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Katie's Frittata
Restaurant Review: Katie’s of Mid-City

Katie’s of Mid-City is a great neighborhood restaurant to visit if you’re looking for a real New Orleans place. Or, if you’re not interested in going near the French Quarter.

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Hi, Again, Dear Readers:

As we begin the process of getting back to normal, I realized it’s been a while since I did a restaurant review. It’s been some  time since I’ve been in this particular restaurant, too, but I never forgot it. Maybe BF and I should take a ride there and have lunch one day, and drag The E-Man with us.

Before I tell you about Katie’s of Mid-City, I’ve got a few other things to tell you about first.

Instant Pot: Venison Roast

So, back in December, one of the neighbors brought over what BF said was “deer roast.” I have no idea what part of the deer. I asked BF how to cook this. His response: “just like a regular roast.” Oh, that’s helpful. So I bagged them up and put them into a bag with other meats in the big freezer.

While researching the Instant Pot post, I came across this recipe for Instant Pot Venison Roast. Dinner is always a challenge to figure out no matter how far in advance I try to plan it. So I asked BF if we could try this out.

Meat and Potatoes. How bad can that be?

I’m happy to report that I made this for us over the weekend and it was a success. I only had dried thyme on hand, and I used about two teaspoons of it. The venison came out tender and juicy, and the vegetables perfectly cooked.

Yes, I know it’s not “keto,” but as I always say, I eat “keto, mostly.” And I didn’t take pictures, sorry. If you’re in possession of venison but have no idea what to do with it, I highly recommend this recipe. Just understand the irony that it will take a good three hours using the. . .Instant Pot.

Freezer Organization

A quick note–if you have a large freezer as we do now, things can get very disorganized quickly.

The solution: reusable grocery bags. No kidding. Wash them first.

I could have sworn I saw this tip on One Good Thing By Jillee, but now I can’t find it there. But I did find it on LifeHacker’s website, albeit shorter.

Dionne at Home Made Our Way has a more detailed blog post on organizing your chest freezer. Because I’m telling you, I speak from experience–you’ll be getting frostbite trying to find that one thing you need somewhere. (I have a pair of gloves for the day I have to do that.)

BF is of the habit of opening the lid of the big freezer and chucking things in without looking. I’ve shown him the “system,” but he’s not concerned. I’m guessing he thinks the solution is to make sure I have additional housework and chores. I’ll fix that one day.

Lunch After The Activity at Katie’s

Because going to the SGI-USA Community Center in New Orleans (which has not yet reopened) is an all-day thing for me, frequently I go have lunch or coffee with The E-Man, and sometimes other members too. Most often, I need a little “leaded” coffee for the long trip home.

The E-Man was not born in New Orleans, but he’s certainly made it home after many years of living there. He knows every street, every avenue, and every place to go as well as avoid.

One particular day he said something about “Katie’s.” I had no idea what he was talking about. After all, I haven’t lived there in more than 20 years. But one thing about The E-Man, he’s been around.

Katie's dining room

Really busy place, and for good reason.

Because I had no idea where I was going, I had to follow him. In a pickup truck, no less, in a part of town I was never completely familiar with–Mid-City. But off we went to a little place that wasn’t touristy, and a little off the beaten path.

Katie’s, The Place

Katie’s is one of those restaurants that if nobody told you about it, you might not even know it was there. One block off the Canal Street streetcar line, it’s at 3701 Iberville Street. But we drove and had to park over a block away–that’s where parking was available.

The restaurant is one that’s nearly always busy and crowded, and like everyone else, we had to wait outside before getting in. What does that tell you? Everybody wants to go there!

The place has also been featured on two Food Network programs, “Food On The Road,” and this one.

Guy Fieri Poster In Katie's

Yes, Guy Fieri’s been here, too.

And in 2013, it was voted a Best Of New Orleans by local publication Gambit. So that wait for a table tells you that the place has a loyal following. Waiting at Cafe Express or The Olive Garden is just not the same thing as waiting to get into Katie’s, because Katie’s is a different experience completely.

Casual Interior

It’s a casual place, like a lot of places are now. And that’s OK, too:

Katie's Dining Area

Window view in between customers. It filled up quickly again.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Katie’s wasn’t spared.

