People often ask me, Where a good place to eat, to have dessert, how do you make pie, where is a good restaurant nearby/in a certain neighborhood/anywhere, do you have a good recipe for this or that, etc.
Somehow they know I like to talk about food, I like to eat, and I like to cook, but most of all, I like to bake. Making a dessert, whether a pie, cake, cookies, or pastries, is heaven. Mind you, I don't work in an industrial baking environment. I am merely a humble home cook. I am the master chef of my little kitchen fiefdom -- unless New Orleans food is on the menu, in which case my husband is King Chef for the day. Once in a while we even cook together, somewhat a rarity, since he's usually playing guitar downstairs in the basement/den, while I cook upstairs in the kitchen. He usually has his headphones on; if I feel like playing a record -- OK, a CD -- then I can blast it without interrupting his electric dreamland state.
Sometimes the parrot will make happy chirping sounds when I play certain kinds of records. Today when I put on Joni Mitchell's Hejira, he started screaming. Perhaps that means he doesn't care for Ms. Mitchell's soprano... His reception to opera has been mixed, depending on the aria. He does appear to like Celtic music, however, and usually likes Allison Krauss and Led Zeppelin and R.E.M. He hates Jefferson Airplane and is cool on Tom Waits. The volume on any of these doesn't seem to matter ~
We had dinner recently at My Brothers Crawfish, an out of the way restaurant located on SE 82nd Ave, in a little mall with other small businesses. Not particularly easy to find, but very tasty. Even my husband was pleased, and that in itself is not easy when it comes to all cuisine A La New Orleans. The service was friendly and reasonably quick, the place was clean, the decor simple, but pleasant though the room was dimly lit. My husband had Crawfish Etoufee, and I had blackened salmon. The salmon was outstanding, and not an overly huge portion, for which I was grateful. With some rice, it was just right. Steve said the Etoufee was a bit salty, but very good. Our server said two Vietnamese brothers opened the place using their grandmother's recipes. Coming from living in New Orleans, he moved to Portland, where he got his current job, a serendipitious situation for him!
A few weeks later we went to a place called Tapalaya, in which they serve you small portions like samplings, in the Spanish tapas tradition. We thought it was a great way to try different things in the same evening, and had a great time. Our server, a large Hawaiian-looking man, explained that three friends got together and started the restaurant. I ordered some cornbread, which I loved: it was nice and moist; and collard greens, another favorite of mine, although these were a little too vinegary; Steve tried the Crawfish Beignets, the Gumbo, and the Catfish. All tasted good to me except I discovered I don't care for catfish, no matter how it's cooked. But then, he doesn't like sardines, which I love, or anchovies, which I like but don't eat very often.
I highly recommend Tapalaya, subtitled on the menu as Bites of New Orleans. It's located on NE 28th Avenue, the restaurant row near the Laurelhurst Theater.
Laissez les bon temps roulez! (Let the good times roll!)