New Orleans – You Have My Heart (and Belly)

I would just like to point out, up keeping a blog is way harder than I thought; so shout out to everyone that maintains their’s on a regular basis. Also, thank goodness for Swarm/Foursquare for reminding me where I ate, back in February.

It only took me half a year to write another post, but it’s a good one! It’s about everywhere I ate while I was on my trip to New Orleans during Mardis Gras (yes I focused on the food more than the alcohol, because let’s be real here.. what’s more important). No empty calories here! Okay.. maybe some. I really fell in love with this city, and I cannot wait to go back. Now to the good part, the food!

CAFE DU MONDE

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Biegnets & Cafe Au Lait

After missing my connecting flight to NOLA (yay for flying in winter), and spending all day at airports, you best believe my first stop when I arrived was to get biegnets. Good thing they are open 24/7 (we went there every day during our trip actually… shhh don’t tell my doctor). Needless to say they definitely lived up to their hype, super affordable, and delicious. No need for anything additional; just sweet and simple, literally.

NEW ORLEANS CAKE CAFE & BAKERY

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Simplest name ever, yet so much to offer. If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you must have boudin (I still can’t pronounce it, so maybe spell it for them). It’s their specialty sausage, and it amaze balls. Unless you don’t eat pork, then don’t do it. Also during the Mardis Gras season, their King Cakes are delicious. They make so many kinds, even one with bacon! We ended up getting the raspberry filled ones, and boudin filled ones, as my birthday cakes. We also bought like 6 more to bring back to NYC. This is a great place for breakfast. I ordered boudin & eggs, as per the waitress’s suggestion (trust the locals). It comes on a bed of grits, 2 eggs, a biscuit and a boudin sausage patty. The boudin is crispy and absolutely delicious; definitely nothing like I tasted before. Grits were also very good, considering I’m not usually a grits fan.  A great start for my first full day in NOLA.

COOP’S PLACE

Lunch time! After wandering around the heart of French Quarters for a bit, of course we were hungry. Coop’s Place is conveniently right by the famous ‘Bourbon St’. There was a bit of a wait but it wasn’t too bad. Very casual & super affordable. Had the ambiance of a local pub. For this meal, we went for a “shared” duck quesedilla (I’m a sucker for duck), and Coop’s Taste Plate. I say “shared” because we were expecting a decently sized quesedilla. It was more for 2 to share as an appetizer, as opposed to 5 people. It was good, just the salsa on top was a bit too sweet for our liking. Coop’s Taste Plate: great way to try everything NOLA is famous for on one plate. It comes with 1 piece of fried chicken, shrimp creole, rice, seafood gumbo, and rabbit & sausage jambalaya. The most memorable thing from this plate is their shrimp creole (I realized I am not a fan of it), and their fried chicken which is pretty bomb (also what they’re mostly known for). The gumbo was good as well, but the fried chicken really stood out for me. I wish I had more. The meal was so filling, we couldn’t finish our beers. Good thing you can just walk outside with your beer and drink at your own liesurely pace here.

Conclusion: Absolutely get their fried chicken.

DEANIE’S SEAFOOD

After a long day of catching beads (like pounds of them; no flashing necessary), we decided to go to Deanie’s seafood which wasn’t too far form the parade route. It was only righ tot get seafood, so I ordered the Crawfish Etouffee (partially because I enjoy saying the word), and the other dish I managed to snag a photo of is the Crawfish Quartet (crawfish 4 ways: ettouffee, fried, au gratin & croquettes). So as hungry as I was, I was not expecting a bowl that big. It’s pretty much the same size as a bowl of pho. It was good; pretty heavy and filling. What really stood out for me from this restaurant (which I didn’t snag a photo of because we were starving), was the Barbeque Shrimp. NOLA has their own rendition of barbeque seasoning, and I am in love. I wish I could have it every day, and I wish we had more of it that day. We actually ended up ordering that everywhere we could after that moment, but Deanie’s still had the best one.

Conclusion: Come here for the Barbeque Shrimp. Maybe 2 orders of it… some to go as well.

THE COURT OF TWO SISTERS

Brunch: one of my faves. Eating outside with a great view: also one of my faves. Brunch buffet: let me get my stretchy pants ready! This place is known for it’s unlimited brunch buffet while a live jazz band plays in the background. I think this place should definitely be visited just for the pur experience. Food isn’t mediocre because that happens at buffets, but it was still quite good. They offered everything NOLA is known for and then some. I kept going back to the carving station for whatever meat was being served that day. The cocktails were also quite delicious. Gin at 11am? Yes please.

