Eating New Orleans

August - Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche at August

NOLA, oh NOLA! :) Blissful times! We went there for the sole reason of "pigging" out. I guess I could have used the more elegant term "Culinary Vacation" but I am not going to be shy here. Five joyous days of indulgence in the cuisine of the region; creole to French and back, is not something to be coy about at all!

New Orleans has been on our list of places to visit for a very long time, ever since, we were first acquainted with the rich history of the areas cuisine. Food Network then brought us Emeril and John Besh and dreams were visited and plans were plotted. This Thanksgiving was the time for the plunge and thankful were we that we got experience some of the best highs, culinarily speaking!

Left: New Orleans Museum; Right: At the Old French Market

Along the Bayou
Houses along the Bayou

That is not to say that we did not take in the place in any other way. Frommers recommended three walking tours through different parts of the city - French Quarter, Esplanade and Garden District. We really liked strolling through the rich Garden district neighbourhood, in complete awe of the palatial houses, including the one the Manning brothers played in.

Vibrant Colors of the region
At the French Market

The Esplanade area was richer in architectural history with gorgeous houses, albeit not always in the best condition. It also plays host to a lovely little Spanish restaurant, Lola's that dishes out simple and flavorful Spanish creations. The paella is fragrant and so good! And, if you are there, don't miss the nougat ice cream!

The historic French Quarter, perhaps, is the most visited part of the city, by most tourists. However, it's hold on us, teetotallers, was rather tenuous, except for one strong link to the place that we re-visited oh! so many, many times; Cafe du Monde! Here, I tasted coffee like home. Chicory coffee, people! It just rocks my world! And, of course the beignets under mountains of powdered sugar just pairs beautifully with that rich, flavorful coffee! We began and ended our days, and a few times in between, with stops by this 24 hour coffee shop.

Cafe du Monde - Beignets and Chicory coffee
Coffee and Beignets at Cafe du Monde

New Orleans cuisine has many elements to it. And, the best part about it is that the best the city has to offer is accessible to every wallet in town. We dined at big name restaurants and small local ones. In the end, we felt that the big name ones offered much higher value, especially since many of them have a simply fantastic deal of $20 pre-fixe 3 course lunch!

My personal favorite was John Besh's restaurant, August. He is known for the use of seasonal and local ingredients in his cooking. After dining there, we were just blown away by the creativity and elegance of his dishes. I, for one, am really hoping that he has near-term plans for opening a restaurant in NYC! {Mr. Besh, you listening?}

Appetizers at August. Left: Duck Confit Salad; Right: Pork Rilletes

Entrees at August. Left: Brandade de Mer Ravioli; Right: Veal Grillades

Of course, no one can leave NOLA without a stop at atleast one of the Brennan restaurants. I was simply amazed at how many there were! We ate at two and both were simply awesome.

All in all, it was a fantastic stay in the city, despite being surprised by an unplanned-for cold front and a couple of rainy days! :) It just added to the spirit of it all... :))

Left: Dessert at August, Butterscotch Pudding with Apples 3 ways. Right: Dessert at Sucre

Recommended Restaurants

Bourbon House
Palace Cafe
Red Fish Grill
Mother's (awesome biscuits)

NO Tram
New Orleans Tram