Thursday, September 01, 2005

One More Toast to the French Quarter

Last night we paid tribute to New Orleans with a visit to Howe's Bayou, the local Cajun place. As far as Cajun restaurants go, this place is quite authentic, from their excellent selection of Po Boys (my choice for last night was the andouille sausage with sweet mustard and slaw, with the requisite side of mac and cheese), to their fresh raw oysters (always at least one West Coast and one East Coast variety available), and a full compliment of Louisiana libations. The place not only has TurboDog on tap, but they also serve authentic Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes (both of which I partook in).

Per my friend's recommendation, as an after dinner drink, I had a cocktail called a Sazerac. This anise-flavored cocktail was both potent and sweet, and was the perfect way to cap off an evening with good friends who are all lucky enough to still have our homes, families and lives intact.

We learned from the bartender that the Sazerac was invented in the French Quarter, and is considered to be the first cocktail. In my own research, I also found out that the word "cocktail" is thought to come from the type of glass it was served in.

There are a bunch of recipe variations on the net for this drink (and in fact, the original recipe seems to have been made with brandy and absinthe, and some people say it was rye whisky), but this recipe (found here) seems to be the closest to Howe's tasty recipe:

Sazerac Cocktail
  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • Dashes of bitters (Howe's uses two kinds)
  • 1/4 oz. Pernod (Howe's just rinses the inside of the glass with the Pernod)
  • 1 tbsp. Simple Syrup
  • Garnish: Lemon wedge
Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

The site also has a Hurricane recipe if you are unable to get Pat O'Brien's mix (you can normally buy it online, but their site is down; I think their fulfillment center is currently underwater).

A few more musings on it all

It's still really strange to think that this whole city is gone, for how long? Months? Years? Forever? I have a few souvenirs from my visit: a voodoo doll, some beads, some postcards, a poster, but it's really hard to think that today, in the U.S. something like a storm can leave us so devastated.

BoingBoing listed a site, put on by some guys who work for directNIC, a company that is maintaining Internet servers in New Orleans. They are holed up in a building, keeping things going. They are also keeping a regular journal, and things don't sound good:

Security has become a major concern now, because the NOPD is ineffective and the looters/terrorists are roaming the streets. Word is now that they're lighting buildings on fire, but I can't confirm that. Anyway, we have to run guard shifts and patrol and it limits our downtime.

It is a zoo out there though, make no mistake. It's the wild kingdom. It's Lord of the Flies. That doesn't mean there's murder on every street corner. But what it does mean is that the rule of law has collapsed, that there is no order, and that property rights cannot and are not being enforced. Anyone who is on the streets is in immediate danger of being robbed and killed. It's that bad.

So again I say, good luck to everyone toughing it out in the South. I hope things can come together for you all, sooner than later, and you can begin to put some sort of order to your lives again.


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