Baton Rouge - Oscar's Ice Cream and Pizza Joint

21 Jan 2014

Oscar's Pizza & Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

We had to bring kiddo a textbook he ordered from Amazon, so it made a good excuse to take him to lunch on Sunday. He chose Oscar's Pizza & Ice Cream, on Perkins, after hearing several friends rave about the sundaes. I figured, why not, how bad can any pizza be, if there's good ice cream in the offing?

No worries, the pizza was pretty good...

Southern Pecan, from Lazy Magnolia, in Mississippi. I pick this brew up regularly at the grocery, but it's so much nicer on tap!

The three of us split an order of meatballs as a starter. Didn't get a chance to take a pic--they got devoured too fast!

We each got calzones. Oscar's does 7" and 12" sizes, and all three of us got the smaller size. Mrs. YatPundit and kiddo both got just-pepperoni, but I got a specialty from the menu, the "Primo." It's ground italian sausage, caramelized onions, and pepperonicis. The sauce on the side was incredibly tasty, making for a great lunch.

Warm chocolate chip cookie sundae. That's two scoops of cookies-and-cream ice cream on the ends, and vanilla in the middle. It's not fair to say the pizza wasn't relevant, but it could have been a disaster and the trip would've been worth it. The fact that the calzones were all tasty means we'll be back to Oscar's.

Ottawa Pubs: D'Arcy McGee's

20 Jan 2014

D'Arcy McGees on Urbanspoon

I was teaching in Ottawa the week of January 6th, so naturally I stopped into D'Arcy McGee's one evening. Darcy McGee's is your typical Irish Pub--pub food, good selection of beer, nice staff. The gals all wear miniskirt-kilts, but since I always sit at the bar, I chat up Doc the bartender.

Keith's was on special, so I started with that. It worked just fine with onion souip.

Lamb pie for the main, and it was quite good...the pie itself had a flaky crust and a good traditional gravy/vegetable filling. The lamb was flavorful, with a good gravy and greens.

I switched to Mill Street Brewing's Coffee Porter for the main.

Desert was a "Chocolate Volcano," and a scoop of house-made ice cream.

Double-Chocolate Milk Stout from Big Rig for dessert.

Overall, a lovely meal!


Comfort Food: Roast Beef, Rice and Gravy

25 Jun 2013

Before I head out on one of these 3-4 week trips, I try to cook a few dinners that will generate leftovers for the family. Roast beef is an easy one for that. A 3.5-4 pound sirloin roast fits nicely in my dutch oven. The seasoning mix you see there isn't regularly Tony's, but a "spice n' herbs" blend for grilling/blackening. Its a bit less salty than the classic creole seasoning, and does well for a roast or a whole chicken. I brown the roast using the top broiler element in the oven for a few minutes top and bottom to let the seasoning kick in and do it's thing, then add some water, red wine, cover, and let it roast away at 375F. A couple of hours later, and here's the finished product. The gravy sometimes needs a little thickening with a quick roux, then it's good to go. My family was always a classic roast and mashed potatoes household, but Mrs. YatPundit grew up in a rice-and-gravy house, so we do things her way most of the time. Add some mushrooms I tossed in the pot with the roast and here's a great "comfort food" meal.

Travel Dining - Sora Japanese Restaruant in DTW

12 Jun 2013

Sora Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Detroit's Airport has a number of pretty good food options, for an airport. I flew to and from Europe through DTW on a recent trip to Oslo, Norway, so I stopped for Japanese at a place called Sora, coming and going.

sora 1

Double-pork Ramen. The pork slices are advertised as their awesome BBQ-pork, but it was kinda meh. The soup and noodles were great, though.

sora 2

Gyoza Ramen. This totally made up for the meh of the pork ramen! Tasty, the pork sausage in the dumplings was very tasty. Combine that with a nice, cold beer, and it was a great post-long-flight dinner.

Oslo Dining - MeatMarket in Aker Brygge

11 Jun 2013
Meat Market
Lille Stranden 10
0252 Oslo, Norway
+47 22 83 01 10

meat market tapas oslo

Aker Brygge is a lovely waterfront area right in downtown Oslo, and just a few blocks from Hotel Oslo City Centre, where I regularly stay when I'm in that city. In March, I was walking through Aker Brygge with a friend who was in the mood for a steak. It looked like a good option, because she could have her steak, I could have tapas. It worked out so well, I returned on my trip last month.

tapas at meat market

Clockwise (from left): Mushrooms, beef tenderloin, and king crab. I finished with the cheese plate at the top.

pear sorbet

Pear sorbet with fresh fruit and Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) for dessert!

Meat Market is now on my must-return-to list for Oslo!

Speaking of @RivistaNOLA - how about Brunch?

30 May 2013

Rivista on Urbanspoon

Rivista is doing Brunch this's the info from their FB page:

Starting this weekend,
RIVISTA will begin offering BRUNCH on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am
- 2pm. BYOB with NO CORKAGE FEE!!

Quiche -
fennel, yellow Squash, and fresh herbs baked in a cream cheese crust and
topped with pea tendrils and spring vegetables $8

Beef Daube - with braised creole tomatoes, poached farm eggs and Hollandaise $12

Crab Frittata - Louisiana blue crab and asparagus topped with arugula and Alabama peaches $9

Grilled Chicken and Mascarpone Polenta -
served with poached farm eggs and crispy Tasso Hollandaise $10

Bagels and Lox - fresh homemade bagels and house-cured salmon, served with traditional accoutrements $8

looks tasty!

