Happy Hour Hunting

After the brutal artic & rain conditions in New Orleans and carnival season the Wild Cocktailians finally managed to carve out a nice day for sipping some happy hour cocktails and noshing offers in the New Orleans Warehouse district.  Our Mission: seek out and find the best places that provide the biggest bang for our buck!First stop: El Patio Mexican Kitchen and Tequila GardenWe pulled up to TV parking at 3p.m in front of the restaurant.  We made a beeline for an outside table to take advantage of wonderful weather. 

outside, el patio
El Patio outdoor dining

Outside dining provides more of a light food and drink options with different  menus for indoor & outdoor. The spacious patio is popular w med students & instructors. Apparently electronic pop music noise draws a certain night time party crowd (really El Patio at 3 in the afternoon???).  Barry volunteered to up their music game for trade outs.  Not only would it earn El Patio some serious music cred the neighbors probably would stop filing noise complaints!!!!!!!!!!!!

  Certain drinks and dishes are 50% off from 3-6:30pm.  El Patio doesn’t have much of a website-go to facebook for the menu–but be aware that happy hour items listed on fb as may not be available.

Mexican cocktails, chips & salsa
El Patio chips, dips & drinks

 For cocktails, I had a Sangriarita –a generous sized drink that is a riff on a Sangria & tequila-with just a little citrus. I was pleased it WASN’T citrus forward as those types of cocktails tend to anger up my esophagus! To paraphrase Amy Winehouse, I say no, no, no! Barry had a house margarita  but switched to what I had for his second.  Both cocktails were reasonably priced at $5 & $4.50.

We sampled both happy hour & regular priced tacos.

brisket taco happy hour 1/2 off price

Two items that stood out (neither happy hour dishes) were the boudin balls and the smoked mushroom tacos.

Smoked mushroom taco

The most intriguing ingredient in the boudin balls was a Guajillo pepper jam–that was actually crunchy. Stuff was amazing–El Patio should sell it in jars!  I’m working on getting the recipe from them. What a brilliant hack on the mushrooms. They’re actually, smoked and then battered fried!  I would love to have tried the octopus listed on their fb menu, but didn’t see it. We will return and try their dinner menu options in the near future.  Stay tuned for our next adventure in the Warehouse district!


Broad Street Cider House Rules!

I adore a decent cider but typically only come across ones worth drinking when in colder climes. I’ve read about cideries popping up in Chicago and other apple-friendly cities and states. One doesn’t  typically associate New Orleans with artisanal brew and 99% of the stuff in cans or bottles doesn’t cut it for me. That changed recently when Barry was perusing fb and saw a post for Cider Brewery locally.
New Orleans proudly joins the ranks of the “big dogs” with the debut of Broad Street Cider & Ale! As part of The Wild Cocktailians’ urge to try every new drink  mission, we immediately cleared our calendar to research it.  Part of an artisanal compound (more on that later) I interviewed ownerJon Moore on what possessed him to open a cidery in New Orleans.  Jon explained he makes the cider on site.  A seasoned home brewer for 13 years, he segued into cider in the last 3 years. Like many of us trying to figure out how to turn our passions into a living, Jon opted for cider as the elements are more controlled such as not worrying about water quality. Check out  what brought him to New Orleans!
When I naïvely asked about where he keeps the apple presses he laughed and said they get their juice already pressed.  He explained eliminating the need to truck in huge amounts of apples reduces carbon foot print with less waste/compost issues etc.  The most crucial ingredient is NOT apple juice but—like beer and baking—it’s all about the yeast!
The interview parched our throats and whetted our taste buds for drinking time! So many choices—I started with an Earl of Doncaster and Barry had a Queensland. The Earl is fermented with honey—almost a mead—another drink I’m in lust over. The Queensland is a crisp, slightly fruity brew.  Next up was the Happy Christmas, Don Crispo and for my other half the Royal Tannin Bomb. Happy Christmas had a wonderful aroma—that you guessed it—is redolent of holiday spices. Broad Street Cider and Ale productsBarry’s Royal Tannin was made from crabapples (who knew) and tart–similar to a Basque cidre–which we developed quite a taste for in Barcelona, Spain some years back.  We’ll definitely be back for more now that the weather has chilled!  Plus Jon spins vinyl tunes—on a turntable. What’s not to love? Broad Street Cider and Ale has also partnered with Roulaison Rum Distillery located behind Cider and Ale (hence the compound, but wait there’s more).  Now that’s its cooler we intend to try their hot cider with the rum!

