A car parked in front of Jackson SquareI get pretty excited to go anywhere if it means leaving town, but I was particularly excited about visiting New Orleans because I have always heard it is one of the top destinations for people who love food.  Fifteen Spatulas can now confirm that statement as true.  From alligator sausage gumbo to sweet potato pralines to shrimp po’boys to John Besh restaurant eats, I was thrilled day after day by all the spice and flavor that defines Creole and Cajun cooking.

Gumbo with Bread and Soda in NOLA

Homemade Alligator Sausage & Roast Turkey Gumbo, with Bottled Barq’s

If I wrote about every place I ate at this post would be way too long (and at many of these places it was inappropriate to take photos), but here are some tidbits:

Restaurants I ate at:

  • Rue 127.  Unexpectedly one of the best places I dined at.  Got to try puppy drum fish, and it is now one of my favorites.
  • GW Fins .  Get the lobster dumplings!
  • Restaurant August (John Besh restaurant).  Everything I ate here was pretty outstanding.  Get the 3 course lunch for $20…it’s a total steal.
  • Domenica is another John Besh restaurant with gourmet pizzas.  It was my least favorite meal.
  • Elizabeth’s Restaurant.  All I have to say is duck waffle…sweet potato and duck hash over cornmeal waffle with hot pepper jelly.  YUM.
  • Commander’s Palace.  A quintessential new Orleans eatery.  The most expensive meal of the trip, but also one of the best.  Get the turtle soup and bread pudding souffle.
  • Coulis.  I will be recreating one of their dishes, Eggs Benecio.  Poached eggs with hollandaise over jalapeño cornbread cakes.  SO GOOD!

Other eats:

Cafe Du Mond Beignet

Cafe du Monde Beignet: Not just a vehicle for delivering inappropriate amounts of powdered sugar

  • Cafe du Monde.  This is one of the most hyped food places in New Orleans, and the first time I tried it, I thought it wasn’t worth the 30 minute wait.  But then I found myself going back again the next day.  The beignets are fantastic.
  • Southern Candymakers.  If you’ve ever been to a touristy city in the South, odds are you’ve come across a praline shop…and noticed they charge $20/lb.  I rarely pay this price because I can make pralines at home, but I had to try their award winning creamy praline and the sweet potato praline as well.  Both were crazy good.
  • Parkway Bakery & Tavern.  This is another place I went to twice, and got the same thing each time: alligator sausage & roast turkey gumbo (pictured above) and the shrimp po’boy.  There are photos at the restaurant of Obama eating there, so it’s not a secret that this place has great food.
  • Casamento’s. If you like oysters, go here, and get the Oyster Loaf.  Be prepared to wait in line though.
  • Angelo Brocato’s Gelato-This place has rave reviews but I was disappointed.  The gelato was good, but the baked alaska was dreadful and the pignolotti I purchased got left behind on the table.
  • Creole Creamery. This place has some outstanding ice cream.  They’ve got unusual flavors, and the texture is somewhere between ice cream and gelato.  I recommend the malted buttermilk flavor.

Alright, I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure those are the places I ate at.  My goodness…I was only there for 6 days…how did I eat so much?!  In summary, New Orleans is the place for hungry people.  Even the animals at the zoo had New Orleans worthy appetites:
Orangatang at NOLA Zoo

Orangutang demanding food from the zookeeper

And one last thing, if you happen to stumble upon local Roman Candy while you’re in New Orleans, definitely get some…unless you have fillings that you are afraid will fall out (this is the stickiest thing I have ever eaten):
Taffy Candy Stick from NOLA
See you tomorrow for a recipe!