Breakfast at @RivistaNOLA

30 May 2013

(note: I couldn't resurrect the original version of this post after the crash, so re-writing)

Rivista on Urbanspoon

Rivista on Facebook...

I've been to Rivista on Magazine Street twice in the last two months, once just to go for coffee, the other to meet @NewInNOLA for breakfast. Both times, I've had an enjoyable latte and this wonderful creation they call a "breakfast sandwich." I was a bit startled at first, because the egg was cooked over-easy, so it was yolky. With a croissant, that's just how I like it! It totally exceeded expectations because of that. I enjoyed that treat so much, I got it again on the second visit.

The coffee at Rivista is good. Italian espresso, makes for a great latte. It's amusing to watch impatient people bail on the place because there's only one barista who does it right, rather than rushing through the espresso drinks while making half a dozen blender-ized drinks at a chain place.

My usually complaining about how horrid Magazine Street is, I'm going to add Rivista into my coffee shop rotation. Early in the morning, the parking situation up there isn't so bad.

Happy Hour at @ThreeMusesNOLA

4 Mar 2013

Three Muses on Urbanspoon

Just before the Super Bowl, an article was published listing the "25 Douchiest Bars in New Orleans." Some of those on the list were more than well-deserved (hello, Fump and Manny's!). I scratched my head at the entry for The Three Muses. OK, yes, it's on Frenchmen Street, which is hipsta central, but still, I knew too many people who actually go there and aren't douches, so it didn't make sense. I messaged a friend who speaks highly of Three Muses, and off we went for happy hour and an early dinner.

Cocktails: I started with an Orange Blossom Sazerac: house-infused vanilla-sazerac rye whiskey, a bit of Cointreau, and housemade orange-fennel seed bitters. Interesting taste, but not something I wanted to drink all night. The lovely and talented @LunaNola had a Persephone's Downfall (left): Pomegranate Molasses, OJ, sparkling white Pama, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, and Absolut. After the whiskey, I tried The Muse: Cucumbers and strawberries with St. Germain and Plymouth Gin. Yes, this is me. As my friend Heather said when I posted a photo of the drink to social media, "you had me at gin."

We ordered a bunch of small plates for an early dinner.

Kurobuta Pork Belly, braised in Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider, with Apple Chutney and Scallion Pancakes. The toughest thing about anything pork belly is resisting the temptation to chomp it down like bacon. The subtle flavors here make each of these pieces a three-bite taste.

Seared Scallops and Housemade Saffron Linguini. These scallops were just perfect. Seared tops were crunchy, then full-bodied and tasty. The linguini was a great complement to the shellfish.

Bacon-wrapped dates. These were on the special board. We got two orders. Because it's bacon.

Steak and Cake: Grilled Harris Ranch Hanger Steak with a Crabcake, covered in Bernaise sauce. The steak is served medium-rare to rare, almost a steak tartare. Surf and turf with a butter sauce. Oh, yes.

Smoked Duck Pizza: Duck, Chorizo, Brussels Sprouts leaves, Tikka-Masala sauce Fontina and Goat Cheese. I missed the part about adding a fried duck egg on top for $2 more. I would've done it in a heartbeat!

Grilled Shrimp Polenta: rather than doing a shrimp-and-grits like so many places, the polenta was a very nice change. Very tasty!

Service at @ThreeMusesNOLA is tag-team and informal. You order at the bar, and food is brought to you by whichever of the staff is back by the kitchen when it's ready. Cocktails are also ordered at the bar, with a server bringing it over to the table so you don't have to wait.

As we were eating (we started this outing around 4:30pm or so), a Dixieland combo set up, warmed up, and started their set, around 6pm. The crowd picked up with the live music, but the acoustic nature of the jazz combo fit the size (maybe 900 sq ft) of the place. An amplified band would be a bit extreme for the space, but the jazz worked well.

So, is The Three Muses a douchey place? Maybe the crowd gets that way at some points, but the food is top-quality and easily outweighs any people issues. The writer of said article gave proprieter Christopher Starnes a hard time for his Twitter handle, @xtofer. Really? You're going to list a decent restaurant on your douchey list because of a Twitter name? Puh-leez. Not to mention that Christopher gets major props and total appreciation for chasing us down Frenchmen to bring me back my Nook Tablet, which I left on the table. He could've easily hung on to it and messaged me, but this is how New Orleanians roll, particularly the smart ones in the restaurant business.

Looking to Avoid #BestOfNOLA "Whales"? - Try Mid City's "Italian Triangle"

29 Jan 2013

Fried Oysters Remoulade from Liuzza's on Bienville

Everybody's offering their dining suggestions to visitors coming to New Orleans for Super Bowl 47, but let's face it, the "whales" aren't getting much past Chef Besh's restaurants, classic places in the Quarter, and maybe some other places in the Warehouse District. This weekend is a golden opportunity for the rest of us to avoid these people by going to Mid City.

If the "whales" wanted some awesome New Orleans food, all they'd have to do is hop on the Canal Street line (the red streetcars going to the Cemeteries or City Park, and get off at Carrollton Avenue. You'll be in the "Italian Triangle" of Mandina's on Canal Street, Venezia on Carrollton, and Liuzza's on Bienville.

At the apex (more or less) of the Triangle is Katie's. Chef Scot makes the Best. Pizza. In. New. Orleans.

That's four awesome places with fantastic local food. Click the links, they're YatCuisine articles. Now go eat!