New Orleans Arigicole style Distillary Roulaison Rum
Roulaison White Rum

 Speaking of rum, after our R&T (research and tasting) at Cider & Ale, we made a beeline for the distillery before they closed for the evening. The spirit received top honors at the American Distilling Institute’s 2017 Annual Judging of Craft Spirits, the largest and most respected evaluation of craft spirits in the country.  More about them in the next article.  The old saying “three times the charm” holds true for the compound.  There is also a CHOCOLATIER – a bean to bar place.  Unfortunately they were closed since it was evening but I’m heading back to interview both businesses!

Khon’s Charismatic Cocktails and Sushi

Pensacola, Palafox street. downtown
visual from Pensacola Visitor’s Bureau

While we adore  all things Union Public House, one of our most pleasurable activities is strolling along Palafox Street and checking out all the restaurants, bars and galleries. Palafox is downtown Pensacola’s burgeoning food, drink and music scene. The area is redolent with balconies that boast ironwork and architecture much like New Orleans—on a more petite and cleaner style.

decor, zen, sea, kohn's,palafox street, pensacola
décor merges Zen and sea motifs brilliantly

Khon’s is another perennial favorite of ours. Located on Palafox–just a short walk from our hotel–the restaurant boasts authentic Southeastern Asian cuisine and it does not disappoint!
I don’t know who devised the décor but its brilliant! The owners’ Dot and Winston Evans acknowledged it was done on a tight budget. Understated design elements evocative of both Asian and Sea influences  are peppered around the restaurant to bring a cohesive whole to the place. It’s a very cool place in all!
A standard for the Wild Cocktailians are menu inclusions of innovative and delicious cocktails. Khon’s checks that box and then some. We love sake and tend to gravitate towards sake concoctions containing gin, rum, and tequila!

speciality cocktail
Kysushu Gimlet

Khon’s rotates its cocktail menu; sadly a favorite of ours the “Shisho Zen” was not available. We consoled ourselves with the Kyushu Gimlet which our waiter Jason guaranteed would be as good as the Shisho (and they were–full disclosure it was three of them, but hey it was happy hour)! The gimlet was a nice departure from the too often citrus forward gimlets.

We started off with some different sushi rolls. We had Shrimp Tempura, Alyxandria and Blue Angel. What impressed us was the obvious freshness of the seafood—all three had distinctive flavors. Too often sushi all tastes the same. We also loved that the rolls were the perfect 1 bite size—easy to eat for us chopsticks’ challenged folks. In fact, it was easy to use the sticks picking up the rolls!

Not quite satiated we decided to switch to a hot appetizer—and Khon’s has a respectable small plate menu making it difficult to decide. In the end we were swayed by the fresh ingredients for the Pork Spring Rolls.

We thought we were full—until Jason brought us the dessert menu. Normally we’re not tempted by Asian desserts—they tend to be the ubiquitous fried wonton something. Nothing so pedestrian at Khon’s! I do recall seeing some unusual items, but once we laid eyes—and taste buds—on the Vietnamese Coffee Pudding—made from scratch in house we were doomed! That was one delicious dessert! It was hybrid between a pudding and a mousse—with bits of chocolate throughout giving the dish some pleasant texture. We were so stoked about the dessert we forgot to take photos!

