Of all the recommendations we received about things to do in New Orleans, the common thread was Cafe Du Monde, which lived up to its reputation. The experience kind of reminded me of being inside Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End. There is always a line, which often spans many blocks, and it’s almost imperative to hold hands with your buddies as you make your way to a table so that you don’t get lost in the crowd. Somehow though, despite all the chaos and the noise, you manage to get in and out pretty seamlessly, and you never leave on an empty stomach.
For breakfast we shared a plate of beignets. Basically, they are pieces of fried dough covered with powdered sugar. We also enjoyed a local cup of coffee. At Cafe Du Monde, the coffee has a hint of chicory and it is traditionally served Au Lait, mixed half and half with hot milk.
[ Bryce took the above photo]
After we wandered through the Garden District of New Orleans we decided to stop for a bite to eat at Napoleon House Bar & Cafe before resting up for a night on the town. The restaurant has been around for about 200 years and it was first occupied by Nicholas Girod, who was the mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815. He invited Napolean to stay there in 1821 as a refuge during his exile, hence the name. While Napolean never came, the name stuck.
Napoleon House was dark, but welcoming. It was clear that we were inside an historic landmark, but that didn’t stop the atmosphere from being casual.
Here, I ordered my very first seafood gumbo. I loved that there was a claw crawling right out of the bowl.
I also tried my first serving of jambalaya, which was perfectly hearty and spicy.
On Sunday we decided to have a late lunch at Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter. This place tends to have a very long line at night, but thankfully we were early enough to avoid it. Here we enjoyed a serving of oysters on the half shell.
And I had my first Po Boy with fried shrimp and oysters. Until then, I had never imagined that you could improve upon something as classic as fried seafood, but somehow, it happened.
After more walking and a quick nap, we enjoyed a late meal at Evelyn’s Place. Though it was on a main street, this place couldn’t have felt more off the beaten path, in a good way. At around 10:00 p.m. we were the only patrons and we had an old juke box all to ourselves.
Here, I had my very first muffaletta sandwich, which has an obvious Italian influence. The muffaletta loaf is filled with marinated olive salad and capicola, salami, emmentaler and provolone. It was unbelievable. And as you can see, I couldn’t resist taking a couple of bites before capturing it in a photo.
On Sunday night we made reservations at Arnaud’s Restaurant in their Jazz Bistro. Here is where we got really experimental.
Bryce ordered the turtle soup and I had a taste. It was one of those experiences that we were happy to have tried, but wouldn’t do again. I think the sherry they added made it taste a little too acidic.
As an app we also tried alligator sausage, which tasted a lot like sausage due to the seasoning. The difference is that this meat is much more tough. I actually really liked it.
I also ordered a serving of oyster rockefeller. My dad makes this and I always love it when he does. Though I’ve had this dish many times I was excited to order it in New Orleans, its place of origin.
For dessert, we decided to order another New Orleans’ invention: Bananas Foster. I don’t know what was better – the actual dessert or the presentation. When you order Bananas Foster, the waiter brings an entire table over to prepare it in front of you.
We all watched, asked tons of questions and took a lot of photos. I also took a video of the process. My favorite part is that for most of the video you can hear the jazz band that was playing in the background.
Enjoy, and please forgive the scrappiness of the production.
Here is the final product. As someone who typically prefers chocolate in a dessert I can say that this dish was absolutely amazing.
On one of our strolls we walked passed Southern Candy Makers, stopped, and then decided it would be worth backtracking to check it out. A sign out front boasts that they make the best pralines in the country, and I think it’s a true claim.
I liked it in there because while you order you can watch them being made.
We bought a box to go for when a sweet tooth struck.
New Orleans is the perfect place to experience new foods and in my case, take a step outside of my comfort zone. The alligator sausage and turtle soup were probably some of my more adventurous foodie moments.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?