Talking Mexican food and Irish (Channel) whiskey in YatPundit’s Pub 29-April-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 29-April-2019
Two items today for Red Beans and Rice Monday. First, we discuss El Fogon, the Mexican restaurant in Metairie that took over the old Taco Location. Then, we talk local whiskey.
I must admit, I mourned the loss of the Taco Tico on Vets more than I should have. That wonderfully greasy fast food is part of my formative years! Iooked like the place would be demolished to make way for yet another nameless, faceless, chain place that could afford 2019 rent on Vets. I loved it when it became clear the building was merely undergoing a renovation. When El Fogon opened, Mexican food near Clearview in #themetrys went up more than a notch or two.
On my first trip, I had the Chile Relleno, “Sierra” style, with chicken and cheese. Good plate!
El Fogon offered me “Taco Tuesday” for my next visit. So, four tacos for $5. Absolutely wonderful!
I chose the enchiladas the next trip, and they rocked. While there are other places with Mexican and Tex-Mex in the city that are good, El Fogon is close, tasty, and, well, Tacos!
Since El Fogon doesn’t appear to have a liquor license, I usually order a Coke. As much as to-go orders from a good restaurant give me mixed feelings, I need to order takeaway and have a beer at home.
I saw “Irish Channel Whiskey” on a visit to 504 Craft Beer Reserve last Thanksgiving. I was DD for the boys, as LT Firstborn was home for Thanksgiving. As they picked out obscure beers to buy, I shopped. I came across “Irish Channel Whiskey” from 73 Distillers on the shelf. Made a mental note to try it. When we finished a bottle of (I think) Red Breast, we sought out the 73 Distillers Irish. Took a while to come across it again. It appeared at Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie a couple of weeks ago. So, we bought a bottle and were very pleased.
73 Distillers makes their whiskey in the Treme, at Bienville and N. Claiborne. They offer tours of the place. The owners fully leverage their location in one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods. We’ll take the tour at some point this summer.
Slate’s Hit Parade is one of my regular podcasts
Slate’s Hit Parade
This week’s edition of Slate’s Hit Parade podcast features posthumous hits. Host Chris Molanphy’s run-down of deaths of chart-topping artists offered a good range.
The Day The Music Died
I’m glad that, when talking about “The Day The Music Died” (February 3, 1959), Molanphy gave more time to Richie Valens than he usually gets. Buddy Holly deserves all the praise. While J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) was a one-hit-wonder, that one hit, “Chantilly Lace” was fantastic. It was good to hear their music pop up in April, rather than February 3rd.
Remembering Death Days
I’m not one for remembering “death days” as much as birthdays. I prefer to remember the happy milestones. A plane crash in February isn’t how these guys ought to be remembered. Same for John Lennon being shot down. So, I get the theme of the pod. I get the business impact of death on songs on the radio and song sales. After that initial grieving period, though, I’m done with that. It’s like some of these old people who post these “remembering <insert actor/musician/celebrity> on the anniversary of their death. I’d much rather remember Lennon on the rooftop of the Apple building than dead on the sidewalk in New York.
The business of musical death
Molanphy’s personal anecdote about Prince amused me. He was in a bar in New York, and the bartenders couldn’t find Prince music to play. That’s because, like way so many of us, they relied on Spotify from a phone for the bar’s sound system. For the most part, that sort of solution, playing a streaming service, makes sense. A bartender can work up a few playlists on their preferred service, plug in the phone, and let it roll. If the crowd/mood changes, switch it up. Low-effort, amateur DJ-ing.
That’s the environment Chris was in when Prince passed. The problem the bartenders had was that Prince didn’t care for digital music and streaming services. His music is not easily available. Chris loaned the bartender his iPod. Yes, his offline device! That got the collective unconscious through the evening.
This validates my continued ownership of an MP3 player, along with hanging on to my old iPod nano and LT Firstborn’s first iPod. Now I want The Trio from Dragon’s Danger and Dragon’s Discovery to have at least one offline device!
Catch up with the pod in YatPundit’s Pub!
Mid-City New Orleans – housing is a challenge
Mid-City Condos New Orleans real estate
Are $200K Mid-City condos “affordable” for young professionals? Ilse Falk Stough, project manager for New Orleans Redevelopment Fund, think so. I agree. The company (a private equity real estate firm) plans a 21-unit building at 3100 Banks Street, in Mid-City. That’s the part of Banks between Jefferson Davis Parkway and S. Broad Street.
The developer thinks they can market this development to, as reported by NOLA dot com. Banks Street below S. Carrollton Avenue offers more opportunities such as this lot. Above S. Carrollton, the neighborhood is more gentrified. Property owners fix up multi-family dwellings, converting them into unlicensed hotels.
From movie theater to condos
The 3100 Banks Street location offered the neighborhood the Escorial Theater, from the 1910s to the 1950s. The building operated as mixed retail/commercial space until the 1990s. It burned down at that time. The property has been an empty lot since.
$200K per unit?
