know zip. We followed advice and headed to Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas Street  504-588-2123) in the warehouse district and ordered the gumbo and the redfish (as we had been instructed). The gumbo was terrific but maybe gumbo is not a culinary high mountain. Getting fish perfect is a Kilimanjaro scale and Cochon's redfish was amazing, a right-on-the-money combination of spices and grilling. The fish slid from the skin.

Before and after pictures tell all: a clean-plate-club night. Ordering pineapple upside-cake is excessive - who needs pineapple upside-down cake? You do. Walk a mile to a restaurant and a mile back and you'll knock a few calories off the gumbo, and the fish is pretty lean, but the butter and sugar in this sensational little cake will do you in if you're putting a thought to calories. Or maybe you were already done in by the lunch-time shrimp po-boy at Domilise's (5240 Annunciation Street,  New Orleans 504-899-9126) another go-to from the unnamed advisor (for whom our respect is climbing) where you sit between cops with glocks and Tulane students.

Said advisor suggested breakfast at Elizabeth's (601 Gallier St. New Orleans 504-944-9272) with specific instructions: order fried chicken livers and eggs and a side of praline bacon. This rich over-the-top flavor was beyond good and our guide hadn't mentioned that even the biscuits and grits were worth the trip. Have you tasted praline bacon? Not for the sugar shy, it's proper home could be the dessert plate, but when you're in this deep with the fried chicken livers and biscuits you may as well wallow.



Saturday, October 13, 2012


At the time of my first visit, Hourglass Brasserie (382 Thames Street, Bristol  401-396-9811) was in its fledgling days. Our group was divided, those in favor, those not. I thought the menu veered to the "French" we Americans tend to like - what we think is proper brasserie food, i.e., familiar. And I admit that cheap French prints on the wall put me further off, which is STUPID since we were there for food not decor, but I was put off nonetheless.

Since that first outing we've had a good night and a great night. On the good night just about everything worked (and my wee little spicy shrimp soup was near perfect) but nobody raved (and I complained about salty bacon overpowering the monkfish). And when prices are high relative to the neighborhood the food/price ratio matters a lot. If you say, "Wow, that was expensive but it was sooooooo good" you'll probably return; if you say "That was a price performer" you'll probably return too. But if you find yourself mumbling "Seemed kind of pricey to me" on the way to the car that's another story.

Next dinner was perfect, four diners, four A grades. Hughly successful: citrus-marinated salmon - so delicious I'd be happy to have it again and again. Cod was perfectly cooked, braised short ribs robust but not heavy, sole delicate, etc. Accompanying vegetables were tasty works of art. I check the Hourglass menu occasionally and it changes. This annoys some people but it thrills me because I already have established (secret?) haunts for comfort foods, I know where to go for broiled scrod and chicken pot pie. Hourglass needs to raise the bar, show me a good time, really insist that I return because the experience is so positive. It has to be tough for an owner/chef to pull this off, tough enough in Providence but triple tough in Bristol where the dining crowd shrinks in the winter and the sidewalks roll up at 8:00 p.m. (seriously, we tried to make a reservation for 8:00 one winter Thursday at Persimmon and they asked if we could come at 7:00). Here's hoping.

P. S., the prints on the wall were replaced with posters.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


People keep looking for the barbecue place on Ives. United Barbecue is closed, gone, done.


I just received my Local Harvest email. It came with a reminder that Thanksgiving is nearer than I like to think. Click and type in your own parameters. Do you want a nearby farm where you do the pick-up or are you looking for delivery - the site covers the options. What I found was that some farms are already sold out.

Monday, October 1, 2012



La Laiterie (184-188 Wayland Ave., Providence) calls it HOGtoberfest and it's Sunday afternoon, October 14th. Owners Matt and Kate Jennings are serving up German-style charcuterie (hog-based of course), beers and cheeses and whatever they happen to be pickling (everybody seems to be pickling these days, me too). The food and drinks are German-inspired, i.e. not necessarily German-bred. The Jennings add their own zing.

Buy tickets on line or call the store
$50 per person

La Laiterie
184-188 Wayland Ave., Providence 401-274-7177

Looking ahead at La Laiterie: Sunday November, 14 (4:00 - 6:00 p.m.) Italian Craft Beer Tasting