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Twelve Mile Limit

There are those who would say that I’m dashing off this quick and dirty post quite literally at the 11th hour before the turn of the month from November to December, so that I will not be publicly castigated by my frien Cari Hah (who keeps me honest) for failing to live up to my pinky swear to post at least once per month.Those people would not be wrong. In fact, those people might point out that I am a great big cheating bastard for posting this on December 1, in the time zone in which I currently exist in New Orleans, squeaking it through the gate while it’s still November 30 in Los Angeles. Those people would not be wrong either. Ah well, one does what one must.

I will take this opportunity, though, in the 42 minutes in which I still have the post this before I truly have violated my pinky swear, to tell you about one of my new favorite bars back home in New Orleans — Twelve Mile Limit, on Telemachus and Baudin in Mid-City. This is been a major oversight in my appreciation of good drinking in New Orleans, as the bar has been open for four years and this is the first time I’ve been there. Spending six hours there last Saturday helps make up for lost time though, and I was having such a good time those six hours went by in a flash.

Just arriving to tend bar when I got there was owner T. Cole Newton, a most excellent bartender and host, who had previously bartended around the city at places like Commander’s Palace and Coquette. He’s managed to open a bar that is pretty much my ideal bar – it’s an unpresuming, unpretentious neighborhood joint, located right in the middle of a residential neighborhood, friendly, funky and comfortable, full of neighborhood people and regulars, with a fantastic jukebox, good food, fantastic collection of spirits behind the bar and a really interesting drink list. It’s also the kind of bar or you can just have a shot and a beer and play pool, if that’s what you feel like doing. If I were ever ambitious and completely insane enough to open a bar, this might just be the kind of bar I’d want to own.

It’s the kind of bar where you can go there by yourself and you’ll still have a great time for hours, because the people around you are so welcome and and friendly and interesting and fun. It’s the kind of bar that has regular events, such as (from what I’ve read) trivia nights centered around comic books and science fiction. If I lived in the neighborhood I would probably be attempting to organize Firefly board game nights. If I lived in the neighborhood my ass would be on a barstool there more than a few nights a week.

And on top of all of that, the drinks were terrific. In fact, Cole made me some of the weirdest fucking drinks I’ve had in a long time… and they were all really good. Jamaican rum, Fernet Branca, Catdaddy spiced moonshine and a bit of vermouth. That’s the first time I’ve had that particular flavor combination, and I really enjoyed it. White Louisiana rum, lime, orgeat … and Branca Menta. (I had a gigantic hot sausage po-boy earlier that day, so I needed Fernet-laden drinks.) I very nearly interjected on that one – “You know, I’m really not much of a Branca Menta fan,” I almost said (and which Wesly may well have said, because he really hates that stuff). But I didn’t. He’s been taking great care of you all night, you idiot – trust your bartender! Good thing I did, because it was a really enjoyable and interesting drink. I don’t know what the hell it was called, but I’m sure I could get him to make it for me again.

While there I heard a story that I loved. I had been chatting a couple of regulars and was enjoying talking to them; at one point one of them called out and said, “Hey Cole, tell Chuck how you happened to buy this bar.” He laughed and said, “It’s kind of a one-liner. I opened Google and typed, ‘available bars for sale.’” It had been kind of a scary place in its previous incarnation, but Cole was able to afford it and now four years later he’s got a bar that I wish I could come back to again and again. And I will, every single time I’m back home.

As the clock is ticking, I’ll cut it short for the time being and share one of my drinks from that evening. Cole was kind enough to share the recipe with me and I hope he doesn’t mind my sharing it with y’all. (I forgot to ask, d’oh.) A beautifully balanced combination of blanco tequila, a light, citrusy bitter, lime and a dash of spice – this one is going right on our home menu.

Thorn

Thorn
by T. Cole Newton
Twelve Mile Limit, New Orleans

1-1/2 ounce blanco tequila
1/2 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce orgeat
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 dash Bittermens Habanero Shrub

Combine ingredients with ice, shake, serve up with a lime wheel garnish.

