No Joke: It’s the Best Garlic Dip/Sauce Ever

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Garlic lovers rejoice!

I have something special to share with you today.

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We have a little Mediterranean restaurant south of the river called the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe. It was here that we fell in love with the garlic dip that they serve with some of their dishes.

We’ve started to take garlic-loving friends there and Rob would order  “That Garlic Dip with Toast Points.” What he meant was toasted pita. It’s not on their menu. Everyone has fallen in love with the dip, too. Such that, we finally decided to ask how it’s made.

“Just garlic, olive oil and a little bit of lemon juice.”

What?! That’s it?

It sounded too good to be true.

Last week, I decided to attempt to recreate it. So I googled “Mediterranean Garlic Dip” and found hundreds of recipes under the more common name “Lebanese Garlic Sauce” or “Toum”.

There were many discussions on the best way to make it.

  • Many people complained that they had trouble getting the right consistency!
  • Some used just lemon juice while others added egg whites.
  • Some people made it in a food processor, while others used a blender or an immersion blender.
  • The main consensus was to use a neutral oil (most commonly canola oil) because olive oil has too much of an overpowering flavor.
  • It is a long process.

I finally settled on this recipe for Lebanese Garlic Sauce because it looked similar to many other recipes and because I could make it in a food processor. This recipe doesn’t incorporate any egg, which means it will last longer in the fridge – up to a month! That’s important when it makes such a big batch.

And guess what?

This amateur home cook was able to nail it on her first try! I didn’t even think of taking a photo until I began filling up my jars.

The flavor came out a little sharp, which I’ve read can happen depending on the garlic; but that it also mellows out after a bit of refrigeration.

Now just look at the fluffy texture! It truly is a patient process. Alternating slow streams of oil and lemon juice to the puréed garlic is key. To me, it looks more like a dip or spread than a sauce.

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Lebanese Garlic Sauce

 The recipe made this much!

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How would one use this dip, you ask? 

Well, it is most often served with grilled meats. I served a little {a little goes a loooooonnnng way!} with these Pork Kabob Munchies {recipe to come next week}.

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Pork Kabob Munchies with Garlic Dip & Hummus

We also put it on our burgers! I served Rob’s on the side, so he could control the amount or use it as a dip if he preferred. I slathered mine on!

Sunday, I made some Mexican Power Bowls for a few lunches for the week. But I didn’t have any Ranch dressing to make my fave Salsa-Ranch Dressing a la Biz. So I used that same sort of technique with this garlic sauce. Five parts salsa to one part garlic dip makes an excellent dressing!

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Monday, I stirred about a tablespoon of the garlic dip into Joe’s Special, while cooking. In fact, you could probably stir it into any ground meat dish!

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I’ve read of a few other uses, but have yet to try these:

  • Stir into sauteed or steamed veggies..
  • Add a little red wine or balsamic vinegar, fresh mint, salt and pepper. Then toss it in a salad!
  • Stir into a bowl of soup.
  • Add to sandwiches, pitas and wraps.
  • Stir into a stir fry.
  • Use as a dip for grilled meats, potatoes or vegetables.
  • Add to pastas or rice.
  • Slather on French Bread, sprinkle with cheese and bake to make a fantastic garlic bread!
  • Take the boring out of a pot pie by kicking it up a notch and stirring it into the sauce before baking.
  • Spread onto a homemade pizza crust before adding toppings.

No matter how you serve it, it’ll definitely add flavor to any dish!

Still, there’s one thing I want to try that I can’t quite understand how: using as a marinadeIt seems to thick of a sauce to be used as a marinade. I found a website that sells a version of this sauce and this is what they say:

Marinate chicken with some Garlic Sauce the night before barbecuing.  Baste the chicken with it along with all other foods on the grill while cooking.  Pour a little on your plate and dip or drizzle some on everything after serving.

Maybe their sauce is runnier? I can’t imagine using it as a marinade for fear that I’d put too much on the meat. It is really potent! So, then, after marinating, do you wipe most of it off before cooking? I also can’t imagine “drizzling” such a think sauce.

Has anyone used Lebanese Garlic Sauce as a marinade or do you have any suggestions on how to do so?

How would you use this Lebanese Garlic Dip?

!

