New Orleans – pronounced “New Or-lens”, not “New Or-leans” like I have been pronouncing all my life. What a great city with such great history and amazing food! Everything we ate pretty much fit into the category of seafood, fried, or non-vegetable.
I’ve never been to the south before and was excited to indulge myself into all the comfort foods. I think the only vegetable we had were a side of turnip greens and the waiter said that it was cooked in bacon grease. It was delicious, but I definitely had to detox when I got back. Here are some of the places we hit up with a list of some must eat Southern food.
Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar – French Quarter
BBQ Shrimp – This was recommended by our waiter. I was expecting some prawns that were grilled over a BBQ and given to us on a plate. To my surprise, it was a bread boat drowned in a a sweet mustard-y bbq sauce. I’m not a huge condiments person, but this was really tasty and it was a delicious finish when we were able to soak up all the leftover sauce with the bread after we ate all the shrimp.
Turtle Soup – I didn’t know that this even existed. I saw this on someone’s blog when I was browsing for foods I had to try and this was one of them. I wanted to give it a try since we don’t have this in CA. First of all, the bowl was huge. Throw in some rice and it could have been a meal. It was a thick and hearty soup and the texture kind of reminded me of gumbo. It was savory and also had a slight sour tang to it. The turtle pieces (I’m guessing that’s what the meat like pieces were) reminds me of chicken, but not as tender. The texture was kind of like a mix of chicken breast and tofu curd. That probably doesn’t sounds good nor does it really make sense. Overall though, it’s pretty good if you like a hearty soup with a little bit of tang.
Charbroiled Oysters – New Orleans oysters differ from Pacific oysters in that they are on the meatier side and not super brine-y. These ones specifically are loaded with parmesan cheese and garlic and had a delicious grilled flavor. Every bite was packed with flavor and we happily soaked up the leftover sauce with our bread. We weren’t expecting so much bread in this meal!
Acme Oyster House
Oysters – Round 2 of oysters! TBH, I was kind of disappointed with these oysters. Though these were fresh, I like my oysters brinier and more sea tasting. I liked the horseradish cocktail sauce, but the only thing I couldn’t get over was how uncleaned these oysters were. No matter how you ate, you got sand, dirt or small shell pieces in every bite.
Softshell Crab – The crab on the other hand was delicious – shell and all. The crab was super tender, had a great fishy crab flavor and was battered and seasoned perfectly. The plate also came with sweet potato fries and hush puppies. It was all fried, but it was all good.
Ice Cream – Everyone knows that I love my ice cream and now I’m a fan of Kilwins ice cream. We got a scoop of the Sea Salt Caramel and a scoop of their Praline (pronounced praw-leen, not pray-leen). I’m not usually a fan of caramel and praline is usually too sweet, but both were delicious. The ice cream was soft, creamy and not overly sweet. It was the perfect after dinner treat. They’re also known for their homemade chocolates and praline as well.
Cafe Du Monde
Beignet – There’s over 12k reviews on Yelp (the most I’ve ever seen) and when I asked around to where I should go in NOLA, everyone mentioned Cafe Du Monde. It’s open 24/7, there’s usually always a line during the day, and they only really sell one thing – beignets and a few drinks. So is it worth the hype? YES! Beignets are french donuts and they’re literally fried dough with a sh*t ton of powdered sugar on top. Eat them while they’re hot and they’re like a light, fluffy and sweet heaven in your mouth.
Coffee – Since it was hot out, we got an iced coffee and a frozen coffee. The iced coffee was decent (non sweetened), but the frozen coffee was our fave! It was lightly sweetened, had a hint of chicory and was perfectly blended for a hot day.
We came back for beignets pretty much every single day of our trip. I’m so(ph) addicted!
Beignet – As much as we love Cafe Du Monde, we wanted to give other places a chance too to prove that their beignets are just as good. We tried the beignets at Cafe Beignet and found that we liked Cafe Du Monde a lot better. While it wasn’t bad, the beignets were really thin and crispy.
