the gumbo pages

looka, <lʊ´-kə> dialect, v.
1. The imperative form of the verb "to look"; in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans, it is usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something.  

2. --n. Chuck Taggart's weblog, hand-made and updated (almost) daily, focusing on food and drink, cocktails as cuisine, music (especially of the roots variety), New Orleans and Louisiana culture, news of the reality-based community ... and occasionally movies, books, sf, public radio, media and culture, travel, Macs, liberal and progressive politics, humor and amusements, reviews, complaints, the author's life and opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles the author's fancy.

Please feel free to contribute a link if you think I'll find it interesting.   If you don't want to read my opinions, feel free to go elsewhere.

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Buy my New Orleans music box set!

Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens

"Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans" is a 4-CD box set celebrating the joy and diversity of the New Orleans music scene, from R&B to jazz to funk to Latin to blues to zydeco to klezmer (!) and more, including a full-size, 80-page book.

Produced, compiled and annotated by Chuck Taggart (hey, that's me!), liner notes by Mary Herczog (author of Frommer's New Orleans) and myself. Now for sale at your favorite independent record stores (such as the Louisiana Music Factory, because you should be supporting local New Orleans retailers) or via Amazon if you insist.

The box set was the subject of a 15-minute profile on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition" on Feb. 6, 2005, and a segment on Wisconsin Public Radio's "To The Best of Our Knowledge" on Apr. 3, 2005. Here are some nice blurbs from the reviews (a tad immodest, I know; I'm not generally one to toot my own horn, but let's face it, I wanna sell some records here.)

*      *      *

"More successfully than any previous compilation, Doctors... captures the sprawling eclecticism, freewheeling fun and constant interplay of tradition and innovation that is at the heart of Crescent City music." -- Keith Spera, New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"... if you DO know someone who's unfortunate enough to have never heard these cuts, press this monumentally adventurous box and its attendant booklet upon them. It's never too late to learn" -- Robert Fontenot, OffBeat magazine, New Orleans

"... the best collection yet of Louisiana music." -- Scott Jordan, The Independent, Lafayette, Louisiana.

"[T]he year's single most awesome package" -- Buddy Blue, San Diego Union-Tribune

"This four-CD box set doesn't miss a Crescent City beat ... For anyone who has enjoyed the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, this is Jazz Fest in a box. ***1/2" -- Dave Hoekstra, Chicago Sun-Times

"... excellently compiled, wonderfully annotated ... New Orleans fans will know much of this by heart, though they may not remember it sounding so good; those who don't know what it's like to miss New Orleans will quickly understand." -- Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press.

"... a perfect storm when it comes to reissues. This box set is musically exciting, a complete representation of its subject matter, and just plain fun to listen." -- Charlie B. Dahan,

"... one of the best impressions of a city's musical blueprint that you're likely to ever find." -- Zeth Lundy,

"... an unacademic, uncategorized album that suits the city's time-warped party spirit." -- Jon Pareles, The New York Times

How to donate to this site:

Your donations help keep this site going. PayPal's the best way -- just click the button below, and thanks!

You can also donate via the Honor System, if you wish (but they deduct a larger fee from your donation and I keep less).

(Also, here's a shameless link to my Amazon Wish List.)

Buy stuff!

You can get Gumbo Pages designs on T-shirts, mugs and mousepads at The Gumbo Pages Swag Shop!

Looka! Archive
(99 and 44/100% link rot)

April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

2006:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2005:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2004:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2003:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2002:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2001:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2000:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

1999:   Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

My Photos on Flickr
My Darlin' New Orleans...

The Flag of The City of New Orleans

Shop New Orleans! Visit the stores linked here to do your virtual online shopping in New Orleans. The city needs your money!

Greater N.O. Community Data Center
New Orleans Wiki

Gambit Weekly & The Times-Picayune
Scat Magazine
WDSU-TV (Channel 6, NBC)
WGNO-TV (Channel 26, ABC)
WNOL-TV (Channel 38, WB)
WTUL-FM (91.5, Progressive radio)
WVUE-TV (Channel 8, FOX)
WWL-TV (Channel 4, CBS)
WWNO-FM (89.9, classical, jazz, NPR)
WWOZ-FM (90.7, Best Radio Station in the Universe)
WYES-TV (Channel 12, PBS)


New Orleans ...
proud to blog it home.

2 Millionth Weblog
A Frolic of My Own
Ashley Morris
Dispatches from Tanganyika
Home of the Groove
Humid City
Library Chronicles
Mellytawn Dreams
Metroblogging N.O.
People Get Ready
Da Po'Blog
Suspect Device Blog
The Third Battle of New Orleans
World Class New Orleans
The Yat Pundit
Your Right Hand Thief
Cocktail hour.

   The Internet's most comprehensive
   and indispensible database of
   authenticated cocktail recipes,
   ingredients, reseearch and more.
   By Martin Doudoroff & Ted Haigh)

Museum of the American Cocktail
   Founded by Dale DeGroff and many
   other passionate spirits in Jan. 2005.
   Celebrating a true American cultural
   icon: the American Cocktail.
   (Their weblog.)

*     *     *

The Sazerac Cocktail
   (The sine qua non of cocktails,
   and the quintessential New Orleans
   cocktail. Learn to make it.)

The Footloose Cocktail
   (An original by Wes;
   "Wonderful!" - Gary Regan.
   "Very elegant, supremely
   sophisticated" - Daniel Reichert.)

The Hoskins Cocktail
   (An original by Chuck;
   "It's nothing short of a
   masterpiece." - Gary Regan)

*     *     *

Chuck & Wes' Cocktail Menu
   (A few things we like to
   drink at home, plus a couple
   we don't, just for fun.)

*     *     *

Peychaud's Bitters
   (Indispensible for Sazeracs
   and many other cocktails.
   Order them here.)

Angostura Bitters
   (The gold standard of bitters,
   fortunately available everywhere
   worldwide. Insist on it.)

Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6
   (Complex and spicy orange
   bitters for your Martinis,
   Old Fashioneds and many more.
   Order them here.)

Fee Brothers' Bitters
   (Classic orange bitters,
   peach bitters and a cinnamony
   "Old Fashion" aromatic bitters.
   Skip the mint variety, though.)

*     *     *

The Alchemist
   (Paul Harrington)

Alcohol (and how to mix it)
   (David Wondrich)

Ardent Spirits
   (Gary & Mardee Regan)

The Art of Drink:
   An exploration of Spirits & Mixology.
   (Darcy O'Neil)

Beachbum Berry:
   (Jeff Berry, world-class expert
   on tropical drinks)

The Cocktail Chronicles
   (Paul Clarke's weblog)

The Cocktailian Gazette
   (The monthly newsletter of
   The Museum of the
   American Cocktail.)

