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posts tagged ‘big easy’

The Sweeter Side of a Savory City

Monday, June 4, 2012 at 02:06 PM - Posted by Megan - (1) comment

New Orleans is world-famous for its savory cuisine — a unique combination of Creole, Cajun and French flavors that produce the city’s indigenous culinary landscape.

Yet over the past several years, the Big Easy has been gaining recognition for the sweeter side of things. More and more New Orleans restaurants are employing acclaimed pastry chefs, who are elevating the level and quality of desserts across town. There’s been an emergence of local sweet shops and pastry boutiques that offer far more than pralines and pecan pie. And just last week, The Big Gateaux Show brought world-renowned pastry chefs together for a theatrical cake competition and tasting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.

One of the pioneers of the city’s pastry movement is Tariq Hanna, the celebrated chef-owner of Sucré. Upon visiting New Orleans several years ago, Tariq noticed that the local dessert scene was somewhat uninspired. “It was the same four desserts everywhere.” Tariq mentioned, “Bananas Foster, beignets, pralines and bread pudding.” Determined to bring something new to NoLa’s dining culture, Tariq opened Sucré in 2007 — a bright, inviting sweets haven in the Garden District that specializes in exciting, handcrafted desserts and confections that weren’t typically found in area restaurants at the time.

While in New Orleans last week, I had the pleasure of joining Tariq at the oh-so-charming Sucré to delight in some of his signature delicacies. Feast your eyes on the striking array of French macarons, fine chocolates, handmade marshmallows, decadent desserts, cupcakes, gelato & more featured in the gallery below.

  1. The Sucré storefront on Magazine Street in NoLa\'s picturesque Garden District
  2. Strawberry season is in full swing at Sucré with petite cakes, specialty chocolates & more
  3. Buttery dark chocolate, caramel & fleur de sel cookies. Absolutely to die for!
  4. Sucré owner & celebrated pastry chef Tariq Hanna serves up his signature sweets
  5. Chocolate lovers can get their cocoa fix with an assortment of eclairs, cakes & tarts
  6. Handmade fluffy Tahitian marshmallows are a melt-in-your-mouth seasonal treat
  7. Colorful collection of delicate French macarons filled with luscious mousseline
  8. Sucré\'s bright & inviting interior — such a darling boutique!
  9. Guests can dig into delightful desserts, like this colossal chocolate fudge brownie sundae
  10. Fudgy s\'mores skillet with melted marshmallow and creamy toasted almond gelato. Yes, please!
  11. Handmade chocolate bars adorned with toasted almonds, coconut flakes, candied violets & more
 
After a generous sampling from Sucré and several other indulgent creations from Zak Miller (Coquette), Kelly Fields (August) and Phillip Lopez (Root), N’awlins officially put me in a sugar-filled state of bliss. Clearly, a new desserts standard has been set in this city and it was thrilling to witness so many restaurants stepping up their game. Afterall, there’s no better way to cap off all that savory cuisine than with a sweet finish. Or a few.

For more sweet inspiration, check out this clip to see what Tariq Hanna has to say about Sucré and find out which New Orleans treats chefs John Besh, Johnny Iuzzini, Ron Ben-Israel & more can’t get enough of. 
 


 
Filmed during the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience at the The Big Gateaux Show event and throughout the weekend festivities. Learn more about New Orleans pastry culture in this great article on Nola.com.
 
Stay sweet New Orleans!

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Classic NoLa Cocktails To Kick Off Mardi Gras

Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 07:02 AM - Posted by Megan - (2) comments

It’s Mardi Gras time! And there’s no better way to start off the debaucherous, pre-Lenten festival than with a traditional Fat Tuesday cocktail. To celebrate like a true New Orleanian, check out this clip of one of the Big Easy’s best drink slingers showing me how to mix things up N’awlins-style.

 
Shake up your Mardi Gras celebration with these classic libations from the world-famous Sazerac Bar and let the good times roll. Or, as they say in New Orleans — laissez les bons temps rouler
 
Sazerac Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Herbsaint, enough to coat your glass
  • Lemon twist for garnish
  •  
    Combine first three ingredients in a tumbler while chilling a second tumbler. Remove ice from the second tumbler and coat glass with Herbsaint. Stir first three ingredients with ice and strain into Herbsaint-coated glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
     
    Ramos Gin Fizz

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 3-4 dashes orange flower water
  • Splash of club soda
  •  
    Combine all ingredients, except club soda, in a Boston shaker. Shake vigorously with ice until egg is completely emulsified. Strain into a highball glass and top with splash of club soda.

    Cheers!

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    New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2011

    Monday, July 25, 2011 at 12:07 PM - Posted by Megan - (1) comment

    “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” — Mark Twain, 1884

    There’s no place quite like New Orleans. Earlier this summer, I headed down to the Big Easy for the 19th annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE). This famed five-day festival brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a showcase of inspiring signature events, all in support of local Louisiana charities.

    NOWFE kicked off Wednesday night with Vintners dinners at dozens of local restaurants. My choice? John Besh’s Restaurant August, where Chef de Cuisine Michael Gulotta prepared an elegant six-course meal that was tastefully paired with a selection of wines from Pride Mountain Vineyards. The next few jam-packed days were spent scouring the city for the best Creole and Cajun eats, beating the Louisiana heat with far too many Hurricanes and Mint Juleps, attending some incredible events such as the Royal Street Stroll, Grand Tastings and Cochon 555and getting a little kitchen action at one of NoLa’s famous seafood spots, the Royal House Oyster Bar. What an experience — New Orleans completely blew my mind!

    Since I was a first timer at NOWFE, I thought it would be fun to document highlights of my adventure:

    Being able to enjoy this experience was truly a blessing. Besides the extraordinary cuisine, cocktails and celebrations, it was meeting such wonderful people that made my trip to the beautiful city of N’awlins unforgettable. Thank you to everyone who shared a plate, a story, a laugh, a dance, or tossed one back with me at NOWFE!

    Until we meet again…

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