Have Nicks, We’ll Be There

The picturesque drive through Laguna Canyon is always the pre-game before landing in Laguna Beach.  While most of the time traffic sends me into a complete tizzy-fit somehow this congestion excites me. I know at the end of this road adventure awaits. The road winds just enough to showcase the homes on top of the hills, endless trails to walk, hike or bike, eye-catching wild flowers, and the day laborer who seeks work. It’s a plethora of contradictions.

The short 3.5-mile drive ends as the window of the sea appears. Parking is an issue in Laguna so I have my go-to structure. The Glenneyre parking lot is my spot. The underground parking at this location is a mess so I suggest using the top structure.

The pathway to Nick’s is like a stroll back in time just as you would imagine a small European town to look, charming and quaint. It’s so inviting as the energy builds. The path leads to PCH and Nick’s is just a couple shops to the right. IMG_6782

I know momentarily, the energy is going to change. Nick’s Bloody’s are somewhat ritualistic. A lot goes into preparing these spiked tomatoey drinks. Glasses are lined up at the bar. A spoonful of this and a spoonful of that, horseradish, seasoning, two types of juice: lemon and orange, and some tomato juice into a tall glass and voilà a red delicious drinks that will make your toes curl. The cherry on top is their deep-fried green olives stuffed with blue cheese and a lemon and lime wedge.  HEAVEN in a glass.

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Nick’s Bloody Mary with a fried green olive stuffed with  blue cheese

Three Bloody Mary’s later we looked at the menu and like usual we were in-sync. We both wanted to try the deviled eggs. The very thought of a fried deviled egg had me seeing stars.

Deep Fried Deviled Egg

Nick’s did not disappoint. The following weekend I had a delicious Sunday breakfast at Nick’s with yet another Bloody to kick start my day.

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Tuna Salad on a Rainy Day

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Tuna Salad

It’s summer time, which means rain every day in New Orleans. A splash of rain to amp up the humidity always makes it a perfect day to stay in.  We had big plans to go out to lunch today but walking through muddy puddles nixed that idea.

So. What was in the pantry? Not a lot. It was just about grocery time, so the cupboards were essentially bare. But I spy a can of tuna! That’s all we really need, right?

You can really look for any spare things you have in the fridge to go into your tuna salad. Pickles are pretty standard for me. I also found some avocado and a piece of celery; also, peppers are a staple in my house, so check!

After I whipped up some tuna salad, put it on a bed of romaine, I sat by a window with my book, watched the rain, was real glad I wasn’t into it, and enjoyed my off the cuff lunch.

Here’s the recipe!

Tuna Salad Recipe

1-9 oz can of white albacore tuna packed in water

2-3 tbl olive oil mayo (Hellman’s or Best Foods)

1 small squirt of mustard (prepared, Dijon, or stone ground)

3  gherkin dill pickles, chopped

1 serrano pepper, destemmed, deveined, and finelychopped (substitute with jalapeno for less heat)

1/2 stalk of celery, chopped  (substitute with celery seed if you want only flavor)

1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

  1. Drain tuna of all liquid.
  2. Break tuna using back side of fork
  3. Add pickles, peppers, celery seed (my preference), egg, mustard and mayo.
  4. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Serve on a bed of lettuce, in a sandwich, or  in a wrap. I love using romaine lettuce in place of bread when I’m off of bread.
  6. When sealed properly tuna will stay for up to 3 days.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Review: Compere Lapin

 

After suffering through a wet and wild Jazz Fest, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch and stopped in to New Orleans’ Compere Lapin. Our table was intimate and well-appointed; it was next to a window, which let the natural light in and set the tone for an amazing lunch. Because we went early, the restaurant wasn’t filled, and this was perfect for us. The décor was French country and rustic, with lots of wood, splashes of lapis blue color, signature rabbits scattered in surprising spots, and a great brick wall with lots of small mirrors, reflecting the chefs who were busy at work.

Carey was our server, and was great. He was friendly and graciously answered all of our questions, tolerated our picture-taking with a smile, explained the menu well, and was attentive throughout the meal. A server in the back helped us set up a picture of the house-made hot sauce for their oyster bar. We tasted the hot sauce, which was made with habanero, and it had heat and a kick, but it wasn’t overpowering or too hot–just the right compliment for the oysters.

Then came the food. First, there were biscuits. Ahh the biscuits. Chive-speckled buttermilk biscuits were served warm on a wooden plank with two types of butter, honey and bacon. The biscuits were dense and delicious, and when slathered with the bacon butter from heaven, we knew it was only the beginning of a beautiful thing. This day, we were in a verde mood and ordered two green dishes: the English Pea Ravioli with Ramps and Spring Mushrooms and the Spinach Cavatelli with Fontina Fondue. We loved everything about the English Pea Ravioli. It was beautiful to look at with yellow pockets of ravioli, brown morel mushrooms, bright green pea sauce, with ramps and microgreens to finish. It was almost too pretty to eat. However, eat it we did. The peas had the perfect amount bite and tasted fresh off the vine, the ravioli was perfectly cooked and had a delicate cheese mixture inside. Everything worked together beautifully. The Spinach Cavatelli was hearty and had a crusty Fontina cheese layer on top. This would be great to eat on a cold day.

We are looking forward to our next visit to have oysters and dessert, which we didn’t have room for on this visit. Compere Lapin, though only opened last year, is located in the Central Business District and is a must stop and a welcome addition to the restaurants in our city.

Compere Lapin                                                                                                                                                  535 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans, LA
504.599.2119
comperelapin.com

 

Jazz Fest aka Flood Fest 2016

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It’s floodin’ down in Nola, all the telephone lines are down. Jazz Fest 2016 was a wet one. Not a lot of music, but at least we got to eat. We set out on Saturday for the fest, prepared for rain but not ready for a flood. However, thirty minutes in, raindrops started falling. Umbrellas up, ponchos on, pants tucked in, the adventure began. Our first stop was the Cracklin’s booth, or Chicharonnes (cracklin’s) as we say in California. These are by far the best we’ve tasted—big chunks of deep fried pork skin served hot in a brown paper bag. These are the one of the things we came for. Lisa smuggled in flour tortillas to make a chicharron soft taco. Standing to the side, and with a few onlookers, she spread the chicharrones on the tortilla, hit it with some hot sauce, and was a happy girl, and who cares about the damn rain now. Next stop, fried green tomatoes with remoulade. Huddling under umbrellas, we set the crispy, breaded tomatoes and tangy sauce down on a wet table and ate them with our fingers.

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tacos de chicharrones

We went to the Gospel tent to hear some music and escape the rain for a bit, but before long, decided to venture out for more. The Crawfish Monica was as delicious as always, a pasta dish with creamy, rich sauce, speckled with spicy crawfish. For dessert, white chocolate bread pudding that made eyes roll back in heads. But at that point, the rain was no longer just coming down, it was pouring. And flooding. We stood under a tent with hundreds of our fest-friends, and watched as the water rose, over our shoes and then up to our ankles. Of course that didn’t stop us from eating the food we had with us, but it did slow us down from getting more for a while. When the rain slowed down and we finally came out like a bunch of wet rats, we moved to the stage where Stevie Wonder was set to play, only to learn that the Jazz Fest was cancelled. No music for us. We waded through knee deep water to leave, feet sore and waterlogged, but not as upset as most because it was a blast and we never laughed so hard. We ended up at a local dive, The Twelve Mile Limit, and with a table filled with beer and more food (the pork sliders are to die for), we had us a good old time, Jazz Fest or not.

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