Steve Bivans

Author, Fear-Less Life & Self-Publishing Coach

Category: Food (page 1 of 5)

No cardboard crackers and fat-free cheese here people. Lettuce? not gonna find it. Salads, hell no. Savory, spicy, fat-dripping hunks of charred animal flesh, and booze-filled, icy drinks? FUCKIN’ A RIGHT. I’m your man.

Cafe du Monde: Feed Your Powdery Addiction

I hate tourist traps.

Well, come to think of it, that’s not entirely true.

Sometimes, you just have to stop into that old-school, roadside souvenir shop with the ginormous statue of Sitting Bull, Paul Bunyan, or Babe the Blue Ox, even if Babe is missing his testicles. That’s another story.

I mean, sometimes cheesy is just fun. You don’t have to actually buy anything, of course. You can just walk through and poke fun at the cheese. It’s a thang.

But for the most part, I really hate tourist traps.

The worst are the ones in strip malls, or some new building stuck in the middle of the actual attraction, like the ones across from Graceland in Memphis.

Holy hound dog, they’re pathetic.

How many Velvet Elvises can you pack into one strip mall?

Apparently a whole shitload. If you can imagine it, the King’s countenance was upon it, and upon a whole host of things that your dreams–indeed even nightmares–would never include. I’m pretty sure I saw some feminine hygiene products in there with fat Elvis’s mug on them, probably singing “Hunk a hunk a burnin’ love” or something.

Anyway, I can’t stand those kinds of tourist hell holes.

There are some tourist traps, however, that you simply must see if you’re visiting certain places in the world. The Eiffel Tower is one. Of course, if you’re in Paris you can’t actually avoid it, per se, since you can see it from everywhere in the fucking city. Or at least I imagine it’s that way. I haven’t actually been to the City of Lights, yet.

If you go to New Orleans, you simply must do the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, the latter at least once, unless you’re a twenty-something college student, then by all means, drink your self to Polookaville, barf on your girlfriend’s shoes, and piss in the street till you get busted for being an ass. But for most of us, myself included, one walk down the street is enough. Okay, two.

But the Quarter as a whole? I think you have to do it every time you go. In fact, it’s the reason I’ll go back, again and again.

And once you’re in the Quarter?
There’s one place that you simply HAVE to do: Cafe du Monde.

Cafe du MondeCafe du Monde, New Orleans

Most locals will avoid talking about the Quarter very much, or only with disdain, since they’re so jaded and tired of frat boys puking on their shoes and pissing in the gutters. I get it.

But when it comes to Cafe du Monde, they all agree; you simply must go there and have beignets. And they’re absolutely right.

In fact, there’s only three reasons I can think of to not go there:

  1. You’re suffering from celiac and can’t eat gluten. There’s so much flour wafting through the air near that place, that you’ll probably break out in hives and shit yourself just walking by, so avoid it if that’s the case.
  2. You’re diabetic. Or
  3. You’re one of those  people who don’t eat much of anything because it was once in the same county as an animal, or because you don’t eat sugar, or you just hate yourself and beat yourself up with a massive Guilt Gavel for eating anything that isn’t broccoli.

In that case, don’t go to New Orleans, at all. Food is the number one reason to go there, period. Are there others? Sure, but who fuckin’ cares. It’s about food.
Okay, booze too, and music.

Keepin’ it Simple

One of the things I rant about all the time is the attempt by restaurants around the world, but especially in the U.S. to please everyone that might possibly, one day, walk in the fucking door.

Instead of focusing on a narrow selection of dishes, they create these enormous menus, sometimes with a hundred or more items on it, to makes sure that everyone on the planet, including your grandmother suffering from rheumatism and an acute case of I’m a fucking bitch, will find something they can choke down.

This is the biggest mistake made by every half-assed, shitty restaurant in America, and probably world-wide.

Stop doing it, damn it! It sucks.

The only thing this philosophy ensures is that your restaurant will fuck up everything on the menu, and get nothing right.

