This year The Boy and his best friend celebrated their 30th birthdays. We wanted to do something fun and go someplace new. After shuffling around a few ideas like taking a booze cruise, going to Coachella, or heading to Mexico, The Boy’s bestie came up with the idea to go to the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Great music, food, and friends…count us in!
We were headed there for the Jazz Fest, but for The Boy and me it was our personal food tour of NOLA that got us excited. We Yelped the hell out of that town and it paid off. We ate and drank our way through the French Quarter and it was ah-maze-zing! We went on a walking culinary tour of the city and tried so many new foods (like alligator and chicory coffee). I could write pages and pages just about the food! But since I don’t actually have any fabulous recipes to share (yet) I will spare you my excited babbling and try to keep the gushing to a minimum. 😉
A few of my favorite foodie experiences:
First things first, upon arriving we made our way to Pat O’Brian’s patio for one of their famous Hurricanes! I don’t know how I had never had one of these concoctions before but they were soooooo good.
For someone who has a decent palate for liquor and wine, I usually can’t stand overly sugary drinks. It may have been the wicked humidity (that this desert dweller is so NOT used to) or the very long day of traveling but this iced sugar juice was more delicious than it had any right to be.
And it continued to be delicious for the whole week we were there.
I’ve had scones and fry bread and other such things, but I’d never had a traditional beignet before and boy were they tasty! Light, fluffy and dusted with “just a little” powdered sugar, I could eat them every single day.
We stopped by the famous Cafe Du Monde (like you must) which unfortunately was a crowded mess at any hour.
Our favorite beignets however, were at a little place called Cafe Beignet. They also had the yummiest andouille sausage breakfast hash! Oh. Em. Goodness.
We also got to dine in the company of this local feline patron who also highly approves of the breakfast hash. 😉
I was on a personal quest to find and devour all the bread puddings. I tried some at nearly every place we went that had it on the menu but had no idea it came in so many styles! This traditional style with bourbon sauce was probably the most “normal” variation of all that we tried.
This little loaf was a great presentation and the creme sauce was very tasty, but I think I prefer my bread pudding swimming in bourbon sauce. 😉
This bread pudding was covered in buffalo sauce and cherries. Just kidding. It was not buffalo sauce, but it totally looks like it, huh? This was probably the oddest variation we tried for sure!
So many puddings, all sorts of yum.
After a long first day at the festival, followed by a late night of rocking out at One-Eyed-Jacks bar and venue, we were famished as we strolled into Yo Mama’s sometime after midnight for a bite to eat. Behold, our glorious after hours find…the Peanut-butter bacon burger. Served not with french fries, you wussy, but with a baked potato the size of your head! Damn, it was good. So good in fact that we brought the rest of our crew back for dinner another night. Share the love!
(We have since successfully made our own variation of these peanut-butter burgers on the grill at home. Who new PB on a burger would be so delicious.)
Strawberry is not a flavor that I would normally go for in my beer, but this beer was everywhere down there and I had to try it and see what was so special. Sweet Betty, this beer is guuuu-oood! Light and refreshing with strawberry notes that aren’t overpowering. Pair it with the aforementioned burger and you have a match made in heaven. Or Nawlins. 😉 It broke my heart to learn that they didn’t export this beer out of the state of Louisiana. 😭 I had to do my best to drink as much as I could while I was there. Mission accomplished.
UPDATE: They have started exporting! I came across this in a Total Wine in AZ and I about DIED!!! I bought several 6 packs. Happy day!
I am no stranger to andouille sausage and I really enjoy a good gumbo and spicy jambalaya. But there is something about andouille sausage in the Big Easy that just doesn’t taste quite the same anywhere else. My mouth still waters when I think of that sausage.
Absinthe is not on this list because I like it. Quite the opposite actually. I hate the black licorice taste of absinthe and it is much too strong a flavor to me. I am however, fascinated by the process of creating an absinthe drink. The Pontarlier glasses, the fancy sugar spoons, the absinthe fountain.
Now you don’t have to do things this fancy, but when in Rome… or New Orleans, why NOT make your drink with an absinthe fountain!
I had to include some of the hilarious spices and seasonings because they are just too darn funny. This was from our food tour and the lady in the back was teaching us how to make a roux. We learned how to tell when it was ready by the golden brown color and the nutty smell. This was probably the most valuable bit of foodie information that I learned while we were there. It has stuck with me ever since.
More from The City of New Orleans
Everything in “The Big Easy” seems to have a touch of humor and easy going sprinkled throughout from the street signs to the residents. It is an amazingly eclectic melting pot of cultures, music and food styles. The best French restaurant is owned by an Irishman, the best coffee we had was an Italian roast at a German coffee house, and the best Hurricane in town is served at an Irish bar. When you think of New Orleans, you think of Jazz, po’boys, creole food, Bourbon Street and while New Orleans certainly is all of that, it is so much more. The whole place is such a hodge-pod, ramdom mashup of culture that somehow melds all together in a way that is…well, just Nawlins. It’s such a neat city.
Here’s some more snaps just for fun.
This is a famous classic creole restaurant and is the largest restaurant in the french quarter.
Here’s a picture of me drenched in sweat from, I don’t know, breathing? Existing? Doing absolutely NOTHING.
Growing up in the northwest and having never been east of Wyoming before, New Orleans was a totally new experience for me. I’d never been to a city so old, so full of history…or so damn humid. Blech. I’m more grateful now for the “dry heat” of the Arizona desert than before that trip.
Rocking my fab new hat because 1. sun protection is important and 2. humidity makes your hair look like crap anyway.
Outside the capitol building that is surrounded by giant, beautiful magnolia trees.
Here’s The Boy and I getting ready to get our Jazz Fest on.
Florence and the Machine.
Me in the cutest little cafe corner window of them all… with a bird on my head. #putabirdonit
But despite the muggy weather and overall sogginess we had a wonderful time.