A Peck of Pickled Okra. Call it Smokra.


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I hate okra. So I don’t know why but everyone else seems to love this smokra nonsense from Rick’s Picks.

One of my favorite local bars, Louis 649 on E. 9th between avenues C and D, recently added small plate snacks (oh those small plates of recent ire) to their expansive cocktail menu. To celebrate one year of Tuesday night tastings and the advent of snack options, the tasting this week featured the maker of their pickle plate… Rick.

Never have I been to a tasting at Louis that was so packed. Standing room only. I think they eventually started turning people away at the door. True, I don’t go to the tastings that often, but seriously, it was EPIC. I think my party got the last table and the last chair in the place. Our later arrival had to stand, although at least she could see. I just kind of sat in my corner by the window and mused on the small oval plate of pickledness while Rick told the story of his life via pickles. Things I learned? He used to work for VH1 on those various list shows. Ponderous. But pickles are his passion and I have to say, they’re pretty amazing and I am not one to wax poetic on pickles.

Recommendations: The Windy City Wasabeans (not sure what was Windy City about them?) & the People’s Pickle (Rick’s nod to your traditional garlicky deli pickle). I will also recommend the Smokra (pickled paprika okra) since it is EVERYONE’s favorite except mine. It was a little too smokey for me, but it was really interesting and different, and apparently lots of people like okra.

So lessons learned? Three: Okra is very popular. Small plates at bars are fully fabulous because there are no large plates. You can pickle almost anything. That’s what Rick says.

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