Sunday, May 06, 2012

Food Adventures in New Orleans

Also known as the Big Easy, Crescent City, NOLA, and New Awlins, New Orleans is not short on music, food, or the various nicknames. J. and I visited the beautiful city for a few days and I also got to experience the annual JazzFest (New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival). Full disclosure, this is my first trip to the city, so I don’t have any tips about Mardi Gras. Food in this post, jazzfest in separate post [link TBD], and attractions in yet another.

Jackson Brewery Bistro and Bar
Near street cars, Jackson Square, and Cathedral. You’ll see a building with JAX sign on top. To give you some context, J. and I arrived in New Orleans late at night so didn’t make it to French Quarters etc until midday next day. After stumbling upon the Old U.S. Mint, we wandered until we found this Brewery for a late lunch. Great first impression of the city since the food, drinks, and service were all superb. Would also come back for dinner/concert upstairs next time.

// southern pecan from lazy magnolia (MS), this beer is so good both J. and I loved it. nutty, sweet, rich, and awesome. (update: according to beermenus there’s none available near me in NY, bummer)
// abita amber. support the local brewery, try their beers when you’re in town.
// crawfish etouffee: light and quite tasty, I got the small portion.
// boudin burger: tasty, although I still don’t know what kind of boudin it was.

Mothers Restaurant
Near Harrah’s casino, Riverwalk market, Magazine street galleries.
My colleague D. recommended this casual corner restaurant (it’s her fav in NOLA) that has a laid back look and feel. It just happened to be a close walk from our hotel so we took a look. Overwhelmed by the menu, I resorted to ordering their Ferdi special in an attempt to get a sampling of everything. Their sign upfront claims world’s best baked ham, which is no small claim. and they lived up to it. (Why can’t we get better ham in the northeast?) The space also has nice photos/local news/etc. I need to come back for breakfast/brunch.

// Ferdi: Ham and Roast Beef on bun with slaw. Below is a pic of the “smaller” portion. Very filling!
// Roast Beef: Same as above, without the ham.

One out of the many recommendations from my college buddy G. from a few years back when I first started to put together a trip plan for NOLA (glad I finally made it), one of his recommendations “Janita's” unfortunately closed down. I didn’t make it to Jacque Imo’s, so wanted to try this place Mandina’s because G. mentioned their fish selection is great. Located along the Canal St. streetcar line, a bit ways out from downtown. We caught the street car to and back, luckily they run frequently.
//  trout bayou style: this was a daily special. grilled trout topped with shrimp etouffee, with a side of baked potatoes and vegetables. superb fish and shrimp (quite a number of shrimp, by the way) in yummy sauce.
//veal parmesan with spaghetti – Italian food in New Orleans? sure, why not. I know J. loves veal so very happy see him enjoy this dish to his heart’s content.

Cafe du Monde
This cafe is on everyone’s top 10 so I had to include it in mine. Great for morning, afternoon, and late night people watching and taking a break from all the walking you’ll be doing. We ended up going there twice during our trip. Good stuff
// cafe au lait (hot): puts all other chain coffees to shame, if you’re not sure if you like chicory in your coffee, don’t worry, just do it! I contemplated buying a can of coffee there but realized I can never quite transport the charm of the shop and nearby streets of NOLA with me. Leave it for my future trips to enjoy and savor. Some things lose context once removed from their homes. 
// beignets (with liberal amount of powdered sugar): don’t even think about sharing one order (they come in threes). lovely with cafe au lait.
// cafe au lait (frozen): looking for a treat to cool off in the hot and humid weather? look no further, order a frozen cafe au lait and your energy level will go right up. I can almost eat it with a spoon!

Spirits Bar (inside Hilton Riverside Hotel)
Nice place to chill and have a cocktail. Funny enough I got a Manhattan (a tad homesick?) and J. ordered a Tom Collins (there needs to be more gin-based drinks, you know?). They also serve pretty good food even late at night. I had their portabella and spinach sandwich which came with great sweet potato fries.

No comments: