Thursday, January 10, 2013

“Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…” Los Angeles Area Book Signings and Show

I met Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, author and producer of  “Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…Life Stories about Food”, through my friend Jay Ducote, a rising Lousiana food personality, inside a Baton Rouge radio studio.  Jay was interviewing Peggy on her then upcoming Baton Rouge live show of “Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…”.  Peggy who lives in Los Angeles and hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will again be presenting a live production of Meanwhile Back at Cafe du Monde in Los Angeles on January 27, 2013 and February 11, 2013 at Tom Bergin's Tavern Restaurant at  840 S. Fairfax.  You can also catch Peggy signing her now hot selling book of the same title at several upcoming Barnes and Nobel signings, along with a Los Angeles launch party in Santa Monica at the South Restaurant and Bar on January 15, 2013 from 6 pm to 8 pm, and signings at Surfas in Culver City and and their brand new Costa Mesa location   At the end of this blog posting, is a listing of all of your opportunities to either meet Peggy Sweeney McDonald or to see the live show.


In addition to the South Louisiana food personalities that are featured in the book, there are a number of Los Angeles area personalities, many with ties to Louisiana like Peggy Sweeney-McDonald.  With this show having been produced over 30 times, there were lots of great food stories to include in the book, along with many intriguing recipes and pictures from the performances. The great pictures in the book taken at the various performances are from Baton Rouge photographer Troy Kleinpeter. I saw one of the Baton Rouge performances in October 2011, and my picture ended up in the book on the Jay Ducote pages.  Jay who got his major break by appearing on Gordon Ramsey's Master Chef, has his Blackberry Bourbon Boston Pork Butt included in the book, along with a story on how he got his start with his Bites and Booze blog. Here is a link to my pictures of the Boutin's performance from my Flickr set, and a link to the Baton Rouge book launch party.

Several months ago I did my ExperienceLA blog piece on Six Degrees of Treme, and this book also has major and minor Treme connections beginning with the profile on Davis Rogen, whom the Davis character in Treme is based, along with 90 year old New Orleans food legend Leah Chase, and also Jay Ducote.  Davis talks about how he became a consultant on Treme and the honor of having his music included in this HBO production ofTreme.  Fans of Treme, will remember the Treme actor Davis singing "I Quit'"  Then you have Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase Restaurant, discussing her remarkable life story. With Davis and Leah being the major connections, then Jay Ducote is the minor connection, as he got to play himself as a food blogger at the opening of the featured restaurant in Treme.  Those watching the series will remember the dialogue of how you can spot a food blogger by their shoes. Below is a picture of Jay Ducote with Peggy Sweeney-McDonald at the Baton Rouge Boutin's performance.


Peggy Sweeney-McDonald's book and show is also very timely with all of the attention being showered on South Louisiana, Hollywood South, for Beasts of the Southern Wild with its four Oscar nominations and Django Unchained with its three nominations. With South Louisiana seafood having a major role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Louisiana Plantations in Django Unchained, especially Evergreen Plantation (you get the haunted Myrtles Plantation in Meanwhile Back at Cafe Du Monde which actually was the launch pad for the first production on May 16, 2010).  If you have a craving for Louisiana style seafood (of which there are several contained in Meanwhile Back at Cafe du Monde), then you might want to check out the recently opened Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Fountain Valley and in West Hollywood where you will find Louisiana crawfish and Blue crab, both prepared as would be expected in a spicy Louisiana style.  You can also find other Louisiana style preparations for shrimp (currently from Ecuador) and lobster (from Maine) along with other shellfish favorites at Hot N Juicy Crawfish.  Everything is market price and will help bridge the gap until the next Crawfish Festival in Long Beach on July 27 and 28, 2013. And if you want to catch Louisiana music in Los Angeles, pay attention to what is booked at The Mint in West Los Angeles.  For example, Lost Bayou Ramblers recently performed at The Mint, and they were involved in the music for Beast of the Southern Wild, and have even shown up on Treme.

