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Scott Johnston

Feasting on Asphalt II

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I have noticed that there is little on the Food Network that I regularly watch. Anthony Bourdain has risen to the travel network and other public television series are teaching me more about cooking than the food network "personalities". The one exception to this is Alton Brown. His shows still teach me a bit about food science, history and preparation. While not every recipe is a winner, the overall show and hios style seems to work for me.

Last summer he came out with a 4 part series detailing his ride on the back roads finding local cuisine. This year he is at it again traveling South to North on the mighty Mississippi. The first episode was a good one, perhaps a little off as Alton seemed to try to add some drama to the series, but still not a bad hour of television. I feel it is a worthwhile watch!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ab

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I agree. He is a know it all, but I like his shows. I liked the way he dismissed Mullates(sp) as not being really authentic, in part because they did not have sweet tea. However, the best food in New Orleans is not in the French Quarter. This is best shot show on the network.

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The sweet tea this is an affectation when it comes to New Orleans--which, incidentally, is nowhere near the spiritual home of Cajun cooking. And it's hardly the case that the vestiges of Katrina are hardly noticeable, as Alton noted whilst standing next to the riverbank. Most everything else was good, though I think he tries to play the intentional awkwardness card far too much.

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I have never been offered unsweet tea in New Orleans, or anywhere in the state of Lousiana. My wife is from these parts, and it is not an affectation.

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Sorry, I wasn't clear--using sweet tea as an angle/repeated gag when approaching New Orleans is an affectation befitting the Atlantan Brown.

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I have never been offered unsweet tea in New Orleans, or anywhere in the state of Lousiana. My wife is from these parts, and it is not an affectation.
In my experience, having grown up in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, both are available, but "unsweet" is what you ask for when sweet is the default, and sweet is what you ask for when unsweetened tea is the default.

In your better restaurants in New Orleans, unsweetened tea is the default, because you aren't going to order iced tea with a fine meal.

If sweet tea is the default, it's an affectation, or a lunch counter.

New Orleanians have coffee, or beer with lunch, wine with dinner.

JHMO.

Alton's picks for Louisiana are sort of strange. I didn't realize Mulates, which is from Breaux Bridge, had opened up a touristy place in New Orleans, but what the hey? It's all show biz now anyway.

Be glad he didn't do a show on one of your nicer Creole restaurants. Be very very glad.

Just surprised he didn't pick real road food.

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Sorry, I wasn't clear--using sweet tea as an angle/repeated gag when approaching New Orleans is an affectation befitting the Atlantan Brown.
Atlanta may well be the epicenter of sweet tea. Richmond, or maybe Fredericksburg, may be the upper limit.

Not sure about the lower limit, but so many people in the mix nowadays you need to please your customers.

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Actually, I think the locals used to drink Barq's with their poorboys (I don't call them po boys, which I consider an affectation). Or Dixie. Maybe coffee.

And iced tea was always unsweetened, except for places that catered to ladies who lunch.

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The sweet tea line used to be Route 234 (Manassas/Dumfries); it's crept a little further north as a few Georgia/Tennessee-based chains have moved into the area.

As far as that part of the country goes, I don't remember ever being offered sweet tea as an option anywhere west of Meridian. I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure I survived the experience without major trauma. :angry:

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Not sure about the lower limit, but so many people in the mix nowadays you need to please your customers.

Around Orlando is the lower tea line. I routinely refer to it as the second Mason-Dixon line where you've gone so far south you are back north again and the tea defaults to unsweet. Down the west coast to the Everglades, places will have sweet and happily give you half and half. On the east coast, you can only readily get sweet tea or half and half until about Hollywood. South of there they look at you funny until you get to the Keys.

At least that is what I've found as I keep circling around the state.

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And iced tea was always unsweetened, except for places that catered to ladies who lunch.
Actualy, my NOLA raised husband says that depending on where you are, if you order "iced tea," you usually get the Long Island variety. :angry: He remembers mostly sweet tea back home.

I had not watched this before, but caught the episode last week about crawfish, gator and andouille. He seems to be enjoying himself, without being condescending.

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In New Orleans, generally across the board, when you just say, "tea", you will get plain tea. Unlike most of the rest of the Deep South, you won't see sweet tea unless you ask for it-though some places,Willie Mae's Scotch House, for example, will ask whether you want sweet or unsweet.

I was just in North LA recovering from a little accident involving a car door, my swell bike, St Charles Ave and Audobon Park, and my brain and skull, and unlike New Orleans, got sweet tea everytime unless I remembered to say unsweet. It's a New Orleans thing, I think. Even just down the road in Gulfport or Biloxi, you get sweet pretty much no matter what.

Also, I don't know if the episode has run yet, but Alton goes to a number of my favorite up Hwy. 61 in the Delta. I'm not sure how the episode turned out, but I got a few phone calls from some people involved, and they really enjoyed meeting the guy.

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