Oysters at St. Roch and Piety Pizza at the Rusty Rainbow

(Update 2016: the girls are no longer slinging oysters at St. Roch Mkt.)

I drove in a serpentine fashion uptown to get to Riverbend, or maybe it was more like playing Pacman- right turn! no, go back, hurry! 2 left turns…. forward forward get it GET IT…..Ugh Uptown folks, I feel for ya these days.
Did that to retrieve visiting Greg R, so we could catch up downtown at St. Roch Market. Not sure what I think of St. Roch yet. Maybe you know me and you suspect I have a dozen or so theories and just-formed opinions about St. Roch and you’d be right. I know I like the oysters at Effie and Melissa’s stand: had East Coast (1), West Coast (1), and Gulf Coast (6) oysters.
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Yes, these two women are longtime pals of mine, buddies from the farmers market/Festivus/White Boot Brigade trenches, but even so, they know their food and hosting, friends of mine or not. The GC were from a St. Bernard oysterman and  so robust in flavor and huge that it’s hard to fully appreciate the others.  Effie told me specifics about his business and his oysters, (which I then later thought might be good for everyone to see when they come, maybe on a chalkboard?) That level of detail, along with their Cajun authenticity, are important for people to know, I think. The pickled shrimp was really good- the sauce is fresh and sweet and clean. Next “door” the rum drink was nice, as was the bite of the dirty mac with crawfish and tasso from the other end of the hall. Greg bought some sheepshead, kale, garlic (acted like it was a market or something) to make his hosts some non-JF dinner. We discussed the Koreole vendor (which looked inviting especially on a cold winter day, not so much right now oops) and how Asian food in the last 20 years or so keeps expanding. Is it because Americans have become more comfortable with the different nationalities and cultures so we see more breaking away from calling all Asian restaurants Chinese? Or is this about successive generations feeling more comfortable staking their claim in the restaurant business, serving what is authentic and yet Americanized as an experience?
We decided to leave the hall to get a slice at Pizza Delicious and for the first time for me, not another eater was in there. I’m sure it’s a temporary lull, but let’s remember that it remains one of the best slices in town (I hear salads are top notch too, but I’ll probably never know) with charming service. As we went in, the Piety Ironworks was abuzz with a party- seemed to be a film thing as, oddly, the actor who played Red Forman in The 70s Show (or Robocop character ______ someone else pointed out) was standing in the middle of the street, seemingly waiting for either a ride (Greg said waiting for his Uber) or maybe he was hoping for a second line. In any case he graciously allowed those who asked to take a pic with him, which seemed an appropriate end to this new set of experiences. Who says non- JazzFest days are off days?

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Bacchus in the Bywater

A chef linked this link on Facebook today; Chris Rudge’s unexpected passing has made us all spend some time thinking about what an innovator and fun guy he was. This piece by local writer Sara Roahen written back when Bacchanal first opened is a great reminder of what they started in the downtown neighborhoods. Sometimes it seems like that change has grown out of proportion and scale, but Bacchanal is certainly a respite in that area.The loss of another young entrepreneur is unfortunate and shows how important it is to do your best to take care of oneself while working and playing as hard as people like Chris do.

Bacchus in the Bywater Gambit – New Orleans News and Entertainment.

Rudge’s obituary

A second line for Chris Rudge, the founder of Bacchanal wine shop, bar and restaurant, is scheduled for this Sunday (March 22). The second line will begin at Bacchanal at 1 p.m. Bacchanal will, however, not be silent on its rare day off; it will be the site of a post-second line party in Rudge’s honor. Plans are still taking shape, but Rodas said several chefs who’ve cooked at Bacchanal in the past, including Dan Esses of Three Muses and Nathaniel Zimet of Boucherie, will be contributing to a potluck buffet. There will also be live music.