This usually includes the service, since the wait staff and kitchen staff are overwhelmed trying to remember every lame-assed item on the menu, what goes with what, what’s in what, is it gluten free?, fat free?, flavor free?,

“Ma’am, would you like that overcooked, under-cooked, or liquefied in a Ninja blender and served with a fucking straw?”

No wonder most restaurants just suck.

Cafe du Monde, however, has taken the simplification mantra to its inevitable conclusion. If you really want to master something, only do one thing, and fuckin’ do it right! And that’s what they’ve been doing for probably a hundred fuckin’ years, 24 hours a day, 364 days a year. They only close for Christmas, and the occasional hurricane, and I’m not talking about the drink; I’m talkin’ about storms like Katrina.

Booze and storms don’t slow down Cafe du Monde. If they did, they’d never open in this city. Hell no, this is the place where everyone goes: famous people, and the great unwashed, like myself. Hell, the place has been in songs. Jimmy Buffett was so in love with the place that he included it in one of his.

The Cafe has mastered the mantra of simpleness.

There’s only like five things on the menu:cafe du monde, new orleans, beignets and coffee

  1. Coffee
  2. Milk
  3. Orange juice
  4. Water, and
  5. Beignets

And when it comes to the only food item on the menu, beignets, there ain’t 31 fuckin’ flavors!

Fuck no! There’s one!

It’s basically a square donut. And it’s so simple that it doesn’t even have a hole!

They deep fry it, bury it in about 50 pounds of powdered sugar. I’m not exaggerating. Okay, maybe it’s only 49 pounds. Then they serve them up three at a time, and that’s it. They don’t do anything else.

Want something else? Tough shit. Want beignets? Sit the fuck down and eat’em!

Snow-blind in the Big Easy

Whatever you do, don’t wear dark clothing if you venture into the Cafe du Monde.

Wear white. All white.

In fact, bring a large tarp and some duct tape to secure it around your neck, or everyone in the Quarter is gonna know that you were eating beignets under the green and white striped tent.

Tourist, who’ve not had the experience, will think you’ve just arrived from Central America and managed to get past the trained dogs at Louis Armstrong International. There’s white powder EVERYWHERE along Decatur Street. Mostly it’s on people’s shirts and in their cleavage, not up their nose.

It doesn’t take a Sherlock to track the patrons of du Monde. We saw a park bench several blocks away encircled with a white, powdery substance, which was either cocaine, or confectionery sugar. The proximity to the cafe suggested the latter. The debris was heaviest in front of the bench, but left the impression of two human asses in the center of a halo of sugary goodness.

I was instantly hungry.

Practice Makes Perfection

The beignets at Cafe du Monde are the real deal.

They’ve been making these things forever, round the clock, and guess what?

When you do that, you get pretty fuckin good at it. There’s a reason everyone goes there, even the locals, and the famous, the rich, and anyone with enough pennies to scrape together an order; They fuckin’ rock!

They are simply orgasmic.

Even if they don’t have a hole in them, they’re the best donuts you’re ever gonna eat.

They will change your world. They’ll ensure that all your babies are born naked. Trust me, they will.
And while you’re having a religious, elevated blood-sugar experience, you’ll have plenty to look at.

Go there for the beignets, but stick around for the show.

The scene from under the tent is mesmerizing.

In front of you is Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, the epicenter of New Orleans. There are hundreds of people walking by at all times of the day and night. Musicians, artists, and freaks are performing along the sidewalks. Con men coax the cash out of the pockets of unsuspecting tourists—I’ll tell that story, later—and mule-drawn carriages clip and clop past, while bike taxi drivers strain to shuttle their over-fed fares off to France-man Street—the new Bourbon as any local will tell you.

If I could eat a thousand beignets in a day, I would do it just for the view. Okay, I’d also do it because I’m a sugar addict, and this place is to sugar addicts as Medellin is to those who crave nose candy.

If you’re ever in New Orleans, take some extra insulin, sit your ass down under the green and white tent, put on your tarp, and dig in, because you’ve reached Nirvana at Cafe du Monde!