P.S. I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but this isn’t a joke! :)

Cheers~
Carrie

The Most Highly Anticipated Restaurant in Minneapolis

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As long as I’ve lived here {OMG, has it been 13 years!?}, I’ve never heard so much hype about an upcoming restaurant as I have Spoon & Stable. Naturally, with my love of dining out, I was anxious to try it. My expectations were high!

However, the wait list for reservations was about three months! What is this, New York City? Minneapolis does have an excellent restaurant scene, especially for being the Minne-Apple; but this is generally unheard of in our Twin Cities.

So you can imagine my excitement when my friend Kim picked Spoon & Stable as her choice of restaurant for our monthly Girls Dinner Night Out in January.

We had no reservations, but we had heard that if you arrive at opening, you can get a seat in the bar area. And you know that’s what I prefer!

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We arrived right before opening and there was already a small line. They opened the door to let us in out of the cold. A minute or two later, a few people came in and tried to walk right past us, rather than standing in line. They were trying to get to the bar, thinking we were waiting to be seated for our reservations. I stopped them in their tracks! HA!

It felt like there were 1700 people at the door waiting to greet us. When that happened to Rob and me at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, it felt like we had stepped back in time. It was all part of an experience. Here, it felt overdone. Perhaps it was just because new restaurants tend to be overstaffed at first. Spoon & Stable had only been open a couple of months. Not having worked in the restaurant industry, I’m not sure what the average time frame is to iron out the wrinkles.

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As you know, I’m not expert restaurant reviewer, I just give my impressions. To be quite honest, my posts on restaurants are often just to assist my memory on what we liked or didn’t like… or remind us what we thought looked good so we can order upon return.

Spoon & Stable incorporates a menu that changes with the seasons, which is concept of which I’ve always been fond.

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The night we visited Spoon & Stable was amidst my 10-day Not-a-Detox. This is when I was abstaining from alcohol, cheese, sugar and refined carbs. Normally, I will let things slide for an experience like this. I am a true believer that anything has its place in a healthy diet, as long as it is in moderation. The trouble was, at this point, I wasn’t practicing such moderation. So my 10-day Not-a-Detox was meant to prove to myself that I could live without these trigger foods of mine for 10 days.

While there are no guarantees that what I’d be eating would be without these ingredients, I was going to try my best to work with this menu. This also meant that I was not partaking in any adult beverages. I did scan the wine list, which was quite pleasing. I believe Jen and Kim split a bottle of Pinot Gris from Oregon.

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

When the warm bread arrived to our table, I was not going to partake. Then Jen reminded me that it was whole wheat! I ripped off a small piece and indulged.

We assumed that this would be the type of meal where we would want more than an entree. I considered the side order of broccolini, as a healthy choice. {I know, right?!!!} But decided it probably wouldn’t be worth it for $8.

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Instead, we all got starters of some sort. Jen went with a salad.

Belgian Endive Salad pears, stilton cheese, pecans, sherry vinaigrette 9

Belgian Endive Saladpears, stilton cheese, pecans, sherry vinaigrette $9

Kim and I both went with choices from the “Chilled” section of the menu.

Dill Cured Salmon* roasted beets, horseradish, pumpernickel 14

Dill Cured Salmon - roasted beets, horseradish, pumpernickel $14

That Dill Cured Salmon dish was so beautifully plated. However, it wasn’t what Kim was expecting. I remember her saying that there was something bizarre about the dish. With our menus gone, it would have helped for the servers to describe the ingredients in the dish when they were delivered to the table. There are always additional, often intriguing, ingredients that aren’t listed on the menu at innovative restaurants like this.

My dish was also a plate of beauty!

Day Boat Scallop Carpaccio* green apple, shiso, chilies, scallion vinaigrette 16

Day Boat Scallop Carpaccio – green apple, shiso, chilies, scallion vinaigrette $16

I am a lover of scallops and can honestly say that I’ve never had them prepared this way before! I was very excited about it; but when I dug in, it took several bites before I got any flavor. “Where are the chilies?” I thought. Well, a few minutes in, I tasted them, but that lasted about two bites. That was kind of a bummer.

As a side note, I love this beautifully written review of Spoon & Stable by Paige from Alcohol by Volume. Although she compares her bar experience to Sitting in Coach, I didn’t exactly feel that way. But maybe I was caught up in my conversation with my girlies. The service was fine; however, I do agree that a bit more dish description would have been nice. I remember us commenting about that while eating. I would say that Tongue in Cheek does a much better job on this front.

