Ginger and The Skipper in the Crescent City, Part 2: 15-16 August 2013

There was no breeze behind the levee, and the temperature was rising, so we only did a portion of the walking tour from the Algiers Historical Society. Our ramble ended at the Drydock Cafe, a no-nonsense local bar (with an excellent stained glass window of a diving bell) that does a steady lunch business. I had the daily special – fried green tomato BLT, and The Skipper tried his first fried catfish. His hushpuppies were the best I’ve had in a while: nice crust, moist on the inside, and a little gritty – not too paste-like – and seasoned well. The fried green tomato was battered and fried lightly; it mocked my previous attempts at home. I wished we were hungry enough for the dessert special: bread pudding with whiskey sauce.

We ferried back, a few pounds heavier, and revisited the vinyl at the Louisiana Music Factory, then picked up our rental car and practiced rolling stops to St. Roch and Dauphine. After a long, digestive nap, we bundled into our car for the suburban thrill of driving to a restaurant. We had three independent recommendations for The Joint: Rod from Big Daddy’s, the server-owner at Elizabeth’s, and a taxi driver. This seemed promising, but BBQ was never a critical component of New Orleans cuisine, unlike in Texas or North Carolina, and we remained neutral, if hopeful. It smelled right when we got out of the car. No frou-frou items on the menu (truffled mac-n-cheese? hell no!). PBR offered without irony. But, it also looked like the bar could whip up fun mixed drinks. Ah, the new New Orleans.

We each got the “W” special: a little bit of pulled pork, a little bit of brisket, two ribs, plus a side: baked beans for me, cole slaw for The Skipper. The brisket had a pink ring and some bark, the ribs had great smoke and a nice dry rub, and there were burnt ends a-plenty in the pulled pork. A United Nations of BBQ convened in one basket. All the meats ably represented their regions, and they found common ground in the two sauces: a thin, spicy vinegar and a thicker, tomato-based sauce with a milder spice. Like Maurepas, the food was thoughtfully made and tasted true. My favorite was the pulled pork; the best I’ve had since Allen & Son in Chapel Hill. My side used small beans in a thinnish broth with a smoky vinegar tang. Definitely not from a can. The Skipper loved the brisket. The meatier short-ribs weren’t our preferred style, but that didn’t stop us from eating all of them. We rolled out of there feeling like that python who swallowed a goat. A delicious, smoked goat. If we lived in New Orleans, we would eat here regularly.

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