Foodie Weekend in New Orleans
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to take my first trip to New Orleans, a city that I’ve wanted to visit for quite some time. Sure, I was looking forward to listening to jazz in the French Quarter, learning about Mardi Gras traditions and having a hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street, but honestly, above all else I was in it for the food. I had a goal in mind: to sample as many traditional foods as possible in just three days. Here’s how my dining adventure panned out:
Night # 1: Dinner at Cochon
A fairly new restaurant on the New Orleans scene, Cochon opened in 2006 and has already won numerous awards and accolades, so it was no surprise that my fellow foodie travelers selected this restaurant for our very first meal upon arrival. This restaurant feels very casual and welcoming, with rustic-style wood tables and friendly service. Cochon made it easy to knock a few items off my goal list: highlights included the fried alligator appetizer with chili garlic aioli (tastes like chicken!), the hearty rabbit & dumplings stew and the Louisiana cochon, a house specialty dish made of pulled pork which is then pressed back together and pan fried.
Day #2: Lunch at Lüke
One of John Besh’s many New Orleans restaurants, Lüke is Besh’s “homage to old brasseries that once reigned in New Orleans.” We had a fantastic lunch at the restaurant and I was able to try a few more New Orleans specialties including gumbo and fried oysters. As a group, dishes we ordered included: redfish court-boullion, seafood gumbo a la Creole, fried oyster, bacon and avocado salad, the Lüke burger and the croque madame (both of which were so massive that they’re served on cutting boards)!
Day #3: Breakfast at Café du Mond
Typically, I don’t go for sweets first thing in the morning, but after visiting Café du Mond and trying their beignets, I’d make an exception for them anytime. Essentially, a beignet is a fried pastry covered in powdered sugar – good luck eating one of these without making a complete mess! We had a blast soaking up the bustling atmosphere of Café du Mond while enjoying plates of beignets and hot café au laits. Café du Mond is definitely not to be missed on any trip to NOLA.
Day 3: Dinner at Maringy Brasserie
On our last night in New Orleans, we were determined to seek out the best place to listen to jazz, so we headed to Frenchmen Street, known for being a bit less touristy than Bourbon Street with live music every night of the week. We ate dinner at the Maringy Brasserie, where I continued to expand my foodie horizons by ordering good old shrimp ‘n grits, which was one of the best dishes I tried all week. The rest of the group also ordered some amazing dishes including: duck and andouille spring rolls, pappardelle with rabbit ragu, crab cakes with red pepper coulis, seared sea scallops and two out-of-this-world desserts, a lemon and goat cheese layer cake with cabernet syrup and a chocolate espresso torte with grand marnier sabayan.
By the end of the long weekend, I was quite proud of all the new foods I had tried – and also quite full. I left New Orleans with visions of returning for Mardi Gras and more foodie adventures dancing in my head. Until next time NOLA!