Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coop's Place

Coop's is our go-to place in The Big Easy. The hip little dive bar on Decateur is anchored by a giant church pew, and made homey by a little cat in the window. The service is fast, the music is good, and the bartenders are a little wild. Opened by Jeffrey "Coop" Cooperman, an avid fisherman, in 1983, Coop's is truly a local hangout.

The must-order dishes are deep-fried crab claws served with a fiery horseradish cocktail sauce and jambalaya made with chicken, sausage and rabbit, and the killer Pasta Opelousas.

The combo plate is a good choice for trying the jambalaya, along with crispy fried chicken. It looks overcooked in the photo, but it's just right.

The Pasta Opelousas is the best thing on the menu, linguine in a spicy cream sauce with shrimp, tasso, and green beans

We love Coop's so much, we return for a second and even third visit on every trip to New Orleans. On our second visit, we split the crab claws (Yes, again - I cannot get enough of them) and tried the Chicken Tchoupitoulas, chicken with tasso and shrimp in a heavy cream sauce


¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
4 oz. boneless chicken, cut into 1” pieces
2 oz. tasso, chopped
4 shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. white wine
3 oz. shrimp
2 oz. heavy cream
½ tsp Bayou Blend (see below)
3 oz. green beans
6 oz. cooked fettuccine
2 Tbsp. green onions, minced

Heat oil. Add garlic, chicken, tasso, and mushrooms. Saute 2 minutes.
Deglaze pan with white wine. Stir until wine reduces to 1 Tablespoon.
Add shrimp and saute for 2 minutes.
Add heavy cream and Bayou Blend. Cook until liquid thickens.
Add green beans. Simmer 1 minute. Add fettuccine to the pan. Mix well. Serve garnished with green onions.


4 parts Salt
3 parts Cayenne pepper
3 parts Ground Black Pepper
3 parts Granulated garlic
2 parts MSG
1 part Ground cumin
1 part Paprika

Do not substitute.

(both recipes from “Cookin With Coop” Chuck Rogers Publishing)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Orleans Monday: I've Been Rich and I've Been Poor - Rich is Better

Even when I can't afford a nice hotel for the entire trip, I like to pamper myself for a few days when I can. The Ritz Carlton was only $150 a night during the weeknights. So we were suddenly ensconced in pure luxury. There was a huge bouquet of roses in the lobby the size of a VW bug and I thought at first they were fake, then I realized, "If they don't have real roses at the Ritz, where would they?" so I went and smelled them and yes, they were real. The room was in a dark corner with no view, but those are usually my favorite rooms because they are so quiet.

Other than the opulence, one benefit of the Ritz is its location at the edge of the quarter. One block away were oyster competitors Felix's and Acme. Felix's has shrunk in size, occupying less than half of its previous square footage.

I have never liked oysters, but I have never stopped trying to like them. I have eaten them raw, fried, barbequed, really every Bubba Gump way and in every big city that is supposed to be famous for oysters. I just never liked them - it's that green stuff in the middle. But I had heard good things about the barbecued oysters at Felix's and I wasn't quite ready to give up on them just yet. Swimming in garlicky butter and smoked to a tender consistency, they finally did it. I LOVED these oysters and ate three - a record. I would have eaten all of them, but I had to share.

Plus we had also ordered a catfish po'boy and a soft-shelled crab po'boy. Lately all of the soft-shelled crabs I've tried have had a too-tough shell. But c'mon, this is New Orleans, the home of amazing soft-shelled crab. Damn it. They just weren't as papery and melting as they are in my memory.

After a walk around and a nice massage back at the hotel, we stopped in at the Bourbon House for a dessert. Because Felix's and Acme aren't enough oysters for this corner - the Brennan's had to represent. The trifecta of mousses was good, but the white chocolate was the best.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Nom Nom Truck is Coming!!!

Kogi is so last week. The newest truck to hit Los Angeles is the Nom Nom, bringing Vietnamese food to Ban Minh-crazed Angelenos. I can't wait to try a Vietnamese taco!

Blood runs in the streets in the aftermath of the Great American Food and Music Fest. Ed Levine formally apologizes, and gets his head bitten off. It tastes like chicken. I made a weekend trip out of the madness - stay tuned for pics and more griping!

Caroline in Crack hits The Golden State Diner

Integration now! Segregation never! The Hispanic food is finally coming out of the ethnic aisle. No more culinary barrios!

I can't believe I still haven't gotten the hamburger perfume.

Beacon offers $5 plates til June 17th!

Gourmet churros? Be still my heart!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Roadfood Panel

Jane Stern answers the question, "What is Roadfood?" in spite of some extremely loud wind.

The chain vs. franchise debate

The chain vs. franchise discussion continues

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Orleans Sunday: Roadfood and Jackson Square

I woke up early Sunday and headed over to Mother's for breakfast. Grits and debris, and a side of polish sausage along with a nice fluffy biscuit was just what you need to get your day rolling.

In the afternoon we returned to the Roadfood Fest:

Sunday "from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. from the 300 to 600 blocks of Royal St., the free, first Louisiana RoadFood Festival will feature the original Roadfood Warriors, best-selling authors and Gourmet magazine writers Jane and Michael Stern, in "How to Find Roadfood" panel Sunday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Ed Levine, Sara Roahen and others will join in the roundtable discussion on the steps of the Surpreme Court building."

Mmm shrimp balls!

But I think I liked the fried artichokes better

Mmmm snowballs

You see a lot of weird shit on Bourbon Street

and some dapper Dans

Catfish and potato salad

On a side street we serendipitously ran into some ooey gooey butter cake.

Then we made our way to Jackson Square where you see some REALLY weird shit