On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 7PM the culinary crown of the Pontchartrain Hotel will team up with PlumpJack Estate Winery for a thoughtfully crafted four-course pairing dinner curated by Chef/Owner Brian Landry and the PlumpJack team. Priced at $200 per person (includes tax and gratuity), the menu follows:
Scallop crudo, sea salt, lemon balsamic, and petit herbs
Cade Estate Winery | Sauvignon Blanc
Campanelle, lobster mushrooms, guanciale, cured egg and goat cheese
PlumpJack Estate | Chardonnay
Lamb porchetta, Italian sausage, polenta and parmigiano
PlumpJack Estate | Cabernet Sauvignon
“Blu Basque” crustless cheesecake, speckled blue cheese, and pear praline sauce
Adaption | Petite Sirah
Reservations can be made on OpenTable.
Mister Mao is thrilled to announce the addition of Saturday brunch. Beginning Saturday, November 4th guests who yearn for Chef/Owner Sophina Uong’s globally-inspired brunch fare can savor a medley of its innovative dishes and creative cocktails every Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 2PM.
The menu will feature an ever-changing selection of dim sum-style dishes served from roving carts, playfully known as “Here Comes the Chuck Wagon.” As a rotating roster of inexpensive tiny plates make their way through the Mister Mao dining room, guests can also enjoy standout signature items from the changing menu like the Gulf Shrimp Dumplings with Thai red curry, chile oil, and arugula; Smoked Lamb Belly with Cameroon pepper, dried lime, and scallion vinegar; Pork Lumpia with sweet and sour wildcat juice; and Chicken + Rice Dumplings with leeks, sticky rice and gluten free tamari vinaigrette. Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth with treats like the Unicorn Toast and Laozi Ice Cream Sundaes.
Elevate your brunch experience by adding $35 bottomless mimosas to your order, or enjoy specialty-made cocktails from their regular boozy brunch libations. Try the Walk of Shame with vodka, passionfruit, rose water, and lemon; Honey Gold with Marsh House rum, fig, Thai spice, and baked apple and turmeric syrup; and Viva Forever with vodka, Chai spice, clove, beets, and El Guapo Cajun Grenadine.
Sample menu: https://www.mistermaonola.com/sunday-brunch-1128.
WHEN/WHERE: Saturday Brunch will begin on Saturday, November 4th. New Brunch hours for Saturdays and Sundays will be 11AM - 2PM. Reservations can be made on Resy or by calling (504) 345-2056. Mister Mao is located at 4501 Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans. www.mistermaonola.com
Mr Mao is also pleased to welcome Minnesota’s Chef Yia Vang of Vinai and Union Hmong Kitchen for an extraordinary five-course dinner.
Dedicated to telling stories through food, the 2022 James Beard nominated, challenger on Netflix’s “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” and host of the new thrilling cooking and culture series “Feral”, Chef Yia Vang will highlight some of his favorite Hmong dishes at the tropical roadhouse. Visitors will be able to enjoy these unique flavors here in New Orleans for $85 per person (plus tax and gratuity). The menu:
Fried Oyster Laab
Crispy Boudin Papaya Salad
Hangover Noodles with Schezwan Coffee Bolo
Hilltribe Grilled Pork & Purple Sticky Rice
Chai Tea & Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream
dark chocolate + espresso cream
Collab with Sam Caruso of 'Laozi Ice Cream'
For an additional $35, visitors can add a beverage pairing and enjoy creative libations from Mister Mao’s acclaimed cocktail menu.
WHEN/WHERE: Mister Mao and Chef Yia Vang's dinner will take place Tuesday, November 7th, with seatings at 6 PM and 8 PM. Reservations can be made on Resy. Mister Mao is located at 4501 Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans. www.mistermaonola.com.
'Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned'
From 6 - 11 pm on Halloween night, the side door at Ayu Bakehouse (801 Frenchmen St) will be open to share featured items like Lorena Babka (cylindrically-shaped chocolate babka), JonBeignet Ramsey, Marie Laveau Sourdough, Booooodin Boys, and a cauldron of their Hot ‘Mallow cocoa With their Frenchmen Street location, they’re looking forward to welcoming any and all nighttime revelers.
