The latest scoop on everything food in New Orleans
Honey rum cocktails at Borgne. Honey is having a moment, and so what’s been hard to source in the U.S.—aged rum touched with honey—is now behind the bar at Borgne restaurant. Chef Brian Landry discovered the Arehucas distillery on a trip to the Canary Islands, and Borgne is arguably the first restaurant in New Orleans to carry its rums. While the ron miel (honey rum) is beautifully balanced on its own, the bar staff at Borgne also mix it into the classic Dark and Stormy, and into their signature Canary Island Ice Pick cocktail—refreshing and grounded by iced tea, the honey rum here acts a liqueur, giving this cocktail sweetness and body. To build the Canary Island Ice Pick at home: add ice, 1 1/2 ounces Arehucas golden rum , 1 ounce Arehucas Guanche Ron Miel (honey rum), 3 ounces brewed iced tea, and 2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice to a Collins glass. Roll into a shaker and then back into the glass.
Elvis is back. Which flavors are essential when you’re interpreting the King? Nuts and bananas, apparently. At Sweet Olive, peanut butter and bananas are distilled into house-made ice creams, and paired with a third scoop of bacon ice cream over a scattering of red- velvet sprinkles. Johnny V’s Bistro offers an even more decadent tribute, with their take on the Southern southern classic, Elvis Pie, a deep-dish layering of Nutella pudding, cut bananas, and toasted meringue.
Sucré’s birthday cake gelato. Its given name is Confetti and Cupcake, but a scoop of this creamy gelato, blended with almond cake and sweet sprinkles, turns an ordinary afternoon into a celebration.
Sushi on Oak. Chiba marries traditional Japanese dishes with subtle New Orleans flavors, and so crafts its top-notch sushi with rare cuts of sweet shrimp and tuna belly, as well as local ingredients. We like the specialty roll with meaty, sliced local strawberries, scallops and mangoes; also try the Crescent City Roll, with crisped Gulf oysters and Japanese pickles. Happy hour specials include $3 dumplings, steamed buns and bottled beers, and—honoring Japanese support for our local musicians—held a benefit for the Tipitina’s Foundation.
Rías Baixas Albariño wines. Pale, golden-–green grapes from Galicia produce these clean, fruity wines, with notes of white peach, apricot and faintly floral jasmine. Find variations of Rías Baixas Albariño by the glass at Sweet Olive; Martin Wine Cellar and Chez Nous carry the bottles.
Tarte á la Bouille. This Cajun delicacy—vanilla custard in a soft, sugar cookie crust—is made by a local bakery just for Rouses grocery stores (we’ve found them most consistently at the Baronne Street store).
Salads on the street. Our favorite new way to “eat the rainbow” is from Gia DiLeo’s food cart, which she pedals through the city twice a week. Her business, Green to Go, co–owned with sister Stephanie DiLeo, offers that rarest of street food: vivid-–fresh salads composed by color. A golden salad, then, is a luxurious mix of yellow bell peppers, golden beets and raisins, soft goat cheese and toasted walnuts; the yellow salad has a Tex–Mex vibe, loaded with roasted corn, while the blue is plump with blueberries, blue cheese and kosher bacon croutons. “We want to bring as much color as possible” to your diet,” says said Gia, who sources all ingredients from Hollygrove Market & Farm. She’s just added hearty black rice, lentil and noodle salads, and we also want to give props to the luscious house-made dressings that come with each one; we especially love the tangy–sweet and chunky tomato dressing and the white balsamic–citrus. Also unusual for a food truck: Green to Go takes credit cards.
Borgne at the Hyatt Regency, 601 Loyola Avenue, (504) 613–3860, www.borgnerestaurant.com
Chez Nous, 5701 Magazine Street, (504) 899–7303, www.gotocheznous.com
Chiba, 8312 Oak Street, (504) 826-9119, www.chiba-nola.com
Green to Go Nola, (504) 460-3160, www.greentogonola.com. For locations, follow them on Twitter @greentogonola.
Johnny V’s Bistro, 6106 6016 Magazine Street, (504) 899-481480, www.johnnyvnola.com
Martin Wine Cellar, numerous locations, www.martinwine.com
Rouses Market at 701 Baronne Street, (504) 227-3838, www.shop.rouses.com
Sweet Olive at the Saint Hotel, 931 Canal Street, (504) 522-5400, www.thesainthotelneworleans.com/sweet-olive.html
Sucré, numerous locations, www.shopsucre.com