I started to name this "New Orleans or Bust", as in "pants are busting at the seams!" New Orleans is one of a kind, and we spent a good night and day there before we left at the Port of New Orleans on a cruise to Cozumel and Yucatan, Mexico. The next four blogs will not have any of my cooking or recipes in it; they will be about the wonderful food we had on our travels.
I hope you enjoy the food blogging and looking at the special food we had. I wish you could try it, and hey, now you know where to find it!
Our first stop in New Orleans on Saturday night was at Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street for dinner and Hurricanes! There was a line up and down the street and when we walked up we were granted immediate access. We thought we were special that we didn't have to wait in line. I think there was something else going on there, but we pretended, anyway. They sat us at the bar to wait for dinner at a four-top table, and then we found out we could eat dinner in the bar. The stars were aligned in our favor. We're still telling ourselves we're special because we didn't have to wait for dinner on a Saturday night!
This is our waiter, Lorenzo. He was very happy to serve our World Famous Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes, and we were very happy to see him!
Dinner at Pat O'Brien's! It was so hard to choose from all of the great food. Janise had shrimp and grits. The grits were prepared a lot like I made them at a Cajun restaurant I worked in for a minute. You make the grits as you like them (with cheddar, cayenne pepper and jalapeno is a suggestion), spread them out and refrigerate them in a sheet pan overnight. Then cut them into the shape you desire, dredge them in egg wash and flour, and deep fry. This was a unique take on the traditional shrimp and grits. Janise said they were great!
Next, our non-seafood eating partner-in-crime, Kendall, had a classic Muffuletta. This sandwich was created by an Italian immigrant who also founded Central Grocery on Decatur Street in NOLA. It is traditionally made on a huge Italian roll. It has lots of Italian meats and cheeses, and the best part is the olive spread! I brought home a quart (it was the smallest size they had that didn't have to be refrigerated until I got home). Pat O'Brien's version is made with an herb Foccacia bread (another favorite of mine). The best local Muffuletta, and first, I ever had was in Atlanta at Jason's Deli, and there's one on Barrett Parkway in Marietta, local friends!
The next dish, and my favorite because it was my dinner, is the Seasonal Seafood Cakes. These were made with fresh shrimp and crabmeat, and maybe lobster and they were heavenly, and served with a lemon butter Creole sauce, topped with an aioli. Aioli is usually mayonnaise with garlic, but it can be whatever you like in your mayonnaise. I believe this one had Cajun seasonings in it.
Last, but not least, we shared a bread pudding like dessert, covered in pecans, whiskey sauce, whipped cream and topped with a pretty mint leaf. This was very rich and very delicious.
Then we walked some of this dinner off by taking in the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street before ending our first night in New Orleans. It was a memorable and wonderful experience!
Breakfast on Sunday morning at Café Du Monde in the French Quarter! World Famous Beignets and Café au Lait! The beignets, deep fried rectangle doughnuts, are served in threes and covered in powdered sugar. If you look closely you can see I took a bite out of mine before I remembered to take the picture. That happens a lot when I get excited to eat! The Café Du Monde Coffee and Chicory is traditionally served Au Lait, mixed half and half with hot milk. Did you know you can find their chicory and coffee, and their beignet mix, in the supermarkets now? I know I'm going to try them! They would be a great special occasion treat, like having a friend over for brunch!
The French Market! This is a place where you could spend the whole day with your family! There's local produce, shopping, restaurants, and musical entertainment. There are local vendors set up at the market, in addition to the shops and stores that line Decatur Street! The guy shucking the oysters at the Market was amazing to watch He also had pounds and pounds of crawfish in an ice table behind him but when I went to take a picture it was covered up. He was so busy I only bothered him to ask if I could take his picture. There were LOTS of food places there with local seafood and Po' Boys and tables set up for eating there.
Lunch at The Gazebo Café in the French Quarter! We sat down outdoors at the café to have a casual lunch and listen to the Jimmy Balermo band! Look at that Louisiana Gumbo! Kendall had a Roast Beef Po' Boy, Janise had a Shrimp Po' Boy, and I had a Crawfish Po' Boy with Remoulade Sauce. Do you see the shrimp that sneaked into my sandwich? It did not die in vain.
Let me give a shout out to Abita beer. It is locally crafted by Abita Beer Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana, 30 miles north of NOLA. This light version was nice with lunch. Henry's Louisiana Grill in Acworth, Georgia is the largest purchaser of Abita beer in our South Eastern part of the United States (I heard Henry say that at a Mardi Gras party in Acworth). Henry's is the place to go for great Cajun food close to home! I think that was more of a shout-out to Henry's than to the beer!
These are snacks I made for the road. The idea was to eat healthy on the way to New Orleans because we knew we were going to "blow it out' when we got there! We strayed from that idea a little. These were very good, kept in the cooler. We also had these for dinner on Sunday night while we were getting our things ready to sail out the next day. Next blog...Carnival Triumph to Cozumel!
P.S. Let me throw in this easy roll-up snack. I bought 100 calorie Flat-Out Flatbread, layered it with mayo that I mixed up with some small diced hamburger dill chips, 98% fat free lunch meat, American cheese, shredded lettuce and salt and pepper. Then just roll it up and slice it into little round sandwiches. You will need toothpicks to hold them together! Looks like you did a lot of work and they are delicious!
A place to share my favorite things...friends and food, dogs, college football, and my inspiration, Sawyer, the most beautiful little girl in the world!