While we were in New York for Fashion Week, I had a crazy list of places I wanted to try. Vivi Bubble Tea, home of the cotton candy float, was one of them, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Man, oh man, it was good to be home in New Orleans. The official excuse for the trip was a wedding, for one of my college roommates and sorority sisters. But we always want to spend time with David’s mom, have friends and family to love on, new babies to meet and kiss, so our weekend in NOLA was a long and busy one.
I was so excited for us to finally be home and unscheduled on a Sunday so we could go eat at Smorgasburg. I love food trucks and food halls and all delicious food, so I was seriously jazzed to get my fat little fingers into all the yummy offerings.
During the week, this space is the wholesale produce market, so I’ve been before when shopping for jamming or a pie party. Then, it’s been crowded with crates of produce, but I’ve never seen this many people at the Bay before.
We were hungry, so we beelined for a legendary ramen cheesburger. It was INCREDIBLE- crispy and chewy and savory and it honestly disappeared in just a few bites and I was sad I had to share it with David and contemplated getting right back in line for a second round. It totally lived up to the talk.
We moved on to artisan mozzarella sticks and that was a very good life choice. We skipped the beer garden, because I had left my ID in my purse from the night before. I wasn’t brokenhearted, because I’m not a beer lover and David was driving, so I wandered off to do a little shopping.
I was pleasantly surprised at the caliber of the shops – there is obviously an application process, because all the vendors were diverse and quality. I went in for sunnies and caftans at Coast to Coast vintage, and eyed this holo swell for quite a while at beautiful things.
Another sandwich round was up next for us, with a pork belly Banh Oui. I know fusion isn’t perfectly authentic, but this was one of the best pork belly sandwiches I’ve ever had, perfectly balanced and so mouthwatering!
As we moved on to sweets, I had to go full out for the coconut bowl at Amazebowls. It was super gorgeous, but if i’m being honest I make tastier ones – some of the edible flowers were super bitter. And it was pretty tiny for the price, so I might hack these at home soon.
I chose blackberry kaffir lime at Paloma’s Paleta’s, and it was both super delicious and very photogenic- and super refreshing, because it was so. freaking. hot. out there.
There’s a ton we didn’t get to eat, but we’ll be back soon, probably right after our next NYC trip! And I’m eyeing the soft shell chili crab sandwich, some biscuits, and a ramen burger repeat. So much goodness- if I wouldn’t outgrow my clothes, I’d go every Sunday!
I take my happy hour cocktails really seriously. I’m so spoiled- David was a bartender at a ritzy restaurant in college, so his mixology skills are on point. He whips up all sorts of delicious sippers for me!
We’re all about eating seasonally, and that applies to happy hour as well! Watermelon is a mainstay of our summertime grocery list, and thanks to a new basil pruning technique, my plants are exploding! I’m a huge basil fan, especially when the herb is paired with fruit, and a bit of ginger fizziness is the perfect exclamation point.
Thai tea has been one of my favorite flavors since college, when a coffee shop on Maple Street started serving boba. I adore that it’s pretty much a caffeinated milkshake. It’s my perpetual order, but it’s really so easy to make at home that you might not find yourself going out for boba often! A good blender, and a trip to your local Asian grocery (or trusty Amazon prime) is all you need for lots of creamy Thai tea shakes.
There’s a little prep work involved- you’ll want to brew the tea and freeze it in advance. But once you’ve got tea cubes in the freezer, it comes together in the time it takes to boil water for instant boba. It’s such a good afternoon treat as the weather warms up- quick to make and refreshing to enjoy! Consider yourself warned though- thai tea has powerful colorants, so prepare to have your fingertips dyed orange.
I’ve been testing recipes and making lots of delicious things to eat while I’m home in my kitchen. I miss cooking when I’m on the road! I wanted to share some of the yummies we’ve had around here lately… a little food porn is a good thing.
Roy Choi is one of my fave five chefs, and not just because he is such an incredible human. He’s masterful at creating harmony from dissonant flavors, and this popcorn (served at A-frame) is a perfect example of that. Kettlecorn is mixed with corn pop cereal (I use Buc-ee’s beaver nuggets because I have a serious addiction), crispy bacon crumbles, and chunks of dried pineapple. It’s drizzled with brown butter, then showered with wasabi furikake for the most craveworthy salty-spicy-sweet-savory combination. I’ve been known to make and eat a batch, calling it dinner- it’s killer with prosecco or champagne.