Then onto our main entrees. Jen’s was another beautiful plate.

Slow Cooked Atlantic Cod* black garlic, za'atar spice, couscous 25

Slow Cooked Atlantic Cod - black garlic, za’atar spice, couscous $25

Kim and I ordered the same dish:

Grilled Heritage Pork* savoy cabbage, pork crackling, papaya salad, thai chilies 28

Grilled Heritage Pork - savoy cabbage, pork crackling, papaya salad, thai chilies – $28

I have one thing to say about this dish – BORING. It was devoid of all flavor. I wouldn’t order this again. What’s funny is that after we started eating, a server brought this out:

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She said, “You can choose to do what you wish with that! Eat it or not!”

What a strange thing to say. If I remember correctly, she said something about it being the piece off the bone. Huh?! This was the most flavorful meat of the whole dish! If I had a plate of that pork, I’d be recounting my meal differently. Maybe I don’t know what part of the pig it is. Of course, the crackling tasted like pork rinds.

When it was time for dessert, I ordered coffee.  Because of that, I don’t remember what these desserts are that the girls ordered.

I believe Jen really enjoyed hers and Kim wasn’t that impressed. Beautiful, but not memorable. To be honest, none of us were very impressed with our food at Spoon & Stable. So what’s all the hype? We dropped a bunch of dough for some food that hadn’t much flavor.

One of my favorite reviews of Spoon & Stable is by Mpls St. Paul Magazine food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl. She tries very hard to remain honest and neutral in this review.

One particular quote that stuck with me because it mirrored my own thoughts, “But there were more dull dishes than magical ones.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for us.

I also love how she says everyone has a different context by which to judge Spoon & Stable. It’s true. I’m not sure what I expected, but I assumed there’d be flavor. That was my context.

A few weeks later, Rob and I used a deal voucher for another restaurant in downtown Minneapolis:

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The voucher included a three-course meal for two at Workshop. Every dish blew me away. It was one of the best meals I had had in a really long time. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos that night. So I can’t give you a true Restaurant Impression. {Their menu changes, too!}

Interestingly, Spoon and Stable has been nominated for a James Beard Award for best new restaurant. That can’t come without merit. But in my world, both the food at Tongue & Cheek and Workshop rank higher than Spoon & Stable. Still, is it fair of me to judge on one visit?

That all being said, I’d go back. I hear that there is a great cocktail program. I’d bring my husband at opening, we’d sit at the bar and maybe order an app or two. That’s what I’d do.

What’s been the most highly anticipated or hyped restaurant where you live?

What were your thoughts?

Cheers~
Carrie

Panera Power Chicken Hummus Bowl

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I’ve been feeling great getting back into a routine of healthy eating and working out after all of the feasting and imbibing we did in New Orleans last month. Generally speaking, I have a rule about bringing my lunch to work and not eating out. We eat out enough on the weekends!

But a couple of weeks ago, on the way to a meeting, I went through a Panera drive-thru to get a coffee. On the menu I read: Power Chicken Hummus Bowl.

That item intrigued me and I thought I might be back for lunch!

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I had a hard time finding it on Panera’s website when I was in search of nutrition facts. The reason? No, it’s not because it used to be one of their Hidden Menu items. I couldn’t find it because it is listed under Salads. I like the fact that it’s called a Power Bowl. To me, it sounds more exciting than a salad. But I guess you can call it one.

After reading the nutrition facts and ingredients online, there was no way I was not stopping for lunch on my way back to the office!

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From Panera.com: Power Chicken Hummus Bowl - Chicken raised without antibiotics, cilantro jalapeño hummus, baby spinach, cucumbers, diced tomatoes and red onions, finished with freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly chopped cilantro.

Nutrition Facts {Source: Panera.com}:

  • 270 Calories
  • 10g Total Fat
  • 500 mg Sodium
  • 18g Total Carb
  • 4g Fiber
  • 27g Protein

That is for the whole salad! {You can order a half-sized version, too.} The sprouted grain roll you see on the side of my salad is extra. However, if I didn’t want that, the cashier offered me an apple as a substitute. With your Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, you get your choice of side: sprouted grain roll, fresh apple, baguette or chips.

I loved this bowl!

