I wasn’t as hungover as I deserved to be this morning as I grabbed my morning coffee and made my way to the conference centre. A decent morning session. The conference is made more fun by the fact there are several other people tweeting the talks, and so there is feedback about the good, noteworthy and sometimes bad in each session.
Food highlight of the day was no doubt a visit to Cochon Butchery with my new friends Rebecca and Chris. This place cures and smokes their own meat and is rammed at lunchtimes. The menu read like an absolute dream – sandwiches including one with pork belly and mint, the cured-meat heavy “Gambino” and Cubanos. Pancetta mac-n-cheese, marinated brussels sprouts, brisket sliders are all options. Great stuff, a drying cabinet on the wall shows off their hanging proscuitto and sausages.
In the end I settled for boudin blanc, the duck pastrami sliders and a BBQ pulled pork sandwich. That’s a light lunch by New Orleans standards. The duck pastrami was fantastic – I have to try to make this when I get home – made even richer by a slice of melted cheese. The boudin was even better, soft and creamy with a little texture from the rice and fine pink sausage meat with proper flavour. It shows that they buy their meat from local farms, something so unusual in the US with its centralised meat production system. Dipped into the local Abita beer grain mustard it was sublime (I need to take some of this home).
The afternoon session was uneventful – I became rather tired and I was very glad to slip away from the conference and have a quick swim in the hotel’s outdoor pool. A pre-dinner Sazerac (or Mint Julep’s for the ladies) with Jackie, Annie, Jennifer and some of the Vancouver crew proceeded dinner at Brennan’s with Mark and George Weinstock. Brennan’s is a real throwback to the 70s with dishes named in the Escoffier style like “Shrimp Samantha” and “Trout Kottwitz”. Of course they flambe suzettes at the table for pudding. It’s all very jolly, the highlight was a waiter accidentally tipping a whole dish over another diner’s shirt.
But now just glad to be going to bed without the effects of a couple of Hurricanes sloshing around my system.