I’m dying to go back to Paris to do some more exploring and eating, but that’s totally not in the budget right now. I put some delicious aged gouda into a cheese soufflé to soothe my wanderlust and it was a scrumptious life choice.
This is a go-to dinner in our house- David grills steak and asparagus, and I roast sweet potatoes dusted with cumin, greek seasoning, smoked paprika, s&p. They get tossed with crumbled blue cheese while hot, and spicy pecans add crunch.
I made some blueberry Dutch babies for breakfast, I’ve been making this recipe since college, and it’s practically foolproof if you pay attention. I up the cardamom, because I love it, and also add ground ginger and the zest of a lemon.
I can do some serious damage at Chipotle, so we had burrito bowls at home. I topped cilantro-lime rice with crockpot green chile carnitas, black bean ragout, Trader Joe’s corn salsa, cheese and avocado. So so good.
We grill pizza weekly when the weather’s this nice- homemade dough is just too easy not to. Some weeks it’s fancy, like roasted chicken, Gorgonzola, peaches, and arugula. But we kept it super simple most recently, with fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, red onions, pepperoni and basil.
Since the girls started laying, we’ve been eating lots of their delicious eggs. They make an easy bacon-and-eggs breakfast extra delicious, especially when that bacon is home-cured and thick cut.
Those two ingredients also combine into an epic carbonara, bright yellow from the grassfed yolks.
We also had backyard eggs (along with purchased quail eggs) on these delish lamb sliders. We ran a lamb shoulder through our grinder with a bit of beef, adding shallots, garlic, rosemary, and a feta core. The Hawaiian rolls were toasted, then smeared with garlic confit and harissa ketchup before we stacked the burgers with arugula and fried eggs. Cucumber-feta-shrimp orzo, one of our favorite pasta salads, was on the side.
My college girlfriend Elyse came to visit the same weekend as one of David’s groomsmen, so we had a group over for a little brunch. David helped me mix up a sparkling blueberry basil lemonade rum punch, and I had frozen basil sprigs into ice cubes. Inspired by Eggslut at Grand Central Market, I poached eggs layered with parmesan-chive mashed potatoes and served them with warm flaky buttermilk biscuits. A platter of gorgeous fresh fruit with maple yogurt and a big pile of bacon rounded out the spread. And every time I entertain, I’m grateful to my mother-in-law for gifting me gorgeous heirloom silver. I’m so old-fashioned sometimes, but it just makes me smile every time I use it.
It’s Ataúlfo mango season, and they are one of my very favorite fruit varieties. Mexican-grown, they are smaller, sweeter, and far less fibrous that the Tommy Atkins mangoes available nearly year-round at our local markets. I rarely purchase those bigger ones, but when Ataúlfos come in, I scoop them up by the caseful… it’s mango mania over here! I make big batches of mango chow (a Trinidadian sweet and spicy preparation) when food prepping, but most of the mangoes are devoured for dessert Thai-style- served on sticky rice, drizzled with homemade coconut cream.
Though Thai sweet glutinous rice is traditionally used in khao niao mamung (I stock up at Ranch 99), most any glutinous short grain rice will work. I have a bit of an obsession with forbidden rice, so I use that often- I love a blend of the two in this dish. If I can spare the time and effort, I steam the rices separately and then combine, as I did here. Cooking them in the same pot totally works, the forbidden rice just dyes the white rice during the process.
Preparation (adapted from Serious Eats)
I’ve struggled with sleeplessness since high school, and am a total night owl. I sometimes work or read until the wee hours of the morning, but more often than not, midnight finds me in the kitchen. We do mostly homemade sweets around here, so sometimes I’m getting ahead on the next day’s to-do list- gotta keep dessert stocked! But most of the time I’m just relaxing and recipe testing, so I wanted to share a few of our recent favorites.
This s’mores pie was rich and creamy and delicious. David doesn’t love dark chocolate the way I do, so I used half dark and half milk. I thought it was perfectly sweet that way, but it’s not supersweet like actual s’mores- some more or or even all milk chocolate will get you there. And seriously, if you haven’t made homemade marshmallow yet, you need too- it’s much easier than it looks!
