Wednesday, April 28, 2010


We force ourselves out of the king sized bed in the cool, dark hotel room made for sleeping. Stacey shuts off the noise machine and I make bad coffee, one cup at a time, in the bathroom.

We head straight to Canal Street, look right, look left, look right again and then turn left towards Duffys. We don't know this restaurant, but the sign tells us we can have breakfast and that's what we need. We have eggs and potatoes, coffee, juice and toast. We consume this meal quickly ready to get to Preservation Hall which is only about five blocks away.

We decided the day before to start our day at Preservation Hall. It was one of the "stages" for the FQF and like all the other shows it was free. When we arrived we took a quick look around and then looked for a seat. Ended up standing in the back which gave us a good view of the room. That's what it was, a room. A room, in a house, in the French Quarter. It was a house that could only look the way it did because of time. There is no way you could replicate this place. It was old and dusty. It was faded and worn. It was dark and cool. And it seemed kind of religious. It was my kind of religion.

We Stood back and watched while five guys made beautiful music. These guys were old and young. They were fat, they were skinny, they were black and they were white. These men were into their job. They smiled, they sang, they blew their horns and tapped their drums and told us stories. They talked about the musicians that worked this room before them and pointed some of them out in the large, old oil paintings handing on the walls. It was a treat to be in Preservation Hall for the first time.

The night before we had talked with Harry about seeing a gospel show this morning. Right on time as we are leaving Preservation Hall the cell rings and Harry tells us to meet him at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for said gospel show. We get to the hotel which is a short walk and are directed to the one of the many bars in this old hotel. There are so many people trying to see this show they are spilling out the door into the hotels hallway. On my tippy toes I can see across the room and notice a back door right next to the band stand. I don't see Harry. No worries, Harry is the kinda guy you like doing things like musical festivals with. Harry can take of himself and I know he will be there any minute. So we walk around the side through a restaurant, through a court yard and find the back door to the bar. Damn it's lock. But just then it opens, the band walks out and Stacey and I walk in. The band is just taking a break and the room is packed fairly tight. We grab a spot on the wall next to the bar. As soon as I get the bar chefs attention I order 3 bloodies, knowing Harry will want one. The band returns to the room, but they head straight to the bar. One of the guys in the band, turns out to be the head man, orders a drink, turns my way, smiles, shakes my hand and says thanks for coming. He proceeds to do this to anyone within reach. Harry walks up and the guys shakes Harry's hand, tells him thanks and heads for the stage. Harry tells us that he is Glen David Andrews and it's his gospel show. He said there is also a drummer, a tuba player and a piano.


This is the gospel show?

Where is the choir?

Harry assures me these guys can handle it.

So this small skinny guy plays the tuba. He sports a Kangol and sunglasses the whole time. He smiles a lot, did a good job and twice turned his back to the room and shot down the contents of a brandy snifter.

The drummer was wearing a nice suit and drinking Bud Lite. I was standing just about 2 feet away from him. He was introduced as also being a member of the Lil Rascals.

The piano player was an older white guy in a tux. Everyone knew him and he got a big cheer when introduced.

Glen David Andrews wore a dark suit, sunglasses, played the trombone and was drinking champagne. It was clear most in the room knew of him and his act. And boy did he have an act. He sang, he preached, he wept, he drank, he blew his horn. At one point in a song he went out the backdoor with his trombone only to reappear in the front hall way where he entertained the overflowing crowd of fans. He made his way back through the crowd to the stage having fun with the crowd as he went. He had them singing. He had them dancing. He had them clapping. The whole room would have walked right out of the Royal Sonesta, into the street and followed Glen David Andrews wherever he went. He was quite a Showman. This was one of the best shows of the weekend.

Next we met up with Amy at Harry's Bar. Had a drink and headed to the huge stage on the Riverfront Park. We were going to see Trombone Shorty. We were way early and that was very lucky for us. We walked up right as the Treme Brass Band was just getting started. The Treme Brass Band is as New Orleans as anything in this world is.
Tremé Brass  Band I think you need to know a little history to really appreciate these guys. You need to know a little about Treme, the neighborhood in New Orleans this band reps.