The chicken is well-seasoned and tastes real – not like the “fake chicken” {at least that’s what I like to call it} at Subway and many other restaurants. I love the flavored hummus. I’ve never found cilantro jalapeño hummus in a store, but I’ve had it before at a local Mediterranean restaurant south of the river called Ansari’s. I never order anything without that hummus there! The balance of vegetables to other ingredients was perfect. What you can barely see is the bed of spinach on the bottom of the bowl.
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Of course, the basic recipe would be pretty easy to replicate and make your own: Chicken {or any protein} + Vegetables + Hummus + Fresh Herbs + Citrus Wedge. The possibilities are endless this way! Plus, you can control the sodium that way. And it reminds me of these easy Power Bowls I often make for my work lunches. However, I found a great copycat recipe where you can recreate Panera’s Power Chicken Hummus Bowl with the cilantro jalapeño hummus and all!

I would be willing to make salads power bowls like these all summer long! Just switch up the protein, the flavor of hummus and the veg and you got something unique, healthy and filling.

And when in a pinch… When I don’t feel like putting this together on my own or I don’t have the ingredients on hand, this bowl at Panera is a better choice than fast food or dining out any day.

I give it two thumbs up.

The next one I want to try is this one.

If you were making the perfect Power Bowl, what would you put in it?

Cheers~
Carrie

Gidgie Gumee

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Happy Sophie & Shamrock Saturday!

Quickly…

Do you know the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

Are you familiar with Gordon Lightfoot’s Song about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald? If not, you can listen here with lyrics.

In the song, they mention Lake Gitche Gumee, which is the Native American name {or a version thereof} for Lake Superior.

Rob has always loved this song and put it on a few of my Mix Tapes CDs he made for me to listen while driving during my Wine Tasting Consultant days. In our early days of dating, we even spent a cold November weekend on Lake Superior at Bluefin Bay when he found a great “Gales of November” deal that allowed us to bring our dogs. A friend of mine suggested that he thought Rob might propose that weekend. {He didn’t. I had to wait a few years later. Ha!} 

It was bitterly cold that weekend. I remember that there wasn’t much to do because of it. Sure, snowshoeing would have been nice, but not the way that wind was whipping! Rob spent some time out by the water in the dark and windy cold weather one night while I sat inside warming up by the fire with a glass of wine.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a haunting melody that sticks with you. When Rob came in and poor Benny Bear was wet and shivering with icicles hanging from his fur, I’m sure they got a truer sense of how miserable it may have been like for the crew on that fateful night.

Side Note: Great Lakes Brewing Company out of Cleveland makes an excellent Edmund Fitgerald Porter!

So why am I telling you all of this on Sophie and Shamrock Saturday?

Because the pooches have a visitor this weekend!

Meet Gidget!   

 

So what’s the connection?

My friend Stacy often calls her Gidgie. I am not sure why, but out of the blue one day, I started calling her Gidgie Gumee. I call her this lovingly, of course!

Little Gidgie Gumee spent Christmas with my family in Green Bay one year. She became fast friends with everyone, but especially my dad. 

What’s a little sad is that after two years of visiting my parents in Green Bay, Shamrock still shies away from my dad, who has done absolutely nothing to him to make him fearful. Sham is afraid of men in general, but he has been getting much better.

Still, I think it’s funny that we’ve always given our dogs additional nicknames. Our dear, sweet departed Benny was called these:

  • Benny
  • Benny Bear
  • Bear
  • The Bear
  • Bear-Bear
  • Bear-Bears
  • Benjamin McBears

When Rob and I were dating, I adopted Sophie. One day, out of the blue he started calling her Sophie Jean. It stuck. We now call her:

  • Sophie
  • Sophie Girl
  • Sophie Jean
  • Jean
  • The Jean
  • Sophia

She comes to all of those names, too! That must be the smart little poodle in her.

Now Shamrock was named before we even adopted him. “And we will call him Shamrock,” was the exact email I received from Rob when it was decided we would call to try to adopt him. But for some reason, one day, I started calling him my little Bugaboo. I don’t even know where it came from! After weeks of calling him this, I googled it to see if it really was a word that I heard somewhere. It’s a brand name of an an urban stroller. Nope. Not how I heard it. We now call him:

  • Shamrock
  • Sham
  • The Rock
  • Shamrock Bugaboo
  • Bugaboo
  • The Bugaboo
  • Bugs
  • Little Man
  • Mr. Nibbles

He wags his tail at all of them; but I’m not sure that he comes to all of those. He’s not quite as smart as The Jean; but he also has more names.

