Wednesday, September 18, 2013

new orleans in food.

If there was ever a lesson my father ingrained in us as kids, it was that food was an experience. We were taught how to enjoy food--from 5-star restaurants to hole in the walls serving ribs slathered in barbecue sauce. We were taught that we didn't have to like all things, but we have to at least try. And we were taught that the best way to see a new place, is to eat like the locals. 

I have fully embraced New Orleans fare over the years. Jumping in with both feet for crawfish, catfish po' boys, Abita beer, and of course, beignets--who can turn down a beignet? A healthy portion of my most recent trip to Nola was dedicated to hitting some of my favorite spots. So I thought I would share a few. This is my no means a comprehensive list of the food + drinks I enjoy in New Orleans--nor is it a fraction of what's out there--just a list of the places we enjoyed over the weekend.

eats | drinks.  

Parkway Bakery + Tavern--The po'boy spot in New Orleans. Parkway has over 100 years of history in the Crescent City. Closing after a flood in 1978, reducing hours and ultimately closing its doors in 1993 after the closing of the American Company (located within walking distance, the factory workers were a huge component of the bakery's business). In 2003, the doors reopened--then closed again briefly following Katrina--to serve up a little taste of New Orleans charm. This place is proud of its tradition and rightfully so. The people are friendly, and though it's crawling with tourists, you'll inevitably find the place full of locals. My order: catfish po'boy, dressed (tomato, lettuce, mayo and pickle).

Crescent Pie & Sausage Company--We stumbled upon this restaurant soon after moving into Mid-City and found that we kept going back. It's a regular brunch spot on Sundays when you can enjoy locally sourced food from the Holly Grove Market, in-house made sausage, and incredible shrimp and grits. Brunch is often accompanied by a sweet treat, such as beignets. It's not all about brunch though, serving up sandwiches, pizza's and other sausage plates. My order: Creole Chaurice-- mac and cheese served under southern greens and in-house chaurice. I'm telling you it's the southern comfort food dreams are made of.

Bayou Beer Garden--conveniently located near work and home for Andrew, Bayou Beer Garden is usually the happy hour spot of choice. And though August is hot and muggy, the patio is still a great open spot to enjoy a few brews. I'm obsessed with the lush greens growing up around the space and the relaxed atmosphere. My order: Abita Amber.

Tracey's--Located on Magazine, Tracey's is the uptown spot for some football. Simple fried foods served on paper plates, cold beer, and a whole lot of TVs. When the weather is nice, the windows open and I am telling you, I could spend all day there. The perfect casual, easy, go-to bar. My order: BLT with a side of fried pickles and an Abita. 

Jacque-Imo's Cafe--We made our first stop at Jacque-Imo's embarrassingly late in the game. And I learned from my lesson, and now I am passing on that wisdom: this should absolutely, unequivocally be your first dinner in New Orleans. It may be fairly surprising that in a city so well-known for its food and for it's liassez-fare attitude, traditional Louisiana cuisine usually comes with a high price tag.  Jacques Leonardi, chef/owner, --a student of Chef Paul Prudhomme at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen (New Orleans culinary elite)--opened Jacques-Imo's in the mid-90s and has been serving delicious traditional food at a pretty moderate price since. It's loud and it's a crowded space, the energy buzzing through that place makes it feel like you are being welcomed into someone's bayou home. The sign outfront boasts, "Warm Beer. Lousy Food. Poor Service", but I promise you it will be anything but. My Order: Alligator and Sausage Cheesecake appetizer , and as for the entrees, anything and everything. I also recommend elastic pants or flowing dresses, ladies.

not pictured this trip: Juan's Flying Burrito (I prefer mid-city location, "a better experience" as my Dad would say), Mikimoto Sushi (I dream of this sushi when I am away), Raising Cane's (a restaurant dedicated to chicken fingers? Yes, please. The secret sauce is the best sauce.)

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