Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas comes a little early in New Orleans this year...

It's the holidays as we are all painfully well aware of. For those of you who wait until the absolute last minute to shop tomorrow is it for you. Since we travel at the holidays (to be with family) things get jumbled or rushed from time to time. Today is a prime example - it's the 23rd - and we did family Christmas here today. I have to work tomorrow and the other part of the family here has had stuff booked for Christmas eve for some time now so today was it. We had a non-traditional meal - steak, twice baked potatoes, salad, and bread, we also had apple pie and pecan pie for dessert. No ham or turkey, no sweet potatoes, or any of the usuals. I think I like this one better...I don't eat as much and I enjoyed it more. Maybe steak will make its way onto the menu. After lunch was the gift opening extravaganza. Now bear in mind we opened gifts with a 2 and a 4 year old. There were bits of paper everywhere. Now this is our first Christmas as married folks and my in-laws are still trying to figure me out a little bit. Last year I got a few things that were great; this year there were two that were just really amazing. My in-laws bought me a handmade end grain cutting board

This was made by a man in our church here who does this as a hobby. If anyone is interested in obtaining one of these (he has more designs than this) post a comment or send me an email and I'll pass along his information. The second gift was a last minute thing from my wife - something she didn't think I'd like but that I happen to love:

I don't know if it's a terribly accurate timer or not (we got a digital timer for our wedding that's my favorite) or that I'd ever even use it - but it's a fun countertop item that adds character to our kitchen. I don't know if I'll post tomorrow and I know I won't on Tuesday so Happy Christmas to my readers, family, and friends. God has blessed abundantly this year and I am thankful for all He has provided. I'll try to post from on the road later this week.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Updates and thoughts...

Say what you like about Emeril Lagasse. Some dislike him because he suffers from, as one author penned, a deplorable excess of personality. Others think he makes food too simple or dumbs it down. There are times he grates my nerves like nails on a chalkboard and others that he bores me to tears with the routine. However no one should ever say he dumbs down anything...especially food. I had the privilege to dine in the flagship restaurant again today. The first trip was in '03 and I was on vacation here (New Orleans) in the city. Today was my office Christmas party (we're a small, family type office and we celebrate Christmas, not holidays). I enjoyed the porkchop again (this one was a single cut, not double) along with lobster bisque and the meyer lemon frozen souffle. The service was flawless as was the food itself - one of the best dining experiences I have ever encountered. There was nothing dumb about the masterful flavor combination of caramelized sweet potatoes, the tangy sweet sour of the tamarind glaze, and the subtle heat of the green chile mole. Chef Lagasse has a charisma that many might envy - but he brings food to the masses and shows them that there is no magic in restaurant kitchens that a home cook, with time and effort, cannot duplicate.