If you enjoyed this one, check out my other Big Easy Adventures:

  1. The Big Easy: First 24

  2. A Pirate’s Revenge: An Evening at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

  3. Captain Larry LaFeet: The Land-Pirate of Decatur Street

 

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

How to Rock Restaurant Management!

Most of you know that I’m big into food.

Food is also the reason I’m so big, but I’m not here to talk about my weight. I’m here to talk about restaurants and how they can be better.

I rarely talk about the mediocre and crappy restaurants that I happen to stumble into. I’d much rather talk about the great ones. There are way more lame eateries than fabulous ones. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When I was in my twenties—a very long time ago, mind ya—I spent about 3 or 4 years working in restaurants, even starting in fast food, feeding frozen burgers into the back of a broiler at Burger King.

I was never the manager. Quite frankly, I wasn’t motivated to be one. But I did suffer underneath a couple of really bad ones before I finally landed under a decent one or two.Rock Restaurant Management Silva

Rocking Restaurant Management!

I wish that my managers at the time had read this brand new book, How to Rock Restaurant Management: 5 Ingredients to Leading a Successful Team, by Katelyn Silva, one of the members of my College of Self-Publishing Mastermind Group.

Of course, my managers didn’t read this book, because, you know, time-space-continuum and stuff. But if they had, I might not have chopped off the ends of three or four fingers, or had to wade through three inches of boiling hot grease, or sweated my balls off in a southern kitchen, in August, with no air-conditioning. Those are stories for another time. Suffice it to say, management matters.

If you have aspirations of managing a restaurant, or you’re already in the job, you owe it to yourself, your team, and your boss (even if that’s you), to read this book. Silva hits all the pitfalls and their solutions in this great little book. I was happy to see that more often than not, she chose the word ‘leadership’ as opposed to ‘management.’

People really don’t need managers; they need leaders. If you are aware of the difference, you can still learn a few things in these pages. If you don’t know the difference, then you’re probably a really crappy manager, and you most certainly need to read the book.

It’s only $.99 for a limited time! GET IT TODAY!

And then do leave a short review when you’re finished reading!

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

The Big Easy: First 24

Walking off the plane, on the ramp, I noticed one thing: warmth.

Flying from Minnesota to New Orleans in mid March is climate change in rapid motion.

Paysh and I were both in jeans. I had on a button down, long sleeve shirt. I was beginning to perspire before we got to baggage claim. But enough of that boring shit.

We were met by our hosts, Kendra and Michael, friends of ours through mutual friends and through my first book, who made the entire trip possible, and so I’d like to say, HELL YEAH, and THANK YOU, to them for this week.

First Night

We arrived around 8pm, so were a bit behind the eightball to begin partying in the Big Easy, but Kendra and Michael quickly wisked us to the heart of the city, where we grabbed ‘traveller’ drinks at their posh hotel, The Roosevelt, and then dove into the Quarter to go get a very late dinner.17361562_10158284589130461_6769279163357655973_n

I’ve never been to New Orleans, and Paysh’s first and only trip was when she was young, and it was more of a ‘drive thru’ experience.

The Quarter was buzzing, as I suppose it always is. We wove our way through the narrow streets, scattered with debris of various kinds: some solid, some liquid. We alternated between the sidewalk, and the middle of the street, dogging people, cars, garbage cans.

The Quarter is a place of many sights and sounds that are strange to those of us not from here. They’re also delightful, simply because they’re different. The smells are intoxicating, probably because they’re a mix of bakery, grilled meats, hot grease, and the scent of old streets, continuously stained for 300 plus years with booze, and other liquids.

Music is everywhere. There are musicians nearly on every corner. The Quarter is a cliche in action. And it fuckin’ rocks.

We finally arrived at our dinner destination: K Pauls.kpauls17424938_10158283066715461_3723693332511690569_n

It’s an old building, as you would expect, with french windows and doors. We were quickly ushered to our table–since we took the last reservation of the night–and were served our drinks. I don’t even remember the name of mine, but it was very good, especially on the tail of the cup of bourbon I’d just slammed outside, plus the rest of Paysh’s drink.

