Follow Me Foodie to New Orleans!
First off it’s pronounced New Orlenz or Nawlins, but not New Orleens, and my friendly reciprocation back is that it’s pronounced sæmen, not salmon. True story. Well I actually bit my tongue from making the salmon correction on several occasions, but I thought it was cute. And by cute I mean it depends on who was saying it. On the other hand I probably should have said something because it was almost like not telling someone their fly was down. Although in this town I don’t think flies being up or down really matters.
I for one had my belt off and was working overtime. That could easily be taken out of context being in the Dirty South, but “The Big Easy” was no easy task although certainly a big one! When most people are sweating from the humidity, I was sweating from an overload of brown butter and rehydrating with amazing cocktails. This was an intense eating and drinking city, so grab some grits and prepare your gut and Follow Me Foodie to New Orleans! This is a good one!
New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) was almost like the Las Vegas of the South… but dirtier and cheaper. I can’t even imagine what Mardi Gras looks like because I caught beads on a Tuesday night! The city is a giant party and the locals are crazy and the tourists are drunk. I say that in a fun way and I can’t stop smiling and laughing just thinking about it.
What took me so long to get here?! It’s been on my foodie itinerary for ages and it’s considered a food Mecca in the States along with New York, Chicago, Portland and San Francisco. It’s up there and I can see why! I’m slowly crossing off these cities so you can sense my excitement when I was invited to New Orleans to check out their restaurant scene!
Since Katrina there has never been so many restaurants, and don’t even get me started on the food festivals! I came partially to check out the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, but there’s also the New Orleans Oyster Festival, Coolinary New Orleans, New Orleans Seafood Festival, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, Tales of the Cocktail, and so many more!
Emeril’s 15-16oz Double Cut Pork Chop (Photo from Arts Council New Orleans)
When you come here, you go big or you go home, and in my case I went home big in order to bring back a delicious series. I researched my restaurants, took some trusted recommendations and narrowed it down to an epic food trip. Even if I didn’t quite get it right the first time, I have no doubt that I will be back.
“Bad food” was never really bad, and I felt like I only hit the good and then the greats. But then again, I only tried what I tried so I have a limited sample. Nonetheless, to top things off, the food can be dirt cheap to affordable, and nicer to fine dining restaurants are very reasonably priced compared to other culinary Meccas.
World famous beignets at Café du Monde
As a tourist from the West Coast (Vancouver), the food and ingredients were just so different. There is no “who’s better?” because the food is regional which means I just can’t get some of those Southern-Creole dishes at home. Talent is everywhere, but ingredients are not.
Of course I had to “check list” the typical NOLA dishes such as gumbo, beignets, and po’ boys, but there is so much more to their cuisine than this. This is only New Orleans too and I haven’t even started with the other parts of Louisiana like Cajun city! New Orleans is more Creole, not Cajun, and there is a difference.
At a quick glance, the food in New Orleans is Creole cuisine (mix of French, Spanish, Italian and African) with a Southern twist. For the most part it’s heavy and rich with roux based sauces and a love for brown butter, green peppers, onions, Worcestershire and spice. The cooking method is usually slow cooked, grilled or deep fried and it caters particularly well to seafood lovers, carnivores and gluttons for gluten.
The traditional restaurants have stuck to tried, tested and true recipes while the modern restaurants are taking an eclectic approach to Creole and Southern cuisine. Relative to Vancouver I wouldn’t consider it a very multi-cultural city, but currently there is an interest in Vietnamese cuisine and there is a small Vietnamese population. Although limited in types of cuisine, there is much variation within their own unique Louisiana and New Orleans cuisine. And that is what I came here to explore, try and learn more about.
This trip barely scratched the surface of what the restaurant scene offers, but it sure gave me a good first taste. I went in with high expectations and it didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend laying out the paper towels to catch your drool because my future NOLA posts will impress you. I will impress you. I impressed myself, I really destroyed these menus to bring back “the best” recommendations. I’m bringing NOLA as close to you as possible, but licking the monitor is not recommended.
Here is just a small taste of Follow Me Foodie to New Orleans!
From fire roasted oysters at Cochon…
From the original Muffulettas at Central Grocery…
… to the original Bananas Foster at Brennan’s!
This is just 5% of the things I had… my version of New Orleans begins tomorrow!
Accommodations: I was hosted by Le Richelieu Hotel in The French Quarter which is a boutique hotel. It was built in 1845/1902 with renovations in 2005/2006 so it is an old and historic hotel. It is dated and the rooms keep the architecture of the original apartments that once existed; but it’s good value, convenient and safe with 24/7 security and helpful and friendly staff.
Price: $80-150/day depending on the season and type of room.