We spoke with Donald Link recently, he’s the multiple James Beard award-winning genius behind all those great eateries such as Cochon and Herbsainte and the author of Real Cajun. We asked him how its going down in the Crescent City regarding the seafood industry.
Here is the Skinny:
Link encourages us to keep eating Louisiana seafood. Though he can’t speak for huge, commercial fisherman, he hasn’t noticed any gaps in seafood availability since the BP oil spill began. The majority of the fisherman he works with are based out of Morgan City (about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans). His fishermen haven’t really even seen any oil; Link hasn’t seen any oil himself.
From his point of view, the only two things playing a big role in the LA seafood industry passion play right now are:
A) many fisherman are helping with oil spill clean up efforts (and are getting paid 3x what they would for fishing), and B) the general population’s thought that there isn’t any seafood, or that the available seafood is unsafe to eat. Link says he thinks the media is unnecessarily scaring people into thinking the Gulf Coast is a total disaster zone. There certainly is a problem there, but it’s not like every bird and fish is completely covered in oil.Link made this point: “I think that the big problem is perception. I travel all over for work and I’ve been asked the questions so many times . . . I’ve haven’t seen a gap in seafood, and prices have not increased. There’s plenty of fish down here. They’re still in the stores, they’re still in the restaurants, they’re still on the menu. The worst thing that people can do to the Louisiana seafood business is to stop buying it.”
Thought you would like to hear that from one of the most reliable and rock solid resources I know of. He is not, repeat NOT, saying there is not a problem as a result of the worst oil spill in US history. He is simply relating his direct experience regarding the seafood issue. The fascinating issue for me is who would fish when you can help clean up for 3x the dough for the next few years? That will change the playing field come fall for sure.
Closer to home, Heidi’s announced it will re-open at 29th and Lyndale. Get the deets here. This is more great news for the local dining scene. Like it or not, and regardless of whether you have been to the old Heidi’s, restaurants such as this one are what we need more of in order to grow and maintain a vibrant food scene. Mall eateries, Caesar salad emporia, and prefab schlock concepts are worthless in that regard. I'm looking forward to dining there.
My friend @freshtartsteph shared this with me. She knows how much I love these little delights. I grew up on ‘em. I still buy one a day when I am in NYC in the warm weather months, and I devour them whenever I see them in a local Minnesota gas station. Oddly enough, there was no mention of the other treats besides the Strawberry Shortcake, namely the addictive Chocolate Éclair.
My buddy Jim Palm (as well as Shefzilla) have both pointed me toward the new turkey sandwich cart on Nicollet Avenue. I can’t wait to chow on one. Anyone wondering about a more local resource can connect with chameleoncarts.com if they like the turkey trailer.
Check out my pal Chris’s gluttony pants! I ate at Incanto last week in San Francisco and he destroyed me. Twenty-one courses and the finale was a whole roasted pig's head. I needed those pants bad!
Cosentino is an impassioned genius and I am addicted to his Twitter feed @offalchris. Two things I learned hanging with Double C. First, his neighbor is Harold McGee, yes that Harold McGee, and the two have a working relationship that is the thing of legends. In order to make home-style boudin noir or traditional Asian soups and stews you often need blood. But freshness counts.
Collaborating with McGee, Cosentino perfected a pasteurization technique that I am sworn to secrecy over. Second, while filming his Chefs vs. City show on Food Network he suffered horrific burns in his stomach slurping bowls of Chile spiked curry in NYC. Being a TV chef is not easy and occasionally dangerous and it’s nice to hear I am not the only one who thinks so!
Asher Miller, the talented young chef at 20.21, teamed up with photographer Chris Bohnoff and made this little piece of magic. Enjoy.