Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Food- New Orleans Style

Well, I am back in the land of the CLE (and without my luggage). We had an amazing trip to New Orleans. Seriously, one of the best vacations that I've ever had. We spent Thursday night through Tuesday afternoon there, and accomplished a lot without ever feeling rushed. The weather was perfect- in the low 80's, sunny, and hardly any humidity. We went on a fan boat tour in the swamp through Airboat Adventures, toured Mardi Gras World where all of the floats are made and stored, spent an afternoon at the zoo, dined at a James Beard Award Winning restaurant, and just generally ate our way through the city. I'm sure that is what you are interested in, so let's get to it. I do have to break it into a couple of posts, because there was just so much of it- including a walking historical and culinary tour of the French Quarter, which deserves its own post. So here we go...

We started with po' boys from FredRick's (Central Business District).
I got the Shrimp Po' Boy, but we also had the Oyster, Crawfish Cake, and Catfish sandwiches. All were prepared the same. It was hard to select a table-favorite, because all were good, but I think the Shrimp Po' Boy was the least favorite. Some hot sauce added a nice kick. But this casual, counter deli was a fun first stop.

Dinner on Friday night was as close to a traditional crawfish boil that we could get. My dad found a local on the plane, and he suggested Smitty's Seafood in Kenner. It was about a 25 minute drive from our rental house off of Oak Street, and it was so worth it.An average man eats about seven pounds of crawfish at a traditional boil. I can see why- these suckers are addicting! The Cajun seasoning is so good, and it is quite fun to crack the tails off, pinch the head to suck the juices out, and then get at the tail meat by peeling back the shell. We ordered four pounds for four people, and it was a nice starter to the meal.We had made friends with the owner's brother, so he guided us through the menu. I ordered the fried Eggplant Napoleon with a shrimp and crawfish sauce, as he suggested. Rich, but delicious.Saturday afternoon brought our culinary tour, so you'll just have to wait for that.

For dinner that night, we wanted to eat light and also had a craving for oysters after stopping in several oyster bars on the tour without having any. Our knowledgeable tour guide suggested Deanie's Seafood (French Quarter), so we headed there.

Two dozen oysters were ordered:They were the biggest suckers that I've ever seen. Very fresh, and we slurped them right down as we caught the start of the Syracuse NCAA tournament game. My dad also had a killer Bloody Mary, and he and "R" shared an order of Deanie's crawfish. We easily determined that they were good, but no where near as good as Smitty's.

For breakfast on Sunday, we wanted to check out the area near our rental house- Oak Street. Several restaurants, bars, shops, and other businesses line the streets. We decided to pop into the Oak Street Cafe (Uptown), and sit outdoors to enjoy the weather. Several of their breakfast dishes included house-made items, and live jazz music added a festive vibe to the meal. I ordered the Cilantro Lime Benedict.The sauce was unique with zesty flavors of lime and cilantro, but I wished that it had a slightly stronger hint of traditional hollandaise. That being said, the poached eggs were cooked perfectly, and the English muffin was clearly baked locally and fresh. The potatoes were only okay, so I ate a couple and passed on the rest.

That night, we hit our first fried chicken stop. But that will have to wait as well, because the Fried Chicken Face-Off deserves its own post. As does our last dinner of the trip at Cochon. For now, I'll leave you with a shot of the beignets at Cafe Du Monde- a New Orleans staple and tradition of all travelers. Just don't wear dark colors when eating this! Open 24 hours a day, their fried beignets and hot chocolate are famous. Don't be fooled by the smaller locations that have popped up all over the area, the original is located in the French Market.

FredRick's Deli312 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130

Smitty's Seafood
2000 West Esplanade Avenue
Kenner, LA 70065

Deanie's Seafood
841 Iberville Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Oak Street Cafe8140 Oak Street
New Orleans, LA 71088

Cafe Du Monde800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116


Jen @ Why CLE? said...

Everything looks amazing! I love the food in NOLA!

Bite Buff said...

Yes! I wish that it would head our way a bit more. So good.