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Gourmet Galley: Trip to farmers market inspires Shrimp Scampi

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Serve Simple Shrimp Scampi over toasted French bread slices.

A trip to the local farmers market is all I need to make me want to get cooking. I recently came home with Louisiana Gulf shrimp, mustard greens, beautiful carrots, turnips, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard and pork chops. I like shrimp simply prepared with just garlic, a hint of wine and lemon. That way if you have… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Stewed tomatoes, spices revive tried and true recipe

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Serve slow-cooked Stewed Tomato Soup with a sandwich or salad.

February is a good month in my book to experiment with soup. You don’t necessarily have to discount the old-timers in your experiment. While there are new and exciting ways to make soup these days, sometimes the best choice is an old tried-and-true that just needs some reviving. Take tomato soup, for example. Many of us grew… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Roasted Brussels sprouts a Moss family favorite

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND  --  For an easy side dish, try Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

Courtney McCullough Moss, who as a child grew up as my neighbor, is now a mother of three. I like it when young parents tell me about a great recipe they’ve tried or about something their family likes. Recently, Courtney mentioned how much her children, McCullough, 5, and Charlotte, 3, like vegetables. “If they see Brussels sprouts… Continue reading →

A joyous Jewish occasion of feasting, Purim also remembers intolerance

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Families often give platters of sweets and fruit to friends or people in need during the Jewish holiday of Purim. A typical platter contains, clockwise from top, Pecan Squares, Travados (Jerusalem Cinnamon Nut Cookies), Outrageous Brownies and Hamantaschen, the traditioinal Purim cookie.

Beginning at sundown on March 4, Jews around the world will celebrate Purim, a holiday often compared with Mardi Gras for its feasting, drinking and masquerading. The roots of Purim, as related in the Biblical Book of Esther, go back to ancient Persia, where the Jews were prosperous and prominent. King Ahasuerus, believed by scholars to… Continue reading →

Off the Menu: Restaurants touting Lenten seafood specials

Many south Louisiana restaurants are offering seafood specials during the Lenten season, including Ruffino’s Restaurant, 18811 Highland Road, Baton Rouge; Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar locations; and Zea Rotisserie & Grill locations. Ruffino Executive Chef Peter Sclafani, a third-generation chef from New Orleans, said he has planned dishes drawn from his cookbook, “Seasons of Louisiana,” as well as… Continue reading →

‘Single-malt Scotch offers a sense of place’

Photo by Rush Jagoe -- Whiskey pours come in 1- and 2-ounce servings, with no penalty for trying the smaller size.

Cigars. Leather couches. Wood-paneled club rooms. Cut crystal. Old money. Privilege. If there’s one thing single-malt Scotches can’t be accused of being associated with, it’s cheapness. There’s a prestige and classicism to the spirit and with good reason: Off-the-shelf bottles generally run between $50 and $100. Rare and exceptionally aged bottles can fetch thousands.… Continue reading →

WYES documentary explores recent explosion of Latino restaurant options

Photo provided by WYES -- A variety platter of meat, beans, rice and more, the bandeja paisa is the most popular dish at Mais Arepas.

Enjoy a fresh, citrusy well-spiced ceviche? How about a thick, earthy molé sauce? Maybe you’re thirsty, and a smoky mezcal cocktail is more up your alley. Learn about Latin flavors and their local history on the WYES program “Latino Cuisine in New Orleans,” showing on Channel 12 at 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26, and… Continue reading →

Digging In: Seafood lovers toast a different cocktail at Balise

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - The blue crab cocktail from the garde manger menu at Balise.

UPSCALE Blue Crab Cocktail Balise 640 Carondelet St., (504) 459-4449; balisenola.com When discussing his very new CBD restaurant Balise, chef Justin Devillier seems most excited about the garde manger. This is both a section of the menu for chilled dishes, from salads… Continue reading →

Ian McNulty: Vietnamese restaurateur breaks from the expected, takes more contemporary path

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - The restaurant Kin is slated to open the first week of March near Xavier University.

As his first restaurant has taken shape over the past few months, Hieu Than constantly heard variations on the same refrain. “Everyone who saw this place and saw us working on it, they’d ask if it’s going to be, you know, insert-Asian-restaurant-concept-here,” said Than. “I’m Vietnamese, that’s my heritage, but that’s not where my culinary outlook… Continue reading →

Eat your vegetables: Sautéing onions just right adds to soup’s flavor

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND  --  French Onion Soup

Most adults like a good bowl of onion soup for lunch or dinner. If you have never made a homemade version, try this one. There’s nothing to making it if you don’t mind cutting up a couple of large onions. I use a mandolin to cut the onions into fine rings. If you… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Mild difference: Cauliflower lets other flavors pop

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Peppers add some zip to slow-cooked Jalapeno Cauliflower and Cheese.