Both Gris-Gris and Saint John have launched new seasonal menus. New items include:
This Halloween season, The Bower - located in the Lower Garden District, is brewing a cauldron of Halloween excitement with two wickedly fun events you won't want to miss!
Bring your furry friends and enjoy Yappy Hour at The Bower. From 4:30PM - 6:30PM on Thursday, October 26th, guests can sip and savor $5 cocktails, $6 glasses of wine, and an array of discounted small plates on the patio, such as the Cacio e Pepe with tagliatelle, pink and green peppercorns, and Parmesan Vecchio; Charcuterie Plate - chef's selection of two meats; Whipped Feta, Truffle Bread, and more.
There will also be treats and dog bowls for your pup so they won’t miss out on the fun. Visitors and their four-legged friends are encouraged to come dressed in their best Halloween costumes to win a special prize for the pup with the most creative costume. Prepare to be spellbound with an enchanting Witches Luncheon on Friday, October 27th from 11AM - 1PM. Executive Chef Marcus Woodham has prepared a bewitching three-course lunch menu for the occasion. Priced at $48 per person (plus tax and gratuity), the menu follows:
First Course choice of
Whipped Feta (house pickle)
Maggie's Mushroom Arancini
(mozzarella, spicy roasted squash, basil and pine nut pesto)
Second Course choice of
(Calabrian chili tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil vinaigrette, buttered spaghetti)
(green pesto sauce, burrata, preserved lemon, oven-dried cherry tomatoes)
(green beans, cherry tomato confit, green olive tapenade, piccata sauce)
Third Course choice of
Root Beer Budino (orange buttermilk drops)
*Pricing includes food only. Beverages will be charged separately
Spooky specialty cocktails will be offered along with a full bar. Don’t forget to dress your best to win a prize for the table with the best Halloween costume!
Halloween Yappy Hour takes place on Thursday, October 26th, from 4:30PM - 6:30PM, and the Witches Luncheon on Friday, October 27th, from 11AM - 1PM. Reservations are not required for Halloween Yappy Hour. Reservations for the Witches Luncheon can be made OpenTable or by calling (504) 582-9738. The Bower is located at 1320 Magazine Street in New Orleans.
I’ve already written about Moveable Feast, the dinner party delivery service that brings you semi-prepared food from the world’s best restaurants. This month’s package has a culinary connection to New Orleans, as it’s from our very own Jewel of the South.
Chef Phil Whitmarsh has come up with an exciting menu that shows off his love of elevated British pub dishes, and I was lucky enough to try it out last week. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a sucker for a savory pie, and so this was a near-perfect choice for me.
The meal for four (bigger kits are available) arrives in a refrigerated box that you simply unpack, storing the various, individually-packed ingredients in the refrigerator until you’re ready to start cooking. This month’s dinner took even less effort than last time I tried it, and it didn’t stretch even my notably basic kitchen skills.
We started with appetizers of devilled Eggs Royale with Smoked Trout Roe & Dill and then Hakurei Turnips with Bone Marrow & Smoked Maldon Salt. All I really had to do was pipe the egg filling into the egg whites and arrange the turnips before sprinkling the salt. The Endive Salad with Granny Smith Apples and Hazelnuts was similarly straightforward, just chopping and tossing.
The centerpiece - a hearty Braised Short Rib Pie ‘Bourguignon’ - just had to be baked for around half an hour while I stirred up the Mushy Peas with Fried Shallot and Green Onions. As someone who misses really good quality meat pies, I could not have been happier - the beef was beautifully tender and the brown gravy that accompanied it was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I was born and raised in meat pie country, so, you know, I have high standards.
Dessert took me all the way home - Eccles Cake originated just a few miles from where I was born, close to Manchester, England. They’re small, round cakes made from flaky pastry filled with dried currants, served here with Potted Cheese. For a regularly-homesick Brit, this meal ticked a lot of the right boxes.