A Dash of Bitters
   (Michael Dietsch)

DrinkBoy and the
   Community for the
   Cultured Cocktail
   (Robert Hess, et al.)

DrinkBoy's Cocktail Weblog

Drink Trader
   (Online magazine for the
   drink trade)

Happy Hours
   (Beverage industry
   news & insider info)

Imbibe Magazine
   (Celebrating the world in a glass)

Jimmy's Cocktail Hour
   (Jimmy Patrick)

King Cocktail
   (Dale DeGroff)

La Fée Verte
   (All about absinthe
   from Kallisti et al.)
   (Ladies United for the
   Preservation of
   Endangered Cocktails)

Fine Spirits & Cocktails
   (eGullet's forum)

Martini Republic: Drinks
   (featuring posts by Dr. Cocktail!)

The Ministry of Rum
   (Everything you always wanted to know)

The Modern Mixologist
   (Tony Abou-Ganim)

Mr. Lucky's Cocktails
   (Sando, LaDove,
   Swanky et al.)

Nat Decants
   (Natalie MacLean)

Spirit Journal
   (F. Paul Pacult)

Spirits Review
   (Chris Carlsson)
   (Beverage Tasting
   Institute journal)

Vintage Cocktails
   (Daniel Reichert)

The Wormwood Society
   (Dedicated to promoting accurate,
   current information about absinthe)

Let's eat!

New Orleans:
Culinary Concierge (N.O. food & wine magazine)
Mr. Lake's Non-Pompous New Orleans Food Forum
The New Orleans Menu
Notes from a New Orleans Foodie

Food-related weblogs:
Chocolate and Zucchini
Honest Cuisine
Il Forno
KIPlog's FOODblog
Mise en Place
Sauté Wednesday
Simmer Stock
Tasting Menu
Waiter Rant

More food!
à la carte
Chef Talk Café
Chowhound (L.A.)
Food Network
The Global Gourmet
The Hungry Passport
A Muse for Cooks
The Online Chef
Pasta, Risotto & You
Slow Food Int'l. Movement
Southern Food & Beverages Museum
Southern Foodways Alliance
So. Calif. Farmer's Markets
Zagat Guide

In vino veritas.

The Oxford Companion to Wine
Wine Enthsiast
The Wine Spectator
Wine Today
Zinfandel Advocates & Producers

Wine/spirits shops in our 'hood:
Colorado Wine Co., Eagle Rock
Mission Liquors, Pasadena
Silverlake Wine, Silverlake
Chronicle Wine Cellar, Pasadena

Other wine/spirits shops we visit:
Beverage Warehouse, Mar Vista
Wally's Wine & Spirits, Westwood
The Wine House, West L.A.

Reading this month:

D*U*C*K, by Poppy Z. Brite.

To Marry Medusa, by Theodore Sturgeon.

Microcosmic God: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 2, by Theodore Sturgeon.

Listen to music!

Chuck's current album recommendations

Luka Bloom
La Bottine Souriante
Billy Bragg
Cordelia's Dad
Jay Farrar
The Frames
Sonny Landreth
Los Lobos
Christy Moore
Nickel Creek
The Old 97s
Anders Osborne
The Proclaimers
Professor Longhair
Red Meat
The Red Stick Ramblers
The Reivers
Zachary Richard
Paul Sanchez
Marc Savoy
Son Volt
Richard Thompson
Toasted Heretic
Uncle Tupelo

Tom Morgan's Jazz Roots

Miles of Music

New Orleans

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

No Depression


Appalachian String Band Music Festival - Clifftop, WV

Long Beach Bayou Festival

Strawberry Music Festival - Yosemite, CA

Talking furniture:

WWOZ (New Orleans)
   Broadcast schedule
   Live audio stream

KCSN (Los Angeles)
   Broadcast schedule
   "Down Home" playlist
   Live MP3 audio stream

Bob Walker's New Orleans Radio Shrine
   (A rich history of N.O. radio)
   (Comprehensive listings)

Air America Radio
   (Talk radio for the
   rest of us)
Joe Frank
Grateful Dead Radio
   (Streaming complete
KPIG, 107 Oink 5
   (Freedom, CA)
KRVS Radio Acadie
   (Lafayette, LA)
Mike Hodel's "Hour 25"
   (Science fiction radio)
Raidió Idirlíon
   (Irish language & music)
Raidió na Gaeltachta
   (Irish language)
RootsWorld's Rootsradio
RTÉ Radio Ceolnet
   (Irish trad. music)
WXDU (Durham, NC)

Films seen this year:
(with ratings):

In the cinema:
Babel (****)
Children of Men (****)
Notes on a Scandal (***-1/2)


Lookin' at da TV:

"The West Wing"
"Battlestar Galactica"
"The Sopranos"
"Six Feet Under"
"Malcolm In The Middle"
"Star Trek: Enterprise"
"One Tree Hill"
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"
"The Simpsons"
"Father Ted"
The Food Network


A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans (Joshua Mann Pailet)
American Museum of Photography
California Museum of Photography, Riverside
International Center of Photography

Ansel Adams
Jonathan Fish
Noah Grey
Greg Guirard
Paul F. R. Hamilton
Clarence John Laughlin
Herman Leonard
Howard Roffman
J. T. Seaton
Jerry Uelsmann
Gareth Watkins
Brett Weston

The Mirror Project
(My pics therein: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)

My photographs at Flickr


The Amazing Adventures of Bill,
by Bill Roundy

Bloom County / Outland / Opus,
by Berkeley Breathed

Bob the Angry Flower,
by Stephen Notley

The Boondocks,
by Aaron McGruder

Calvin and Hobbes,
by Bill Watterson

by Garry B. Trudeau

Electric Sheep Comix
by Patrick Farley

Get Your War On
by David Rees

by Jonathan Rosenberg

L. A. Cucaracha
by Lalo Alcaraz

by Peter Blegvad

Lil' Abner,
by Al Capp

Lulu Eightball,
by Emily Flake

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green,
by Eric Orner

by Walt Kelly

Suspect Device,
by Greg Peters

Ted Rall,
by Ted Rall

This Modern World,
by Tom Tomorrow

XQUZYPHYR & Overboard,
by August J. Pollak


Polly Ticks: (Progressive politics & news)
Daily Kos (My favorite political weblog)
Eschaton (The Mighty Atrios)
Hullaballoo (The Mighty Digby)
Media Matters for America (Debunking right-wing media lies)
Orcinus (David Neiwert)
PostSecret (Secrets sent in via postcards; astonishingly beautiful, funny and sad.)
Talking Points Memo (Josh Marshall)
TAPPED (The American Prospect Online)
Think Progress
TruthOut (William Rivers Pitt & Co.)