I’m not an expert on real estate, but my instinct says this price range is reasonable. The developer targets the right demographic. If the old calculations still hold up, the theory was, don’t take on a house note that’s more than one-third of your take-home pay. A 15-year mortgage (with a 20% down payment) on one of these condos means a monthly note around $1350. That puts the income needed to fit the one-third plan at between $55K-$60K.
Is this realistic? A quick google of “NOFD Starting Salary” comes back with $45,955. Let’s assume a brand-new firefighter needs a few years to get to the point of home ownership. A young professional in the private sector earns a higher salary than a firefighter, so yes, this is in line.
Another aspect of this discussion is single vs. couple. Certainly a two-income couple can afford the note on a $200K condo.
Condo vs. House
This is an ages-old consideration. Condo closer in the city? Die and go to the suburbs? It’s possible to get a $200K house in the burbs. Living in the city means paying more for fewer square feet. While there are fewer neighborhoods where a “young professional” finds a fixer-upper, it’s not out of the question. Therefore, the condo/city vs. suburban/front-lawn debate continues.
Mid-City New Orleans is the main neighborhood setting for Edward J. Branley’s Urban Fantasy novel, Trusted Talents. Check it out!
Talking about teens, high school, expectations, and guitars in the first segment of YatPundit’s Pub 25-April-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 25-April-2019
I’m in-between books in a sense at the moment. I finished the Rebus novel, but not ready to do a full review of it. I started Mitch Landrieu’s book, but not into it enough to talk sensibly about it. So, there wasn’t much to go into with respect to my personal reading. I thought we’d talk about two writing themes.
Tweens entering eighth grade, particularly here in New Orleans, have interesting expectations. As they approach their senior year, however, things change. Parents foster expectations. Therefore, a dad who was on the football team in high school wants his kid to play that sport. Maybe the young man wants to wrestle, or run cross country, or (heaven forbid!) join the Debate Team! Some kids will start out doing what the parents push, move on.
Some expectations are more subtle. So, an eighth grader may start in marching band. By tenth grade, kids with a lot of talent “outgrow” the school band. They join after-school orchestras, bands, and other projects (like musical theater). Conflict arises when they do less for the school. Then there are the musicians who, while they enjoy their horn or wind instrument, want to play guitar or bass. They invest in lessons and practice, putting aside growth on the band instrument. It’s called growing up.
I’m a train nut. Y’all know that, I’m sure. As old passenger cars from the 1940s and 1950s die off, we lose a part of mid-century culture. I want to write about those railroad days. So, a story arc about a Pullman Porter in 1940-1941 interests me. Europe is already at war, but the US hasn’t made the move to actual combat. Spies and intrigue abound! I keep seeing an African-American man who wants to defend his country in a unique way.
Two segments in YatPundit’s Pub 24-April-2019. Enterprise Storage and WordPress vs Drupal
YatPundit’s Pub 24-April-2019
Talking Enterprise Storage and websites this week in the Tech Wednesday edition of YatPundit’s Pub 24-April-2019. Also an announcement: I’m looking for suggestions on who to interview on both the Pub and NOLA History Guy Podcast. If you’ve got an idea, let me know.
Enterprise: Hitachi Command Suite
Hitachi Tuning Manager (abbreviated HTnM in the storage admin community) is one of the packages in the Hitachi Command Suite (HCS) group of utilities and administration software. Storage administrators use HCS to manage their Hitachi arrays. These arrays hold large numbers of hard disk drives, from eight to over a thousand. Admins allocate out the space on those drives to their users. So, if your department needs a Microsoft SharePoint server, the admin gives you the disk space to run it. Companies use these storage arrays to hold mission-critical data.
Administrators track the performance of their storage arrays constantly. HTnM collects that data, storing it so the admin team can run reports. The package also alerts admins when something could be a problem
Krewe de Tech – WordPress vs. Drupal
I presented a talk last night (Tuesday, 23-April) to the Krewe de Tech club. They meet at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. The subject was Content Management Systems. We discussed the pros and cons of using WordPress and Drupal. The quick take is, WordPress is best for ease-of-use, Drupal is better for tighter security and enterprise uses.
I recorded the talk using Facebook Live. It’s available on the seashell software Facebook page. The angle isn’t perfect, but the audio is good. The PowerPoint presentation gives you a basic idea of the talk. I kept the slides simple, elaborating on them in the talk. While the slides are available in a post on the seashell software website, it’s not as detailed as the talk.
JazzFest and Public Schools in Jefferson Parish are on tap at YatPundit’s Pub 23-April-2019
YatPundit’s Pub 23-April-2019
Strong brews in the pub this week! JazzFest approaches, so let’s talk about its past and future. Early voting is open for local elections to be held on 4-May. One of the items for consideration is a property tax renewal in Jefferson Parish that’s for public schools. We’ll talk about the complicated history and relationship between public and private schools in #themetrys.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is almost fifty years old. Are the Foundation and the producers catering to the wrong audience. After cancellations by septuagenarians Mick Jagger and Stevie Nicks, it looked for a while like a satire site said, “Karaoke Craig from Gennaro’s” would headline the 2-May fest date. Rather than tapping an act that appeals to a younger crowd, such as Alabama Shakes (in the photo), Da Fest replaced Fleetwood Mack with Widespread Panic.