It’s not just us either… Our friends have dogs named DaVinci and Cleopatra. They often call them Bub-Bub (or Bubs) and Peeps, respectively. We get to watch them next month!

My friend Jen has a dog named Finnegan. I think the only other name she gives him is Finn. But Rob likes to call him Finn-again The First Time. :)

Why isn’t one name sufficient? I think it’s funny that we give our pets “pet” names. HA!

Did you ever give your dogs any additional names?

Do they come to them when you call them?

Cheers~
Carrie

Easiest 2-Ingredient Shrimp Dish – Ever

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After all of that feasting and imbibing in New Orleans, it’s time to get things back on track.

One night last week, when my husband wasn’t home, I was reveling in the thought of cooking something that I can’t when he is eating with me. He’s allergic to shrimp and there was a bag in the freezer calling my name!

The 12 ounces of shrimp were tail-on, but they were already peeled, deveined and cooked. I had considered making this Shrimp with Zucchini and Tomato dish that I love; but that would require me to have zucchini and tomatoes on hand. In addition, shrimp I had was already cooked. Basically, they just needed to be reheated. Furthermore, I seemed to have used up most of my fresh veggies for the week.

So I checked my pantry for some inspiration.

This is what I found:

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I decided to heat up my shrimp up in seasoned diced tomatoes. It was so easy. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.

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Ta da!
IMG_2131Then I got a little crazy and topped it with some shredded parmesan reggiano!
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If we make this dish two servings, the caloric value is still pretty low.

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You could easily serve this over pasta or rice, with a side salad or a piece of crusty bread. Or add more vegetables or seasonings to your desire. The possibilities are endless. You could even eat the two servings as your meal. Whatever you do, it’ll be tasty regardless. Even if you have just the two basic ingredients.

Easiest Shrimp & Tomatoes Ever

(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz peeled, deveined and cooked shrimp
  • 1 can seasoned diced tomatoes {or add your own seasonings}
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes {optional}
  • parmesan cheese {optional, to garnish}

Method:

  1. Defrost shrimp by running it under cold water.
  2. Heat a large pan on medium to medium-high heat
  3. Add defrosted, cooked shrimp and can of tomatoes, including juices to the pan.
  4. Heat through.
  5. Add red pepper flakes, if desired, to taste.
  6. Heat to desired temperature and serve immediately.
  7. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.

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What is the easiest dish you’ve ever made.

Feel free to send a link to the “recipe” if you have one!

Cheers~
Carrie

 

A Couple of Minneapolis Dives…

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Happy Thirsty Thursday!

Now that I’ve finished recapping our trip to New Orleans, it’s time to get back to our local scene. My intention was to make Thirsty Thursday a day each week to talk about a Twin Cities brewery that Rob and I have visited over the past year.

But this past weekend, we had some spontaneous visits with friends to some Minneapolis dive bars! They were two that I would have never known existed otherwise.

Tony Jaros River Garden

“What?!” Sally said. “You have never had a Greenie!?”

“What’s a Greenie?” I asked.

She and her husband decided that it was time we made a stop at Tony Jaros (pronounced Jair-is) while we were roaming around Nordeast Minneapolis last Saturday afternoon.

It’s a little dive bar just down the road from Psycho Suzi’s. After we parked the car in back, I saw this big ferris wheel across the street.

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I was totally stunned. A green and pink ferris wheel? Why is that there? As I walked closer to the building, I read the name on the sign: Betty Danger’s Country Club. It opened just a few months ago, I believe. I’ve heard the name quite a bit, but nothing about a ferris wheel.

But that will have to wait for another time. Our mission today was: Greenies! Check out how long this place has been around…

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And here you are…

Greenie - Vodka, Sour, Tom Collins Mix & Green Glacier

Greenie – Vodka, Sour, Tom Collins Mix & Green Glacier

I have no idea what Green Glacier is and still don’t understand after looking it up online. It doesn’t matter though because Ryan was right in his description, “It’s like green Kool-Aid with vodka!”  Our waitress was so much fun, joking with us. She was just seated at the bar, telling us just to shout if we needed her. It felt like a friendly place.

