It’s not every year that you finish a cookbook, move to a new city and find a used DVD of Doug Henning’s “The Magic Show” at Amoeba Music. But that’s what 2011 delivered, along with trips to Portland, Oregon, California (where I ate with many food bloggers), Atlanta and–a personal favorite–New Orleans, Louisiana. (We fell in love with it.) Come along with me, then, as we explore the year’s highlights before we tumble into 2012.
Just to bring some closure to the whole New Orleans experience, an experience that we loved, I thought I’d do a tie-it-up-with-a-bow wrap-up post for you to bookmark for your next trip there. To review: you must visit Cafe du Monde and Commander’s Palace (as all the guidebooks will tell you). Off the beaten path, you must go listen to music on Frenchmen St. (skip Bourbon Street. Really.) and, during the day, if you’re schvitzing, cool off with a Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House or a Sno-Bliz at Hansen’s. Meal-wise, you’re not allowed to miss Cochon. Make sure to drink a Sazerac at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and Bar. And, if you have some extra meals to figure out, do visit Mandina’s, The Green Goddess and/or The Camellia Grill (depending on what you’re craving). And if you don’t have a trip planned yet, go next year for JazzFest. We’re planning to go then too.
Craig’s sister Kristin and I joke that I should have a catchphrase, that when I meet new people I should declare, with mock-sincerity: “Food is my passion.” Ok, maybe you have to be there for that concept to be funny, but regardless, food IS my passion and this year I feel like my cooking is entering the realm of “he’s no amateur.” Sure, I had my doozies. Remember my burnt sticky buns? My flambé incident? And yesterday, I made hummus for lunch in my blender and added way too much chickpea water so the result was rather pukey. But otherwise? I’m riding high on a wave of culinary competence. And these, my friends, are my Top 10 success stories of 2009. Are you ready? Let’s get cooking.