I didn’t know before we got there, that this place was the famous Paul Prudhomme’s restaurant. If I had, i would have been even more excited for dinner. Kendra and Michael informed us, however, and then I was really looking forward to the food.

The bread basket was almost worth the trip, to be honest. The jalepeno cheddar rolls were amazing, as well as everything else in the basket.creole17353086_10158283066720461_6744777780389278318_n

For dinner, I ordered the creole. I don’t know the name of Paysh’s dish, or Kendra’s, but I tasted everything on the table, and it was all orgasmic. The creole was fucking wonderful.

If you live in frozen, Yankeeland, like me, getting fresh shrimp is next to impossible, so I’m gonna be eating a boatload of it this week.

After dinner, we drove to our home for the week: Kendra and Michael’s little condo on Sofie Wright Place, just south of the Garden District. It’s a cute little neighborhood. There are three bars and one wine bar within spitting distance. When I say that, I mean I could ACTUALLY spit from our balcony outside the bedroom, over the wall into the courtyard of one of the bars: Down the Hatch, which is an Irish pub, owned by a Cuban dude. Yeah, it works. Probably on works in N’awlins, but it works.

The next morning, I was burning daylight, and slept in till just before 8. To be fair, I’m suffering from a cold, and I went to bed at 2am the first night. So, after 6 hours of sleep, I needed two things: breakfast, and my sweet tea. Paysh got up soon after I did, and started on making eggs and toast, while I stumbled out the door, round the corner to the coffee shop (it’s really only about 50 yards away), to get Paysh her cup of joe, and while I was there managed to get a big cup of iced tea, into which I pumped some simple syrup, and off I went, back for breakfast.

We ate scrambled eggs and toast in the little courtyard behind the condo, while listening to French music on Spotify.

About 10, Michael dropped over and we spent the morning just hanging out, talking, drinking sweet tea that I brewed old school style, like my mama makes, in a pot. I had to walk down to the little store a block away to get a bag of ice for it.

The store is pretty, interesting, we’ll say. There are bars on every window and door, stuff strewn around the aisles, a defunct butcher/deli area in the back, but it works if you just want a bag of ice. So I paid the friendly Chinese lady and carried my ice bag to the condo on my shoulder, gathering friendly looks from people as I went. I was wearing the kilt. I always get smiles when I wear the nine yards.

Second Breakfast/brunch

We grabbed Kendra from the hotel, and headed to the Garden District to have brunch at another, old hotel: The Columns. 17362806_10158284568085461_5304847505223555962_nThis place has been operating as a hotel since 1889 I think?

It is amazing. We had a five course brunch on the front porch of this place, watching the streetcars go by, in wonder at the decorated trees (they all have Mardi Gras beads hanging from them), and just taking in the warm spring air, while listening to a jazz guitar player, sitting right behind us.

I had more bread, from another abundant basket, with plenty of butter.

Then came salads, which I happily handed over to Michael. What I was waiting for was the Shrimp n Grits.17353477_10158284568120461_2212443748573390144_n It was pretty much a sexual experience. And the Creme Brule topped it off, along with the mimosa, of course. Pinky fingers were extended the entire time.

The afternoon was pretty lazy after all that food. Kendra and Michael, sadly, had to drive back to Lafayette, and so Pash and I took an hour long nap.

For dinner, we walked right next door to Down the Hatch, the Cuban Irish pub, where we had cold beer on their kick ass patio, while watching the Blue Devils and the Gamecocks battle it out on a huge TV. I tried my best not to watch it much, but it was difficult.17352106_10158285644120461_7379477742121846262_n

We had the special, Cuban pulled pork sandwich with fries. It was very good. I’d like to get a taste of it when they pull it out of the smoker, before they pull it and cover it. It was a bit steamed, but very good.

We took a short walk around the block, went home, watched some stories for a bit, then went to bed.