Katie's water line during Katrina

Because Mid-City is a below-sea-level neighborhood, Katie’s took a fair amount of water.

But they rebuilt and came back. With decor like this:

Katie's Fork Sculpture

Now that’s using your noodle!

Or This:

Katies sign in ladies' room

This was in the ladies’ room but probably shouldn’t have been.

You can’t help but have a good time.

More Views

From the upstairs, I saw this outside, just someone’s house:

Katie's Upstairs View

Nice!

And there are more awards!

Katie's Awards

These were in the upstairs area, where there is both food prep and additional seating. (And the ladies’ room.)

Downstairs the casual, fun vibe was the same:

Katie's big painting

Interesting, yes?

I liked this too:

Katie's Picture Gallery

On the left side is one with, shall we say, “local vernacular.”

Katie's painting trio

These were particularly interesting

Since our last trip, Katie’s has stayed relatively the same, I’m told. That means you’ll see much the same thing, but I can’t answer for the menu.

The place is great but not terribly big. Although it’s on a corner, it’s in one of those older neighborhoods with small buildings and “shotgun” houses. In fact, that’s probably what the blue house next door is. That being said, expect a wait, especially on popular days like Sundays.  They’re only open from 9-3 on Sunday, and everybody goes there after church.

Our Brunch At Katie’s

Let’s talk about food. It’s casual, it’s good, and just what you’d expect from a place like this.

The E-Man knows what he likes, and ordered something called Oysters Slessinger.

Katie's Oyster Slessinger

This was what The E-Man ordered as an appetizer!

This appetizer consists of a half-dozen oysters (I think I tried one or two, and you can also order a dozen) along with “creamy provel, shrimp, spinach and bacon served with french bread.” I have no idea what “provel” is and didn’t ask, nor did I handle the French bread. I left that to The E-Man.

For lunch, he ordered:

Katie's chicken & waffles

Yes, he was hungry.

I asked for something that was gluten-free and was offered a frittata. Yes, please. Thank you.

Katie's Frittata

In keeping with gluten-free and low-carb, I asked and was offered this delicious frittata.

All cheesy, with sausage on the inside. Italian, if I remember correctly:

Katies frittata with a bite out of it

Delicious!

No complaint from me!

Of course, when I picked up BF from work that afternoon, I told him all about it. His response: “that’s a lot different  than the ham and cheese sandwich I had.” Touche. I did make sure he had a good dinner.

Rack Of Tabasco

If you like Tabasco, so do they:

Tabasco rack in Katie's

They did have every flavor of it, including my favorite, Chipotle.

Some of Katie’s online menu items aren’t the same as what we had that day, because we went for Sunday brunch. But like many neighborhood restaurants, they may also change their menu periodically.

Have A Good Time At Katie’s!

No, this isn’t a sponsored post. I’ve been wanting to write this for a while, and finally got to it. Besides, one of my astute readers may be planning a trip to New Orleans soon and wants to find a good place to eat. I don’t think you’ll go wrong by including a visit to Katie’s in the itinerary.

Katie’s is at 3701 Iberville Street in New Orleans (70119), and their number is (504) 488-6582. You can find a map at the bottom of their home page. They open daily at 11 am, and close at 9 pm during the week, 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday. Visit them for brunch from 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays. Call or email for reservations, or for larger parties. They’re still doing curbside and takeout if you prefer.

I’m planning another review of a Mid-City place soon–and they have coffee plus sweets. No, it’s not a Starbucks, either.

Enjoy!

Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes

Hello, again, Dear Readers:

I’ve had a lot happen since my last post, including. . .car repairs. I missed last week’s gardening lecture at the library, darnit, and I missed seeing our Miss Shirley. Soon as I get the Texas state inspection finished and the registration sticker taken care of, I’ll be rolling for another year (we hope.)

If you haven’t heard, Starbucks is revamping their My Rewards program. Some frequent-customer math majors have figured out that due to the new 2-points-per-dollar-spent, members will have to spend a total of $62.50 in order to get a free thing. Currently, points are issued per transaction, no matter how much you spend, whether it’s a small coffee or a $7 salad or your favorite over-sweetened coffee-tasting drink thing. The new program will be strictly on what you spend, so big spenders get free stuff faster, but occasional visitors like me might be longer for a free thing. One complaint levied was that customers were requesting each item rung separately, giving them more points but holding up the lines. Starbucks will be keeping the “star dash” days, where you buy a certain thing, or use the mobile order app, or come in after a certain time and get extra stars; that’s how I’ve “profited” with it. I check the emails from Starbucks and use them accordingly, paying attention and getting extra stars now and again for different things. These promotions will continue.

