Photo | facebook.com/VandalsStreetKitchen
Wondering what will become of the building at 69 St. Michael? Ever since the closing of West Food Bar in mid-August after a half-year residency at this location, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about future tenants. It didn’t take long for someone to fill the void, and it’s a mouthful.
Slurp Society Ramen Shop is the latest dream development for Chef Wade Price, an idea he has been kicking around for a while now.
“This is something I’ve wanted to open for my entire career,” he said. “Even back when I was a greenhorn moron in culinary school. I am incredibly passionate about this and can’t wait to sling some noods for ya.”
The Cereal Killer/Sea Wolf (as well as many others, including this building’s Von’s Bistro) kitchen veteran says Slurp Society will be a little more than bowls of ramen, but will stay close to the theme. Bao buns and “dope small plates” will take up a chunk of the menu, yet to be revealed.
Keep track of Slurp Society on social media for an exact opening date, but we are hoping to be slurping before Halloween, perhaps mid-October. A first of its kind for Mobile, I’m glad to have it coming downtown.
Bistro Saint Emanuel gains new chef
When the aforementioned West Food Bar shut down last month, fans of Chef Weston Simpson wanted to know where he would be cooking next. Look no further. The former brains behind West Mobile’s Pour Baby is now at the cozy and elegant Bistro Saint Emanuel at the Fort Conde Inn, 165 St. Emanuel St.
From small plates (don’t neglect the deep-fried risotto croquettes) and charcuterie to smart-looking pasta dishes, the rest of the menu is heavy on steaks and seafood. There’s also an absinthe menu and several New Orleans-inspired cocktails. The list of spirits is not slouching.
I’m interested in seeing how the menu will vary over the seasons. No need to change anything at the moment. Brunch and dinner are seven days a week. You’ll need reservations only on Friday and Saturday. Make one right now while you’re reading this at 251-405-5040.
Vandals hitting West Mobile
It’s not what you’re thinking. The latest news on the other side of 1-65 is the almost-opened Vandal’s Street Kitchen in the old Montego’s at 6601 Airport Blvd. They are currently still training their team, but it’s trial by fire with limited hours and a smaller menu than what’s to come.
The focus is Latin and Asian street fare. One leaked menu I saw had chorizo wontons, street corn with Kewpie mayo, and roasted edamame with smoked paprika and cumin as part of their appetizer game. The main dishes crossed the line over and over again with banh mi tacos, Korean fried chicken, pho Birria with brisket tacos and more. There is always street fried rice and noodles.
Keep an eye out for hours and a grand opening, but currently, they are working out the kinks with some dinner runs. Check their Facebook page for availability, but I’d make it a point to get in for some grub sooner than later before these guys explode. Don’t forget the bar items. Even the blackberry margarita looks to be a fusion drink.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back. Where is the McRib?
I remember the first and only Pumpkin Spice Latte I ever had. I’m reminded of it every year. It was, I think, three days before my son Henry was born. It was Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. My wife was home on maternity leave. Our son Henry would be born the following Monday. I’d never tried the PSL, though it was a wildly famous product ever since Starbucks introduced it to the world in 2003.
We grabbed one on our way to a restaurant review early one morning. I found it undrinkable. I think I managed to choke down about a quarter of the smallest size they offered between Catherine Street and Royal. I poured out the rest once we were downtown. Any more and it was going to come back up.
We journeyed on to an unmentionable (and now defunct) biscuit place where the food and service were so horrible we almost tossed our cookies again, this time over crumbly day-old biscuits and tepid fried chicken.
I remember I ordered a shot of Maker’s Mark, finding it to be the only thing that could take the flavors away from me. It was maybe 8:30 a.m. I had to work at 10 a.m., but it was a risk I was willing to take.
I never wrote the review for that restaurant. It would be hard to cobble a thousand words out of nothing worth mentioning, and I hate being mean. I couldn’t think of anything nice to say, so instead, I tried to reach out to management, but never got a response. It just took care of itself and closed without any help from my meager column.
Now I feel I am hating on the PSL, but really it just doesn’t add up. I’m on no bandwagon of naysayers. I love cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, earthiness. I love pumpkin pie, placing it in my dessert Top 10 (but the kissing cousin, sweet potato pie, is in the top three), and I do drink a latte from time to time. I want to like it, I just don’t.
It’s largely associated with females, but so is rosé. I drink plenty of that. I don’t believe in the masculinity or femininity of food and drink. I love the smell of pumpkin spice candles, associated products, etc., but the drink turns my stomach. It reminds me of the only thing I ever knew to make my dad sick, the McRib. You could hear him groan when those commercials started. PSL is my McRib.
But here it is, back in the brew. I know, because I sang “Happy Birthday” to my son today. Maybe I should give it another shot.
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