This weekend on Goodtaste with Tanji, we head to Cochon for fresh seafood like the juicy Fisherman’s Style Redfish roasted in a 750- degree wood-fired oven. Next, we visit Joey K’s where Italian meets Creole such as its Fried Eggplant Medallions and Shrimp Smothered in Creamy Crawfish Gravy. Then, we stop by Mandina’s for its legendary Turtle Soup and all of the other New Orleans favorites. Our last place is a boozy brunch spot, The Ruby Slipper Cafe. We try its over-the-top dishes like the White Chocolate Bread Pudding Pancakes slathered in warm praline sauce. To tease your palate a little more, here are 4 must-not-miss moments in this week’s new episode of Goodtaste with Tanji Season 4.
1. Make Yourself at Home
Back in 2005, there weren’t many restaurants in the warehouse district of New Orleans, but Stephen Stryjewski and his business partner Donald Link, took a leap of faith to open up their passion project — a small restaurant featuring down-home Southern cooking like they grew up with. They wanted a cozy, yet contemporary space with everything scratch-made using super fresh ingredients with recipes from Donald’s large southern family with a pinch of Stephen’s Polish grandmother’s cooking. Those sentiments for providing great food in an at-home atmosphere paid off when Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant when it first opened in 2007. Then, Stephen won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef: South in 2011. Donald also was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
2. Just the Three of Them
Owning a restaurant was never on the Farnet family’s radar. Dad, Sam, got in the restaurant business by accident, when his brother and a couple of others started Mandia’s and Sam was hired to do the contracting. Everyone else eventually went off to other things but the Sam and his wife and daughter stayed to run the restaurant — never even worked in the business. They eventually found their way to make it through and mom’s, Cindy, family recipes helped put Joey K’s on the map and their daughter, Marigny, helping manage it all.
3. A Feisty Family
Four generations of feisty Mandinas have run the show at the family-named iconic spot on Canal Street. Mandina’s first opened as a grocery store in 1898, and now Tommy Mandina and his spunky daughter Cindy are at the helm and have helped evolve the restaurant into what it is now. When Hurricane Katrina flooded the city and Mandina’s was left under six feet of water, Tommy considered shutting it down for good, but his daughter Cindy pushed him to keep going. With her tenacious attitude plus 18 months of renovations and a handful of loans later, all their hard work paid off. Nowadays, locals keep the place packed seven days a week.
4. Floods to Food
Like many New Orleans residents, Jennifer Weishaupt’s life took a turn after Hurricane Katrina. Her neighborhood took on nearly five feet of water and almost every property was flooded. But, after the flood waters settled, Jennifer and her husband Erich found themselves facing an unexpected opportunity of a lifetime. A neighbor purchased a dilapidated flooded building and Jennifer encouraged the neighbor to find somebody to put in a coffee shop or restaurant because they wanted to eat there — not because they wanted to run one! But, one thing Katrina taught them was that sometimes you are the person that you’re looking for! So, with a whole lot of love and belief in the rebirth of New Orleans, Jennifer and Erich dove headfirst into the restaurant business and opened the Ruby Slipper Cafe.
Tune in this weekend for delicious food and MORE during the ALL NEW episode of Goodtaste with Tanji.