For fun, we took a look at the menu. Rob was intrigued by the hand-pattied burgers. He couldn’t believe that the first burger on the menu was called the Boring Burger. But it all made sense after we read the description.

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We did not eat there that day, but please chime in if you have. We’re told it’s just bar food; but sometimes that can hit the spot.

~

Red Dragon

Red Dragon ended up on our agenda between breweries.

“What?!” Ryan said, “You haven’t had a Wondrous Punch?”

When Rob and I said we hadn’t, we all knew that was going to be our next stop! Because the Wondrous Punch packs, well… a punch, Sally suggested we order just one to split among the four of us.

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But the boys wanted their own. 

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Wondrous Punch – Barcardi Dark, Bacardi Light, Bacardi 151, Myer’s Rum, grenadine, Red Dragon’s juice mix.

There is just one word for this drink: boozy. I’m glad we ordered just the two otherwise no one would have been able to get us home. Rumor has it that there is a two-drink limit when it comes to the Wondrous Punch at Red Dragon. We’re also told that the food is pretty decent, too.

Both Tony Jaros and Red Dragon are cash only establishments. It’s funny, because I recently read this article about how Cash-Only Restaurants Must Die. But like New Orleans, we’ve found that many dives are cash only. I’m not sure that will change. Despite the fact that we prefer to pay by credit card to get the miles, I think dive bars will always be able to get away with a Cash Only policy.

I never thought about dive-bar hopping before! But it was spontaneous and fun. We tried some new-to-us places and made some memories.

What new place have you introduced to a friend lately?

What kind of spontaneous adventures have you had as of late?

Cheers~
Carrie

New Orleans: Happy Hour – The Way to Go

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Having your flight canceled when you are in New Orleans is both a blessing and a curse.

Blessing = an extra day in New Orleans!

Curse = Uh, oh! We already went over budget.

So I had this idea that for dinner on our last night in New Orleans, we would check out some Happy Hours. We had already eaten an early lunch. We had to leave our hotel at 6am the next morning to catch our flight. And we aren’t late-night partiers. Apps and cocktails from 4pm to 6pm sounded perfect!

Plus, this meant we could check more boxes. :-)

The funny thing, as I started researching the city’s Happy Hour spots, I learned that Domenica is supposed to have one of best! Whoops. We just had lunch there. That’s a note for next time!

Here are some tips to make the most of Happy Hour in New Orleans:

To give you an idea, we hit a total of 4 stops during Happy Hour, eating at two of those. This is our New Orleans Happy Hour experience!

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#1) Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar

Our first stop was at here because it was close to our new hotel for the night and we weren’t quite hungry yet. This was going to be a cocktail stop!

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Most Happy Hours in New Orleans run from 4pm to 6pm. Cafe Adelaide was a great place to start because they begin at 3pm! Although we weren’t hungry yet, I was still surprised that Rob didn’t go with those fries!

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The Cocktail of the Day was something boring – like a Tom Collins. So I went with the Lucy Broussard.

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Lucy Broussard$6HH

 What’s in it, you ask? Take a look. Sounds up my alley… No?

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Rob strayed from the HH menu. Have I ever mentioned that Rob is a fan of craft sodas?

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That helped him decide!

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Petey’s Cream Soda - $8.50

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#2) St. Lawrence

After that, we made our way to The French Quarter. We came upon an establishment called the St. Lawrence. I recognized the name, but couldn’t remember why. The door was open and I just knew we had to pop inside.

IMG_1956St. Lawrence’s sidewalk board outside indicated that they serve food late night – until 2am. They also touted the best fried chicken in the city. {Anyone can say that, right?} I still made a mental note in case our happy hour eats did not carry us through the evening.

There weren’t many people there at the time; but I noticed two gals sitting several seats down. By their conversation, it sounded like they were assistants of Very Important Somebodies. It seemed they were hanging out there just to buy some time. One of them ordered the fried chicken to go. When her food arrived, they still had some time left. So she opened it up and began eating. Let me tell you, it smelled sooooo good!

Second mental note made.

There was quite an interesting array listed on the wall menu.

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I asked about Happy Hour specials, but it was just something like $1 off anything. I couldn’t make up my mind. And I didn’t notice that Violette 75 on the menu board behind me until after I ordered a boring old Gin and Tonic! Rob was happy about the beer list and ordered something from that.

