At the end of March, Jonah and I went on vacation. A while back, Jonah’s cousin Dylan had asked us if we wanted to go to New Orleans (NOLA) with him. He has some lovely friends who live there and were willing to host all of us. How can you turn down an opportunity like that?
Upon our arrival, we learned that not only were these people amazingly friendly and funny, but that they, too, are foodies. Could I have been any happier? Probably not. Emily and Barry (whose house we were staying at) were a wealth of information of where to eat (and where not to eat) and Urooj was just as enthusiastic about eating delicious food as we were. And eat delicious food we did. Here are some pictures and brief statements on what (and where) we ate.
Let’s start with breakfast, shall we? Our first day we ate an amazing brunch at Ruby Slipper, which has two locations in the city, I believe. I had the delicious quiche you see below and Jonah had some amazing crawfish and grits. The shrimp and grits were also delicious, as were the pancakes, which had some combination of spiced rum and pecans, I believe.
Later on in the trip, after hearing Emily and her brother Josh rave about it for days, we went to Gracious Bakery. These pastries were lovely – my particular favorites were the strawberry danish and the cruffin of the day (croissant pastry baked in a muffin tin), which was full of artichoke and cheese. Emily picked up a boule at Gracious (a round loaf of simple bread) and it was perhaps the most wonderful dense, buttery bread I’ve had in a long time. If you’re hunting for pastries in NOLA, I definitely recommend this place.
Now onto snacks: Emily’s brother Josh and his partner Brett took us to Dat Dog, where there are all kinds of creative sausages and toppings, resulting in some delicious and gigantic hot dogs. Below you’ll see my guinness dog with catsup, mustard, and something else, which I can no longer remember…
After walking with the gang through the Garden District (do it, seriously – the place is beautifully breathtaking), we strolled down Magazine Street to a nice little bar called Bouligny Tavern. Sipping kir royales and munching on these gouda beignets and fried gnocchi with truffle oil was not a bad way to spend an afternoon. The decor in this place was very 1960s, and the little food I ate was really REALLY delicious. Next time I’m in NOLA, I hope to go back.
Earlier we had stopped for an afternoon sweet tooth snack at Sucré. Jonah and I kept it simple with 2 flavors of gelato: lemon curd and basil + coconut. Both were incredible and have inspired some ice cream flavor brainstorming for my summer. Emily and Dylan, however, went for it and got a salted caramel chocolate cupcake and a profiterole-type dessert, made with an eclair, 3 scoops of gelato, and as you can see, plenty of chocolate sauce.
Emily, our wonderful hostess, works at a little sweet shop called Brocato’s, so of course we had to visit. Almond macarons and custard gelato were the highlight here. As well as her co-worker Pam.
I won’t talk too much about drinking (I know, I know), but I will say that if you’re going to visit NOLA, I would highly recommend at least walking by Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop, if not going in and having a drink. Reputed as the oldest bar in the U.S. (built in 1730 or something like that…), the building is super cool. When Jonah and I went, we were lucky enough to happen upon a wonderful singer playing the piano in the back of the bar. She knew every cover the audience threw at her, and had this great raspy voice. And the piano was covered in candles, and surrounded by people on stools. The whole scene was pretty neat.
For our big meal out, we decided to go to Root, a new-ish restaurant in the warehouse district. Root’s menu felt like one you could find in Portland, except for very South-influenced. We started with face bacon (it’s exactly what it sounds like) and a ballotine, accompanied by mustards and house pickled onions, strawberries, etc. Next? Grilled duck heart salad, smoked scallops with cauliflower served in an old cigar box, and pork belly served with poached lobster. But my favorite part was probably dessert: The Yorkie. A housemade peppermint pattie and mint chocolate chip ice cream scooped on top of the most delicious homemade coco puffs, with mint infused milk poured over the whole thing. Just like eating cereal for dessert. But really fancy delicious cereal.
And of course, how could we go to NOLA and not go to Cafe Du Monde to eat some beignets (and some beignet mix for our roommate, who was kind enough to recreate the dessert for us about a week after we got back).