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Honest to Goodness
Glancing up from my work to ruminate upon some deep insight into food and restaurants at a CC's Coffee coffeehouse last week, I found my eyes locked to those of a beverage peddler who had no takers for his sample cups of iced tea. I approached his table out of pity but remained for 10 minutes because, although I wonder how reliable his shtick was, his Honest Tea was extraordinary compared to other bottled tea brands I've tried. There are 11 varieties (Community Green, Earl Grey, Decaf Ceylon, etc.), all of which are made from tea leaves, spring water and either natural sugars, honey or agave nectar (no high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame or artificial sweeteners). As an addict of a diet soda I'm too ashamed to name, I have no bone to pick with unnatural sweeteners in general, but it was refreshing that none of these teas was cloying with sugar or saccharin. And they actually tasted like tea. If you want to read more about how socially conscious and all-around brilliant these Honest Tea people are, log on at www.honesttea.com.

Hitting High Notes
In other about-the-town notes, the newish deep-fried roast beef po-boy at Jacques-Imo's (8324 Oak St., 861-0886) is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds -- and patent-worthy. (But Chef Jack: What kind of woody, maroon-colored "greens" were those on the salad?) And while I was relieved to learn that I'm not alone in misunderstanding the gigantic, fishy-tasting Friday crabcake special at Liuzza's by the Track (1518 N. Lopez St., 943-8667) -- the table next to mine last week sent two back -- never again will I take visitors elsewhere when they ask, "Where can I get the best po-boy?" Judging from the friends I was hosting, the barbecue shrimp po-boy at this Liuzza's is good enough to keep any tourist away from the French Quarter.

Prodigal Chef Returns
Daniel Bonnot was the first executive chef to rule over the kitchen at Louis XVI (730 Bienville St., 581-7000) when it first opened in 1971. He's back in that kitchen all month, collaborating with current Chef Agnes Bellet (who worked there with Bonnot in the 1970s) to recreate some of the restaurant's original dishes in celebration of its 30th anniversary. The special menu includes steak tartare prepared tableside, oysters Rockefeller and Bienville, crab Imperial and cherries jubilee. Bonnot's most recent restaurant foray was at his former St. Charles Avenue restaurant, Bizou, which was located where Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114) now sits.

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