Cafe Du Monde v.s. Cafe Beignet
Left: Cafe Du Monde – super soft and fluffy
Right: Cafe Beignet: thin and crispy
Po Boys – So a po boy is pretty much just a sandwich. We got the alligator sausage (left) which I actually really enjoyed. It had nice herbs in it and it was pretty tender. We also got the fried shrimp (right) and that was pretty good too. The batter for the shrimp was lightly seasoned and thinly but crisply coated the shrimp which I enjoyed. Though the fillings were good, I felt the overall sandwich itself was just okay. The lettuce and tomato was really plain and there was too much bread. Maybe the mayo that we didn’t want might have helped…
Crab & Shrimp Boil – We came to Bevi and they had something going on with their kitchen that day and weren’t able to make their full menu. We just wanted the seafood anyway which they luckily had 2-3 bag fulls of left! We wanted crawfish since that’s one seafood that New Orleans is known for, but apparently they’re not in season :(. We got a few crabs and a bag of shrimp instead. We were use to having our “cajun” super saucy so we asked if there was flavor in the seafood and she told us there was a lot. We took her word for it and boy was she right! The shrimp was full of cajun spices and the bay leaves added a great flavor as well. The crab was super fresh, juicy and was full of spices as well. There was no need for the extra sauces and it was so good, we licked all our fingers clean in the end.
Gumbo – Though this place is called the Gumbo Shop, they only had 3 kind of gumbo: seafood, sausage and vegetarian. Because we had the seafood boil right before, we got appetizer sizes to try. Both were delicious with a nice thick roux. The sausage one had a nice smokey flavor and the seafood one was really good as well.
Blackened Catfish – This was one of their specials and it was a blackened catfish with shrimp and a crab cake on top with a gravy as well. It sounded like a heavy dish, but it was fine as long as you don’t eat all the gravy. The fish was super soft and had a nice grilled taste, the crab cake was melt in your mouth and the gravy added a nice fishy/seafood flavor to our fish and seafood. The shrimp was just okay. It was small and not very fresh. But the dish overall was good.
Willie’s Chicken Shack
Fried Chicken – This fried chicken fast food chain was all was all over NOLA. I think I even saw more Willie’s Chicken then I saw Starbucks. We were curious and finally went in there one day to try a basket of chicken. I’m sad to say that this was not good at all. The chicken was not moist and had no favor or seasoning. The batter was not good and had no spices. $12 was so not worth it for 3 pieces of less than mediocre chicken and previously frozen fries.
This was a restaurant that everyone recommended when I asked around for suggestions of where to eat. There’s usually always a line, but we went around 4:30PM on a weekend and was able to avoid it. This place is good for some good home cooking.
Fried Chicken – This was so good and it came with a nice fluffy biscuit. The chicken is super moist and tender and it’s coated in a light, crispy and nicely seasoned batter.
Jambalaya – I’m usually just okay with jambalaya, but I found this to be really good! It had a nice tomato-y flavor and a hint of spice. The rice was cooked well and had a pillow-y pilaf texture and I found myself eating this the most.
Gumbo – Another gumbo, but this one wasn’t as thick as the Gumbo Shop. I still really liked it though as it had a nice seafood and smokey flavor.
Hurricane – NOLA is known for their Hurricane cocktail. It tastes like a fruit punch with rum except you can barely taste the rum, but you can totally feel it! I’m a fruity cocktail fan so I really enjoyed this. At Pat O’Brien’s, you can chill on their patio next to their famous fire waterfall. You can also keep your glass or return it for $4 back. When you’re done there, they can also put any drink you have leftover in a to-go cup so you can drink it on the street. Wins all around!
Seafood boil – We wanted our last meal to be more seafood boils! Cajun Seafood (the market we went to) had all of these seafood pre-made and ready to sell by the pound. The flavor of cajun spices were delicious and had a really nice kick of heat. The crab legs were meat-y and were super fresh. Even though crawfish isn’t in season, these were good enough for us. Even though the shrimp had great flavor, it wasn’t that fresh. I noticed that none of the shrimp were that great every time we ate a meal. Maybe they’re not in season as well? Overall, it was a very satisfying last meal to our trip because of the amazing cajun spices and flavors.
Overall, I loved the fried and seafood diet I was on when I was in NOLA. Though some seafood were better than others, the flavors of it all was amazing. I loved all all the soups and pretty much everything that was fried. I also loved all the “home cooked” meals and felt warm and happy after. The beignets at Cafe Du Monde are a must get. It was a great foodie trip, but I couldn’t wait to go back to San Francisco and detox with juices and salad and anything healthy.