A dozen, delicious food and drink experiences in NOLA
One could spend weeks researching which New Orleans food and spirits experiences have the best ratings and prices but my sister and I let our hearts, intuition and appetites guide us. It worked beautifully.
In New Orleans, gluttony can take many forms. Ours was of the visual kind as we hunted architectural wonders, wandered through neighborhoods, parks and cemeteries. We queried friends, consulted a few Apps and asked locals about where to go for New Orleans food and spirits.
Here’s how we fortified the journey:
On our first night wandering the French Quarter we found a comfy niche in this 200 year old home turned restaurant and bar. Napoleon never stayed here but had been invited to spend his exile in New Orleans by the first owner. The name stuck. The Muffuletta Salad is a specialty and we toasted to our good luck from plastic cups! There was a ‘Boil Water Alert’ in town that night, hence the plastic ware. My Sazerac was still delicious.
If we’d wanted a nightcap the Roosevelt Hotel would’ve been the perfect setting. The Sazerac Bar is touted as the home of the first cocktail but I think the claim that Huey P. Long would sip a Gin Fizz while meeting with his constituents is more likely. No matter, the grand lobby was a thrill.
Late one night we found our way into acclaimed Chef John Besh’s Luke Brasserie, a throwback to the Quarter’s Franco-German roots. My plate of baked oysters was a perfect snack.
In the courtyard at Brennan’s we joined the happy hour crowd to witness the famous ‘sabering’ event. When a bottle of properly chilled champagne is sabered, a long blade (the saber of the name historically) slides expertly up the neck of the bottle and the cork releases in a quick rush. Witness we did and here’s the results.
Legacy Kitchen & Pub
The St. Charles Streetcar dropped us off near the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. It’s right across the street from the National World War II Museum. After studying the various neighborhood galleries we found a snack in the post-industrial Legacy Kitchen and Pub. Full of local artwork and American comfort food, we shared a side casserole of cheesy, crayfish cornbread with sweet tea and a draft beer.
Next time I’d save room for a gulf seafood feast grilled over the open flame in Peche.
Our first foray on the St. Charles trolley had us going in the wrong direction. We got off and met a couple of locals enjoying a beer at that early hour.
They sent us off for breakfast at Surrey’s Uptown and it couldn’t have been more satisfying. The house cafe doors opened to a wild, eclectic interior and the menu was packed with tasty choices. My shrimp and grits were creamy without being cloyingly rich. The cheesy grits? One version of heaven.
P’s and Q’s
After a morning in Audubon Park and Zoo a light lunch was in order and the quiche at P’s and Q’s was irresistible. It’s not fair to be too full for sweet potato pie!
Tee Eva’s Pralines
Any one with a sweet tooth will have a hard time resisting the Pralines that are sold all over town. On a corner of Magazine Street a scrappy storefront sign advertised famous pralines. Inside I found that the ‘Praline Queen of the Big Easy’ (touted by no less than Elle Magazine and the Food Network) had relinquished the place to her grand-daughter. A half dozen creamy and huge pralines made it home just fine.
City Park & Frenchman Street
Morning Call Coffee Stand
After wandering through the City Sculpture Park, our task was finding a spot to banish dehydration. A large building sat near the road leading out of the park. The angels of NOLA were with us for we had stumbled across “one of the world’s great coffee houses.” Since 1870 cafe au lait and Beignets have been served by the descendants of Joseph Jurisich, first in the French Quarter and now in City Park.
There was no arguing about it, this was the place to lose our Beignet virginity. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was a prefect combination of sweet crunch with a chewy, warm interior. They’re open 24/7!
Near Frenchman Street we took pictures of porches and street art before discovering Horn’s, a local eatery that’s open seven days a week. The songstress, Ricky Lee Jones, has stopped into the pet friendly spot with her dog. I was taken by the morning light filtering through a window and illuminating one of the guests. Not able to resist taking a picture, I then shared it with him and asked his name. In a soft drawl he said, “They call me Red, because my beard used to be so.” A perfect Southern gentleman.
This is just a list, random at that, but my consensus is that New Orleans foodies are blessed. Choose carefully though. We had one disappointing and expensive meal at a nameless tourist trap across from the French Market. It was a perfect storm – dead cell phones cut us off from Yelp reviews, it was late and we were over-hungry. Not a good situation when you’re visiting one of the greatest food cities in the world.
If You Go:
- Napoleon House – Historic corner home turned bar and restaurant http://www.napoleonhouse.com/
- The Roosevelt Sazerac Bar and Hotel –http://therooseveltneworleans.com/dining/the-sazerac-bar.html
- Luke – http://www.lukeneworleans.com/
- Brennan’s – http://www.brennansneworleans.com/
- Legacy Kitchen and Pub: http://www.neworleansonline.com/
- Peche – http://www.pecherestaurant.com/about/
- Surrey’s Uptown – http://www.surreysnola.com/
- Ps and Q’s – http://www.piesandquiches.com/
- Cafe Beignet – http://www.cafebeignet.com/royal-street-menu.html
- Morning Call: http://morningcallcoffeestand.com/
- Horns – http://www.hornsnola.com/home.html
- Tee Eva’s Pies and Pralines: http://www.tee-evapralines.com/
- Ogden Museum of Southern Art: http://www.ogdenmuseum.org/
- National World War II Museum – http://nationalww2museum.org