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s one of those veggies mild in taste and has great potential for soaking up flavors from other ingredients. It does require some liquid to do well in the slow-cooking process, and chicken or vegetable broth is an excellent way to provide both the liquid and flavor potential. Add a few… Continue reading →

Fluffy Delight: Chocolate Angel Food perfect for birthdays

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND  --  Everyone will like creamy Chocolate Angel Food (Cake or Dessert).

If your birthday is in February and you live in south Louisiana, there is a good chance your birthday cake will be a king cake. This simple Chocolate Angel Food (Cake or Dessert) is the one I prepared for my granddaughter who has a February birthday, but she didn’t want another king cake. The Chocolate Angel Food… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Not quite ‘hands off,’ but still easy

Advocate photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  Thick-Cut Pork Chops With Warm Apple-Cabbage Slaw, prepared and cooked on a sheet pan, goes together quickly.

HH “Sheet Pan Suppers: 120 Recipes for Simple, Surprising, Hands-Off Meals Straight From the Oven” by Molly Gilbert Workman Publishing, $15.95 296-page paperback When a cookbook author claims to have an easy preparation, easy cooking method that requires only one pan, I’m definitely interested. That’s what author and cooking instructor Molly… Continue reading →

What’s Happening, Feb. 19, 2015

Southeastern Louisiana University’s Chefs Evening will provide a “taste of the Northshore” from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 8 at the new Student Union Ballroom in Hammond. The annual event, which features food from local restaurants, silent auctions, wine tasting,… Continue reading →

The Year of the Goat: Hear drums and gongs? It’s the Chinese New Year

AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Craig Lee  --  Dumplings, such as Shanghai Dumplings from a banquet at Yank Sing restaurant in San Francisco, are traditionally served on Chinese New Year.

Happy 4712th Chinese year! Thursday, Feb. 19, marks the start of Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. The most festive of all Chinese holidays, the new year celebration begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and will last for about two weeks. Thursday welcomes in the beginning of the Year… Continue reading →

Tuning in for Lenten

Photo provided by StarKist  --  For a colorful Lenten meal, prepare Tuna Stuffed Peppers.

When the fun of Carnival season ended at midnight Tuesday, many Christians in south Louisiana began the observance of the solemn Lenten season of penance and abstinence. Lent, a 40-day period of penance and prayer between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday, is traditionally a time when Catholics and… Continue reading →

At new CBD restaurant Trenasse, flavors of the hunting camp get a contemporary shine

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Cypress tables, an oyster bar and a marsh scene mural add character to the new restaurant inside the InterContinental Hotel.

An impressive-looking dish can pause the conversation when it arrives. The oyster log at Trenasse, however, looked like it could stop traffic. A lacquered slab of cypress nearly as long as our four-top table, the log was like a diorama of three dozen oysters ($59). Some sizzled with garlic butter, some were prepared… Continue reading →

Two business stories show that the food truck game can be a two-way street

Advocate photo by J.T. BLATTY-- in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Owners Theresa Galli and Gavin Cady at work in the kitchen of their new restaurant, 1000 Figs.

The new restaurant 1000 Figs is tiny by nearly any standard, but for proprietors Teresa Galli and Gavin Cady, it represents a big expansion from the Fat Falafel, the food truck that launched the new business. They’ve increased their range from falafel sandwiches and fries to a much fuller menu of Mediterranean flavors, they’ve… Continue reading →

Ian McNulty: Shaya mines chef’s roots, blending crossroads cuisine with family ties

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - Shaya's twist on breakfast pairs hummus and eggs.

As an Israeli restaurant, the newly-opened Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213; shayarestaurant.com) doesn’t have much precedent in New Orleans. But it does have plenty of familiar touchstones. Meals start with pita bread, hot from the wood-fired oven in the dining room. And the menu offers falafel, lamb kebabs and hummus (in four varieties) before… Continue reading →

All hands on deck: For New Orleans bartenders, Mardi Gras means massive preparation, nonstop orders

Photo provided by SoBou - Abigail Gullo, head bartender at SoBou, says scheduling during Carnival is a delicate exercise, since everyone wants time off to see their favorite parade.

For most New Orleanians, gearing up for Mardi Gras means finishing a costume, hauling a ladder to the neutral ground or making a bottomless pot of red beans for company. But there’s one group of unsung heroes who aren’t so busy celebrating. Instead, they’re providing an essential service that keeps everything else running smoothly. We’re… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Start before dinner to be ready for dessert

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Treat your Valentine to Strawberries and Chocolate Creme.