The Coolest Drinks and Hottest Dining Spots in Pensacola

Patrick shaking up a drink
The Master working his magic

Union Public House in Pensacola, Florida never fails to deliver the best in drinking and dining for us! We stopped in to get our fix of always impeccable concoctions made by the master spirit handler himself Patrick Bolster.  Barry ordered from the drink menu specials–The Birds and  Bees.

chili threads
Birds and Bees



Made with rum and garnished with Asian chili pepper threads–a new one on me. I just have to get some now!

UPH specialty cocktail
Coconut crème, rum, and mole bitters

Citrus was starting to get to me so I asked Patrick if he could concoct something with Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut Rum Cream—as always he delivered divinely! Giffard White Crème de Cacao and rum and mole bitters rounded the cocktail. Damn but I could drink those all night! I will definitely be making those—once I get my hands on the Coconut Rum cream!

I placed an order for a bottle at Bambooze but the delivery truck never showed up after waiting for 3 days!

The Wild Cocktailians can always count on UPH upping the spirits game! Speaking of games, whenever we visit we bring or mention obscure spirits to Patrick in hopes of tripping him up–but we’ve yet to stump him. The man is a wealth of all things cocktail and adult beverage—he’s a walking encyclopedia! Patrick genuinely enjoys sharing his vast knowledge on the how, when, and what—of these spirits. He doesn’t have one iota of superior ‘tude in his bones—like some arrogant bartenders we’ve had the displeasure of enduring! That’s why we go to cocktail establishments to learn, understand and use different spirits and ultimately recapture the occasions at home!

De rigueur for our hunger was Chef Blake’s fine charcuterie—this time deftly prepared Beef Carpaccio! The only criticism of the dish: should have ordered TWO! Chef Blake could show some of the New Orleans chefs a thing or three on cured meats—dude has some SERIOUS street culinary cred!

Chartreuse Swizzle
My Chartreuse Swizzle in the works


Wrapping up our final night in Pensacola (aka Paradise) we had early reservations at UPH to enjoy a full-up dinner there. I’d sent Patrick a recipe for a Chartreuse Swizzle that I found on Neat Pour –another local blog we just discovered.


UPH speciality cocktail
Chartreuse Swizzle

Move over Mojitos and Juleps—THIS should be the quintessential quaffer for New Orleans summer—sublime sophistication! Barry so enjoyed the Birds N Bees from the other night he ordered another.

The meal started with an app and salad: Shishito peppers blistered and presented in a small cast iron skillet (say that 5 times) sprinkled with light dusting of coarse fleur de sel and coated in a lovely olive oil.

beet and goat cheese mousse salad

Salad was composed of brilliant bits of lightly pickled beets, baby greens, candied walnuts, shaved parmesan curls, and tucked throughout an addictive truffled goat cheese mousse all delicately coated with a beet and balsamic vinaigrette!

Supper was a seafood affair (hey it was Friday) Swordfish for me, Scallops for Barry. My Sword was a 2-inch thick filet and cooked to perfection! It came with black-eyed pea fritters—I sure wish I’d had more of the truffled goat cheese to slather on them! Served with arugula salad, heirloom tomato, sun chokes and topped with a red-eye gravy the ingredients not only satiated me but portions are very generous.

Barry’s diver scallops were large and plentiful—and the succotash is enough to convert any meat eater to vegetarian! A smoked potato croquette and King Oyster mushrooms masterfully completed the dish!

We each had a glass of wine with dinner—and the wine list succinct but varied in varietals and price.

You’d think with all that there wouldn’t be room for dessert. It’s a vast

Smoked sweet potato Brulee

understatement to say Pastry Chef Corey Wall has upped UPH dessert game! Her pastries should almost be illegal as they’re so surreal! Our waiter Alden mentioned the magic word Crème Brulee we had to order! And no mere run-of-the-mill Brulee either! This was a smoked sweet potato w brown butter gelato and served with dehydrated spice cake and candied walnuts. Now that’s a recipe I’d love to serve to dinner guests! I’m telling you Chef Corey needs to be arrested and do community time at OUR house!