Must Be the Season of the Witch–And Barleywine & Bourbon

I’m not a huge beer drinker, but Barleywines are their own animal and a more distinct choice over regular beer. Anchor Brewing’s Old Foghorn is my go-to: savory and spicy. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is another great option–slightly sweeter with aggressive hops.

It’s the time of year to crush some bourbon, preferably 100 proof–or higher. Henry McKenna Bottled in Bond is soul-warmingly delicious. 2 cubes, squeeze of lemon peel, boom. Blanton’s is another sipping bourbon and killer in a Manhattan–my preferred cocktail. The Manhattan is tough, yet elegant . . . rustic and refreshing (much like myself). I serve Manhattans strained into a rocks glass with a twist of lemon. NO CHERRIES. Instead of sweet vermouth, I use Carpano Antica, a family-made amaro with a secret botanical recipe that is lush and herbal rather than cloying and bitter.

2 oz Blanton’s Bourbon
1 oz Carpano Antica
2 dashes Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Add all ingredients to a stirring glass with ice. Stir 40-50 times. Strain into your rocks glass and squeeze a lemon peel with the rind towards the drink to release the oil. Rub the peel around the edge of your glass and drop that peel into the drink. Championship in a glass.

Enjoy your Barleywine or Manhattan cocktail by a roaring fire–wait, what am I talking about? We live in New Orleans, my friends! Serve Barleywine or Blanton’s Manhattans at your Halloween shindigs. Your friends will be so impressed with your taste in beverages that they won’t notice you “forgot” to dress up. Oh yeah, and get a little creepy while you rock out to this:

murf reeve’s all hallow’s playlist

The Unreleased Themes of Hellraiser - The Coil
Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight – The Misfits
Phoenix – The Cult
Creeping Death – Metallica
J.B. Witchdance – Masters of Reality
The Wizard – Black Sabbath
The Most Dangerous Animal is Me – Scissorfight
Diary of a Madman – Gravediggaz
Scumbag Blues – Them Crooked Vultures
Prison Sex – Tool
976-EVIL – Deftones
Walk Like a Zombie – Horrorpops



Shrimp & Chickpea Salad with Smoked Goat Cheese Remoulade

1 ½ pounds, peeled and deveined Louisiana Shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
4 green onions, diced
1 cup mayonnaise (or aioli)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 ounces smoked goat cheese
2 tablespoons mint, chiffonade
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, cover the soaked chickpeas with fresh water and cook over medium high heat till tender. When tender, drain and set to the side to cool.

Preheat the grill. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill the shrimp for 1-­2 minutes per side. Place the grilled shrimp on a sheet pan and set to the side to cool. Once cool, roughly chop the grilled shrimp and combine with the cooled chickpeas.

In a separate mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients, mixing until well combined. Toss the chickpeas and shrimp with this dressing. Chill for at least 2 hours and serve cold.



7 New Orleans Restaurants with Fresh Flavors, Faces, and Spaces

Ste. Marie was reportedly in the midst of a welcome rebirth when its young chef, Ngoc Nguyen, died tragically this past January. Veteran New Orleans chef Kristen Essig stepped into that difficult void and made the most of it. Her cooking exhibits impeccable taste, and it contains memorable details: The stoutest, tenderest jerk shrimp gilded with mango chow chow. Alabama peaches sweating natural fruit juice into a crab-and-quinoa salad. A sunshine-yellow egg yolk peering out from (of all things) a bowl of restorative yaka mein. What had devolved into a cold corporate exercise now feels like a chic urban bistro with a real point of view.

Thanks Brett Anderson!

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Sainte Marie is Impressing


“I did have a chance to eat at Sainte Marie Brasserie recently. Chef Kristen Essig has been running things in the kitchen at Sainte Marie for a few months now, and she’s brought a more modern approach to the formerly brasserie-standard menu. On the face of it, you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish her food from a dozen other restaurants that have opened in the last five years. She uses a lot of local, in-season ingredients. There’s a comfort food angle to many of her dishes, though with a sophisticated touch. What sets her food apart, at least from what I’ve tasted, is an imaginative combination of flavors.”

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chef Kristen Essig featured on


On Being a Boss: Kristen Essig Takes Over at Sainte Marie

It’s been nearly six months since Emeril’s and Peristyle vet Kristen Essig took over at Sainte Marie, the star-crossed CBD restaurant that was in the process of revamping itself when its young chef, Ngoc Nguyen, died quite suddenly in January of a heart attack. Essig, whose career as a professional chef has had such unexpected pit-stops at Susan Spicer’s kitchen and a sprawling home in Montana where she served as a family’s private chef, has infused the Sainte Marie menu with her own locavore sensibilities (she used to manage some of the Crescent City Farmers Markets, too). Although her personal life has all but vanished since she became Sainte Marie’s executive chef, she’s happy to once again be part of a kitchen team, and back full-time in New Orleans.

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Chris Hannah’s New Orleans


The Central Business District is home to some of the city’s best hotel bars—a treasure trove of classic New Orleans cocktails. Hannah’s typical drinks tour starts with a visit to  Loa for one of Alan Walters’ creations. Nearby NOLA classic, Sazerac Bar, is a must-visit, but he also favors Swizzle Stick Bar, where bartender Lu Brow holds court. Lately, he’s been frequenting newcomer Saint Marie for their Monday afternoon Chartreuse Happy Hour, and “when I’m famished, their tuna tartar and delicious gnocchi.”

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