I nabbed one of the coolest assignments ever recently, with the new magazine Edible New Orleans. It’s great to see the locavore movement growing in a place where cuisine is already such a major part of the local culture.
I visited Tony Accardo’s farm to write about his amazing selection of heirlooms, which also feature prominently on the menu at Dante’s Kitchen. I loved this restaurant so much that I went back again last week. It’s in an old shotgun house near the river and the walls are lined with jars of pickled veggies from Tony’s farm. Many of the creative and delicious “local vegetable selections” use Tony’s produce, too.
But my favorite part has to be the hot sauce. Dante’s keeps two oak barrels on the bar with two house-made hot sauces, which you can sample in tiny shot glasses. This will seriously blow your mind, people.
One is the “eternal damnation,” made from 18 different peppers–all Tony’s. You really can taste the complex flavors layered in the sauce from all those peppers. It’s insane. The second is made from the fatality pepper, one of the hottest peppers in the universe. Apparently it’s “mellowed” some in the oak barrel, but it still about killed me.
I really appreciated seeing both the produce in the ground and on my plate. It’s important, I think, to know where your food comes from and to maybe even meet the person who’s grown it. You get a sense of appreciation for all the effort that goes into farming–and cooking–which is something I think we often take for granted. It’s nice to slow down when you eat and sort of give thanks to all the people who have helped make that meal possible for you.