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A Sauce Piquante and a Soft Reset
The Boil Advisory, Issue #21
A few weeks ago, Rémy and I took a trip up to Asheville to visit family and meet our new nephew, Jude. On the drive back, we were talking through all of the feelings that the experience had brought up—pride, awe, fear, wonder, humility, and so many other wonderful things, all at once. Holding the newest family member was a very tender experience, and Rémy described seeing an entirely new side of me with him in my arms. What had washed over me, I explained, was a sudden wave of hope, for an opportunity to hit reset. Newborns offer us, in a very literal sense, a chance to start fresh: To be present, to examine expectations and traditions, and to interact with refocused intention. Jude represents a reset for his parents, but also for our family at-large.
The last time I remember feeling something similar was several months post-chemo, in a season of rebuild. The experience had changed me emotionally as much as it had physically, and in the chaos of it all, I felt empowered to examine and redefine what brought me both joy and stress—relationships, habits, business, even my surroundings (I moved to NOLA a few months later).
With chemo, the reset was a silver lining following a deeply traumatic series of events. But with Jude, it felt far more subtle, and wrapped up in so many other good feelings. I can’t help but wonder how many opportunities for soft resets (and for joy!) that I’ve glanced past all these years?
Anyway, that brings us here, to a newsletter that’s been idle for almost a year now. I’ve drafted dozens of stories in my mind, but amidst shifting priorities I’ve struggled to carve out time for personal work of any kind—especially writing—for far too long. I need a reset, and this feels like as good a time as any to claim that.
The format will shift as I dust off the creative cobwebs—a lot has changed in local food/food media, and my own curiosities look different these days. But I’ve missed having a space to share adventures/inspirations/recipes, and am excited to get back to exploring more of South Louisiana.
Thank you for being here, once again, to share this space with me.
In the Kitchen
Similar to writing, I haven’t had as much time on the water or in the woods this year, but I’m refocusing to make that more of a priority. A couple weeks back, a few friends joined up to hunt alligators in Pass-A-Loutre, Louisiana’s southernmost wildlife management area (WMA). It was a new experience for me, one I’d like to write more about, but that harvest led to this sauce piquante, which is a light riff on Emeril’s recipe.
I’ve made this before with farm-raised alligator fillets, which are much more approachable and don’t require as long of a cook time. If you make it with wild gator, I’d recommend slicing the meat into thin strips, maybe a 1/4 inch thick and no wider than 1 inch; wild meat is tasty, very mild, and surprisingly tender, but has no fat in it so a large bite can feel a bit dry.
Not into swamp meat? Try it with pork tenderloin!
When you start to smell pumpkin spice, you know what’s coming: List Season. Dakar and Mamou made it onto Bon Appetit’s list of best new restaurants. And in this week’s New York Times, Café Reconcile and Mamou were included in The Restaurant List. In local outlets, Where NOLA Eats (Facebook) speculates that Michelin will soon visit New Orleans, with an…interesting…list of restaurants that members feel could be worthy of a star. (I have questions, but don’t hold your breath about any of this, y’all.)
A few restaurant events on our radar:
9/27 - Mister Mao continues its guest chef dinner series with Tae Strain of Momofuku and Ggoma Supper Club.
9/30 - Sous chefs are taking over the dinner menu at Jewel of the South with a 5-course pop-up, Krewe du Sous.
10/10 - Paradigm Gardens is only hosting one Concert Series night this season, and this is it. Participating restaurants include Coquette, Barú, Ancora, Basin Seafood, Brasas, Lengua Madre, and Patois.
See you soon?
Thanks for reading, y’all. The archives have picked up a bit of traffic lately, accompanied by an an uptick in readers. I don’t know how y’all get here, but thank you for reading—it’s been a helpful nudge to come back.