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23 Apr

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13 Apr

I recently had to change my hosting service, resulting in my old email subscriber tool not working. If you still wish to subscribe to my blog, please visit www.tomsfoodieblog.com and re-subscribe up for the newsletter. The Subscribe is on the right side (black box). If you are awesome and want to resubscribe, I will enter your name into a drawing for free certificates to Cafe Rio! I will be picking a winner on Sunday.

New Orleans Gastromic Tour Part 3 of 3 – Jazz Brunch Buffets, Balconies, and Maxim Models

30 Mar

Day 3- Monday – Lundi Gras

As you read the Part 2 of 3 section of the New Orleans Gastronomic Tour, Day two in New Orleans went by like a blur and we tried all types of New Orleans Cuisine along the way. We still had plenty of touring and gastronomic research to perform before our trip ended. This blog post will cover Days 3 and 4 and you will learn about:

  • Where to find the best Jazz buffet in NOLA
  • What it is like to attend a Maxim Magazine party
  • Where to eat like a tourist and a local
  • New Orleans’s most famous rice dishes
  • Where to find the very best pizza in New Orleans.

Before we left Southern California, we made reservations for the Jazz Brunch at “The Court of Two Sisters.” We both had heard about this brunch from multiple friends and at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure show as well. This restaurant turned out to be one of the best brunch buffets I have ever experienced. We quickly got out of bed, showered the burger leftovers off of my face and found The Court of Two Sisters on Rue Royal Street.

The Court of Two Sisters –Jazz Brunch Buffet

This restaurant is an institution in New Orleans and has a colorful history and a wonderful tradition of formal dining in its beautifully decorated salons, although this gem of a restaurant is also equally famous for their Jazz Buffet. You have to visit New Orleans at least once in your life to experience its rich culture and deliciously unique Creole and Cajun Cuisine. With that said, you have not experienced the soul of New Orleans cuisine until you have tried The Court of Two Sisters jazz buffet. The brunch combines Southern Hospitality, Creole cooking, a pleasant courtyard environment and the upswing sounds of New Orleans jazz. The Court of Two Sisters Jazz Buffet runs every day from 9 a.m. to 3p.m. I personally recommend you try it as a brunch so that you can experience some of the breakfast items. Before I describe anything else, let me walk you through the buffet and then I will discuss the ambiance. Like most buffets, this one is separated into hot and cold stations.

Cold Buffet – The first thing you find is their delicious cornbread and biscuits; although my golden rule of buffet is to always skip on the bread! Artisan breads can be an essential ritual in a formal sit down dinner. Although at a buffet, breads are pure filler that prevent you from experiencing more food, thus should be avoided! As a disclaimer, I failed my own rule; I got the cornbread and it was good! 😉

Next in line at the cold buffet was a giant bed of boiled shrimp and crawfish, chilling on ice. The shrimp were medium-size “peel and eat”style and the crawfish were traditionally served in the shell. I was slightly in awe by the amount of bottom-feeding crustaceans available for the taking. I could almost feel my heart quickening, like I was falling in love. I took a side of their horseradish cocktail and remoulade sauces. As I mentioned in the post about Arnaud’s restaurant, you cannot serve boiled shrimp or crawfish without these two sauces. I was already looking forward to getting my hands messy eating these delicious crustaceans and “sucking head”* (see foodie tip below).

Foodie Tip: How to Eat a Crawfish

  1. Place the thumb and index finger of your left hand on the upper body of the crawfish and do the same thing with your right hand on the tail section
  2. Rock your hands side to side, like you are wringing out a towel. As a result, the tail shell should break loose.
  3. Pinch the tail and pull the meat from the shell
  4. The upper section of a crawfish is not worth the effort for gathering meat. Instead many folks from Louisiana prefer to *“Suck Head”.
  5.  To Suck Head: Simply wrap your lips around the open cavity of the crawfish and suck out all the juices from the thorax and head. Sucking the soul out of the crawfish! I know this might sound disgusting to someone who is not from the South or has never tried it. I assure you, the juices from the upper body of a crawfish are actually quite tasty and it is worth making a fool of yourself.

