A Weekend in New Orleans: An EAT-Cation!
I know you are jealous.. and you should be. My long weekend of indulging in beignets and po’boys was one for the books. But since I’m trying to build my karma tank, I have decided to share my eating itinerary with you…. so you too can have the best eat-cation of your life.
Places you MUST visit, and what you MUST order:
Perfect. There is no other word to describe it. The atmosphere, the live music, the food, the service, the location. I could never imagine visiting New Orleans without making a trip to Commander’s Palace. I would go so far to say that I would make a special trip to Louisiana JUST to visit
Commander’s Palace. You’ll be greeted with Southern hospitality and whisked through the kitchen – yes, you walk right through the kitchen! – and past the dining rooms oozing with French charm. On the patio, you hear the soft gurgle of a fountain and smell the blooming flowers. A trio of sharply dressed musicians move from table to table, taking requests and serenading away. I went for brunch, but can’t imagine that lunch or dinner would disappoint. The brunch menu is price fix and constantly changing. I dined with three other guests, so I had the opportunity to try a majority of the menu. And the highlights were as follows: White Peach Bellini, Turtle Soup (a must), Chicoy Coffee Lacquered Quail and Southern Style Pecan Pie. Mm.
This place is dark, grungy and crowded.. with a line that wraps around the building during the lunch rush. But that’s part of the appeal. You don’t visit Mother’s for the frills, you visit for thebest traditional creole food in the city. Known for their famed Honey Baked Ham, I suggest ordering it in the po’ boy “Ferdis“, which is ham, roast beef, debris and gravy. Get a side of Red Beans or Jambalaya while you are moving down the assembly line… and of course one of their delightful Bloody Marys.
An upscale seafood restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter, I’d make the argument that there is nothing sub par on their menu. For appetizers, I suggest: Lobster Dumplings, the Crispy Pork Belly with grilled watermelon and vietnamese glaze (I know, mouth watering right?), and any of the crudos, but perhaps leaning towards the Sea Scallop Crudo with truffle cream and caviar. The appetizers are amazing, but really.. SAVE ROOM for your entree! Someone in your party has to get the Scalibut. It is literally scallops baked into the top of a halibut with the most heavenly lobster risotto. The pineapple glazed Wood Grilled Grouperis lighter, but has an exotic and delightful flavor. It’s served with sweet potato hash and crispy plantains. The decor didn’t impress me, as it was simple and modern …but the centralized location is unbeatable.
I absolutely adore the cozy atmosphere – like you are dining in a friends house, but your friend just happens to be serving you dressed in a tux. You are really lucky that you stumbled upon my post… because the menu is nearly illegible. With dim lighting and scrawled cursive, it’s easy to just panic and point. But don’t. I didn’t have a chance to try the Fried Oysters, but I would still like to suggest them… based on the reviews from others. What I can recommend with confidence is the Drum Fish with muddy waters and grilled shrimp and the Crawfish Etouffee. But really, this place for me, was all about the dessert. A Lemon Ice Box Cake that refreshed the palate and a sinfully delicious Salted Caramel Custard. The neighborhood restaurant is located 20 or so minutes outside of the French Quarter, but in a pretty upscale area sprinkled with fun bars and lounges.
A trip to New Orleans would be incomplete without visiting at least one establishment of the famed chef Emeril Lagasse. With a mirrored and steel elevator in the middle of a brick warehouse, the restaurant exudes a fun and trendy vibe. It is creole food, but with an inventive twist. The drinks menu is on point, with creative and unique libations. For appetizers, theStuffed Chicken Wings (yes, I typed that right!) and Barbecue Shrimp are top notch. For your entree, the Garlic Crusted Drum is arguably one of the most delicious fish dishes I have ever had the pleasure of eating.
Beignets – Supposedly the only place to eat a beignet is at Cafe Du Monde… and I imagine that’s true considering the outrageous line that always wraps around the building. However, I enjoyed a fresh and scrumptious beignet at Windsor Court Hotel and was extremely satisfied. Plus I got to enjoy it with coffee in a serene window side table with the New York times and a fork and knife. If I had waited the hour to get inside Du Monde, I would have been covered in powdered sugar noshing it down on the sidewalk. Nonetheless, I regret not trying the acclaimed best.
Kings Cake – a mardi gras tradition! You’ll get a piece of the colorful iced danish if you visit the Mardi Gras museum and take the tour.
-Hit Pat Obrien’s to order a famous Hurricane while watching the live dueling pianos.
–Hand Grenades at Tropical Isle
-Order a Mint Julep flight at Oak Alley Plantation