Deb over at smitten kitchen mentioned that Chef Suzanne Goin served this brown butter and hazelnut confection as her own wedding cake, and I totally see why now. I adore the flavor of brown butter, and it balanced perfectly with the moreish texture of the nuts and the ganache draping. The cake came together quickly and disappeared from the cake plate in the same fashion. I’ve more hazelnuts in the fridge, so I’m certain it will have a return engagement one night soon.
I’m totally on a cream puff kick. In all honestly, we’ve had them two nights in a row, and I’m not even embarrassed by that- they’re damn delicious. I’ve been using Dorie Greenspan’s pâté à choux recipe (currently reading her Baking Chez Moi), filling them with a mix of vanilla custard and freshly whipped cream, dipping or drizzling them with ganache, and devouring by the plateful.
Elaborate birthday cakes are the norm around here, as is replacing candles with fireworks. David mentioned wanting a pb&j inspired cake this year, so I ran with that one night. I stacked peanut butter cake with strained strawberry jam, then slathered it with fluffy brown sugar-peanut butter frosting, another slick of jam, and chopped salted peanuts. It was enormous (too big for the cake bell) and phenomenal.
And the better the cake, the better the cake shake! Leftover cake into shakes is one of my very favorite revamps, and I love mixing up different flavors. This version included pb&j cake, strawberries, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, malted milk powder, and a healthy splash of amaretto. Sometimes I even get fancy… like whipped cream and a slice of cake on top.
I guess you could say night times are good times in the Coe kitchen.
If we weren’t socializing or exploring New Orleans during our visit, we were in pursuit of delicious eats. I doubt that’s shocking- y’all know how passionate I am about food, and we needed to make our first visits to some yummy new spots.
John Besh and Aaron Sanchez’s bromance is behind the aptly-named Johnny Sanchez, a farm-to-table taqueria in the CBD. We headed there for a hair of the dog and brunch before the Saints game, and it was scrumptious. The smoked pork grillades on jalapeno grits were tender and flavorful, ceviche was perfectly balanced, and we had multiple bowls of queso. Ordering every taco on the menu led to the discovery that there are no bad options there, and the bartender was on point as well.
The St. Roch Market was renovated and opened after we moved away, so I was excited to check it out for lunch. So many eatery options exist in this Marigny food hall, it was hard to narrow it down and order. An adorable cat-puccino from Coast Coffee was good browsing fuel, and I considered sweet Louisiana satsumas from St Roch Forage excellent souvenirs.
The food didn’t disappoint either! I was so pleased with a bowl of duck gumbo, a scrumptious charcuterie plate, and a gigantic pulled pork sandwich. The blue crab and persimmon salad from Elysian Seafood was fresh and flavorful, the perfect counterbalance to the richness of the rest of the meal.
As soon as we booked our flight, I made our reservation at Shaya. I’m obsessed with Israeli food, and Alon Shaya is racking in the accolades as he modernizes and honors the foods of our forefathers. We ordered most of the items on the menu, which was an excellent life choice, and tore through mounds of pillowy steaming pita alongside.
We got an assortment of delicious dips: a trio of hummus topped with lamb ragu, fried chickpeas, and curried cauliflower, smoky baba ganoush, lutenitsa, tabouleh, and ikra, a caviar and shallot spread I simply adore. Ever the avo toast lover, I had to try Shaya’s version, topped with smoked whitefish and pink peppercorn. The crispy halloumi and falafel were crunchy and light, the shakshouka spicy and delicious, and the duck matzo ball soup downright incredible. David practically had to roll me and my best girlfriend Shelly out… such a magnificent meal.
And I may love a fancy meal, but celeb chefs don’t have anything over decades of friendship. My friend Mike was one of the first I met at Tulane, and he’s killing it at his restaurant on Freret Street, Liberty Cheesesteaks. It was bustling and it just made me so proud of him, his hard work, and success.
No shocker that all the eats were excellent. I’m not normally a cheez-wiz girl, but it just works with the provolone and steak. Italian subs are my deli go-to, and Mikey is making some killer overstuffed ones, but the personal heat index option is clutch. With an assortment of locally grown peppers sorted by spiciness, you can turn up the heat perfectly- Padrons are my jam, but I had a taste of all of them!
If you’re headed to New Orleans soon (lucky!), don’t hesitate to try any of these good eats, and make sure and let me know what you think!