The Treme Brass Band is a marching brass band from New Orleans. They are led by snare drummer Benny Jones, Sr. Kermit Ruffins played trumpet with them a few years back. Treme has a reputatuion as a dangerous place. It should be known as well for the music. It comes blasting out of every front door. It is the life blood of this community. The Treme Brass Band plays for parties, parades, funerals, or any occasion that called for music to accompany the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. The street parades, which often go on for hours and miles, developed their own unique style that is carried on by the Tereme Brass Band today. Click here to listen to the Treme Brass Band. They were really fun to see. Horns, horns, horns.

After the Treme Brass Band played we walked back to the Chart Room for drinks and a bathroom. The Chart Room is a cool bar in the Quarter with cheap drinks and funny bartenders. That was a really good thing about this festival. A bar or some place to use the bathroom and get a drink was never to far away. As you can see, we just walked around the Quarter having cocktails and listening to great music.

After the Chart Room we walked back to Riverfront Park, only 3 or 4 blocks, to hear Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue. We have been hearing about Mr. Shorty and his music for a few years now. This was a rock and roll band. Some songs were great, but most of Trombone Shortys act was too much noise for me. There was a guy playing a Gold Top Les Paul, kinda Hendrix like. There was a heavy duty bass player and there were back up singers. Like I said a little too rock and roll for me.

It was about 5 p.m. and we were tired. We had been in the sun for two days now, drinking most of the time. We bid Harry farwell and headed to the Barone Plaza Hotel. We pull the curtians shut, turned up the white noise machine, we showered and slept.

When we woke around midnight we wanted food. We dressed and walked to the Lowes Hotel and ate in the bar at Cafe Adaliade. We ate there last year and loved it. This year was good, but just a bit less then last year.


One of my favorite movies of all time. Take 3 minutes and check out this clip.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chef continues his legacy to Southern food with a film

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Scott Peacock met Edna Lewis when he finagled his way into an American Institute of Food & Wine cocktail party. It was the late ’80s, and the young chef, then the executive chef of the Georgia governor’s mansion, had heard of the graceful lady who had come to be known as the grand dame of Southern cooking. He wanted to meet her.

Louie Favorite, AJC file photo Under Scott Peacock's stewardship in the kitchen, Watershed became a treasure of Southern comfort and cooking, garnering national accolades including a James Beard Award for Peacock in 2007.

This deliberate encounter would dramatically change both their lives.

“We saw each other as who we really were,” Peacock said of the mentor he eventually co-wrote a cookbook with and cared for until her death in 2006. “She taught me to pay attention and listen to my heart.”

Words the former Watershed chef takes more seriously now than ever. He left the famed Decatur restaurant in February to pursue a film project that chronicles the lives of seniors from his home state of Alabama, focusing on what was most important to Lewis, and what’s now most important to him: their food memories.

Under his stewardship in the kitchen, Watershed became a treasure of Southern comfort and cooking, garnering national accolades including a James Beard Award for Peacock in 2007. He co-wrote “The Gift of Southern Cooking” (Knopf) with Edna Lewis in 2003.

The restaurant, co-owned by Indigo Girl Emily Saliers, is known for its classic approach to the cuisine of the South, including its famed Tuesday “fried chicken night” that heralds a recipe from the two chefs that is a two-day process ending with ham-laced lard for frying. Two of Peacock’s chefs de cuisine, Billy Allin and Steven Satterfield, have gone on to open acclaimed restaurants in the Atlanta area that focus on farm-to-table cooking, and it’s clear that Peacock and Lewis influenced their styles.

“I’m very proud of fried chicken night,” Peacock said, “and Miss Lewis loved it.”

Someone who obviously knew and respected Lewis for most of his adult life including being her caretaker for six years, the soft-spoken, affable Peacock always refers to her as "Miss Lewis."

His yet unnamed narrative film project is something he felt compelled to do. “It’s all Miss Lewis’ fault, actually,” Peacock laughs. “She is who taught me the importance of pathways and the connection we all have to food. It’s so important for us as Southerners to preserve our ways of cooking and eating – something we need to record for the generations to come. Our rituals and traditions are as important as technique and training.”

Watershed didn’t open originally as a restaurant, Peacock recalls, but more of a general store with food, similar to Sawicki’s, a gourmet food spot now just up the street from Watershed’s doors in Decatur. “People wanted to stay and eat, and eventually the concept painfully morphed into a restaurant,” Peacock said. Within the first year, it was obvious that the restaurant needed to be the focus.

