New Orleans

Posted on: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Orleans has always been at the top of my culinary destination list, and a few weeks ago I was fortunate to experience this eclectically charming, sparkling city. NOLA is full of proud, friendly people, a funky music scene, and vibrant Creole and Cajun cuisine. The city steeped in history has an almost cult-like following of devoted visitors and tourists. After a weekend there, I can see why. The Big East is an overload of every flavor, sight, sound, smell, and difficult to describe in words. While my trip was brief, I spent the majority of time bopping to as many food and beverage spots as I could find. 
In the Central Business District, a modern area of the city focusing on design and art, I sipped my first Sazerac (Sazerac rye whiskey, bitters with a rinse of Herbsaint) at the classically modern Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar.
From there, I walked down the street to the highly acclaimed, Cochon Restaurant. I sampled some modern takes on classic Southern Cajun dishes in the rustic, postindustrial interior. Pork, seafood and spice were in my radar as I ordered Wood-fired Oysters with Chili Garlic Butter, Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise, The Fish of the Day (Grilled Red Fish), Louisiana Cochon with Turnips, Cabbage & Cracklins. Blissful.
I woke up the next morning and headed for the French Quarter. With the sun behind me, I walked through Jackson Square, passing various artists and vendors on the street, and paused to watch twin trumpeter boys who would give Louis Armstrong a run for his money. My first stop was the Cafe du Monde, a legendary spot for it warm beignets served 24 hours a day. Beignets are French fried dough squares doused in powdered sugar. I bypassed the massive line of to-goers and opted to sit inside with a robust cup of cafe au lait. 

I continued walking down almost every street in the French Quarter. St. Ann’s was my favorite with its pastel painted shuttered homes on every corner, many adorned with flowers and bunnies for Easter.
For an afternoon beverage, I tapped into some history to at a classic New Orleans spot, the Napoleon House, known for its Pimm’s Cup (a blend of Pimm’s #1, Lemonade, a splash of 7-up, and cucumbers). This was so fresh and refreshing and will be my new summer cocktail.
A bit further, it came as no surprised that I would stumble upon the NOLA FoodFest outside of the French Market. When is there not a festival in New Orleans? I tried some fresh grilled oysters covered in Parmesan and butter, and some freshly fried green tomatoes with a spicy aioli. Yum!

Form there, I took a trolley to the Garden District and walked around the beautiful, stunning homes.
At night, I walked over to balmy Poydras Street to wait briefly in the well-worth-it line outside of Mother’s Restaurant. The eatery is a New Orleans gem known for its Po’ boys (a local sandwich that was #1 on my NOLA list). I sampled a Po’ Boy overflowing with fried shrimp and oysters and also had to try three other New Orleans specialties - Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffe, and Gumbo.
Afterward, I grabbed a pecan praline at a local shop and headed to Frenchman Street to spend the night indulging in some New Orleans jazz and blue grass at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, d.b.a., and The Blue Nile.
What a weekend! I cannot wait to return and sample so many other spots.


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