 Hey, y’know, this bar is only a 25-minute walk from the Fat Pack house where we stay sometimes …

(And posted with three minutes to spare!)

The Jambalaya Calculator

What’s that? A post, you say? The first one in over a year? *clutches chest* <voice=”Fred Sanford”>I’m comin’, Elizabeth!</voice> An actual old-school weblog post — links with commentary! Well, I’ll be dipped in hot sauce.

Yeah, rumors of my death or abduction by aliens has been greatly exaggerated. Wesly and I would both like to get some more posting done on here, despite the fact that weblogging is more or less dead. We’ll see. Anyway.

What could possibly inspire me to make a post after over a year? THIS! A guy from New Orleans has created a Jambalaya Calculator.

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The Jambalaya Calculator is a labor of love devoted to a Louisiana specialty. It’s the equivalent of a detailed cookbook, but an interactive one, in several ways. For starters, it’s crowd sourced from expert cooks.

Instead of a hardback book or an e-cookbook, the calculator is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, one that could only have come from Louisiana — the land of big-batch outdoor cooking of all kinds. Want to make jambalaya for 150 of your nearest and dearest? Change the numbers in the pink cells. You will need 60 pounds of meat and 24 pounds of long-grain rice.

The Jambalaya Calculator lets the user sort the recipe according to several criteria: The size of the pot, by number of quarts or gallons to prepare, by serving amounts in various sizes.

It’s for the brown style of jambalaya favored across most of southern Louisiana, not the red Creole style of New Orleans. (Sigh.) It’s OK though, I do like me some brown jambalaya too.

This could come in very, very handy.

 

Happy Mardi Gras!

If you’re not in New Orleans, you are (like me, unfortunately) in the wrong place. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Me Big Chief, me feelin' good ...

Back to the Indians in a bit … in the meantime, if you don’t know them already, you need to learn the four primary Mardi Gras songs:


Professor Longhair, “Go to the Mardi Gras” (audio only)


The Hawketts, “Mardi Gras Mambo” (audio only)


Al Johnson, “Carnival Time” (audio only)


Earl King, Dr. John, Professor Longhair and The Meters (!!!) — FULL VIDEO!

Now, time for some Mardi Gras Indians:


The Wild Magnolias, “All On A Mardi Gras Day” (audio only, with slideshow)


The Wild Tchoupitoulas, “My Big Chief Got A Golden Crown” (audio only, with slideshow)


Big Chief Albert Lambreaux, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and other Indians, singing “Indian Red” in memory of a fellow Indian taken by the Federal Flood after Hurricane Katrina, interrupted by Larry Ragusa (from HBO’s “Treme”)

A little brass band music on the streets …


Rebirth Brass Band, “Do Whatcha Wanna” (filmed in the French Quarter on April 24, 2008, the day before Jazzfest began)

Finally, my favorite band out of New Orleans these days:


Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, “One Night Only” (performance from the David Letterman Show)

HAPPY MARDI GRAS, Y’ALL!!

 

Ragusa Brothers King Cakes 2012, Nos. 4-6

Things are getting heated in the Ragusa family …

Uh oh … will we see Vincent before Mardi Gras Day?

Oh, and Happy Lundi Gras! Me, I’m havin’ red beans ‘n rice for dinner, and king cake for dessert. With all due apologies to Larry Ragusa, it will not come with a thin layer of salami and olive salad, but it will be filled with Nutella. (Thank you, La Dolce Nola!)

 

Ragusa Brothers King Cakes 2012, No. 2

After that little teaser, we finally get going into Carnival season with some King Cakes! Get ready for Larry Ragusa’s latest King Cake special … that is, if Marie lets it out of the door.

Uh oh, Marie doesn’t look happy. I suspect we’ll be seeing Vincent soon. And then there’s Angelina … as my friend Peter described her, “the modern day Mona Lisa, with that enigmatic smile.”

 

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