Jewel of the South gets a lot of deserved praise for Chris Hannah’s bar program, and a small cocktail accompaniment does come with the meal - we just had to add some rum and we were toasting in no time. Whitmarsh’s skills shouldn’t be overshadowed, though - he’s doing some of the most interesting food in town. You can still order this amazing dinner (Moveable Feast change their ‘host’ restaurant every month), but if not, I’ll see you at the actual restaurant soon - this meal reminded me of how good they are. (PO)
You can still order the Jewel of the South - it runs through the end of October, with Thursday October 26th being the last deliver date. Click here for more details and pricing.
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Let The Right One In
review by Paul Oswell
If all you wanted was to not feel alone, what’s the highest price that you’d pay? This is a question that many of the characters ask themselves in ‘Let The Right One in’, now showing at Le Petit Theatre. Jack Thorne’s adaptation (of the 2008 Swedish movie of the same name) is restrained, and at many times bleak, but with hope buried deep in its dark heart.
The Scandic noir ambience of the film is impressively recreated on stage. The production team uses basic props, but somehow manages to keep things astonishingly cinematic, especially given the demanding number of scene changes. By combining unfussy, practical sets and impeccably atmospheric video projections, we’re at once in a dark forest, a school locker room, or underwater. Even judged solely on a technical level, this production soars.
We’re dropped into a small, rural and snowbound town. Oscar (Dalton Major) is an older teen, an only child with a caring but alcoholic mother (Wendy Miklovic). He is relentlessly bullied by his peers. Eli (Caylee Sanders) is a young girl around his age, who moves in next door with an adult man, Hakan (Mike Harkins), who we presume to be her father. She has strange mannerisms, and appears to live almost outside of time, like an intelligent alien. Oscar and Eli cautiously bond as outcasts. Meanwhile, blood-drained corpses start to appear as a series of grisly murders has the town understandably on edge.
A supernatural element unfolds gradually, and as both Oscar and Eli’s situations become increasingly fraught, they are drawn closer together, at the same time being forced to make some dramatically adult decisions. Salvatore Mannino’s direction has a satisfying, patient delicacy to it, allowing scenes to breathe when necessary, exploring the nuances of what it really means when you commit to loving a son, a friend, a partner, a soul mate.
Major and Sanders skillfully and empathetically navigate an unusual coming-of-age romance with poignancy, while Harkins’ unconditional love is laid heart-wrenchingly bare. Andrew Hagen and Derek Boudreaux entertainingly deliver as Oscar’s tormentors (Johnny and Mickey) - both believably cruel, with Boudreaux showing rare glimmers of a conscience. Ryan Hayes, Nick Strauss and Kevin Wheatley are all wonderful as various townsfolk, from shopkeepers to police officers to Oscar’s semi-estranged father. It’s fine character work from them, and the multiple roles are never jarring.
Occasional live camera feeds relayed on stage help to create a televised press conference, or put relationship dynamics under a probing visual microscope. There are particularly moving moments as Oscar bonds with his mother and later Eli in their small apartment. Once again, this blending of technology with a cold, analogue world helps move us seamlessly between locations. Scene changes can be tricky vortices, where the emotional resonance of a play can waver, but it’s maintained here with thoughtful imagination.
I loved the moments of stillness, the minimalist soundtrack and how evocative the whole experience was. Honors are split right down the middle between cast and crew, all of whom should feel very proud of the result. There’s an undeniable backdrop of unspeakable violence and horror, but Let The Right One In is an exploration of love. Love sometimes comes with a price tag that’s more than we can afford, and rationalizing a vast emotional cost can be terrifying in itself.
Let The Right One In plays at Le Petit Theatre through October 22nd. You can buy tickets via this link.
