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Taqueria DF

Whenever I crave a taco, I end up getting a torta instead. This always
happens. I think I'll be unsatisfied with the taco so I go for the hearty
stand-by. One day I'll break the habit. Taqueria D.F.'s carnitas could've
been a little crisper, but as this is the closest Mexican to my north I can
forgive a little. Plus, they have horchata, which is always a cloudy treat.

Taqueria D.F. * 719 Fifth, Ave., Brooklyn, NY

I Am Curious Blue

I have a minor obsession with blue food, it just occurs so rarely in nature and it’s so pretty (same with deep blue-black flowers). Lumping purple and blue together, you have purple potatoes, blue corn, ube a.k.a. purple yam, blueberries, concord grapes and that’s about it. Fortunately, there are food scientists out there tinkering away for my novelty-craving benefit. 2002 is all about color, and for once I’m not complaining.

Parkay Fun Squeeze I would not eat this stuff, not so much because of the unnatural colors but because of the unnatural ingredients. Unless you’re vegan (and even that lifestyle is questionable) or have coronary issues (95% of my family) there’s no good reason to not eat butter. My thing is I don’t like eating butter when I can see it, it needs to be melted and oozy. The butter must be liquid and pooled in the crannies of my waffle, not sitting all stiff on the surface. And my question is, how will this Electric Blue and Shocking Pink stuff look once it melts. And secondly, does it melt?

Ocean Spray White Cranberry Juice Yeah, I know white is the lack of color, but it’s just plain abnormal so it counts.

Cheetos Mystery Colorz Snacks I have not actually seen these first hand yet, but the idea of neon orange fake cheese turning blue or green upon contact with saliva is an idea whose time has come. I don’t even like chips, but Cheetos are a horse of a different color. As a kid, I learned that the hard way when my mom made me run into Albertson’s for chips and I came back with Cheetos. She was not a happy woman. I halfheartedly offered to go back in and get real chips, knowing she wouldn’t bother and I’d get my snack way.

Ore-Ida Funky Fries I don’t know why their new products aren’t mentioned on their website yet. I haven’t actually seen them in the stores either, but Brooklyn’s retarded that way. Wow, this one gets my juices flowing more than any other. I love fries and potato products, and this pale Kool Blue color is downright pretty. Coupled with that green ketchup (Heinz does own Ore-Ida), this could be the start of something beautiful. Cinnamon? Chocolate? I could get used to it. Why not, everything goes with starch.

Dannon Sprinkl'ins Color Creations Yogurts  I guess these are out, though I’ve never seen them. I thought the world had gone wild in the early ’90s when the muti-colored Trix yogurt was introduced. But I’ll be damned if the ’00s aren’t downright x-treme! These babies come with blue crystals that’ll change vanilla yogurt into colors like Jelly Purple and Alligator Green. And I thought those granola toppers were the living end.

Move over white asparagus and boring ol’ indian corn, there’s some new produce in town. Maroon carrots aren’t so new I hear, but they’re certainly new to me. Also exciting are “Graffiti,” a purple cauliflower, “Halloween in Paris,” a bright yellow pumpkin, “Falstaff,” purple-red Brussels sprouts and various black tomatoes. I even have a yard (a near anomaly for NYC), but I’ll be damned if I know the first thing about gardening.


That Ferdi special was just too much, even for a hungry girl like me. If
I learned one thing in my mere two days in New Orleans, it's to stick with
the seafood po boys. The turtle soup was also pleasant. My only regret is
not having room for dessert–those pies looked amazing. I've never seen such
large, firm healthy slices. (2/24/02)

Yay for poor boys (or po boys, I just feel funny saying and typing po),
and only a block from our hotel. The famous Ferdi special almost killed me
last time, so I just stuck with the shrimp poor boy this time around. In
fact, I don't think I branched out from the shrimp poor boy anywhere we
sampled the sandwich. They're always just so good that I know I wont be

The only thing I couldn't figure out at Mother's is the middle-aged guy
called Elvis who hangs out at the restaurant. I don't think hes an employee,
though there were plenty of old photos of him gracing the walls.

