New Orleans Eats
Some people go to NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) to party. Some go to NOLA to drink. *I* go to NOLA to eat. A lot.
I just got back from a fabulous, food-oriented vacation with some friends down in NOLA and it was such a blast. Sure, we partied on Bourbon Street where there are no open container laws, no cover charges, and lots of live music to rock out to. Sure, we walked the French Quarter and Jackson Square, saw the Mississippi River, and attended mass at St. Louis Cathedral. Sure, we went on local adventures like a tour of Oak Alley Plantation, Bloody Mary’s ghost tour, and a visit to Lafayette Cemetary. But the highlight of the trip for me? It was the food.
Thanks to Yelp on my phone, I was able to research where I wanted to eat in real-time and select only the highest rated restaurants. Most dining experiences were hits, but there were some misses as well.
I focused on eating as much traditional Louisiana fare as possible including jambalaya, crawfish pie, deep-fried oysters, fried green tomatoes, po’ boy sandwiches, beignets, and bread pudding. I definitely strayed off my normal diet routine, indulging more than usual, but you know what? You only live once and I was on vacation. Now that I’m back, it’s back to eating victoriously, balancing indulgence with moderation. Here are some pics of the wonderful grub I ate.
After a red eye flight in, we definitely were in need of coffee. We stopped at Cafe Du Monde, which is what I refer to as the McDonald’s of coffee and donuts in NOLA. A tourist trap, but fun and a must-see.
For dinner one night we went to a restaurant called Eat. They don’t serve alcohol, but you can bring your own. I enjoyed the fried green tomatoes they had (no pic, sorry), but my entree not so much. The crawfish pie was mainly filling that was way too seasoned and spicy as if it were intended to cover up poor quality seafood. The crust was barely there, and I was not a fan of the melted cheese on top. Likewise, the butterbeans and shrimp tasted too fishy for me. Not in a good way. Even so, I’d come back and order something else. My friends all loved their meals.
One of my most favorite dishes was eggs benedict at Stanley, which is right in the heart of the French Quarter by Jackson Square. The hollandaise sauce had a Cajun spin to it, and the oysters on the side melted in my mouth. Yum.
My friends and I also ate several po’ boy sandwiches over the duration of our time in town. They were all comparable in taste and size and you can find them pretty much anywhere.
We had dinner another night at Cafe Amelie, a charming little cottage/courtyard of a restaurant that is quite popular and you need reservations for. The flavors of all our dishes were fantastic and the ambiance cozy and romantic, but the wait staff a little cold.
After several meals in a row that left us feeling groggy, full, and guilty, we found a rare health-conscious place to eat in the French Market, called Meals From the Heart. This place only uses whole wheat bread and flour, as well as offers healthy meat options such as turkey bacon and turkey meat as opposed to pork or beef. They are also vegan friendly! This is the only place I ate at twice during my visit. Both my veggie egg sandwich and the pancakes were delicious. Best pancakes I may have ever eaten and didn’t feel guilty about later.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be New Orleans without an alcoholic drink or two. I much preferred mint juleps over anything else. Refreshingly sweet.
If you ever get a chance to visit NOLA, be sure to check out the places I visited, and have a fun, food-filled time! Cheers.