Now that he's left, Peacock says he'll miss Watershed's kitchen, “but it’s the people I will miss the most – we had regulars who came in for fried chicken night every Tuesday. And it’s pretty cool when Yo-Yo Ma comes to Atlanta and wants to eat your food.”

But it’s the film that is his focus now – a legacy to honor a lady who helped shape his view of the world, and himself.

“Miss Lewis helped me understand that how you see yourself helps you understand how you see the world," he said. "Like her, this film helps me understand myself better.”

Friday, April 16, 2010


The French Quart Festival uses 17 stages and has somewhere around 200 different acts. Each
act is from the Louisiana area and each is free to see and hear. There were stages on Bourbon Street, the old U. S. Mint, Jackson Square, Royal Street, The French Market, Riverfront Park, ect, ect, ect.

The last couple of years Stacey and I have gone to New Orleans to see the Indians Parade. They are kind of the last Mardi Gras Parade of the year in NOLA. It was fun to do, but once I heard about the FQF I signed up. The FQF was April 9-11 this year. Friday the 9th was the first day, we got there the next day.
We could only check our bags at the Barrone Plaza Hotel when we arrived Saturday a.m. our rooms not yet available. No problem. This hotel is 2 blocks from the Quarter so we hit the streets. About 3 blocks in we stop for a beer and a shot. 3 blocks later we stop at a stage on Bourbon Street and listen to Lisa Lynn. She is a sassy Jazz singer backed up by traditional New Orleans Jazz Band. They had the upright piano, the clarinet, the stand up bass and they each dress the part. Later that day we were introduced to Lisa Lynn while she was tending the bar at Harry's.

We moved on down Bourbon Street to the next stage and listened to SOME LIKE IT HOT another traditional New Orleans Jazz Band. SLIH was started as an all girl band, but now it's about 50/50. But the ladies are the boss in this band. They played straight up New Orleans Jazz. The ladies played trumpet, trombone and drums rounded out with a tenor sax and a banjo.

Next we got food. In the Quarter there are lot's of small convenience stores. You can get everything from beer too cat food. We stopped at one and got fried shrimp, shrimp and noodles and a couple beers. We sat on a stoop across the street and ate and drank while our friend, Harold, from Mobile tracked us down.

Next the three of us headed around the corner to the U S Mint stage. There we enjoyed Abita beers and listened to PO BOY LOS CITAS. They were more rockin then jazz, but good and local none the less.

Next it was Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers at the Riverfront. Til now we had been at small venues. The Riverfront had two stages and room for a thousand people or so at each. We worked our way towards the stage front as Harold filled us in on Kermit Ruffins.
Ruffins was the new old school New Orleans. He was born there in 1964 and spent his whole life barbecuing and blowing trumpet. He talked a lot in between songs and you could tell he was a cool guy. His band was good and they had a real swing style about them. Ruffins sang on most songs which was another good thing about his act.

We had yet to check into our hotel and we had been at it a while now. We made plans to meet up with Harry in a couple hours and parted ways.
Stacey and I headed to Baroone Plaza Hotel, checked in and were happy with our hotel room.
We cleaned up, rested a while and called Harry. He told us to met him at his office. He explained his "office" was a bar named Harry's in the French Quarter.

We did as we were told and when we find Harry at Harry's he introduces us to Amy. Amy is the girlfriend of Paul who is a bartender at Harry's. Paul is a old college friend of Harry's. Paul and Amy have an apartment a block off the Quarter. Harry is staying with Paul and Amy this weekend. So we have a drink or three at Harry's and head out to see BONEARAMA.

It took me a minute, but after looking at a band fronted by three trombone players it hit me. BONERAMA. These guys were great. Besides trombones there was a guitar player and a drummer. Maybe more, but I can't remember, it was late. We had flown into NOLA around 10 a.m. It was now about 9 p.m. and BONERAMA was finishing up. There was a guest drummer and he was singing "maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm crazy to stay". Being a reference to Katrina that got a big cheer. But it was correct, the musicians did stay. Maybe they were crazy, but they did stay in New Orleans after the storm. Next the whole band starts the chant "WHO DAT"and a thousand fans answered "WHO DAT SAY THEY GONNA BEAT THOSE SAINTS"

We walked back across the Quarter to the apartment Harry was staying at on Esplanade, met up with Paul, had a drink and again hit the streets. Esplanade is between the Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Faubroug Marigny is a neighborhood locals live and play in. As we made our way into the neighborhood we could see lot's of folks were out and about. We noticed a large crowd a few blocks up and the sound of drums. As we got closer we heard drums and horns. A little closer and we could hear voices. A kind of call out. A kind of cadence to match the music. Harry told us it was a battle of the bands. He said these guys made their way around town doing this thing they do. There were two bands, one on each corner. Each band played in a furious manner for a few minutes and then the other band answered. This went on for a while and it was really something to see. I never did figure out why they did this. I never saw anyone pass a hat to collect money and some of the musician switched sides a couple times.