Mother's * 401 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA

Gumbo Shop

This was James' dinner choice, which was fine. I wanted to go to Jacques-Imo's
for dinner. We compromised, and he got Sat. night while I got Sun. evening.
Unfortunately my pick was closed in Sunday (we ended up at Mother's

Tally Ho

I regret never getting to eat in our hotel restaurant, Gamay, as it was
closed on Sunday and that's when we thought to try breakfast or lunch. The
front desk clerk alternately suggested nearby, Tally Ho and added it's "the
best breakfast in town." We figured this must be some cross-arrangement
(ever the suspicious New Yorkers) since it sounded like a pat response. But
lo and behold, as we rounded the corner, their sign proudly proclaimed "the
best breakfast in town." What do you know? Hearty omelets with a few oddball
options like jambalaya and alligator sausage are a great way to start the

Tally Ho * 400 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA

St. Charles Tavern

As it was on the streetcar line, we couldn't resist stopping here on our way
back from the zoo. Jalepeno poppers and a blue cheeseburger spoiled my
appetite for dinner at the Gumbo Shop. It was my only non-regional meal of
the trip. Gut-busting blasphemy.

St. Charles Tavern * 1433 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA

Central Grocery Company

I never knew what a muffuletta could be (or was exactly, for that matter).
This Italian grocery knows how to make a sandwich. A whole round of bread,
crammed with salami, provolone, olives and other marinated goodies, makes a
beautiful oily mess. Wash it down (I dare you to eat more than half) with
Barq's in a bottle for a gratifying experience. (2/23/02)

I've never tried a muffaletta anywhere else but here, so it's not as if
I have a broad range of experience to compare with. But I like to believe
this is the quintessential version. I'm not even sure why it's a New Orleans
specialty, there's nothing particularly Cajun about it. In fact, the massive
sandwich would be right at home in my own heavily Italian-American
neighborhood, Carroll Gardens. Around these parts, they make some fine oily,
meaty, cheesy sandwiches, alright, but it's the olive salad that really adds
something. Or maybe its the bread. Or the swampy air? There's just something
about a muffaletta. (7/13/04)

CentralGrocery Company * 923 Decatur St., New Orleans,LA

Cafe du Monde

Who knew beignets and chicory cafe au lait could be so addictive. I couldn't get enough of those fried squares of dough–we went twice in one day.

What confuses me is how cans of Cafe du Monde coffee made it into Hong Kong Supermarket in Sunset Park. I noticed more than a few Asian waiters at the cafe. What if there's a covert smuggling operation going on? Who cares as long as I benefit. Now, if they'd only find a way to sneak warm, sugar-covered beignets into my neighborhood too. (2/23/02)

New Orleans is odd in that many (though certainly not all) tourist heavy haunts still offer good food. It's pretty rare in NYC to find a place that pleases visitors as well residents. Caf du Monde is crowded, potentially confusing (people seem to have a hard time figuring out if youre supposed to just take a table or wait to be seated, and then whether or not someone is supposed to come out and take your order) and youre in dangerously close proximity to overzealous street performers. But its all good. At least the beignets are. I try not to get too unnerved by all the women in scrunchies and fitted denim shorts, and men in polos and their pleated khaki shorts.

  I'm trying to figure out the Vietnamese/Caf du Monde connection. In NYC, youll frequently see cans of the stuff in Vietnamese restaurants, often integrated into make shift shrines. Almost all the wait staff at Caf du Monde are Vietnamese, as well. I could understand a Japanese fondness since they have franchises in Japan. But Vietnam? Is it just some odd hold over Francophila, or is there something deeper at work? (7/13/04)

Cafedu Monde * 1039 Decatur St., New Orleans,LA

La Peniche

My first meal in New Orleans was not a disappointment. I picked the oyster
po boy, and was minorly baffled when they asked, "do you want that dressed?"
I love going places where you don't know the dining procedures. The hardest
decision involved picking dessert off the hand-written dry–erase board
(there were three in the small space and the odd thing is that each of the
10-12 choices were written in different colors, yet the same corresponding
color on each board. Someone is anal about the daily specials). And it's an
impressive roster of sweets too. Oreo pie, pineapple upside-down cake, sweet
potato pecan pie, turtle cheesecake, and peanut butter chocolate chip pie.
Try getting those in NYC–sometimes we're too sophisticated for our own
good. (2/22/02)

I hadn't realized how gay and how large the clientele was on our
previous visit. I started wondering if there wasn't some kinky feeder/gainer fetish
occurring in front of my eyes. Not that I was prevented from enjoying my
food. The front door was locked and you had to be let in, something to do
with some criminal maniac loose in the neighborhood. How would the person
who let you in know whether or not you were the criminal? Bizarre, and very
un-NYC. Don't quote me on this, but I swear there was also a machete right
near the door. For protection, I assume.(7/04)

La Peniche * 1940 Dauphine St., New Orleans,LA

Triple 8

Pretty much banquet-sized room dim sum. Not sublime, but satisfying. I'm not
one of those finicky, stickler types. My only complaint: no turnip cakes.

Triple Eight Palace * 88 E. Broadway, New York, NY