I got my latest free thing on Monday, another salad. Because I managed to get extra points on Tuesday for something else I wanted, my next free thing expires 4/28. Woo hoo! It pays to pay attention, folks. The newly revamped program goes live on April 12, and if you’re already enrolled, you’ll be rolled up into the new program. Any points you have will be carried over and  multiplied by 11, so it behooves one to get 11 points by the 11th of April to get 121 points to start with. (I’m not a complete math dunce.) If you are already enrolled, pay attention to your emails so you’ll know when the “extra point” days are, especially Mondays, and rack up 11 points before COB April 11th.

Easter is this weekend, and our lovely new HEB will be closed on Sunday. I ducked in today to pick up some milk and a few other things. Well, as usual, while I shop in the daytime, I basically had lunch at HEB. Salmon burgers, chips with a very hot guacamole, a sip of fresh orange juice, some ham, and samples of one of these Bavarian Cream Fruit Pies that the demo lady was happy for me to have:

The Bavarian Cream Fruit Pie for Easter

The Bavarian Cream Fruit Pie for Easter.

There’s also a larger one for $16. I did not bring one home, and I’ll be working hard to rid myself of the three samples she offered me today. They’re “freshly made in the store,” but. . .here’s how. I’m guessing the crusts are baked in the bakery, and then something called “Bavarian Cream” is poured from a huge plastic tube into the crust. then it’s topped with fruit, then with a glaze, then sweetened whipped cream is piped on the rim. Then for an extra touch, some crumbles are sprinkled on top. It’s not an overly sweet treat, and not as heavy as the kinds of desserts served during the holidays, but it’s pretty good. At least, I thought it was until I saw the “Bavarian Cream” poured into the crust. Oh, well.

On the way out I saw a stuffed toy I know you’ll just want two of, and if you have children or grandchildren, you’ll want to put these in their Easter basket:

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Yes, those are stuffed armadilloes.

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No kidding. Cute, but I passed on it. This time.

OK, cooking.

I’ve had some venison in the freezer for quite some time, a gift from Neighbor J upstairs from one of his West Texas hunting trips. It was a small wrapped package with just a few pieces, but I decided to use it. Haven’t had venison in a while, and I decided to. . .oh, you know what I did with it. After I used my multi-bladed hand-held meat tenderizer on it and put plenty of oil on it, then seasoned it up:

Waffled venison bits

They fit right on the plates, too.

And why not? After Sunday’s burned waffle mishap. . .oh, nevermind. These turned out pretty good for a quick dinner.

Venison. . .bits. Waffled!

Venison. . .bits. Waffled!

See what I mean about your waffle maker being an indoor grill? Of course, I’m now concerned that with all the use and scrubbing I might rub off the finish. I’ll worry about that when the time comes (the plates are $40 to replace.) I could have just used the grill plates, but. . .why? Next time.

Anyway. . . .

Spring is here, sort of, and I’ve been enjoying the last gasp of winter. Well, we think it is. . .a few years ago, we had 40-degree days in MAY. But not many of them. Every time I put away my favorite warm winter boots, I have to take them out again. Yesterday I was bundled in socks and a long-sleeved shirt, but all last week, like today, it’s  t-shirts and shorts. That’s life on the Gulf Coast. Folks in the northeast are still shoveling snow, Which brings me to today’s blog post.

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I have all but one of her books (I just haven’t gotten the latest yet, nor Nigella Lawson’s) and honest, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked up anything bad from a BC book. I recently made one of my favorites–twice–once the week I got sick and the second time, because Neighbor E was given some delicious carrots as big as his forearm. (OK, they were big like cucumbers.) Like the potatoes I turned into waffled hash browns, carrots are not something I have often because of the high sugar content. When he gave me the carrots, I knew what I was going to make: Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes.

This recipe is from the 2006 Barefoot Contessa At Home, which I’d ordered online for my birthday, and requested it autographed. I forgot about that until I saw the invoice in the book, and looked at the title page. Yep, that’s the one.