I had a feeling we would be back…

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#3 Kingfish

We next happened upon Kingfish, where we checked out the menu before going in because Rob was starting to get hungry. It was the Cajun Farmhouse Sausage Wonton in the lil’ eats section that sold him.

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Kingfish’s 3:30pm to 6pm Happy Hour is an excellent one for wine.

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Just check out the list of wines by the glass!

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This was my opportunity to get a little bubbly rosé!

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Je T’aime Sparkling Pinot Noir$5.50HH

 The cocktail menu looked fun, too, if you are cocktail hopping!

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We had to wait until the clock struck 5pm to order off the regular menu so Rob could get his sausage wontons. It was nice to just sip and chat while we waited. I perused the rest of the menu, too. I must say I was intrigued by the Cochon de Lait Pot Pie after my trip to Cajun Mike’s, as well as the guava butter garlic fries! I’ve never heard of anything like that before.IMG_1962

The great thing about dining at 5pm at the bar is that we could order off both the dinner menu and the happy hour menu. So we put an order for the Happy Hour French Fries Fondue.

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French Fries Fondue – $7HH

These delectable fries came with a warm blue cheese sauce. I have decided that this is how all fries should be served. Forever and Ever. Amen.

Then, the highly anticipated star of the show:

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Cajun Farmhouse Sausage Wonton – Housemade sausage folded in a crispy wonton served with savory cheese creamed grits – $9

These were worth every morsel. All of the appropriate and contrasting textures were there. There was lots of flavor to boot. Best cheesy grits of our lives. The food that we had at Happy Hour here at Kingfish makes this a worthy contender for a real meal sometime here in New Orleans.

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#4) Tableau

At this point, it was almost 6pm, which meant Happy Hour was over in most bars and restaurants. But then I recalled one that lasted until 7pm. That was the Happy Hour at Tableau. We inquired about the bar at the entrance and were shown into the back.

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Rob and I ordered the “wine-on-tap” which was half off for happy hour. Okay, that definitely is some $3 house-tasting wine.

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Rancho Rodeo Pinot Noir – $3HH & Truth or Consequences Rosé – $3HH

It seems most of the happy hour crowd had already left because we were the only ones at the bar. Can you guess what we ordered to eat?

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While we waited for our food, the bartender was making vats and vats – I mean VATS and VATS – of a red drink. It was Monday, but perhaps she was preppping for the weekend. She said it was one of their most popular drinks called the Red Lights. She let us have a sample:

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Red Lights – Pomegranate Liqueur, Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Lime & Simple Syrup

I’m not sure what size glass it normally comes in, but it’s a $12 drink. “That tastes like college!” Rob said. She laughed. He ordered some other cocktail instead. I drank the Red Lights.

I was really surprised by what he ordered to eat from the Happy Hour Menu.

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Crispy Braised Pork Belly with vanilla & black pepper lacquer – $6HH

They were four little skewers of heaven. Me, on the other hand… I finally got my burrata.

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Burrata Bruschetta with pecan pesto & local honey – $6HH

All this fancy food at a fraction of the price. Happy Hour stops are definitely the way to go if you want to check a lot of boxes in New Orleans and try lots of little nibbles of food and drinks.

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After that, we were going to call it an early might. But we may have stopped at a couple of our favorite Irish pubs on the way back to the hotel. And a couple hours later, of course, my mental note kicked in…

Back to the St. Lawrence! There on that menu was that fried chicken.

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I ordered the fried chicken to-go. However, the wait is about 20 minutes. So I just had to order that Violette 75 that I missed the first time!

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My understanding is that Creme de Violette replaces the Cognac in the original French 75, which turns it into a Violette 75. It turned out to be one of my favorite cocktails of the trip!

Rob wanted a little more substance for food, too.

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The Mac & Cheese was calling his name. The menu, in general, looks pretty tempting. In fact, the St. Lawrence gets a lot of praise for having such great food late night. They are catering to more than the post-Hurricane-and-Hand-Grenade crowd.

When we got back to the room, I dove into that fried chicken and the collard greens!

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It was salty, crunchy, juicy… everything you could possibly want in fried chicken. It was the perfect epicurean end to our New Orleans holiday. We checked a lot of boxes and feasted in what is perhaps our country’s most culinary city. Having checked said boxes, it was now time for a reality check. :-)

What’s your favorite Happy Hour special?

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New Orleans 2015 Trip Posts:

Cheers~
Carrie