Monday, February 16, 2009

Restaurant Reviews: Steve's Marina, Ninfas, Acme, Mignon's, Camilla Grille

Steve’s Marina Restaurant (Gulfport, MS): I don’t really know much about this restaurant other than it used to be located on the water down in Long Beach. Katrina completely destroyed the place. Steve’s relocated to the old Montana’s/Homestead log cabin on Airport road until the new place is rebuilt. Atmospherically, it doesn’t work; a seafood restaurant shouldn’t be located in a log cabin. Our server might have been one of the most worthless people I have ever seen. The food was good though. My Shrimp Dianne was one of the better I have had and everyone else’s po-boys and gumbo looked great.

Ninfas (Baton Rouge, LA): I love Mexican food, but I hate it when people try to make Mexican upscale and expensive. If you have eaten at a Mexican chain that charges $10 for a plate of three tacos, you have eaten here. It was good, but not the kind of Mexican experience I like. I like my Mexican places to be shady. I want the staff to barely speak English. I want to wonder what kind of health score the place has. I don’t want to be waited on by some ass-clown from Nebraska who can’t pronounce fajita and I don’t want some dip-shit named Chet back in the kitchen making my guacamole. I’ll take Casa Fiesta or La Hacienda over this place any day.

Acme Oyster House (Metairie, LA): I’ve been to almost every Acme in LA. It’s a great place to grab a po-boy and a beer. This time I changed it up and went with the Oyster and Shrimp platter. It was good, but I’m going to stick to my Peacemaker po-boy in the future. I like Acme, and while it’s never failed me, I think I’m going to stop eating there. There are a million dining choices in New Orleans and there are many seafood restaurants that offer similar or better food at a more reasonable price. If you’re in the Quarter looking for something reasonably priced, quick, and tasty; then by all means, go to Acme. If you have the opportunity, go somewhere else. In the Metairie/Kenner area I recommend The Harbor, Kenner Seafood, or Bozos. If you’re looking to spend a little more try Drago’s in Fat City.

Mignon Steakhouse (Biloxi, MS): This restaurant is the upscale steakhouse located in the Palace Casino on the east side of Biloxi. My mom had a “comp” so I went with her and my dad. Typically, they would never eat at a place like this, but when it’s free they are definitely going to go and take advantage of it. The chef started us off with a complimentary coconut shrimp. We then tried two appetizers; the Kobe Beef Tetaki and the Biloxi Calamari. A passion fruit sorbet was served between courses. My entrée was the Kona Filet; a filet seasoned with Kona coffee and clarified butter, served with a lobster tail on a bed of sautéed spinach. I didn’t save room for desert. The total bill for the three of us came out to about $350. This is the second time I have eaten at this place and I think it’s pretty un-spectacular for an upscale steakhouse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. Way better than an Outback or a longhorn, but I’ve eaten better.

Camilla Grille (New Orleans, LA): This restaurant is located on Carrolton near St. Charles Avenue. It’s basically a diner with a variety of breakfast foods and sandwiches. We went here for some light night food after a night of drinking. It’s a pretty good establishment. I went with a Ruben and some fries. I wish I would have tried the burger. I didn’t know it, but it’s supposedly one of the best in New Orleans (I still think the best burger in NOLA is Port Of Call on Esplanade. This place suits my personality. It’s got a simple menu featuring burgers, steaks, and pizza. The only sides offered are salad and baked potatoes. They have a good selection of boat drinks and one of the better Bloodys I have had)

A few thoughts from the past few weeks

The last weeks have been pretty busy and life shows no signs of slowing down. Here are a few random thoughts from the past two weeks.

Nashville is Kid Friendly: I had some friends come into town for a convention and they brought along their three year old son. I never realized how kid friendly Nashville is. While they were here they got to visit the Martin ArtQuest Gallery at the Frist Center. ArtQuest is an interactive center where kids can learn about art. They can work with art educators and volunteers to create paintings, drawings, and other works of art and learn a little along the way. They also got to the Kids Zone at Nashville’s Main Public Library. The Kids Zone features some characters that sing, juggle, and read to the kids. It also offers a few puppet shows.