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I ordered this on the website, several years before I met Ina in person here in Houston.

You can order any one of her books autographed here, very easily; that’s what I did for this book. Oh, look! I don’t yet have Make It Ahead, and now she’s got a new book coming in October. Cooking for Jeffrey! (That’s her hungry husband, if you didn’t know that.) Awww. . .I wonder if he’ll be going on her book tour with her this time. Probably not, he’s a busy guy. I’ll get that last book one of these days.

So, Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes.

It’s one of those recipes where you have just a few steps, put it all in the pot and let it cook. When you’re done, you have this warm, tasty bowl food that you know you will look forward to making again. This second time, I made a double batch so I could give some to both E and Neighbor R. E texted a couple of days later that he really enjoyed the “lentil soup.” It’s not lentil soup, but that’s OK.  He’d added one or two things to it, but he liked it, and so did R. So. . .three thumbs up.

Ready to make it? Here’s how it goes:

The setup.

The setup (except for the carrots, I forgot to take pictures before I started cutting them up.)

First, you heat the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. (I used a chili pot, same one I use for popcorn, but any large pot will do.) Your carrots should be scrubbed clean and large diced like this:

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Your onions should also be large diced:

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And toss that into the pot with the carrots on medium-low heat, cooking for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions start browning; stir with a wooden spoon occasionally.

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Chop up the garlic, and cook for one more minute.

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Used my little red garlic do-dad for this job:

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Easy, and no smelly hands (if you’re lucky.) So while that’s going on, open up that can of plum tomatoes and dump the whole thing into your food processor:

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Blitz it a little with the pulse button to coarsely chop them. Also, if you’ve not done this already, rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there aren’t any stones or dirt in them.

Now add the tomatoes, along with the lentils:

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The chicken broth:

IMG_2939

Sorry, home-made chicken stock is not on my dance card right now. Central Market’s will have to do.

And the 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme:

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Now you see the wisdom of a hole in one corner of the cutting board. Makes this kind of thing very easy.

If you don’t have fresh, you could use 3/4 of a teaspoon dried thyme. (I recommend fresh, though.)  You also add the curry powder, salt and pepper at this point.

IMG_2945

Raise the heat to make it boil, then lower the heat and cover it. Then you just let it cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Check it to make sure it’s still simmering occasionally. When it’s done, and the lentils are soft, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes, then add 1 tablespoon of a good red wine vinegar. Stir, season to taste (if you like) and serve it hot.

IMG_2946

Ta-dah! Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes.

Actually, the liquid cooks down, and I guess I forgot to take another picture when it was done. So here’s the picture from the book, which is pretty much what I ended up with and brought to my two taste-testers:

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It’s just a little side dish, but it sure does pack a lot of flavor. Just the thing when you want something warm, cozy and satisfying. I have a note in my book to make a double batch–it’s that good. And if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock–it’s vegetarian! Wait, it’s vegan too, right? OK–it’s “meat free,” “wheat free,” and “soy free.” I don’t care, it’s just so tasty and good that I should make it more often than I do.

One thing, though–because it’s higher in carbohydrates (starch) than, say, a sweet potato, make sure you have some protein with it too, or you might find your self in need of a nap. The first time I made some for dinner with AC, I had some the next day and promptly needed to sleep. That was Tuesday. On Friday, my lungs started burning when I coughed, so I figured out that it probably wasn’t the lentils, but the bronchitis. If you’re sensitive to high carb stuff, have some chicken or something so you don’t need a nap. Especially if you have some at lunchtime at work.

If you do fall asleep at your desk, you’re on your own. You could pretend you were in prayer, but I don’t know if that will work or not.

Lentils aren’t as common in cuisine in the US as they are in other places, like India. They sure are good, though, and this recipe can show you how good they can be. (I think I have a lentil salad recipe in the new Giada book, but I’ll check on that soon.) If you do like lentils, I hope you get inspired to try this dish. A printable PDF file of this recipe is also on the Recipes page with an ingredient list and exact directions.

So what are you waiting for? Go get some lentils! Easter is Sunday, and you won’t go wrong with this dish. . .unless you don’t make enough.

Happy Easter, and Happy Dining!

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