MURIEL’S JACKSON SQUARE

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This restaurant I chose to have my birthday dinner, because I like to dress up from time to time. Can’t wear Converse all the time (as much as I’d love to). This restaurant is located in Jackson Square, which is a popular area in French Quarters. The decore of the place itself was very warm and welcoming. Think of sitting with a glass of wine by the fireplace. For a starter, I had a cheese filled crepe (forgive me I can’t remember what kind of cheese), with a crawfish sauce on top. The balance was perfect on this dish; the right amount of everything to compliment each other. Next up… you guessed it: duck! I just had to. I was, once again expecting something the size of my palm. Nope, I essentially got half a duck, on a bed of fried rice. Probably one of the best duck dishes I’ve ever had in my life, and I would go back for it in a heartbeat. Even after all of that, we moved onto dessert, since our life motto is “there’s always room for dessert.” I ordered bread pudding as per the waiter’s suggestion. He ended up bringing me my own personal King Cake with a candle to blow out (yes there’s a little Green Baby Jebus in there). The King Cake was delicious, flaky, not heavy… a good way to end my meal. Once I finished he still brought out the bread pudding I ordered. Didn’t think that would happen post king cake, but it did. I think I managed to get 3 or 4 bites in of the bread pudding before I gave up (sorry mom for wasting food). It was delicous, but it just couldn’t fit. Go ahead… laugh.

FRENCH MARKET RESTAURANT & BAR

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So the first night we got there, we were taking a stroll around French Quarters to see how it was. We walked by one restaurant that smelled like a clam bake, and had a huge pot connected to a chain in the window. We had hoped to find it again later on our trip (why we didnt look for the restaurant name that night, I’ll never know). After we sat down, we saw the pot in the window and realized we found the place! Huzzah! It was meant to be! Two things I’ve learned after eating here: chargrilled oysters are the bomb-diggity. I don’t think I want to eat raw oysters again (lies I tell myself). If you’ve never had chargrilled oysters before, you MUST try them here. It’s cooked with garlic butter and cheese. You can’t go wrong with that. Second thing, if you do not order that 2lb boat of crawfish: shame on you. Unless you’re allergic, then okay, I forgive you. You cannot leave NOLA without eating crawfish. This boat was amazing, and really spicy. I had to take breaks here and there, but it was all worth it. Maybe consider ordering a side of fries with that, and another boat. Two pounds of crawfish isn’t that much once you actually get down to eating the meat.

RUBY’S SLIPPER

If you have a smart phone (I say this because my parents still have flip phones), then you should download the NoWait app, and come here. It tells you how long their wait is, and you can put your name down before you even get there! Very cute, local brunch spot, with a quite helpful and friendly staff. Out waiter was nice enough to let us know what we should do on our last day there. Also, everything on this menu was delicious, hands down. I’m salivating thinking about their food right now. They had a barbeque shrimp eggs benedict special that day, which spoke to my soul because 2 amazeballs things in one?! Gimme! Most of us ordered it as you can tell. It comes with a fried green tomato and barbeque shrimp on top. Not as good as Deanie’s, but still good enough for me. We also got a bunch of sides, bacon included. Just trust me and goe here. They have possibly the nicest wait staff ever. And yes, we stood on chairs to make that photo on the right happen.

THE JOINT

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BAR-BE-QUE TIME. We tried going here the first day… turns out it was closed, but it’s okay, we got our cardio in for the day. Note to self, and everyone: check if the place is open before you embark on your journey. Thank goodness Ubers are so cheap there. When a BBQ spot is called the joint you just have to go. It’s small, but well worth it. There’s no table service. You just go in, order your food and find a seat! I got brisket, potato salad, and mac & cheese = comfort in my belly. Even the toast looks perfect.

ARNAUD’S FRENCH 75 BAR

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Speakeasies are one of my top favorite places to go. So for our last night in NOLA, we decided to go here, as suggested by my HS classmate (thanks Mike!). We weren’t looking to get shwasted or anything, just a nice cocktail and good conversation. And we got just that. The drinks were crisp and refreshing. The mixologists know what they’re doing. The ambiance: feels like the Godfather would be smoking a cigar there, with no intent to kill you or anything. You don’t have to be dressed up, because there were definitlely people there that looked as if they just left a college class. Perfect way to end our trip.

 

Sorry for the long, long post, but I am not kidding when I say NOLA is one of my top cities ever in the whole world. The food… culture… history… architecture… was amazing. So just in case you just scrolled through and looked at the “pretty” photos, here’s a quick summary of where to go & suggestions of what ot eat:

  1. Cafe Du Monde – Beignets (a must or else)
  2. New Orleans CAfe & Bakery – Boudin in any form
  3. Coop’s Place – fried chicken
  4. Deanie’s Seafood – Barbeque Shrimp
  5. The Court of Two Sisters – Brunch
  6. Muriel’s Jackson Square – Dinner (get anything & their cocktails)
  7. French Market Restaurant & Bar – Crawfish & chargrilled oysters
  8. Ruby Slipper – everything
  9. The Joint – anything
  10. French 75 Bar – a cocktail perhaps?
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