As  you might have already guessed, Meanwhile Back at Cafe du Monde is a metaphor for our life  stories.  In fact, everyone probably can think of other locations in the United States that have a worldwide food connection that brings one back to strong family and friend memories connected to that location.  At the very beginning, Peggy talked to the owners of Cafe du Monde for permission to use Cafe du Monde as a backdrop for these stories.  I myself have been to Cafe du Monde probably 25 times, and I remember my late wife Karen asking for me to bring her back a Cafe au Lait to our French Quarter hotel room in October 2011, as she was so sick she couldn't make the two block walk. Yes we all have our food memories.


With regard to whom you might see talk about their own food memories at the shows to be performed at the upcoming Tom Bergin's Tavern performances scheduled for January 27th and February 11th, the following is from a recent press release:

"Featured foodies sharing their stories will be Tom Bergen’s Executive Chef Brandon Boudet and Operating Manager – Kat Witt, Lisa Annitti who inspired the shows with her now famous “Coconut Pie and a Bottle of Wine” story, writer/director - Diana Zollicoffer featured in the book “The Other Creole Girl”, Actor - Lance Spellerberg featured in the book “Miss New Orleans, Adam Milstein owner of South Santa Monica and featured in the book “A Bit of SOUTH IN Santa Monica”, Private Chef & co-owner of San Gennaro’s Restaurant - Johnnie Handel, General Manager of Snookie’s Cookies – Brigitte Pailet, creator producer – Peggy Sweeney-McDonald and more. Susan Irby, the Bikini Chef of KABC Bikini Lifestyle Radio will emcee the January show."

Recent additions to the January show are Theo Stephan, founder of Global Gardens Olive Oil and Vinegar, Melanie Elliott, actress, producer, and blogger and Chef Das Smith, Founder/Director of Culinary Program at Beverly Hills High School.  Also just announced is the Emcee for the February 11th Mardi Gras show which will be Chef Jamie Gwen, certified sommelier and cookbook author and host of the radio show "Food and wine with Chef Jamie Gwen.

The following is the upcoming schedule of signings and performances for Meanwhile Back at Cafe du Monde:

January 12, 2013 - Barnes and Noble, Manhattan Beach - 12 pm -3 pm with Lisa Annitti and Diana Zollicoffer

January 15, 2013 - Book Launch Party at South Restaurant and Bar, 3001 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

January 19, 2013 - Surfas Restaurant Supply and Gourmet Food, 3975 Landmark St. Culver City, CA from 11 am to 1 pm with Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, Diana Zollicoffer, Lisa Annitti, and Lance Spellerberg

January 26, 2013 - Surfas Restaurant Supply and Gourmet Food, 3909 Hyland Ave. Costa Mesa, CA from 12 Noon - 2:00 PM with Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, Diana Zollicoffer, Wayne Bennett, and Susan Irby - The Bikini Chef

January 27, 2013 - Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Show from 6:30 pm  - 8:30 pm at Tom Bergin's Tavern Restaurant, 840 So. Fairfax Call for Reservations (323) 936-7151. Tickets are $25 which includes beignets and Irish Coffeee.  The full dinner menu will also be available.

February 11, 2013 - Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Show from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm at Tom Bergin's Tavern Restaurant, 840 So. Fairfax Call for Reservations (323) 936-7151. Tickets are $25 which includes beignets and Irish Coffeee.  The full dinner menu will also be available.

Noting that food is available for order at the Tom Bergin's Tavern productions of Meanwhile Back at Cafe du Monde, you might want to read the rave review from Jonathan Gold in the Los Angeles Times in which he remark's that the restaurant owner, Brandon Boudet, probably makes the best jambalaya in all of Los Angeles.  Maybe it will be available to further make the connection with the highly commendable Meanwhile Back at Cafe du Monde.  And if you don't yet own a copy of the book, buy one, and be transported back to Louisiana: Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde . . .: Life Stories about Food

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