It’s not all on the Fest, though. Hotels and restaurants rely heavily now on Da Fest for booked rooms and tables. Is the NOJHF too big t fail?
Jefferson Parish Public Schools
There’s a property tax renewal on the ballot in Jefferson Parish on May 4th. It’s dedicated to schools. Residents of Jefferson Parish have an unusual relationship with their public school system. Initially, the schools were segregated, de facto. The small African-American population lived in specific neighborhoods. Local “districting” kept them out of the majority-white schools. Then federal lawsuits and consent decrees brought court-ordered busing to Jefferson Parish. Racial balance was the goal. By then, however, the Catholic schools in the parish created almost a de jure segregation system. Between requirements related to religion and tuition/fees, white folks kept their schools white. Forty years later, this complicates generating revenue for public schools.
Hot Dogs and dessert in YatPundit’s Pub 22-April-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 22-April-2019
Welcome into the pub! Thanks to everyone who came out to Art in the Bend on Saturday! It’s always fun to chat with folks browsing through the wonderful pieces, photos, and paintings at the art market. So many talented artisans sell their work there. Art in the Bend is a monthly market at Nuance, 728 Dublin Street, in Riverbend (hence the “bend”). I hang out with these wonderful folks, talking history and dragons. It’s flattering when people come in and buy my books!
Hot Dogs at Ben’s Burgers
Pouring a story about Ben’s Burgers on Clearview in #themetrys today in the pub. Some background, first. Ben’s Burgers operated for years as part of the Bud’s Broiler franchise. I grew up with Bud’s Broiler. When I was a kid, daddy would take us to the Bud’s on Pelopidas Street in Gentilly. My grandmother lived off of Franklin. So, that Bud’s wasn’t far away. At Brother Martin in the 1970s, the Gentilly Bud’s was a go-to. Even later on, when Bud’s returned to Gentilly (at the old Luigi’s location), we stopped in regularly.
Of course, there are other Bud’s locations. At some point, the Clearview Bud’s left the franchise. Ben Collier struck out independently. He changed the name of the place to “Ben’s Burgers.” The burgers reamained the same.
Hot Dog on a Hamburger Bun
Bud’s Broiler departed from the classic hot dog. They served their dogs (grilled over charcoal, like the burgers) on a hamburger bun. I got my hot dogs with chili, cheese, and onions. Others get the smoke sauce instead of chili. I opened up the bag from Ben’s Burger’s I brought home Saturday afternoon and found a regular hot dog container inside, rather than the sleeve they wrap around the hamburgers. When I asked after this on the NOLA.com Facebook group, someone replied that it was a legal thing. Sure enough, Mr. Ben himself confirmed that, as part of the agreement to leave Bud’s, he doesn’t do hot-dogs-on-hamburger-buns.
Turns out it was no big thang. That hot dog was excellent. Not sure how often I’ll go back to Sonic now.
Dessert at New Orleans Restaurants
We went to Vincent’s in #themetrys on Saturday night with friends. Our friend Kara wondered if their spumoni ice cream was house-made. I said, doubtful, they probably get it from Angelo Brocato’s. I was right, and that got me thinking about dessert. Come listen to te second pour in the pub today.
Do you stay for dessert when you go out to eat?
Welcome to YatPundit’s Pub 18-April-2019 – it’s time to talk books and writing!
YatPundit’s Pub 18-April-2019
The shock of the fire at Notre Dame in Paris weighs heavily. A few introductory thoughts here, then we’ll get on with getting on.
Writing about churches
Let’s talk about other churches for a moment. So, sticking to “write what you know,” I focus on New Orleans. There are two stories that may turn into a full-blown Talents book, set in Europe. While one can write about well-known places, it works to write about the cities I walk around. Vienna is a setting in Trusted Talents for that reason. Utrecht, Stockholm, and Copenhagen figure into the in-progress cities. Work cities for me. I”m comfortable there. Oslo as well!
American cities, too
Same goes for American cities. The Orthodox church on High Street on Columbus calls me. It’s easy to visualize the great, potentially evil Nationwide Plaza. Transporting to Midtown Atlanta clicks. Switching to Manhattan Beach is easy.
When travelling, I stop in not only the Big Church. It’s fun to explore the parish church blocks away. Take time to check out the synagogue. When a character tells me something, I know exactly where they are. While I could make a Notre Dame scene happen, it’s more likely going to be a scene set in Nice.
Reading for YatPundit’s Pub 18-April-2019. So, I’m finishing up the 21st “Rebus” novel by Ian Rankin, Rather Be the Devil. John Rebus is retired. Therefore, he’s sticking his nose in the cases of DI Siobahn Clarke. Malcom Fox figures prominently in the story as well. There’s another “retired Rebus” book out, but I’ve got a ton of stuff to get to first.
Something that will jump the line, however, is Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. As I flew up to Columbus a couple of weeks ago, a friend messaged and said, read this book. So, last week, Pesca had the author, Patrick Radden Keefe on his pod, Slate’s The Gist. The book is fascinating! Two recommendations move it up to read-now.