Borowitz Report
(Political satire)
The Complete Bushisms (quotationable!)
The Fray (Your stories)
Landover Baptist (Better Christians than YOU!)
Maledicta (The International Journal of Verbal Aggression)
The Morning Fix from SF Gate (Opinions, extreme irreverence)
The New York Review of Science Fiction
The Onion (Scarily funny news/satire)
"Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis", by David Neiwert. (Read this.) (Not the actual White House, but it should be)

Weblogs I read:

American Leftist
The BradLands
The Carpetbagger Report
Considered Harmful
Creek Running North
Ethel the Blog
Un Fils d'un État Rouge
Follow Me Here
Franklin Avenue
Ghost in the Machine
Hit or Miss
Jesus' General
Mark A. R. Kleiman
The Leaky Cauldron
Letting Loose With the Leptard
Little. Yellow. Different.
Making Light
Martini Republic
Mister Pants
More Like This
Mr. Barrett
Neil Gaiman's Journal
News of the Dead
No More Mr. Nice Guy!
Not Right About Anything
August J. Pollak
Q Daily News
Real Live Preacher
Respectful of Otters
Roger "Not That One" Ailes
Ted Rall
Sadly, No!
This Modern World
Whiskey Bar
What's In Rebecca's Pocket?
Your Right Hand Thief

Matthew's GLB blog portal

L.A. Blogs

Friends with pages:

mary katherine
michael p.
tracy and david

The Final Frontier:

Astronomy Pic of the Day
ISS Alpha News
NASA Human Spaceflight
Spaceflight Now


Locus Magazine Online
SF Site


"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901-1909), speaking in 1918

"There ought to be limits to freedom."

-- George W. Bush, May 21, 1999

"You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier."

-- George W. Bush, describing what it's like to be governor of Texas, Governing Magazine, July 1998

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

-- George W. Bush,, December 18, 2000

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it."

-- George W. Bush, Business Week, July 30, 2001

Made with Macintosh

Hosted by pair Networks

Déanta:  This page is coded by hand, with BBEdit 4.0.1 on an Apple G4 15" PowerBook running MacOS X 10.3 if I'm at home; occasionally with telnet and Pico on a FreeBSD Unix host running tcsh if I'm updating from work. (I never could get used to all those weblogging tools.)

LOOKA! Bia agus deoch, ceol agus craic.

 "Eating, drinking and carrying on..."  -- Adelaide Brennan

  Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Off to New Orleans!   Home again, home again, jiggity jig ...

Posting may not be terribly regular, but keep checking in anyway ... I've got some announcements ready to post for later on, and I'll try to leak some food porn as the days go by. Also check out the Flickr page, as I might have time to upload photos but not write too much just yet.

Airport shuttle's due in 12 minutes ... the Fat Pack awaits!

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Sunday, April 22, 2007

Brennan's of Houston.   Life is looking good for my youngest sister's family. A great job for hubby, a beautiful new baby, AND ... a great place to eat New Orleans food!

They picked me up at the airport a week ago yesterday, and we all drove directly to Brennan's of Houston, the second-westernmost outpost of the culinary delights the Brennan family has to offer. The atmosphere comes right from Commander's Palace -- elegance, and jackets required for gentlemen in the main dining room and at dinner -- but with touches reflected from several other Brennan restaurants, especially in the menu (which included Mr. B's Gumbo Ya-Ya, Commander's Turtle Soup and Bread Pudding Soufflé and cocktails from Café Adelaide). We arrived right at the tail end of Saturday brunch service with only a few people left in the dining room, which was probably just as well -- Thomas woke up and was uncharacteristically cranky, and let out some pretty good hollers (ah, music to my ears ... well, maybe not for 7 hours straight, as he once did when he was 2 weeks old).

The drinks menu has clearly been inspired not only by the classics served at the other Brennan restaurants like Commander's but by the huge inroads in cocktailian cuisine that's been pioneered in New Orleans by Ti Martin (and her good friend Dr. Cocktail) and bar chef Lu Brow at Café Adelaide. Melissa got a classic Sidecar, Jeff had a Mango Mojito, which was a classic Mojito made with aged rum and spiked with a swizzle stick cut from fresh sugar cane, but with a splash of mango juice added. Mine was a dizzyingly intoxicating Hemingway Daiquiri variation, heavier on the grapefruit juice and served on the rocks. Delicious, and its footprint has yet to fade from my butt, I think.

I was so hungry that I didn't manage to get any photos of the appetizers (sorry), but they were all great. Melissa just wanted gumbo, and as a longtime fan of Mr. B's the Gumbo Ya-Ya was the way to go -- a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, thick and beautifully smoky. It was exactly what she wanted, and made her feel a lot less homesick. Jeff went for a dish that was classic New Orleans, but reflected Tex-Mex influences from the restaurant's adopted city -- Chile Fried Oysters, with chile powder mixed into the perfectly crisp cornmeal crust, served in a pool of tequila chile-corn salsa. This was a perfect example of fusion cuisine, Texas and Louisiana, with just the right amount of chile powder spiking the crust on those creamy oysters. I was wishing I had ordered this, but then again I was trying to be good, and to the surprise of my sister and brother-in-law, I ordered a salad. Creole Apple Pecan Salad, in fact, in a lovely honey-balsamic dressing, with shredded apples and "crowned" with spiced pecans and crumbed bacon (lots and lots of crumbled bacon, actually, and from the taste of it most likely Nueske's applewood-smoked bacon, which Ti Martin told us was her choice for Best Bacon). It was delish, and very good for me (except for the dressing, the pecans and the bacon).

I finally remembered that I had my camera with me once it was time for the entrées to come out. Melissa ordered Hash Brown-Crusted Chicken Pontalba, a variation on the original Chicken Pontalba from the other Brennan's restaurant on Royal Street; this one was stuffed with tasso ham, mushrooms, cheese and green onions, and was drizzled with a tomato-tarragon beurre blanc:

Brennan's of Houston: Hash Brown-crusted Chicken Pontalba

I didn't get any of that. Then again, I didn't ask, so it's my own fault.

