Lil bit of life!


Wednesday afternoon here in Buenos Aires, and while the bread rises and Stevie Nicks fills the restaurant, I’ve managed to somehow carve out a few minutes to give you a bit of what’s going on here in my new crazy life.

First off, Wednesdays are my new Mondays.  And I must admit it’s quite strange on Wednesdays when I see friends and my BA family and one of the first things out my mouth is, ‘how was your weekend?’.  Needless to say I’m still getting acclimated.

Lots of new things these days, truthfully!

Where shall we begin?


Can we start with just how beautiful this city is?  Buenos Aires, I truly love you.  You are one crazy bitch, but man do I adore you in the Spring.  I mean, check out that sky and tree tunnel!

Winter was mild and Spring has arrived early.  No complaints.  However I am a bit fearful of how the Summer will play out, especially with all the electrical issues we had last year…

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenRecently there has been a lot to celebrate.

NOLA survived it’s first month.  I turned 30.  We got a new fridge!  More importantly we got water pressure (mil gracias prima Juana por la bomba!!) and a Kitchen Aid mixer.

Time is flying and it’s helping me realize how much I just need to keep pushing.

Like this mixer for example.

My beautiful red Kitchen Aid mixer that has been on my kitchen dream list for a good decade.

A very tall and kind man lugged it all the way from California to help a friend out.

A generous act brought on by desperation from yours truly.

Making bread (by hand) wasn’t something I was prepared for when we first opened NOLA.  Yes, I’ve made bread every week for the past couple of years, but not at this rate.  Two different types of bread prepared daily by hand.  All rolled out into individual portions so NOLA clients can have the best that we can offer.  These breads need a good 3-5 hours depending on the weather and the damn brioche needs force!  Alan, the amount of respect I have for you and your buns… Bravo mo fo’.

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenLuckily the Kitchen Aid, aka ruby, is helping Liza find balance.

Yes, still the most consuming part of my daily work, but we’re figuring things out.

Who would have known that making the same recipe by hand vs. in a machine would create such different results?!  A lesson I learned rather quickly.  Not a fan.

However I will say the bolillo bread that we serve alongside the gumbo comes out spectacular via Ruby.

Dave, you have no idea how grateful my arms and I are.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Ruby is also semi-responsible for these guys down below!  Sunday was rainy and we assumed service would be slow so I started googling best recipes for Kitchen Aid mixers and I stumbled upon these sweets.  Never have made them before the NOLA crew and I agreed on the recipe and got to work.  Maria rolled them out and we stuffed them with almonds, cinnamon, dulce de leche, all spice, and a bit of peppercorns.

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenNOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chicken^ These guys are boudin balls!  Which we also made with the kick ass meat grinder attachment!  What’s that, Liza?  You grounded pork and liver to make fresh boudin?  YES, I FUCKING DID.

I must admit, I was a bit intimidated at first.  Boudin (pronounced boo-dan) is a Cajun sausage made of pork and rice that we eat in Louisiana.  Sometimes they are formed into links and other times they’re made into balls and deep fried or perhaps used as a stuffing.

Since we don’t have the equipment (or desire) to link them, we decided to serve boudin balls and they came out pretty damn good.  The first night we served them at NOLA a man from Louisiana walked in and I knew instantly he wasn’t a local.  He introduced himself, said he was from Nawlins and I threw a batch in the fryer.  Within minutes I was at his table with a sample for him to try.  ‘Give it to me straight, I haven’t had boudin in years’ and he responds with, ‘oh I’m gonna’.  He popped one in his mouth and the smile began.

Makin’ groceries, yo!

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chicken^ This other guy has recently made it’s way into the kitchen.

And praise to the rice gods I love it!!  No more stress about how to reheat the rice.  And we go through a lot between the red beans and gumbo!

Has anyone made jambalaya in a rice cooker?  Or dirty rice?  Is that a thing or a no no?!!!

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenMe right after midnight on my 30th.

It was a big day.  Well, actually a big night!

It was a dual celebration- NOLA’s survived it’s first full month and Liza ringing in a new decade.

The place was packed.  Insanely packed.  Local chefs were chomping down on fried chicken, TV personalities, beer makers, big press, it was NON-STOP.  I can’t even begin to express how nervous I get when I, lil cook Liza from the big easy, has to feed the chef’s that I respect most in this city.  What are they doing here?!!  They’re suppose to be the ones feeding me at their place!!  And then they come back for another taste of NOLA.  My head starts spinning as soon as I see them walk in… Tranqui, Liza.  Traaaaaanqui.

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenBut enough about work!!

Let’s talk Tuesdays.  Glorious Tuesdays that I never want to end.

I can’t even begin to describe the amount of love I have for a day of the week.  I actually didn’t know this type of love was possible!

Generally Tuesdays are spent sleeping in and not smelling like fried chicken.

I wear ‘real clothes’, jewelry and sometimes even a purse!  Ticol and I eat out somewhere fancy, have a bit of vino and perhaps even buy ourselves a few things.  Lately I’ve been all about facial products, fresh flowers, office supplies and candles.

NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenNOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenOne of the hardest things about this new adventure I’m on is pobrecito Momo.

He’s had a lot of alone time lately as we aren’t home much.  I tried to convince Ticol to take him with us to the local but he wont budge.  I think it could be great for business!!  Maybe the city disagrees…NOLAchef-nola-buenos-aires-gastropub-palermo-craft-beer-fried-chickenSo what’s next?

New apartment.  We’re on the hunt.  It’s not thrilling.

Preparing for Spring.  Are we getting outside tables at NOLA?  I don’t know.  We want to but are worried about the neighbors and the noise.  We don’t want any mala onda (bad vibes) with anyone and there’s a couple who already aren’t our biggest fans.

NOLA team.  We’re expanding!  Something my hard head has accepted is that I can’t do it all.  And I don’t want to do it all!!  We’ll be looking for kitchen people and we’ve already hired an assistant, Otti, a sassy Brit who is helping us organize and ride the momentum.  I’m very excited to have her be part of this journey.

Sherry!  I’m also very pumped to have you in my life.  You’re going to be my mentor.  I hope that’s okay.  xo

Wishing you all a wonderful week!