This October 14-23, 2022, participants are invited to join in the celebration at cocktail bar Cure, and toast to Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week. As a commitment to partnering with the Southern Smoke Foundation, Elijah Craig pledges to:
Review by Paul Oswell
It was a dark and stormy night, though other cocktails were also available at the bar. We’d been summoned to a strange venue by an eccentric host. The weather was, as it always is these days, unseasonably clement, and so I’d forgone my regular crucifix-emblazoned smoking jacket with garlic clove and wooden stake accessories. I brought with me, as per the invitation, a folding chair and a simple, everyday blood sample in an ornate drinking vessel. Yes, I thought that strange as well - bringing your own chair to a theatrical performance! (I'm just goofing about the blood sample)
Welcome, then, to the NOLA Project’s seasonally-astute production of Dracula, a comically romantic retelling of the classic Gothic vampire myth. The venue is a warehouse on the Lafitte Greenway, an industrially-dreary but atmospheric backdrop.
There’s little in the way of set dressing, deft and daft sound design by Khiry Armstead, Joan Long’s subtly effective lighting and a cast of eight actors taking on dozens of roles. Props are mainly limited to costumes (notably excellent work by Bridget Ann Boyle and Grace Smith), and a few boxes on wheels. In terms of challenges, it’s something of a high-wire act to turn this into a triumphantly entertaining two hours, but as you’ll see, The Nola Project vamp their way to success with real aplomb.
Jonathan Harker (played with wide-eyed befuddlement by Keith Claverie), a young English lawyer, travels to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to assist a reclusive Count with a real estate transaction. He orates gag-heavy letters to his fiancée, Mina Murray (a delightfully petulant Alexandria Miles) as the story unfolds.
There’s an unsettling carriage ride, Joe Signorelli and Natalie Boyd note-perfect as a knife-sharpening psychopath and his mother, the arrival at the castle (Signorelli and the excellent Wayland Cooper as overly-sensual acolytes), and an introduction to Count Dracula. Benjamin Dougherty sinks his teeth into the titular role, switching nimbly between vampiric menace and farcially flummoxed frustration.
Thanks to a script that's tighter than a pinching pair of pumpkin-print panties, the textual, visual and even aural gags come at you from the start like bats from the rowdiest belfry in town. There are post-modern, Pthyonesque set pieces, fanciful physical flourishes and let me ask you this - when’s the last time that you laughed at a recurring sound effect? I’m not sure that I ever have, but it (you won’t miss it, believe me) landed every single time.
The vicissitudes of the plot have the Count eventually traveling to London to pursue Mina, jockeying for position among a rogue’s gallery of suitors. The wonderfully versatile Signorelli is a clueless toff, Natalie Boyd is riotously great as a dope fiend in the asylum business, and Cooper fully commits to a brilliantly incongruous, rootin’ tootin’ cowboy. All of them are hilarious, and change costumes at impressively breakneck speeds.
Meghan Whittle nails Lucy, Mina’s hedonistic best friend, and has the crowd howling as Renfield in a scene parodying The Silence of the Lambs. Alex Martinez Wallace positively revels in his roles as Mina’s mother and the vampire hunter Van Helsing, approaching both with a joyous oozing of camp swagger. Dougherty and Miles both expertly distill comedy from the emotional heart of the novel, and Claverie’s coterie of brash supporting characters feels like an extra level of comic relief, even within a relentlessly funny play.
Writer Pete McElligott has penned a wonderful silly script, tonally edging toward Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Directors Khiry Armstead and Leslie Claverie allow for just the right levels of fourth wall breaking, and conduct things at a satisfying, comically-intensifying pace. Just in case it’s not clear, I loved this play like Dracula loves enticingly-exposed necks.
I can’t believe it’s much fun living as a vampire. You’d have to forgo any reflective surfaces for one, and I really couldn’t see myself living in a house without mirrors. I SAID I REALLY COULDN’T SEE MYSELF…fine, suit yourself. Catch this production before the sun comes up on it permanently - like me, you’ll be truly fangful (sorry, we had to get one in) for the memories.
Dracula plays at The Greenway Station through Oct 15th. Tickets available via this link.
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