Next up, Jeff's eye-popping, mouth-watering dish ... Louisiana Crawfish Cakes & Eggs, batter-fried crawfish cakes topped with perfectly poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce, in a sauté of fresh Louisiana crawfish in a Creole brandy-butter sauce. Omigawd.

Brennan's of Houston: Louisiana Crawfish Cakes & Eggs

I did get a bite of that. Luscious ... an over-the-top breakfast/brunch dish to die for, and as crawfish are in full season now, they almost couldn't be any better (and that's lovely Louisiana crawfish, not those nasty, rubbery, fishy Chinese imports to which we crawfish lovers must say no; I'd rather do without than eat those).

Finally, me ... I was, quel surprise, drawn to the pig. Specifically, Berkshire Pork Ham Steak -- House-cured, certified 100% Berkshire ham steaks with a pearl onion, shiitake mushroom and potato hash, with a chicory coffee redeye demi-glace. Just take ham steak with redeye gravy and elevate it several orders of magnitude, and this is what you end up with -- pig heaven on a plate.

This was a massive serving ... I only had half and I was stuffed, ate the other half for lunch the next day and was stuffed then too.

Brennan's of Houston: Berkshire Pork Ham Steak

All that, some Bananas Foster prepared tableside for dessert, plus a hollerin' baby ... don't get much betta den dat. :-)

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Saturday, April 21, 2007

Welcome home, Miss Willie Mae!   I don't know how I missed this (behind on NOLA blogs and too much going on), but Willie Mae's Scotch House, at 2401 St. Ann St. in New Orleans, home of what is perhaps the best fried chicken in the known universe, reopened on April 2, with 91-year-old Willie Mae Seaton at the helm, frying chicken to her heart's content. Her restaurant and attached home were completely destroyed by the floods caused by the failure of the government's levees and floodwalls after Hurricane Katrina (along with tens of thousands of other people's homes and businesses), and hundreds of volunteers and donors led by the Southern Foodways Alliance gutted her restaurant and home to the studs, and rebuilt them.

Willie  Mae's Scotch House reopens!
Photo by Brooks Hamaker of

Read the entire thread on eGullet for Willie Mae's, which starts about two years ago with some food porn, and goes on through the reopening a couple of weeks ago. The money quote:

Also, just for the record -- that chicken? It really is all of that and a bag of doughnuts. Really. I NEVER order fried chicken in restaurants but I have always eaten Willie Mae's. But, over the last year and a half, I and many of my friend have questioned whether it was legend or whether it was fact. I'm here to tell you that it is an absolute fact that this stuff is consistently the best chicken in the land. The best. Get there while you can and while she's still making it. Plan a trip -- you won't be sorry.

Pableaux Johnson has 33 photos of opening day at Willie Mae's, and she's the lead-off, front-page story on Salon today.

See y'all there for lunch next Thursday.

Camellia Grill reopened today!   The news just keeps getting better and better. After a special party last night, in which seats at the counter were auctioned off for charity, the venerable 60-year-old diner reopened for business today, with the exact same menu, and everything the same except for updated kitchen facilities and plumbing, and new marble countertops for the customers (!). This comment from the article made my heart soar:

"This is a happy day," said 87-year-old Harry Tervalon, a head waiter until his retirement in the 1990s. He shared stories of the people he served over the years, including Yankees baseball player Bobby Brown.

[...] "They even kept the Mickey Mouse clock," Tervalon said. His wife, Elodie, gave the clock to the restaurant in the early 1980s.

Harry served me on my very first visit to the Camellia, when I was 16 years old, and along with Mr. Battiste, a.k.a. "Bat," was my very favorite waiter there. Gawd bless ya, Harry.

There's a potato, onion and cheese omelette (my usual) there with my name on it, not to mention a pecan waffle and chocolate freeze (Wes is gonna have to split that waffle with me).

"Best Appliance"?   My sister leaves the Food Network on a fair bit at her house. She finds it good background or occasional actual watching fodder while she's home taking care of Thomas. Last Sunday night in Houston we were up late -- Thomas' feeding schedule had gotten a little off, and we had to stay up until midnight for his last feeding. While he was snoozing with us on the sofa, we were talking with Food Network on, and that night featured the first annual Food Network Awards.

I was instantly reminded of Woody Allen's line in "Annie Hall," where his character Alvy Singer said, "They do nothing but give out awards. I can't believe it. Greatest Fascist Dictator - Adolf Hitler!" It was one of the more absurd spectacles I'd ever seen. Unsurprisingly, Anthony Bourdain concurs:

It is a measure of how seriously crack-brained, rapacious and evil the Deep Thinkers at Food Network must be that I find myself--yet again--in deep sympathy with their stable of stars. Last night, during the breathtakingly awful, interminable cruelty that was The Food Network Awards, I even found myself feeling bad for Rachael Ray. YES, friends. Rachael Ray. If nothing else, Rachael's BIG now. Network-talk-show-doing-well-in-ratings Big. Own magazine Big. Friend-of-Oprah Big. So, how must it have felt for her to stand up there in front of what appeared to be a halfway empty room of stunned, near comatose trout and feign enthusiasm while presenting the award for "Best Appliance"?

Do Emeril and Bobby -- who, whatever you think of their shows -- BUILT that fucking network, deserve to be pimped out with such casual disregard? Does anyone deserve to run the Gauntlet of Shame that was the "red carpet", forced to waddle past the California Raisins and Tony the Tiger and a bunch of other corporate Big Heads? The overmuscled fuckwit from DINNER SLIGHTLY DIFFICULT delivered the best line: something like "This is the greatest night ever!" If that was his greatest night ever, I suspect he would say the same thing while being publicly butt-slammed by the San Diego Chicken.

[... T]he witless, ill-considered, just-plain stupid "concept" of an Awards show where most of the "awards" went to inanimate objects (accepting the award for Best Comfort Food is...Macaroni and Cheese!!), appliances or cities (Portland's mayor wisely did not bother to show) ...

[...] You have to ask yourself: WHAT were they THINKING?? Okay... so some brain dead douche bags from Ad Sales and "creative" got together and cooked up this hybrid, fur-bearing catfish of a beast, this jackalope of a High Concept. Fine. That's what they do. But who green lit this monstrosity? Did no one raise their voice and say, "Boss... boss... Can we really DO this to our talent?" or even ask, "Uh... boss... Do you think this will be even remotely entertaining?" The answer, apparently arrived at the taping in Miami -- where the Awards were perhaps the lone under-attended event of the South Beach Food and Wine Fest. They couldn't even hold on to a LIVE audience, ordinarily mesmerized simply by proximity to Sandra and Paula. In a few shots in the finished show, you can actually see the large empty spaces -- the quick and the shrewd fleeing for the exits.

