Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Okra How I Long for Thee...

When I arrived at the vegan Garden of Eatin' for lunch yesterday, my okra-desire was at its peak. For some reason (could be the Paul Prudhomme cookbook on my nightstand), I was obsessed with the vegetable that people love to hate. I cooked andouille and shrimp stuffed mirliton last week (again, Chef Paul), and had my sights set on some Louisiana-type stuff. But my tears of joy when I saw the blackboard with the word 'okra' on it, were replaced by tears of sadness, as Vince, Ms. Brown's all-around helper, erased 'okra' from the board. It was one o'clock and they were already out. Must have been good. Damn good. But lunch was great without it, from the stewed 'chicken', to the greens over rice, to the cauliflower fritters, and finally, the stewed eggplant, which almost made up for the tragic okra-less-ness of the meal.

But I'm not here to talk about food. I'm here to talk about booze. When I met her sipping vintage Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon at a tasting in Ft. Lauderdale, I had no idea that LaTanya White was schooling to become a master mixologist. We were just grinning about the fact that we were drinking rare and expensive wines and cognacs at the St. Regis, and getting paid (more or less) to do it. But today LaTanya is in New Orleans, volunteering at Tales of the Cocktail, a great event, and she is lucky (and talented) enough to have been chosen among the TOP 10FINALISTS for the Conde Nast Traveler/Grand Marnier custom cocktail contest.

The CARIBBEAN GOLD recipe that she submitted is made with GrandMarnier, star fruit puree, passion fruit juice, egg white and edible gold (is there any other kind?). So I thought I'd pass along this link where you can cast your vote for CARIBBEAN GOLD to be the Toast Heard Round The World http://www.cntpromo.com/sw_grandmarnier_02.asp Good luck LaTanya-let's hope to all drink the Caribbean Gold together real soon. God knows we all need a good drinking partner....LaTanya can be reached at http://www.71proofllc.com/