Did you know that New Orleans now has 80 more restaurants than it did before “the storm” (as locals call Katrina)?
I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s what Thomas Wolfe, executive chef of Wolfe’s in the Warehouse in New Orleans, said.
It seems to me that New Orleans at the moment is trying to send out two messages:
1) Everything’s fine, y’all, come on down and laissez les bons temps rouler! and
2) We’ve been forgotten, neglected, and we need help!
I suspect both have elements of truth.
I also learned last night at the James Beard House that the next time I go to New Orleans I must have roasted oysters at Drago, near the airport, and also make the 25-mile trek across the bridge to Trey Yuen for the best Chinese food in America.
The last bit of advice was from Lynn Howard, a native of New Orleans who once was a physician but now is an international equities trader and art dealer. She met her husband Chris Howard here in New York, I think at a rugby game (excuse me, rugby match).
I find that it is practically a law of nature that if someone says something is the best, it’s usually below average. But Lynn and Chris seemed bright (he’s a biochemist and art dealer) and nice and I’ll try to get to Trey Yuen next time I’m in New Orleans.
The Howards were at the Beard House because Lynn is an old, old friend of Thomas Wolfe, who was cooking there last night.
And who do you think was photographing the event but Jamie Tiampo, whom I’d just met the other night? He looked very cute and serious.
Here’s what Thomas Wolfe and co. cooked:
tuna tartare on black pepper-anchovy emulsion and lemon-caper dust
truffled tossed potato chip basket with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, poached leeks and Madeira butter
venison terrine with peppadew jam and fennel powder
honey mustard fried catfish with Tabasco chipotle tartar sauce
Nicola Feuillatte Champagne
Gulf shrimp paillard with herb salad, lemon-caraway granité, choupiquet caviar and confit tomato vinaigrette
206 Hendry Chardonnay (Napa)
brie-enriched velouté with caramelized scallop and saffron celeriac batonnet
2005 Henri Pelle (Menetou-Salon, Loire)
foie gras torchon and pastrami cured squab gallontine with cranbery custard, smoked Viking sea salt, wild rice pilaf and tarragon cherry beurre rouge
2005 Domaine Chandon Pinot Noire (Carneros, Calif.)
Grilled wagyu strip loin with serrano ham, confit shallot and asparagus bundles, wild mushroom ceviche and classic Bordelaise
2001 Marques de Caceres Gran Reserva (Rioja, Spain)
Ellie’s white chocolate butter bars with raspberry gelato and vanilla bean anglaise
2004 J. Vidal Fleury (Beaumes de Venise, France)