[...] Emeril always the good soldier, sweated dutifully through his obligations, wondering privately, no doubt, what he had done to deserve this.

The Food Network is actually embarrassing now.

Lobster Kadobster!   Ashley has a great post on his blog about the late, lamented T. Pittari's restaurant in New Orleans, where you could get all kinds of exotic large wild game dishes like bear, water buffalo and hippopotamus (and sometimes even lion or whale).

Their signature dish was Lobster Kadobster, which was "a live Maine lobster (Pittari's had the first live lobster tank in NOLA, and was the first restaurant to fly in live Maine lobster) stuffed with king crab, blue crab, redfish, lobster, oysters, and shrimp." Oh my.

I grew up hearing their radio ads, but unfortunately I never got to eat at T. Pittari's. Mom and Dad didn't take the kids out to "fancy" restaurants, but to family-style places, neighborhood places and fried seafood joints (especially at West End, which we loved). This was just as well, because I was a weirdly finicky kid and wouldn't have touched anything on Pittari's menu. This means that I also missed long-lost gems like LeRuth's, but it also meant that Mom and Dad didn't have to be embarrassed by me ordering fried shrimp, a hamburger or a grilled cheese sandwich in a place like LeRuth's, run by what was one of the greatest chefs in the country at the time. Fortunately, I grew up and my palate matured.

Ashley has some scans of some Pittari's menus, go check 'em out.

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  Friday, April 20, 2007

Help us find the grill.   Those of you who live in New Orleans or who visit annually for the Jazz and Heritage Festival are surely familiar with Vance Vaucresson and the famous Vaucresson sausage-making family, who make some of the best sausages the city has ever seen and tasted (Creole hot sausage and crawfish sausage are his most popular). Like so many, the Vaucressons had an extremely difficult time in the aftermath of Katrina:

Vance Vaucresson lost his home and his business in the flood and, well -- that might be news if it hadn't also happened to everybody else around here.

Irony of ironies, he had just moved back into his Gentilly house three weeks before Katrina, having been forced out of it for several months because of a fire.

After Katrina, he relocated his family to New Iberia, where his wife -- and business partner at the Vaucresson Sausage Company -- had complications from childbirth, resulting in five operations and bed rest for most of the past year.

On top of that, his office manager at the sausage company -- cut off from her livelihood, her routines and her friends -- grew depressed and isolated and killed herself and her children in Algiers last year.

How much can a man take? In this community, as we have witnessed time and again, a person can take a lot.

So Vaucresson sucked it up, took it on the chin, and then, the strangest thing: It was the common theft of an outdoor grill that nearly sent him over the edge.

But this was no ordinary grill.

It was custom-made, one thousand pounds of iron, aluminum and stainless steel, a dual grill and smoker able to handle 250 pounds of meat at a time. He used it rarely, but it was his festival season workhorse, and on the eve of the French Quarter Festival and Jazzfest, it disappeared from the empty lot where he kept it parked on a trailer -- unmolested -- on St. Bernard Avenue, in the heart of the 7th Ward, for the past 15 years.

Standing in the lot this week, across the street from the famed Aristocrat Club, Vaucresson stared blankly at the empty space where the grill had been -- hauled away on its trailer, a victim, he believes, of the burgeoning post-Katrina scrap metal trade.

"How could somebody do this?" he lamented. "Going into the festival season, that grill was going to pull me out of the hole.


Reader William Thackrey wrote me yesterday with an idea on how to help pull Vance and his family out of the hole:

The last straw for the Vaucressons was the recent theft of their custom-made grill. They'd hoped to use it to provide, as they have had since its beginning in 1970, Vaucresson's sausage po-boys to the throngs attending Jazz Fest -- a key step in the Vaucressons' plan to get themselves back on their feet after losing most everything in Katrina. But "the grill is gone," possibly to the burgeoning scrap metal industry.

The story came to the attention of some anonymous "Friends of New Orleans." These folks have put together a reward for the safe return of the grill with no questions asked. They've put up a web site to support the effort. Their way of trying to brighten one family's day in the belief that, if everyone did this kind of thing, there would be far more bright days in New Orleans.

Time is of the essence in this effort. They'd like to "buy back" the grill before it gets converted to scrap. And the effort needs publicity. We're hoping you can help with a brief mention on any and every blog you have access to, or to which this can be forwarded.

Thanks for your help!

You heard da man ... spread it around!

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  Thursday, April 19, 2007

Back from Houston.   I was back Tuesday, actually, but still needed to get my computer out of the shop and catch up on about 1,000 accumulated emails. (Did I actually catch up on them? No ... I just kinda wept a little and moved on.)

I had a great time with my sister's family, and Thomas was fantastic! I absolutely adore him, and can't wait to get back. Sadly, there shall be no more pictures of him here, as his mom doesn't want his pitchas all ova da Innanet. "Sorry, I'm a freak," she said. Nonsense baby, your wish is my command.

What I do have is food porn from Hugo's, which had probably the best (upscale) Mexican food I've had since Topolobampo in Chicago. Coming soon, tomorrow I hope.

Cocktail of the day.   From Absinthe Brasserie and Bar in San Francisco, which besides being a terrific restaurant is a cocktailian's paradise, comes this south-of-the-border spin that's inspired by New Orleans' famous Vieux Carré Cocktail, invented at the Monteleone Hotel in the 1930s.

We used El Charro Añjo, currently our favorite tequila, for this one, although I believe the drink's creator, bartender Jonny Raglin, specified Herradura. To each his or her own!.

Nouveau Carré

1-1/2 ounces añejo tequila.
3/4 ounce Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur.
1/4 ounce Lillet blanc.
5 dashes Peychaud's bitters.
Lemon twist.

Stir with ice for no less than 30 seconds, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist the lemon peel over the drink, then garnish with the peel.

That was night before last ... last night, since Wes had had an absolute crap day at work, we had comforting Old Fashioneds made with Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, coming in at an extremely comforting 132 proof. And in other cocktail news on this end, I just got a bottle each of Hermes Aromatic Bitters and Orange Bitters from Japan, made by the Suntory Whisky Company. ("For quiet times ... make it Suntory.") We'll be taste-testing this weekend.

Planxty, 1980.   Here's a clip of them playing three jigs, "East at Glendart / Brian O'Lynn / Pay the Reckoning" from the record After the Break, in live performance. I've got a jumpy old PAL videocassette of this packed away in a box somewhere, so I'm really glad to have found this clip.

