Review: Treats from New Orleans
Nobody said that law school is going to be an easy gig, but nothing could have prepared me for the shitstorm I faced when the first round of exams rolled out in October. I mean, you know it’s bad when they let you take in a cheat-sheet and you still have no idea what you’re supposed to answer – it’s really that bad. So the last thing on my mind over the past two months has been writing for Bread, Butter, and Bacon, let alone make myself food that’s worth mentioning on my blog.
To add insult to injury, the weather decided it was time to separate the wheat from the chaff by dipping temperatures far below zero almost overnight. Combine that with days of unreliable heating and it suddenly looked a lot like one of the Survivorman episodes somewhere high up in the Andes – except I wasn’t forced to drink my own pee (not to say I didn’t get close).
Obviously, then, being in the presence of a familiar face was not only a blessing, it was a God-send. Lucky for me Sumedha had a chance to visit me on her way back from New Orleans and with her she brought plenty of goodies that I saved for today’s special review post.
New Orleans, as many people know, was the site of unfortunate events like Hurricane Katrina and the original “Girls Gone Wild” videos. It’s also ground zero for Mardi Gras, celebrity ghosts stories, and most important of all great southern comfort food. Apart from some of the best seafood in the world, New Orleans also holds bragging rights for best Cajun food and Creole cuisine. If you’re unsure what those are then it’s time to utilize that handy dictionary tool on your computer.
“New Orleans, as many people know, was the site of unfortunate events like Hurricane Katrina and the original “Girls Gone Wild” videos.”
Getting to my loot, Sumedha was amazing enough to get me anything that is unique to New Orleans – everything from spices and authentic jerkies, to region specific chocolates and my favourite of them all, bacon caramel toffee. In the day and age of beefed up airport security I’m truly amazed how she managed to go unnoticed with real alligator jerky in her bag, but I’m not going to complain.
For your reading pleasure I will now eat every single item she brought me and rub it in your face.
la Belle Creole “Creamy Pralines”
Having grown up in Germany, I had a completely different understanding of what a praline was compared to what I was given from New Orleans. I guess chocolate is one of those things that got lost in translation, but the german praline is basically a sweet covered in chocolate, where the english version is a crisp or semi-crisp candy consisting of butter, brown sugar, and pecans (covered in chocolate).
The praline was so damn good that I didn’t even stop to question which kind of praline I was devouring. As the box advertised, the praline was super creamy with perfectly roasted pecans in the middle. Chewing on it long enough I almost found it to taste very much like the banana bread I made a while back, minus the banana taste of course.
It wasn’t even the gross kind of creamy that you get in Snickers and Mars bars – it didn’t stick to my teeth and wasn’t overly grainy. Instead it had a refined caramel-y texture that can only be described as perfection (and just to clarify – I’m not getting paid for this post, although donations by mentioned parties are always welcome).
Too bad I only got one of those pralines – apparently I have full dental insurance under my student plan that I haven’t had a chance to use yet. I guess it’s only fair since they don’t cover liposuction, but I digress.
Mo’s Uncured Bacon Caramel Toffee
I don’t know who the hell this Mo character is, where his bacon comes from, and what his deal is combining disgusting toffee with the holiest of holy kinds of bacon, but I like what he’s done with it. I’m usually not a fan of bacon combined with chocolate and I definitely hate toffee, but this sweet is actually very decent in its execution. Although it’s a little too sweet for my taste, the toffee and chocolate are perfect combined with an oversteeped cup of tea, and the bacon is not lost in the orgy of flavours resulting from this unholy union. That aside, who doesn’t like chocolate that comes vacuum packed on top of shredded paper, inside a jewelry box, covered in decorative wrapping – I know I do.
Smoked Buffalo and Beef Jerky / Smoked Alligator and Beef Jerky
Although this treat is not directly related to New Orleans by virtue of being manufactured in Berrien Springs, Michigan, it still deserves a mention because any kind of jerky is good jerky, especially if its either Buffalo or Alligator. Now I’ve had Buffalo steaks (also known as Bison), and I’ve also had Alligator steak, but their jerky took me to a whole other planet – namely planet pain just south of Uranus, because these SOBs were covered in all kinds of hot-sauce that couldn’t be dealt with with any amount of Almond Milk (yay lactose intolerance – not).
These treats were super tasty, but only after chowing through half of a stick did I realize just how spicy of a treat I was indulging in. Needless to say that Buffalo Bob does not mess around when it comes to making jerky. I’ll give these beauties a 10/10, although you couldn’t pay me enough for having to go through this experience again.
Last but not least I was surprised with what I can only describe as my favourite gift of them all: authentic creole and cajun spices from New Orleans. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried any of them yet in fear of wasting even the smallest amount, but rest assured I’ll be using these bad boys once I’m back in Vancouver this christmas, cooking up a storm on home turf. Maybe by then I’ll have enough time and motivation to give cooking another shot.
As it stands, I don’t see myself being able to devote too much time cooking and photographing my endeavours for the near future. If someone told me two months ago that I would be making most of my meals in the microwave I would have laughed them out – but here I am. I do still make “fancier” food every so often when I want to show off my culinary prowess to my peers, but the majority of it ends up on Facebook with very few words to accompany it. So if you’re hell-bent on finding out what I’m making for lunch or dinner, follow me on Facebook so I can put a name to the peace bond against you.
‘Till then, happy midterm season!