Thursday, July 2, 2015

Craving CIBO

Although during hot, summer days like today I tend to hide in the air-conditioned comfort of my apartment, I can't help but hanker for something to eat that unfortunately, does not reside in my fridge. Since well past the lunch hour, I've been craving a good deli sandwich and the closest option in my neck of the woods is the Carrollton neighborhood newcomer dubbed CIBO.

This quaint, Italian-style deli opened up not too long ago in a space that has seen a long train of fairly unsuccessful ventures. For a long time, this little house-turned-restaurant on Carrollton Avenue was the home of Maurice French Pastries, but after they moved out, nothing has really stuck, until now (I hope).

John and I first visited CIBO way back in February, not long after it first opened. Though I am a po-boy fan through and through, I sometimes miss a well-made deli sandwich and for a long time, it seemed like the only worthy option was Stein's Deli in the LGD, which can be a bit of a trek. So I was pretty excited to try CIBO, if only for a nearby source for quality cold cuts. 

We opted to sit at one of the few tables inside, even though they have lots of tables out front if you're looking to lunch al fresco. After much deliberation, we placed our order at the counter and sat down to await our sandwiches. 

John chose the "Imports Combo" with  prosciutto, sopressata, capocolla, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, balsamic and extra virgin olive oil on Italian bread. This, my friends, was a magnificent sandwich with a beautiful balance between sweet, salty and tangy that really set my taste buds in a whirl. My only complaint? I would have loved more ... more delicate deli meat, more cheese, more red peppers ... especially for an $11 hoagie. Am I a little piggy? Perhaps, but I still maintain that twice the ingredients would have made the sandwich far more satiating than it was. 

I chose the Slow-Roasted Italian Pork Sandwich with caciocavallo cheese fondue and sauteed broccoli rabe served atop an Italian sub roll (of course). John was a bit jealous because my sandwich certainly had a lot more heft to it and it was both delicious and satisfying. Both sandwiches also came with a small cup of pasta salad, which while tasty, was nothing to write home (or a blog) about. 

Since that day, we've been back to CIBO many times and the food is consistent every time we go. I've also purchased some Italian bread and a pound of good mortadella from CIBO to make my own sandwiches at home. Another point of awesomeness would have to be their "filled-to-order" cannoli which, I'm pleased to say, give the ones at Angelo Brocato's a serious run for their money. I might even go so far as to say they're superior, but I fear repercussion from Brocato's diehards. 

Anyone want to join me for a late lunch?

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Melting for Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar

Several months ago, my friend Lorin and I met for lunch at Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar. Located in Mid-City, Brown Butter opened up inside a strip mall early this year and seems to have made quite an impression in the six months following.

The restaurant was already jumping when we arrived, even though it was a bit late in the lunch hour. After saying hello to several people (including food writer Todd Price whom I finally met in person) we sat down and placed our order.

Because I simply couldn't resist, I ordered their house made cream soda which turned out to be pretty much perfect, and surprisingly, not too sweet. We began our lunch with warm pork rinds, still crackling from the fryer, served in a brown paper bag (replete with grease marks) and served with a smoked-corn buttermilk dressing for dipping. As we munched, our entrees arrived ... all three of them!

Lorin chose the steamed mussels with French fries, while I opted for a truffled egg salad sandwich on a split croissant with a side of fried Brussels sprouts. Because it sounded so fantastic, we also ordered their special, vinegar-braised beef short ribs served over creamy, stone-ground grits with a boiled peanut salad.  Yes, we were stuffed and yes it was a lot of food, but everything was just wonderful, particularly the short ribs, a dish we suggested should remain on the menu permanently ... and it did!

Naturally, I couldn't leave without dessert and Lorin indulged me. We ordered a rice pudding that was not so great, but then again, I am not a huge fan of rice pudding. But, we also ordered a crème brûlée that was better than great, it knocked our freaking socks off! Now I have to ask, are you melting for Brown Butter, too?

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Burned again...

While staring at the cursor, flashing in its own mind-numbing way, I tried most strenuously to write about what I enjoy writing (and raving) about, New Orleans' food. But it wouldn't come out. The cursor kept right on blinking while my mind kept right on churning about a recent scrape.

Y'all don't know how difficult it is for me to write right now. My brain is playing this horrid game of back-and-forth between "Kim, just get it out, you'll feel better" and "Don't be such a Debbie-downer. No one wants to read that shit!" While I desperately want to talk about a great local restaurant, I'm so incredibly bummed that I let myself get crapped on ... yet again ... that I'm really not in that warm fuzzy-kind of mood. So here it is:

For free, I submitted 12- 100 word write-ups to a company once called Chowzter (now FoodieHub) on different dishes I thought people visiting New Orleans ought to try. The pitch to me was that they had designed an app and that once they stopped giving it away for free, I would receive 50% of the apps sold in New Orleans. My expectations were not high, but I thought it was a small price to pay to be included in this vast community of exuberant food lovers from all over the globe. Honestly, a lot of the people I've met through Chowzter are amazing photographers, writers and epic gourmands who have educated me on the cuisine of places I've never visited, and if my luck keeps running this way, likely never will. 

In order to establish presence in different countries, Chowzter held frequent awards ceremonies in cities like London and New York ... they even came to New Orleans and feasted at places like Parkway Bakery, Brennan's, Commander's Palace and more, exploring what our city had to offer. It pleased me to to see them revel in my home and grant awards to not only the city, but to Coquette in particular for their Smoked Pork Gumbo, which I nominated for consideration in "The Tastiest Feasts of North America." I also wrote a few articles for their newsletter (for which I was paid, thank goodness) on po-boys, Creole vs. Cajun cuisine and our killer Carnival confection, king cake. 

Just recently, I was going through my emails to discover that there was another awards ceremony, the "FoodieHub Global Awards" for which Willie Mae's Scotch House won "The Tastiest Fried Chicken in the World" on my nomination. What's so disturbing about this news was that I never submitted a nomination for anything. Additionally, I didn't submit the photograph they used on the FoodieHub website, although it most definitely is mine.

So here's what happened. Because I never responded to the nomination request for the "FoodieHub Global Awards" (emails I discovered in my junk box after-the-fact), someone over there at FoodieHub decided to take a photograph from my blog and nominate Willie Mae's for me. So kind of them, don't you think? Not only that ... they took the articles that I wrote on po-boys, etc. and re-purposed the images and words into 100-word clips for the app.

When I finally worked up the nerve to call them out on this egregious error a few days later, I got nothing but push back -- "But we sent you the nominations email and you never responded" and "here are the emails we sent" -- all of which had no bearing on the fact that they essentially stole from me, used my name without my permission and thought it was okay.  

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad Willie Mae's won, that the restaurant and our city got a little extra global recognition, but I really wish someone would have asked me first.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Guess that restaurant! Round 2

It's that time again, time to play "Guess that restaurant!" I made it way too easy last time for all you seasoned, New Orleans foodies out there, so not hint this time! Go on, guess!