This would have been right around when I was first discovering them and getting into them, when I was about 18, and I would give anything to have seen them back then. Sigh. Better late than never, though!

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  Friday, April (gasp!) 13, 2007

Gaaaaaaaaaah!   Don't break any black cats, or step on a mirror. And if you meet a guy named Jason Voorhees ... haul ass!

It's also National Trsikaidekaphobics Get The Day Off Day. Cower away!

Food post of the day.   Hey ... eat Shitto!

No, I'm not insulting you. I'm encouraging you to try Ghanaian comfort food.

According to Xeni Jardin, it's "an allegedly delicious Ghanaian sauce with a name that makes Americans laugh. When you hear someone in Ghana say it, though, the sound of the word actually does not make you think of poop.

I haven't eaten Shitto yet, but everyone in Ghana seems to love it. I'm told the best way to describe it is "sort of like a dark, red pepper salsa but with fermented fish and other stuff."

If the fermented fish part freaks you out, consider the fact that one of the flavors Americans enjoy in Thai cooking is imparted by a liquid extract of fermented fish.

Hell, it sounds good ... I'd try it. Anyone know where you can get Shitto in L.A.? (Read further into Xeni's post for more links on Ghanaian cuisine.)

Our prejudices, ourselves.   All this hoohah about Don Imus (someone whose existence barely registered with me before) really makes me laugh. If you do a little bit of digging, you'll see that Imus has been doing this shit for years. Why has it been okay all that time but not now?

For that matter, asks Media Matters, why is the "extensively documented bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity [allowed to] continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson.

Then there's today's take on it all by Harvey Fierstein in today's New York Times:

America is watching Don Imus' self-immolation in a state of shock and awe. And I'm watching America with wry amusement.

Since I'm a second-class citizen -- a gay man -- my seats for the ballgame of American discourse are way back in the bleachers. I don't have to wait long for a shock jock or stand-up comedian to slip up with hateful epithets aimed at me and mine. Hate speak against homosexuals is as commonplace as spam. It's daily traffic for those who profess themselves to be regular Joes, men of God, public servants who live off my tax dollars, as well as any number of celebrities.

In fact, I get a good chuckle whenever someone refers to the media as an agent of the gay agenda. There are entire channels, like Spike TV, that couldn't fill an hour of programming if required to remove their sexist and homophobic content. We've got a president and a large part of Congress willing to change the Constitution so they can deprive of us our rights because they feel we are not normal.

So I'm used to catching foul balls up here in the cheap seats. What I am really enjoying is watching the rest of you act as if you had no idea that prejudice was alive and well in your hearts and minds.


It's alive in the hearts and minds of America, and the radio networks that syndicate and broadcast Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage not only don't care, they make money off it. It's all about money, serving Mammon, isn't it? As Kurt Vonnegut said, "Who says you can't serve both God and Mammom? Pat Robertson does, and he's as happy as a pig in shit."

It was right of CBS to fire Imus. Nowhere does it say he's entitled to work on the airwaves; he can go make an honest living doing something else, preferably in a position where he's discouraged from speaking. I'll believe the media are serious about this when they get rid of the rest of the mass media hate speakers. They can stand on crate in City Park, or get a blog like most of the rest of the wingnuts have these days, and exercise their freedom of speech to their heart's content. I do believe in freedom of speech, but I don't believe in a sense of entitlement for people to make millions of dollars on television or radio spewing speech that hurts people.

The White House "lost" emails?   Lost, huh? FIVE MILLION of them. And used a address owned by the Republican National Committee to evade the law, the law that says you can't delete or destroy any official government document or communication, which specifically includes emails.

What high crimes and misdemeanors are they covering up, do yo suppose?

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it goes.   Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 1922 - 2007.

He's always been one of my very favorite writers since I was probably about 14, and I was honored to have been born on his birthday.

The Last Rites of the Bokononist
(Each line is said once by the person giving the rites and then repeated by the dying person.)

God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, "Sit up!"
"See all I've made," said God, "the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars."
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn't have.
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn't even get to sit up and look around.
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!
Good night.
I will go to heaven now.
I can hardly wait...
To find out for certain what my wampeter was...
And who was in my karass...
And all the good things our karass did for you.

Busy, busy, busy ...

Quotes of the day.   Kurt Vonnegut, from a 2005 PBS interview with David Brancaccio:

You know, Christianity is very big now in particular-- and our president, of course, is a Christian. These are words I never hear:

Blessed are the poor in spirit. For theirs is kingdom of heaven. This isn't original.

Blessed are they that mourn. For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers. For they shall be called the children of God.

Not exactly a Republican platform.

No, not really.

From Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions:

Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making Champagne.

Thanks to Kurt, and to the yeast.

Returning to Mandina's.   It's been open in its original Canal Blvd. location for a few months now, and we're scheduled to eat there the second night of our trip back home for Jazzfest. I can't wait! I had dinner at the new one on the Northshore over Christmas, and the food was great -- perfect, exactly the same -- but it wasn't the same, because it was in a strip mall in Mandeville and not at 3800 Canal Blvd. in Mid-City.

My old pal Ed Branley (anyone remember the New Orleans Mailing List from the early-mid '90s?) went back to Mandina's a few weeks ago and wrote it up on DailyKos.

Me? I dunno whether I'll want seafood, a poor boy, some pannéed veal or something Italian ... I guess I'll have to wait and see what strikes me. What I know I want is an Old Fashioned and some onion rings.

N = C + {fb(cm) · fb(tc)} + fb(Ts) + fc · ta.   What's that? It's the scientific formula for the perfect bacon sandwich, courtesy of researchers at Leeds University. (I so want that on a t-shirt.)

This fascinating study has concluded the rather obvious, that the best bacon sandwiches were made with "crisply grilled, not-too-fat bacon between thick slices of white bread." I, being somewhat of a bacon connoisseur and, dare I say it, expert, would have to qualify that. What the English and Irish would call "streaky bacon" is the only choice (I do like Irish bacon a lot, and an Irish bacon sandwich has its joys, but the perfect bacon sandwich has to be made with the type of bacon more familiar in America). The best bacon for the task would be Nueske's Applewood-Smoked Bacon (the best readily available bacon there is; I'd save the artisinal bacons from folks like The Bacon of the Month Club for eating on their own, not in a sandwich ... not unlike sipping a 25-year-old Macallan Scotch whisky neat, and not in a Rusty Nail). But hey, if you can't find it, good ol' Oscar Meyer will do just fine. Thick-cut or center-cut, please. The white bread should be sourdough, and it should be lightly toasted. The tomatoes should be heirloom or Creole. The lettuce should be crisp but not flavorless; Romaine, perhaps, or maybe tender butter lettuce would be okay. The only condiment allowed is mayonnaise (perhaps Miracle Whip for Southerners).


