New Orleans is a city of music, soul, authenticity and individuality. It’s filled with wonderful and eccentric people, a colorful history, bewitching art and a little bit of magic. If that’s not enough to inspire a visit as soon as you get a weekend free of obligations, NOLA can also provide you with one of the most original and exciting food tours around.
In between Bloody Mary’s at Molly’s at the Market and Voodoo Juices at Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop, a bar serving up great drinks since the 1700s, you must seek sustenance!
Every day in the French Quarter should be started and finished at Cafe du Monde, as far as I’m concerned. A glorious cup of coffee or hot chocolate to compliment your heaping mound of fried, sugary beignets is the best way to ensure a good day and better night’s sleep.
New Orleans famous oysters are an unprecedented pre-lunch snack. While Acme Oyster House on Iberville street is a popular place for visitors, I find my favorite oysters just across the street at Felix’s. They serve up the most massive, decadent and savory oysters, complete with saltines and horseradish for the NOLA natives who know how to mix it just right. If raw oysters aren’t your thing, opt for the grilled and breaded oysters or fried pickles instead, because you’re on vacation and you deserve it!
Lunch could easily be overlooked for a liquid diet and an excellent jazz show at the Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street, but don’t cheat yourself! If you’ve got a car, take a short drive out of the center to The Joint, a cozy and alternative barbecue spot with picnic tables out back, sweet tea and the best pulled pork sandwich with slaw you’ve ever had. If you’d rather grab a quick bite in the center so you can get back to your bar crawl, N’Awlins has got the tastiest po boy in town. Playing it safe with a shrimp or chicken po boy is sure to please every and anybody. But for my fellow adventurous eaters, I highly recommend the spicy alligator. It’s delicious, not very unlike a chicken po boy in taste and texture, and you get the added bonus of being able to tell people you ate an alligator.
For dinner make your way to the Gumbo Shop on Peter Street. Wear some loose pants and forget about all the food you’ve already eaten today, because once you see the menu, holding back is not an option. The name Gumbo Shop not so subtly implores you to start off with a nice cup of gumbo. Seafood and okra is a classic New Orleans recipe, but if you need a quick seafood break before your main course, the chicken andouille is just as delightful. This star studded menu is packed full of Creole and Cajun classics that make it almost impossible to choose. But fear not! The generous Gumbo Shop gives you the option of ordering a Creole combination platter complete with shrimp Creole, jambalaya and red beans and rice. As if they aren’t being too good to us already, they also permit a substitution: red beans and rice for craw fish toffee. Do yourself a favor, and substitute away.
Leaving NOLA without a bit of craw fish is a rookie mistake I don’t want you to make! Desert may seem excessive after the meal you’ve just been so lucky to consume, but praline sundaes are like celery; eating them burns calories! Okay, that’s not true, but you’ll forget everything once you’ve had a bite of this time honored, Louisiana favorite.
So now that you’re hungry and dying for a Bloody Mary in a dive bar filled with expert musicians, book your ticket and take on New Orleans like a local!