So this was our day and part of our night. We had been out in the sun most of the day and drinking a good bit. W e were tired. Paul and Amy were not to be found so we told Harry goodnight and once again headed back across the Quarter to sleep it off and get set for tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010


follow the link.

At Noodle Bar, a junior line cook had been cooking chicken for family meal—lunch for the staff—and although he had to cook something like seventy-five chicken pieces and the stoves were mostly empty, he’d been cooking them in only two pans, which meant that he was wasting time he could have spent helping to prep for dinner. Also, he was cooking with tongs, which was bad technique, it ripped the food apart, it was how you cooked at T.G.I. Friday’s—he should have been using a spoon or a spatula. Cooking with tongs showed disrespect for the chicken, disrespect for family meal, and, by extension, disrespect for the entire restaurant. But the guy cooking family meal was just the beginning of it. Walking down the line, Chang had spotted another cook cutting fish cake into slices that were totally uneven and looked like hell. Someone else was handling ice-cream cones with her bare hands, touching the end that wasn’t covered in paper. None of these mistakes was egregious in itself, but all of them together made Chang feel that Noodle Bar’s kitchen was degenerating into decadence and anarchy. He had screamed and yelled until a friend showed up and dragged him out of the restaurant, and his head still hurt nearly twenty-four hours later.

The following afternoon, Chang called an emergency meeting for the staff. Something was rotten in Noodle Bar, and he meant to cut it out and destroy it before it was too late.

“I haven’t been spending that much time in this restaurant because of all the shit that’s been going on,” he began, “but the past two days I’ve had aneurisms because I’ve been so upset at the kitchen. On the cooks’ end, I question your integrity. Are you willing to fucking sacrifice yourself for the food? Yesterday, we had an incident with fish cakes: they weren’t properly cut. Does it really matter in the bowl of ramen? No. But for personal integrity as a cook, this is what we do, and I don’t think you guys fucking care enough. It takes those little things, the properly cut scallions, to set us apart from Uno’s and McDonald’s. If we don’t step up our game, we’re headed toward the middle, and I don’t want to fucking work there.

“We’re not the best cooks, we’re not the best restaurant—if you were a really good cook you wouldn’t be working here, because really good cooks are assholes. But we’re gonna try our best, and that’s as a team. Recently, over at Ssäm Bar, a sous-chef closed improperly, there were a lot of mistakes, and I was livid and I let this guy have it. About a week later, I found out that it wasn’t him, he wasn’t even at the restaurant that night. But what he said was ‘I’m sorry, it will never happen again.’ And you know what? I felt like an asshole for yelling at him, but, more important, I felt like, Wow, this is what we want to build our company around: guys that have this level of integrity. Just because we’re not Per Se, just because we’re not Daniel, just because we’re not a four-star restaurant, why can’t we have the same fucking standards? If we start being accountable not only for our own actions but for everyone else’s actions, we’re gonna do some awesome shit.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010


A week or so ago I was invited to attend a dinner with a men's club at the Feed Store. It was awesome. We were welcomed in earnest by the Chef and the manager. They had even printed a special menu for us and comped us many, many beers. This is what we ate.

1st course
Mayhaw barbequed calamari
Suckling pig gyros with tzatziki sauce

Beef tartate with lemon sweet tater fries

Dill pickle soup with smoked paprika oil

Arugula/pineapple/bacon salad with pecan vinaigrette

Fried talapia with a deviled egg and bacon tartar sauce
Pork osso bucco with chipotle jus
Georgia english pea risotto
White asparagus with house preserve meyer lemons

The shit that killed Elvis (banana waffle-toasted banana chip covered peanut butter ice cream and local honey)
Red velvet cake with macerated strawberries.

The chef at the Feed Store is Peter Golaszewski. I have written about the Feed Store a lot over the last year or so. I always tell you the same thing, if you haven't eaten there yet then your stupid.