Sopranos hit the high note.   Well, the new season of the best show on TV (well, at least now that "Battlestar Galactica" is on hiatus, heheh), perhaps the best show ever on TV, has hit the ground running. I can hardly wait for episode 2!

Rolling Stone put together a page featuring the music of "The Sopranos" featuring an interview with David Chase, the show's creator, plus scenes from nine episodes, with Chase's commentary about the music chosen for those scenes.

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  Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Get me 50 grams of Valrhona, stat!!   From the Good News of the Day Department:

Cocoa calms blood pressure, study says.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some may see a cup of tea as soothing but chocolate is more likely to lower one's blood pressure, German researchers reported on Monday.

Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association.

The drop in blood pressure among participants who consumed cocoa products for at least two weeks was in the same range as achieved by someone taking drugs commonly prescribed to control high blood pressure.

The fall in blood pressure credited to cocoa could be expected to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks by 10-20 percent, the report said.

And I've got a drawerful of it right here at my desk. Who knew it'd be so good for me?! (Hey Doc, can I dump the Norvasc and go on an increased dose of Valrhona Le Noir Amer 71% Cacao?

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Monday, April 9, 2007

Cocktail of the day.   'Cause we're gonna need a drink -- it's truly been Wingnut City for the past few days (well, the past six years, when you get right down to it).

I had a delightful chat with Paul Clarke of The Cocktail Chronicles" -- if you haven't found that weblog already, you need to. He told me about a drink he's been enjoying at one of his local watering holes, prepared by master mixologist Jamie Boudreau. It sounded great, and when we tried it as soon as I got home that night, we found out that it was indeed a great one.

Of course, since our conversation was about esoteric cocktail ingredients, you might have a bit of trouble finding one of them ... the elusive crème de violette. I had been lucky enough to have my folks and a friend each bring me some back from France, and I had a mail-order source for a while -- Sally Clarkes Restaurant in London. Paul said he thought they weren't selling or shipping it anymore, but their website still shows it listed. An email for confirmation would be the thing to do.

The cocktailian world has also been abuzz about the introduction of a violet liqueur from Japan, Hermes Violet. Hard to find as well, but other Hermes liqueurs, plus aromatic and orange bitters, are available at; Violet isn't listed but they're supposed to have it soon ... email them!

If worst comes to shove, you can can mix Monin Violet Syrup (which is available in the U.S.) half and half with 100-proof vodka, which works kinda sorta okay.

There's an amazing interplay between the violette and the Herbsaint in this drink; they kind of wrestle with each other for a second before embracing each other and leaping out as something entirely other. You have to be very careful in mixing, though. Herbsaint (or any pastis) is very easy to overdo, and can take over a drink. (The same goes for violette, actually, although pastis' tendency to overwhelm is greater.) Measure only a scant portion of Herbsaint.

The Attention Cocktail

2 ounces Plymouth gin.
1/4 ounce dry vermouth.
1/4 ounce crème de violette.
1/4 ounce Herbsaint (or Pernod or other pastis).
2 dashes Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6.

Combine with ice and stir for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy.

We garnished with a curly lemon twist as well.

Thanks for this one, Paul! (And Jamie!)

The president of the United States is a lying sack of shit.   Which is, in so many words, what Frank Rich said in the New York Times today.

As if to confirm we're in the last throes, President Bush threw any remaining caution to the winds during his news conference in the Rose Garden that same morning. Almost everything he said was patently misleading or an outright lie, a sure sign of a leader so entombed in his bunker (he couldn't even emerge for the Washington Nationals' ceremonial first pitch last week) that he feels he has nothing left to lose.

Incredibly, he chided his adversaries on the Hill for going on vacation just as he was heading off for his own vacation in Crawford. Then he attacked Congress for taking 57 days to pass emergency funds for our troops even though the previous, Republican-led Congress took 119 days on the same bill in 2006. He ridiculed the House bill for pork and other spending that has nothing to do with the war, though last year's war-spending bill was also larded with unrelated pork, from Congressional efforts to add agricultural subsidies to the president's own request for money for bird-flu preparation.

Mr. Bush's claim that military equipment would be shortchanged if he couldnt' sign a spending bill by mid-April was contradicted by not one but two government agencies. A Government Accountability Office report faulted poor Pentagon planning for endemic existing equipment shortages in the National Guard. The Congressional Research Service found that the Pentagon could pay for the war until well into July. Since by that point well already be on the threshold of our own commander's late-summer deadline for judging the surge, whats the crisis?

The president then ratcheted up his habitual exploitation of the suffering of the troops and their families -- a button he had pushed five days earlier when making his six-weeks-tardy visit to pose for photos at scandal-ridden Walter Reed. "Congress's failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines," he said. "And others could see their loved ones headed back to the war sooner than they need to."

Amazingly enough, that last sentence there is true: Salon has uncovered further evidence that the military sent soldiers with acute post-traumatic stress disorder, severe back injuries and other serious war wounds back to Iraq.

This is also the Rose Garden address during which that incredibly creepy shot if Cheney standing way off to the side by himself, glowering and mentally operating President Mortimer Snerd, while undoubtedly thinking of drinking the blood of children:

UPDATE: So say we all.

Lies lies lies, yeah ...   John McCain wants to be the next Chief Liar (also known as the president of the United States). He's been practicing a lot lately, especially with his mindbogglingly absurd claims that Iraq is so peachy keen now that you can walk around safely in Baghdad neighborhoods (but apparently only if you're wearing body armor and accompanied by three Blackhawk helicopters, two Apache gunships and 100 soldiers ... then the place where you held your bullshit press conference gets shelled by mortar fire less than a half an hour after the supposdly neutralized insurgents found out where it was being held). Now he said that he "misspoke," which is the Republicans' favorite euphemism for "lied."

You can watch him actually saying it via ThinkProgress.

McCain: "Of course I'm going to misspeak, and I've done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do in the future. I regret that when I divert attention to something that I've said from my message but you know that's just life, and I'm happy frankly with the way I operate, otherwise it would be a lot less fun."

Yes kids, it's fun to lie about Iraq! Just ask George.