If you enjoyed this one, check out my other Big Easy Adventures:

  1. A Pirate’s Revenge: An Evening at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

  2. Cafe du Monde: Feed Your Powdery Addiction

  3. Captain Larry LaFeet: The Land-Pirate of Decatur Street

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

Making BBQ Sauce and Kickin’ Ass

I am kickin’ some ASS today!

Yeah, I said it. Deal with it.

Got a bunch of runnin’ around done this morning, and things are just flowing along nicely. Hell the sun even came out! We had a hell of a thunderstorm last night and this morning. Shitloads of rain.

I went to go get some charcoal and apple wood for the ribs, earlier, at our local hardware store. I love the place, because it’s close, and small. I fuckin’ hate the big box stores. We have one here in the Twin Cities, called Menard’s (I call it McNard’s), and it’s so fuckin’ huge that it takes an hour to go there, no matter what you’re going to get. They have GROCERIES! And if that wasn’t stupid enough, they also have ROMANCE NOVELS!

Yeah, that’s what I said, romance novels. What the fuck?

Anyway, I went to Frattalone’s Ace Hardware instead. I also was hoping to find some tiki torches for Middle Earth Day on Saturday. I walked in, the dude at the counter asked me if he could help me find something, and I looked right in front of me, and there was a whole fuckin’ display of torches! Hell yeah! And the charcoal was right next to them! A few steps down an aisle right inside the door, and I had the apple wood.

DONE! It took like 5 minutes, including the conversation I had with Mary Jo and Kim, the two ladies at the register, about BBQ ribs and biscuits. That’s how you run a fuckin’ hardware store!

Anyway, I then went to Oxendale’s Grocery, not too far from the house–a small, local grocery store–picked up some organic apple cider vinegar, and popped back to Bag End to do some BBQ prep.

Making BBQ Sauce!

I cranked up a new mix on Spotify, I called ‘Hell Yeah Motivation Mix’, danced around the kitchen with no shirt on, while I made some Landlubber and Blackbeard’s No Quarter Sauce for the BBQ’d pulled pork my best friend, James, is making for the party. making BBQ sauceThen I rocked out while I removed the membranes from 10 racks of baby back ribs, and scored another 4 or 5 racks of spare ribs that my friend, Todd, donated to the party.

I’ll pick up Paysh at 5, then we’re going to Mississippi Market, to pick up some more stuff, probably the liquor store, too, then come home so she can help me rub my meat–that’s the ribs, you gutter-minded readers–and then she’s gonna make a mess of her Shire-Taters for the party, and store them at a friend’s house, since our fridge is fuckin’ jammed with bloody meat.

That’s my day so far.

Hope y’all’s is great, too!

See y’all tomorrow!

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

Making a Butt-load of Salsa

Yep, that’s what we did this evening.

We made about 4 1/2 gallons of salsa with fresh tomatoes from one of my vendors at the West Side Farmers Market. That officially counts as a butt-load, just shy of a shit-load, which I think is 5 gallons. butt-load of salsa

The funny thing is, that we still have a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes that we didn’t touch!

Duke and I are gonna be doing some Sassla (that’s Woodberrian for salsa–you have to say it with an up-talk accent) delivery tomorrow, I reckon. So if you’re a neighbor of mine…look out! There’s some fuckin’ sassla comin’ your way!

See y’all tomorrow!

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

On Being Five Again: Paysh’s French Silk Pie

Hi Y’all,

Just a short drop in post for this Sunday.

My girlfriend, Paysh, makes the best French silk pie on Earth. I mean it’s just amazing, silky, creamy–real cream, and the crust is flakey, and buttery and yummy.french silk pie

The best part? She let’s me lick all the beaters, and spatulas during the process, and there’s always some filling left over at the end that I get to scoop up.

It makes me smile, laugh, and giggle, and I’m fuckin’ five years old again. My mom didn’t really make French silk pies, but she did make fudge, and brownies, and pudding, and cakes, and they had a similar effect on me.

So, I’m just dropping in to say that my advice for today, is to find a few things that make you five all over again, and eat the hell out of them, or do them, or whatever.

Life’s too short not to be five years old, often.

Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE

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