We look for the “pretty” factor when it comes to Valentine’s Day table settings, dinners and the dessert. Certainly, there are tasty dishes that aren’t pretty, but it’s nice when all the elements come together. There is definitely dessert — preferably one that doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare — at the end of my… Continue reading →

Share your love with a sweet treat from the heart

Photo provided by McCormick  --  For an easy-to-make Valentine's Day treat, make Fudgy Raspberry Mug Brownie for two in the microwave.

Share a little love on St. Valentine’s Day with a homemade treat or a special alcoholic drink. If the budget doesn’t allow for expensive Valentine’s Day gifts for your significant other, treat your sweetie to a sweet from the heart. The chocoholic in your life will love Chocolate Valentine Brownies topped with chocolate ganache and… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Spice up your Valentine ... in the kitchen

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND  --  Almond Cream Tart makes the perfect ending to a special Valentine's Day meal.

In place of the traditional steak and baked potato this Valentine’s Day, let’s have Kathy’s Southwest Crab Cakes. These simple-to-prepare crab cakes can be made up in the morning and waiting in the refrigerator to heat when it’s time for dinner. Serve them with a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice and salsa. (If… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Cobble together a sweet treat

Advocate file photo  --  Celebrate Valentine's Day or Presidents' Day with Easy Cherry Cobbler.

As a child, I rated February rather dull when it came to holidays and sweet treats. While this month now means plenty of king cakes and parades, when I was a youngster, my family’s Carnival season usually began and ended on Mardi Gras day. That left Valentine’s Day and George Washington’s birthday. Those minor observances did… Continue reading →

From crawfish to chicken to mini block parties, venturing off the parade route has its rewards

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Lemongrass and ginger set off the chicken wings at Mopho, a Vietnamese-inspired restaurant in Mid-City.

As parades roll, the goal for some is to get as close to the floats as possible, the better to haul in beads. But when it’s time to eat, sometimes it pays to venture just a few blocks off the parade route. In the days ahead, here are a few offbeat finds… Continue reading →

School, church booths feed parade appetites with Carnival fundraisers

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Tim Sicard, left, and Peter Meisner help man the Academy of the Sacred Heart Fathers' Club concession stand, raising money for the school and giving parade goers a stop for refreshments during parades.

The transformative power of Carnival changes ordinary men and women into make-believe monarchs and familiar streets into promenades of colorful splendor. It also converts schoolyards into food courts, it recasts church kitchens as short-order snack shacks and, for 10 days each year, it turns bank consultant Jerry Plough into the manager of an open-air… Continue reading →

Ian McNulty: Taste Cajun country, just off the route

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty -Gumbo with a side of potato salad from Mosquito Supper Club. The Cajun food specialist has taken over the butcher shop Cleaver & Co. through Feb. 15.

What’s a seven-course Cajun breakfast? A pound of boudin and a six-pack of beer, or so goes the oft-told joke around Acadiana. The six-pack is up to you, but you can get the boudin and plenty more two blocks from the Uptown parade route this week as Mosquito Supper Club (mosquitosupperclub.com) continues its ongoing take-over of… Continue reading →

Antoine’s, Gautreau’s chefs honored by Carnival krewes

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY -- Chef Mike Regua, who has been at Antoine's Restaurant for more than 40 years, is this year's king of the Krewe of Lafcadio, a marching parade that honors local cuisine.

Chefs can be leaders in many ways, from the kitchens they direct to the causes they champion. This week, you’ll see two leading parades as well. When the Krewe of Muses rolls Uptown on Thursday (Feb. 12), chef Sue Zemanick will be in riding high atop the krewe’s giant red high heel shoe float as this… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Stew meat a tasty, versatile ingredient

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Use stew meat for slow-cooked Salsa Beef Over Rice.

There is more to stew meat than just a beef stew. Use it to make a tasty vegetable soup or, in this case, a lovely salsa and black bean dish. Reinvent the leftovers and have another dish entirely. Freezing the main part of any meal is a good way of ensuring another good meal down the road,… Continue reading →

Home cooks love French cooking

Advocate photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  Raspberry Coconut Bars are easy to make, and portable.

HH “The Little French Bakery Cookbook: Sweet & Savory Recipes and Tales from a Pastry Chef and Her Cooking School” by Susan Holding Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95 268-page hardcover Based on the cookbooks that have crossed my desk in recent weeks, I predict that French cooking is the… Continue reading →