Smoke My Crabs Jackie O – Midnight Menu +1 – It’s New Orleans
Steve Armbruster pioneered the New Orleans pop up restaurant scene back in 1978 when he founded a kitchen in Tipitina’s. Steve and 13 friends opened Tips a year earlier so they could hear R&B artists who, thanks to The Beatles, “The British Invasion” and the total demise of New Orleans music, had no other place to play.
Steve had never cooked before Tipitina’s and he hadn’t planned on turning his Red Beans & Rice Monday and or Vegetarian Spaghetti into a career that would eventually turn him into a chef and take him into the fine dining kitchens at Upperline, the Roosevelt, and Christian’s restaurant – which is where he met sous chef Mike Ward.
Mike is the creator of the signature smoked soft shell crab and an evangelist for his trout mousse. Later in his cooking career Mike was to become the executive chef at Ocshner Hospital, cooking for thousands of staff and patients daily for 16 years.
While Mike was healing the sick and their doctors with good food, Steve left New Orleans to explore colder kitchens in the North East, cooking in Boston for Jackie O and family among others. Steve tells the story of a bizarre culinary brush with fame: his proximity to Bill Clinton’s tuna fish sandwich.
Before they leave for the night, Steve and Mike share secrets about locally found mushrooms. Oh, and if you’ve got this far and wondered “Where’s Ray?” he’s eating at Wayfare. He’s back next week.