A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 14, 2018
Grillades

Grillades and grits is a popular breakfast combination in New Orleans. Grillades has been described as fried meat, and it’s often served with gravy.

A recipe for “Grillades a la Creole” was published in The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA) on September 7, 1898. “Grillades. Hominy” was on the breakfast menu in The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) on December 9, 1898, and “Grillades and Grits” was on a breakfast menu in this newspaper on April 2, 1900.


Wikipedia: Grillades
Grillades /ɡree-yahds/ are medallions of various meats, conventionally beef, but veal and pork are also used in modern recipes. Often served with gravy at breakfast or brunch over grits, they are a traditional Creole food.

Despite the name, grillades are not grilled, but fried or seared. For grillades with gravy, the meat is cut into medallions, pounded flat, seasoned and dredged in flour. The meat is then browned and braised in a flavorful liquid made up of roux and chopped or crushed tomatoes.

Chronicling America
21 August 1838, The True American (New Orleans, LA), “A Hungry Traveller,” pg. 2, col. 2:
Item, 3 plates of venison grillades.

14 February 1889, The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA), pg. 4, col. 5:
... “calla tout chaud,” gumbo, crayfish bisque, grillades, Jombolaya, bouille baisse, court bouillon, Creole coffee and potato pone, besides the fried chicken, corn bread ...

7 September 1898, The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Fall Fancies,” pg. 3, col. 5:
GRILLADES A LA CREOLE.
Take a stewpan and warm it. Into this place equal portions of butter and lard. When melted and hot add some onions chopped fine, also some parsley. When the whole is about brown, add tomatoes and let same cook slowly for about one-half hour (salt and pepper are to be put in when sauce is dissolved and just before putting in the meat).

9 December 1898, The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA), pg. 12, col. 1:
BREAKFAST TO-MORROW
(...)
Jambalaya. Grillades. Hominy.

13 January 1899, The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Woman’s World and Work,” pg. 3, col. 5:
BREAKFAST.
Sliced Oranges.
Wheatana, Cream.
Broiled Beefsteak.
Grillades, Onion Sauce.
Small Hominy, French Rolls.

2 April 1900, The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA), pg. 12, col. 1:
BREAKFAST TO-MORROW.
Mandarins.
Asparagus Omelette. Grillades and Grits.
Toast. Cafe-au-Lait.

27 March 1912, The Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA), “The Three Sixty-Five” by Jane Eddington, pg. 7, cols. 1-2:
Three-sixty-five or Grillades.—The reason for the first of these names is that the old Creoles had this dish for breakfast 365 days in the year. Its main virtue seems to be that it supplies a glorious gravy to eat with “grits” or fine hominy. To make, brown an onion and some flour in a little lard or cooking oil, then put into the pan some small pieces of round steak, about three-fourths of an inch in thickness. Do not brown, but cook the meat on each side, until it is merely gray, then add boiling water and cook until a fine gravy results. After a while add sliced or canned tomatoes and sweet peppers in their season, or pimentoes may be used.

In the Picayune’s Creole cook book the translation of grillade is given as “fried meat.” The subject is introduced as follows:

“Our grillades or fried meat a la Creole are famous, relishable, and most digestible dishes, no matter when scientists may say about the nonadvisability of eating fried meat. The many octogenarians who walk our streets and who have been practically raised on grillades, for it is a daily dish among the Creoles, is the best refutation of the outcry that is made in the north and west against fried meat. The great truth is that the Creoles know how to fry meat.

“The round of the meat is always selected for the grillades, and one steak will serve six persons. THe steak is cut into pieces of about six or eight squares, and each piece is called a grillade.

“Season well with salt and pepper, rubbing these into the meat thoroughly and letting them soak well into the fibers. Have ready a hot pan and place within a tablespoon of lard, and when hot, a sliced onion and one clove of garlic chopped very fine. Let this brown, and then add one chopped tomato. Place the grillades in this, letting them soak thoroughly. Cover with a tight cover and set back, letting them fry slowly so as to absorb all the lard and juices. Serve on a hot dish when brown with garnishes of parsley.

“This is the recipe for making grillades without gravy. Some also fry simply in the boiling lard, using only a half tablespoonful, and letting it soak and absorb thoroughly after being well seasoned. This is a matter of taste.

“Grillades are a favorite dish among the poorer classes of the Creoles especially, being served not only for breakfast, but also at dinner, in the latter instance with gravy and a dish of red beans and boiled rice.”

The printed facts may not come very close to the facts of a visitor’s own personal experiecne. In our case, grillades seemed to be always a stew, or perhaps what is meant in the following recipe from the Creole Cook Book:

“Grillades with Gravy. (...)”

Google Books
November 1912, Good Housekeeping, “Creole Cookery” by Martha McCulloch-Williams, pg. 717:
Grillades with Gravy
Flatten by beating a good round steak, and cut into four-inch squares. Season the squares highly with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Put a heaping tablespoonful of lard into a frying-pan; as it melts, add a chopped onion, a clove of garlic, also chopped, and as these brown, one tablespoonful of flour, stirring all smooth. Next, add sliced tomatoes with their juice; when they brown, lay the grillades upon them. Cover close, let them brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Then add a tablespoonful of vinegar and a cupful of water. Stir well, then set where it will simmer for half and hour. Appetizing for breakfast, with hominy or rice.

Another way is to cook the grillades without garlic, and add to them, with the tomatoes, half a pint of tender okra, well washed and sliced. Or they can be fried brown in clear fat, then put in a hot dish over boiling water, while a gravy is made of fresh fat, heated very hot and stirred about the pan to take up the brown meat essence; a chopped onion, two sliced tomatoes, a tablespoonful of water, vinegar, and water when they brown, as above directed. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne, boil ten to twelve minutes, and pour over the grillades.

Google Books
The Picayune Creole Cook Book (Sixth Edition)
New Orleans, LA: The Times-Picayune Publishing Company
1922
Pg. 71:
Grillades With Gravy.
Grillades a la Sauce

1 Round Steak.
1 Tomato.
1 Large Onion.
Salt and Pepper.

Spicy Southern Kitchen
Grillades and Grits
Posted on October 13, 2015 by Christin Mahrlig
Grillades and Grits is a dish that originated in the fabulous city of New Orleans and is typically served for breakfast or brunch. Start to finish this dish takes nearly two hours to make so I usually skip tradition and serve Grillades and Grits for supper. Because lordy, I can’t wait that long for my breakfast.

NOLA.com
Grillades and grits is a staple dish of Mardi Gras season
Updated Apr 30; Posted Feb 14, 2017
By Judy Walker
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Grits and grillades is one of those old Creole dishes that simmers in the background of New Orleans cuisine lore. All over town in the next couple of weeks, medallions of beef, veal or pork, braised in a rich gravy with the trinity, tomatoes and beef broth, are ladled over grits.
(...)
Grillades (say GREE-ahds, if you’re new to town) and grits is a staple at late-night queen suppers (also called queen breakfasts) served at Carnival balls after debutantes are presented. Says Times-Picayune | NOLA.com’s Social Scene writer Sue Strachan, who covers 30 to 40 Carnival balls every season, “It’s a tradition.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, May 14, 2018 • Permalink