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  Friday, April 6, 2007

Queen Bee.   Richmond, Virginia's alternative weekly covers transplanted New Orleanian singer Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris, who's been living there (and earlier in North Carolina) since the failure of the levees flooded her house. It's good hear about her playing some gigs, although I sure wish she'd come back home a little more often. (For that matter, I wish I'd come back home a little more often too.)

The really good news is that Leigh will be performing in a reunion gig of Lil' Queenie and the Percolators at Southport Hall in Jefferson, LA (just across the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line) on Sunday, April 29 at 10pm. Woot! Her Jazzfest gig is earlier the same day, although at the much smaller Lagniappe stage rather than the bigger Jazz Tent where she's appeared for the last few years. She'll be on right after Bobby Lounge, though, so that'll be a cool double-bill.

Cocktail of the day, really, actually.   Cocktail of a few days ago, in fact. We had a drink that was new to us, and instead of giving me the recipe Wesly told me to go look it up for myself, but he gave me the wrong drink name. "This doesn't sound right," I thought, but I was in a hurry and wrote it up anyway. Scroll down below to the most recent Cocktail of the Day for what we really had. :-)

Good news for New Orleans health care.   Nettie got this forwarded to her by some friends at the CDC:

Federal Grant will Pay Doctors Bonuses and Incentives to Come to New Orleans Area; Other Health Providers Eligible

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals was notified today it is receiving a $15 million grant to provide incentives to try and lure primary care physicians and other health care professionals back to the New Orleans area.

Provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Greater New Orleans - Health Service Corps grant will provide up to $110,000 in incentive payments to primary care doctors and other health care professionals who relocate to New Orleans or the surrounding areas.

"Rebuilding the health care workforce in the New Orleans region is critical to rebuilding an effective health care system," said DHH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise. "This program provides a wonderful opportunity for health professionals to come back to New Orleans and contribute to the rebuilding of the area's health care infrastructure."

Under the DHH grant, if physicians and other health professionals commit to providing three years of full-time professional health care services in the Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines or St. Bernard parishes, they will be eligible for loan repayments, sign-on bonuses, malpractice premium payments, relocation expenses, health information technology continuing education expenses and income guarantees.

Family practice, general practice, obstetrics/gynecology, internal medicine, pediatrics and general psychiatry physicians will be eligible for payments from the grant program. In addition to medical doctors, the program will assist dentists, family practice physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, registered clinical dental hygienists, licensed clinical or counseling psychologists, psychiatric nurse specialists, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers and licensed pharmacists.

I hope this helps. The health care situation in New Orleans is still dire. My dad said that in the building where he works, the main physicians' practice had 23 of their 25 doctors leave the state permanently within a month of Katrina. My sister said that close to 80% of the doctors at West Jeff Hospital had houses in Lakeview.

By the way, if anyone in New Orleans needs a dentist, let me know. I'll put you in touch.

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Finally!   Well, it took two months, but Thomas finally smiled when his mom and dad had the camera ready. Make 'em wait, build the anticipation ...

Thomas smiles!

"Oh, all right, I'll let you have one ..."

Début of The Cocktail Spirit, with Robert Hess.   Our colleague and fellow traveller Robert "DrinkBoy" Hess has been working with a local media company in Seattle that was looking to set up a web-based series of shows, beginning with food and cuisine. They wanted their first offering to be about cocktails, approached Robert, filmed a pilot episode, seemed satisfied with it, then came back and taped about 30 episodes in one epic weekend chez Robert.

The first of the fruits of their labor his the web this past weekend, with Robert demonstrating and explaining the history of the Champagne Cocktail -- Champagne, a sugar cube and Angostura bitters -- which dates back 200 years.

This is a fantastic little show, which you can watch online, download or podcast, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it on a weekly basis. Great job, Robert!

Cocktail of the day.   Courtesy of the random recipe function on

The Communiqué

1 ounce gin.
1 ounce orange Curaçao.
1 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

Combine with ice in a cocktail shaker, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

This cocktail would also benefit from a dash of Angostura bitters, or maybe even a dash of homemade grapefruit bitters as well. We rather liked it.

No, the above drink isn't what we had at all, because somebody (*cough*Wesly*cough*) gave me the wrong drink name and told me to go look it up. I knew there were bitters in there, and thought he had just added them himself. Promoted from the comments, here's what we really had:

The Fibber McGee

1-1/2 ounces gin.
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.

Shake well with ice, strain, serve, enjoy.


/ Pharmacists.   Ted Leo's got a new album out (avec Pharmacists, of course). You can buy it from your local independent CD store (if there's one still one in existence near you), or if you're a member of eMusic you can download it from there

And for all you freebieheads, NPR has done a wonderful thing. Not only did they stream a full-length Ted Leo concert from D.C., they also archived it on their website for you to download. Cool!

Lies lies lies yeah (part 5,367,201).   I know, what else is now? Bush lied again today. At this morning's press conference ... I'm not sure why anybody bothers attending them anymore. They're full of either lies, propaganda or the endless repetitions of his delusional worldview.

Specifically, he claimed yet again that "the surge," i.e. his escalation of his disastrous war, was not his idea but in fact the idea of his commanders in the field, and he's just following their advice.

As Aravosis points out in the above link, "in fact, all of the Joint Chiefs, the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, ALL opposed the surge."

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate. (Washington Post)

"And our commanders in the field opposed the surge, so Bush fired them and replaced them with someone who would rubber stamp his surge plan."

In devising his new strategy, Bush again turned to the neoconservatives. The so-called surge strategy is the brainchild of Frederick Kagan, a military historian at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute who has never been to Iraq. And once again, President Bush dismissed the views of his military advisers. General George Casey and General John Abizaid, the commanders in the field, doubted that additional troops would make any difference in Iraq. They were replaced by surge advocates, including Lieutenant General David Petraeus, now the top commander in Iraq. (New York Review of Books)

Lies and delusions, delusions and lies ... and more and more American soldiers die every day because of it.

March Looka! entries have been permanently archived.

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Several of my friends and loved ones (and a few kind strangers) contribute regularly to this weblog, providing links, comments and sometimes lots more. Thanks to Wesly Moore, Mike Luquet, Mary Herczog, Steve Hochman, Dave Schmerler, Nettie DeAugustine, Diana Schwam, Andy Senasac, Michael Yasui, Steve Gardner, Michael Pemberton, Steve Kelley, Barry Kelley, Eric Labow, Tom Krueger, Greg Beron, Sean Burke, Shari Minton and Barry Enderwick.
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