Finds 11.11.09

While ubiquitous TV personality Emeril Lagasse may be the most recognizable New Orleans chef, John Besh has taken up the mantle of New Orleans’ most acclaimed culinary ambassador. The owner of Restaurant August, Luke, Besh Steak and La Provence, Besh has set the bar for the current crop of up-and-coming young chefs in the Big Easy. His new cook book, _My New Orleans: The Cookboo_k, was five years in the making and shows Besh’s sense of place and his eye for perfection. Always a proponent of making the most of fresh, local ingredients, Besh takes you through the culinary seasons, paying homage to Louisiana classics like jambalaya, shrimp Creole, oyster gratin, and beef daube glacee with a healthy flair for new ingredients and techniques. Beautifully illustrated with photos by Ditte Isager, My New Orleans contains 200 recipes, weighs 5 pounds and retails for $45. — Nathan Stubbs

Readers of The Independent Weekly may recall our Feb. 4 cover story on the controversy surrounding the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete. That’s where owner Mike Sandlin keeps his “pet,” Tony, a 600-pound, 9-year-old Bengal-Siberian tiger in a cage about the size of the back end of an 18-wheeler. Always the proud scorn of animal rights activists, Sandlin recently introduced a new souvenir T-shirt. The Hanes cotton T costs $10 and features a large picture of Tony licking his chops above the slogan, “Animal Rights Activists taste like chicken.” Available only at the Tiger Truck Stop. — NS

Fans of the strong, beefy flavor of cow tongue have a new local delicacy to experience. Head across the south side border to La Pagua, the new Mexican restaurant behind Baskin Robbins at 4807 Johnston St., for a taste of la lengua taco. All La Pagua’s tacos come in the authentic style: a heaping mound of meat (or in this case tongue), onion and cilantro atop a soft corn tortilla and served with homemade green and red chili sauce and a lime wedge. The best part: a la carte tacos at La Pagua are only $1.75 a piece. Call 988-1312 for more information. — NS