First Babysitting Experience: I had my first babysitting experience while my friends were in town. I watched their son while they went to a work event. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I took him for a tour of the condo and then we watched some Sesame Street. He ate a sandwich and played with his toys. Luckily, he didn’t have any accidents until right before mommy showed up.

Basements: I got invited to tag along to a house party in East Nashville. The party was held in a basement, probably the best basement I’ve ever been to. The family throwing the party was in the business of making costumes (elf ears, Klingon foreheads etc) so they had some wild stuff down there. The basement also had a great bar, a karaoke machine, and a old standup video game console (Prisoner of War) that had a computer installed with an emulator in it that allowed you to play any game you could imagine. The only thing that would have made this basement cooler was a foosball table.

South Louisiana: I love South Louisiana. I’d love to live there, but the job market is less than ideal for a man of my skill set. I do feel that I would fit in well there. South Louisianans enjoy many of the same things I do: Eating good food, having a big time, imbibing in one too many cocktails, fishing, good architecture, etc. I’m not saying I’m going to pack my bags and head there tomorrow, but I’m going to keep an eye on the scene down there a little closer than I have in the past.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Best Albums of 2008

This post is a little late in development, but it was one that I really wanted to write. I really enjoyed putting my list together last year. I didn’t think that this years offerings were as solid as last years, but here are my best albums of 2008 in no particular order.
1. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive. Remember back when we used cassette tapes and you could play one enough times that it would wear out? If my copy of Stay Positive was a tape it would have worn out about a month after I got it. I didn’t rank my favorite albums, but if I did, this would be at the top of the list: Favorite Track: “Lord, I’m discouraged”
2. The Gaslight Anthem: The ’59 Sound. My friend Marc convinced me to go see this band at the Exit-In. I absolutely fell in love with them. It’s hard to describe their sound, but I would tell you to imagine if Bruce Springsteen wrote songs for a soft-core punk band. Favorite Track: “Miles Davis& The Cool”
3. TV on the Radio: Dear Science. I bought this album pretty late in the year and wore it out while Christmas shopping. It’s one of the most diverse albums I purchased. At times it’s funky or jazzy and at other times it just rocks out. Favorite track: “Golden Age”
4. R.E.M.: Accelerate. Growing up, REM was one of my favorite bands. The band started putting out some albums that didn’t appeal to me in the 90’s so I grew apart from them. I heard great things about Accelerate and came across a used copy, so I picked it up. It ended up being one of my favorite REM albums. Favorite track: “Supernatural Superserious”
5. Neon Neon: Stainless Style. I’ve been into electronic and hip hop styles lately and this album definitely suits my tastes. This is actually a concept album. Every song on it is about John DeLorean the designer of the DeLorean DMC-12. Favorite track: “Michael Douglas”
6. My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges. The boys from Louisville put together a hell of an album. It’s much more upbeat than Z. Favorite track: “Aluminum Park”
7. Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend. I almost left this album off my list because it got overexposed. I hear songs from it everywhere: TV Shows, ball games, etc. It’s very Paul Simon-esque with the afro-pop sound. Favorite Track: “Wolcott”
8. The Walkmen: You and Me. The staff at Grimey’s Records raved about this album so I picked it up. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a really unique and cool sound. I really dig the vintage organs. Favorite Track: “In The New Year”
9. The Black Keys: Attack and Release. This album intrigued me because Danger Mouse helped on the production. I wanted to see what he could do with a bluesy two-piece. He didn’t disappoint. The Black Keys are able to get more noise out of two instruments than most bands can get out of four. Favorite track: “I Got Mine”
10. The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely. I purchased The Raconteurs first album and wasn’t all that impressed. The second album is totally different. I’m now convinced that Jack white is a genious. Favorite track: “Carolina Drama”

Honorable Mentions: Kings of Leon-Only the Night, The Cool Kids-Bake Sale, Coldplay: Viva la Vida

Albums I need to purchase or give another listen: Cut Copy-In Ghost Colours, Bon Iver-For Emma, Forever Ago, The Killers-Day and Night, Girl Talk-Feed the Animals, Santogold-Santogold, Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes, MGMT-Oracular Spectacular