Tea Time

April 2016
By: Alia Akkam, FSR Magazine

Drinking tea is steeped—pardon the pun—in ritual. Whether it’s a late-afternoon pot of loose-leaf Ceylon and a tiered platter of ginger-studded scones served in an ornate hotel lobby, or a simple sachet of rooibos offering postprandial herbal relief from a multi-course dinner, there is something decidedly ceremonial about savoring a cup. For many bartenders the comforting, kettle-spawned beverage is just another compelling way to amplify cocktails.

Consider the ascent of the Owl’s Brew, a line of fresh-brewed and bottled tea blends designed to meld with cocktails. Along with creations like the English Breakfast-meets-lime Classic, there is the Famous Mint Tea, a lemon-tinged peppermint intended to pair specifically with the Famous Grouse Scotch. At Eat Street Social in Minneapolis, for instance, Marco Zappia makes the Northern Star, uniting the whisky and tea with ginger syrup, fresh lemon juice, and Bittercube Jamaican #1 Bitters.

When sultrier weather arrives, guests at Willa Jean in New Orleans can quench their thirst with the Dirty Water, a cooling mélange of spicy Bulleit bourbon countered with mint, lemon, and green tea. Bulleit is also the bourbon of choice for the Mag Mile at Bar Toma in Chicago, a large-format cocktail with peach liqueur, iced tea, and lemon, served in a punch bowl. “While we think sipping on the Mag Mile during patio season in Chicago is the best time to enjoy it, tea is a great beverage year-round: refreshing in the summer and soothing in the winter,” says Giuseppe Incandela, Bar Toma’s general manager.


The 38 Essential New Orleans Restaurants, Spring 2016

April 5, 2016
By: Gwnedolyn Knapp, Eater Nola

Here, now, we present to you the updated Eater 38, our answer to any question that becomes with, "Can you recommend a restaurant..." This list is not the 38 best restaurants in our fine city, but it instead seeks to provide a comprehensive picture of where you can get a great meal regardless of mood. It covers the entire city with some lagniappe love for the West Bank, spans myriad cuisines and should satisfy all of your restaurant needs. These are listed here in no particular order. These restaurants are not where you would go for a big occasion, so no fine dining.

Coming off the map this month is Milkfish, which shuttered this March in Mid City, and Casamento's which closes seasonally (in June) before the summer 38 update. Also hopping off this update: Kebab, Press Street Station and Mondo. Coming on the map: Satsuma, Kin, McClure's at Nola Brewing, Cane & Table and Willa Jean.

Every quarter, we update this list with any restaurants that were omitted, have become newly eligible (all restaurants must have been open 6 months to appear on this list), or have improved and now warrant being included. So send your tips and your nominations right here.


10 Hottest Restaurants in New Orleans

April 5, 2016
By: Zagat Staff

With a unique mix of Native American, African American, Creole and European influences, New Orleans is one of the top cultural destinations in the U.S. — heck, the world. Its historic architecture, otherworldly cemeteries, renowned music scene and lively street parties draw crowds from across the globe. Musicians like gospel queen Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington cemented the sound of the city, and their influence is still felt annually at Jazz Fest (April 22-May 1), one of the biggest reasons for out-of-towners to visit the Big Easy. To help get you ready for the music and food-filled weekend, we've partnered with Ticketmaster to reveal the 10 hottest restaurants to check out while you're in town.

Will Jean

Why It’s Hot: Besh Restaurant Group pastry chef Kelly Fields and pastry chef Lisa White (Domenica and PIZZA Domenica) are two of the best bakers in town. Together with Besh, the pair have brought the southern bakery cafe to the 21st century. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the spot serves an array of updated classics, ranging from crawfish étouffée with a cornbread biscuit and griddled meatloaf to warm chocolate pudding and a selection of biscuits.

Must-Order: The smoked salmon breakfast and lunch tartine are light yet bold.

Insider Tip: Try a boozy slushie or tea- and coffee-inspired craft cocktail.


Where The Locals Eat in New Orleans

March 2016
By:Allyson Fulcher, The Every Girl

When planning to visit a city, my first order of business is ALWAYS where I am going to eat. I’ll spend weeks researching and trying to find the best restaurants by pouring over Yelp photos, TripAdvisor reviews, frequent Instagram check-in spots, asking friends on Facebook...you name it, I've done it. But sometimes there are even things strangers on the Internet can’t tell you. And for that, you want to go straight to the locals.

The local people on the ground floor of food consumption who hear about restaurant openings long before the press and visit without rose colored vacation glasses to give an honest opinion. You can tell the true vibe of a city not by where the tourists line up around the corner but where the locals spend their Sunday morning.

That’s why I gathered a few trusted natives in one of the most legendary food meccas of the South, New Orleans. Juley Le is a foodie, creative consultant, and the lifestyle blogger behind Upperlyne & Co. Hattie Moll isthe shop owner of Hattie Sparks and has lived in New Orleans for over eight years with a passion for dining out. Lauren Lagarde is the owner of a boutique communications agency specializing in entertainment and lifestyle brands constantly taking her clients to the best spots in town. Sound like theperfect panel? Here are the 14 New Orleans restaurants they can’t live without.

Just down the street from my shop, this contemporary bakery is my go-to for a savory breakfast or a sweet afternoon treat. Not only is the space gorgeous, but everything from the food to the coffee and the cocktails are also done so perfectly. 

Read more....

Where To Eat Easter Brunch

March 23, 2016
By: Jessica Colley Clarke, Destinations.com

James Beard Award semi-finalist chef Kelly Fields and master baker Lisa White are the duo behind Willa Jean, a New Orleans bakery-restaurant hybrid (opened in collaboration with Nola golden boy, chef John Besh) that has won over locals with decadent, southern-inspired dishes like hot buttered crawfish rolls and blue crab and egg biscuits. This Easter special items are being added to the dynamic brunch menu including a hearty lamb ragu cavatelli with spring peas, carrots, and a poached egg. Don’t miss the bakery counter on your way out—hot cross buns are on offer just for the holiday. 611 O'Keefe Ave; 504-509-7334; willajean.com.


Chefs’ Picks: Easter Desserts

March 18, 2016
By: Sara Ventiera, Food Network

With Easter comes egg hunts, lamb or ham, and plenty of fresh produce. But just as important to the day of feasting is the sweet culmination. Whether they crave an English pudding that celebrates fresh fruit or classic Italian and Mexican treats, several chefs share why they’re sweet on these Easter desserts.

Recently selected as a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Pastry Chef, Fields obviously knows her desserts, as well as the best finds on the NOLA bakery scene. For Easter she likes vibrant cassata cake, which she describes as a dense Sicilian cake with a ricotta custard filling. “It’s traditionally covered in green marzipan and decorated with candied fruit,” she says. Her favorite is at Angelo Brocato, a pastry shop with more than a century under its belt; she says the store has become a favorite of hers since she moved to New Orleans and was introduced to it by a friend’s mother.