Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Completely Gratuitious Post on Nola Food

Only in New Orleans can you have shrimp boiled with butter and Zatarain's for breakfast, a muffaletta for lunch, and a po' boy for dinner. And remember, in New Orleans, you can never refer to "shrimp" as "prawns" and they should always be served with heads and tails.

If you've never had a muffaletta, allow me to explain this prodigious sandwich that calls New Orleans its birthplace. A muffaletta is sandwich that is loaded with a piquant and acerbic chopped "olive salad" that is almost comparable to a caponata + tapenade mix. The salad contains substantial hunks, bits, and pieces of marinated or pickled vegetables, including capers, pepperocinis, pimentos, anchovies, and olives. This is no puny sandwich. The crusty, dense, and chewy bread that encloses a muffaletta is twice the size of a dinner plate from Denny's. And every muffaletta is interlayered with slice-upon-slice of soft provolone cheese and salami flecked with peppercorns. Forget about Skittles, the muffaletta is the true rainbow of flavors. Gulliver would definitely find these things in Brobdingnag.

The only New Orleans sandwich that rivals or trumps the muffaletta, is the po' boy. Although people in New Orleans use the term "po' boy" to refer to almost every type of submarine sandwich, a po' boy most commonly refers to a sandwich stuffed with battered and deep-fried nuggets of oysters, catfish, and/or shrimp. Additional po' boy components include iceberg lettuce that is shredded so finely that it melts in your mouth, a few slices of dill pickle, and one lonesome slice of red tomato. (Remember, use minimal veggies here folks, minimal veggies.) All of a po' boy's ingredients are enclosed within a loaf of chewy French bread slathered with extravagant amounts of mayonnaise and mustard.

I hope this quick course on Nola food has encouraged you to visit! Ya'll come now, y'hear!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Heart to Heart and Pictures of Tart to Tart

You've probably noticed by now.

I have not had the time to blog as much as I would like to.

It is excruciating for me to sit in my office during the weekends and dream about all of my food blogging friends and the food great blogs I could be looking at. But I am hopeful that even with a few posts and comments, that
Passionate Eater can still act a window into the soul of New Orleans (and also San Francisco). I am going to try to keep my baby food blog chugging along, but sometimes, it might just be food pictures here and there.

As a way to say "I miss you," I want to post these mouthwatering pictures of one thing I miss greatly about San Francisco--its cozy bakeries, candy shoppes, and tapioca stores.

One of the more popular bakeries in San Francisco is situated near the University of California, San Francisco, and it is adorably called Tart to Tart. It is worth fighting medical school students armed with laptops and paper cups of coffee to sample a treat from this cavity-inducing and waist-expanding bakery.

Unfortunately, I have not tried everything I have wanted to at Tart to Tart, but I can draw your attention to some of the more visually-attractive desserts, and the ones that I have tried.

I am a fan of the "Strawberry Cream Slice." The crackly, croissant-like pastry is adorned with a graceful dusting of confectioner's sugar, and is loaded with strawberry halves and deep ripples of whipped cream, so thick that it holds its form. I hate to admit this, but after living in New Orleans, I do wish that this San Francisco bakery was a
little more generous with the sugar.

I also recommend any and all chocolate cakes. The chocolate cake I have tried is rich, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-dense, and has an overabundance of whirly frosting decorations. Thus, it is everything a good chocolate cake should be.

And the pear tart adeptly balances the soothing flavors of butter and cinnamon. The sensual butteriness within the tart crust makes it clear to anyone consuming it that any and all of the health benefits from the pear have been completely negated.

The other items featured in this post essentially fall in the "I have not tried it yet" category, but I hope that these items move to the "I tasted it, and it was good" category soon.

Yes, I am a fan of cheesecake. And I yes, I like fruit that has been coated with a glistening sugar sheen.



Yes, I am also a fan of lemon meringue pie. Especially if it looks like that.

Mmm-hmm. I also like cheesy apricot tarts. Gimme please.

Alrighty, yes. Cherry chocolate cake with white frosting? You are my friend.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

In Pictures: The Vietnamese-English Dictionary for Fair Foods

One thing that they have in New Orleans, is a vibrant Vietnamese community. Thankfully, the Vietnamese community loves food and having fun. For me, that means . . . Food fairs! I went to one with my family a few weeks ago, and would love to share with you some of the food that we ate. This is "classic" Vietnamese fair food, so get yourself well-acquainted with the following:

Bo la lot
- Seasoned ground beef wrapped in leafy greens and topped with 1) crushed roasted peanuts and 2) fried and caramelized onions. (Think dolmades or stuffed cabbage, but very, very flavorful) . . .

Nuoc mia - Sugar cane juice, flavored with the juices from tangerines . . .

Banh tieu - Sweet baked sesame buns . . .

Banh mi - Vietnamese-style sandwiches made with baguettes, stuffed with a cooling vegetable slaw, and smeared with liver pate . . .

Tiet canh - Raw duck blood with duck livers

Thit nuong - Seasoned ground pork grilled on skewers and brushed with a slightly-sweet and sticky sauce. . .

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