The heart of New Orleans, and the South in general, is in the food. No trip to the city is complete without indulging in the many tasty dishes, some traditional and others less so. Here are my favorite meals from my weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Beignets, Café du Monde
If you’ve never had a beignet before, you need to rectify this situation immediately. They are French style square doughnuts topped in powdered sugar. While there are dozens of beignet shops in the French Quarter, accept no substitutions, as Cafe du Monde is the original. On any given day you will see dozens of tourists lining up to swoop on a table, as there is no wait list. All that’s on the menu is beignets (order of 3) and chicory coffee and it’s cash only.
Shrimp Po Boy, Johnny’s Po Boys
A po boy is a type of sandwich from New Orleans known for its cheap and filling qualities. I’ve had many in my day and Johnny’s Po Boys in the French Quarter has nearly every type of filling, including alligator, oyster, shrimp, bacon and egg, cheese, chicken, crawfish, crab cake and more. I paid almost $15 for one sandwich, but I barely got through one half of this sandwich. The portions are monstrous and you certainly get what you pay for.
Crawfish Étouffée, The Praline Connection Restaurant
After a long day of wandering around the city, my friend Marina and I settled into a nice dinner at The Praline Connection, a Frenchman Street staple. The down home cooking is worth trying. I ordered this cup of crawfish étouffée, a local soup of seafood, spices and roux topped with white rice. It’s very hearty and ideal for a chilly night, but be warned that it has a kick.
King Cake, Mardi Gras World
King cake is a dessert that is served around Mardi Gras. I love it and wish I could eat it year round. Thankfully, our visit to Mardi Gras World included a free piece of king cake at the end. If you find a plastic baby in yours, that’s good luck! It’s more like bread that is topped with icing and colorful sugar.
Toasted Almond Gelato, Sucre
Marina and I spent a long afternoon walking down Magazine Street, a hip neighborhood in New Orleans. We had just walked off our lunchtime burritos when we stopped for sweets at Sucre. We tried a number of items before landing on toasted almond gelato, but in all honesty, everything is good. And what’s more dangerous is that they deliver!
Crab Sandwich, New Orleans Cake Cafe and Bakery
My friend Travis recommended this neighborhood cafe in the Bywater and I wish we could have eaten there every day. It was packed with locals and one woman told me she went every day. New Orleans Cake Cafe and Bakery is one of the best places I’ve eaten and a long time, which is seriously saying something. I ordered the crab sandwich, which is crab meat, bacon, brie and spinach on challah bread.
Fried Alligator, Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
While Acme Oyster House is more well known, but nearby Felix’s Restaurant has equally giant oysters in an old school diner-style setting. I’m not big on oysters, so I ordered the fried alligator, which if you’re wondering is like chewier chicken. You can also get it blackened.
Beef Pho, St. Charles Pho House
Who would have thought that New Orleans was a good place to eat Vietnamese food? It turns out that the city has a high Vietnamese population and after a rainy day at the World War II Museum, we were in need of a hot bowl of soup. We found St. Charles Noodle in an office building food court and ordered bowls of pho bigger than our heads. It took me a long time to slurp up the broth, but it was so worth it.