Note! At a nice restaurant, sucking head is not considered polite manners. It should be reserved for a backyard boil or even a casual restaurant.

Next on the cold buffet line was a variety of lettuce salads, fruits and vegetables. These all looked nice and tasty, but again these types of items can be eaten at any buffet. I recommend that you keep your eye on the prize and focus on their regional specialties and signature dishes. The next couple items from the buffet were delicious and worthy, such as local seafood salads, ceviche, Cajun pasta, sweet potato w/Andouille sausage, pate’, cheeses, and seafood mousse. I tried a little of each of these house made creations and I can attest that they were all fabulous and extremely fresh. At the end of the cold buffet were the deserts, but I will come back to this section later.

Next, the hot side of the buffet! – The first part of this side of the buffet is the omelet and eggs benedict station. Here, you can order an omelet any way you like by selecting from your choice of ingredients. They are most famous for their “seafood and shrimp creole omelet,” which consists of the holy trinity of Creole vegetables (remember this for later in the post), crawfish tails and shrimp. Try this omelet if your stomach has room, I personally had to tap out after just a couple bites! Also at this station are their famous eggs Benedict. I had two of them before I left! I’m not sure what makes their eggs benedict so good, but perhaps it is the fact that they are made fresh, literally just a couple are made at a time and per request. Perhaps the flavor comes from the use of French bread as the base or even their velvety hollandaise sauce. The eggs benedict had a secret X factor and should be tried if you come here.

The next area of the hot buffet was the carving station. The day I visited they were hand carving to order a very tender and juicy roast beef loaf and a juicy slow roasted turkey. I tried both of these roasted meats and they were deliciously fantastic! The turkey was very juicy and had a nice combination of sweet and savory seasonings. The roast beef was also juicy and tender to the bite. The exterior of the meat had a nice crusting from the dry rub, which had a subtle hint of creole flavors.

Next up is the House Made Turtle Soup, a New Orleans Classic and a personal favorite. Folks not from the South may not be familiar with this dish and perhaps a little intimidated by eating turtle meat. Let me reassure you, there is no need to be intimidated by this exotic meat.The signature ingredient might be foreign to your palate, but I assure you it is delicious. Turtle soup is made with a variety of ingredients including a roux, hardboiled eggs, dark beef stock, Worchester Sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and turtle meat. I would describe the flavor of this soup as rich, slightly tangy and a full mouth feel. The buffet provides a bottle of Sherry to place a floater on top for flavor and to help cut through the rich flavors and add a slight sweet flavor to the mix. The turtle meat is simmered and broken down into the soup, so you are never truly chewing on a chunk of turtle meat. Rather the turtle meat gently mixes into each spoonful, providing a nice texture and flavor. When I travel, I attempt to break my pre-existing notions by trying every dish at least once. I will be honest; I had never eaten turtle before this trip and was a little nervous. Although after one bite, I was hooked!

There were so many hot dishes, that I couldn’t possibly explain them all. Instead, I am going to just list them off and tell you which my favorites were. Here are the hot dishes provided at the buffet:

  • Fresh Shrimp Spicy Etouffee (Favorite)- Delicious and sweet shrimp smothered in a roux based sauce. Pleasantly exciting on the tongue.
  • Duck a l’Orange (Favorite) –This dish had flavor dissonance of sweet caramelized sugar, bitter oranges and duck proteins
  • Cajun Jambalaya – Savory stew made from sausage, chicken and dark Cajun roux
  • BBQ Ribs – Baby back pork ribs in a sweet, tangy with slightly spicy Creole seasoning
  • Veal Grillades and Gravy (Favorite) -A classic Southern dish in which thin slices of veal are pounded and slow cooked in a sweet and savory brown sauce.
  • Pecan Rice Pilaf – Savory Rice pilaf with sweet and bitter pecans.
  • Creamed Spinach (Favorite) – chocked full of butter, cheeses and went down my throat silky smooth.
  • Ratatouille – Stewed vegetable dish made from simmering eggplant, onions, tomatoes bell peppers, and herbs.
  • Glazed Sweet Potatoes (Favorite) – Amazing balance of sweet flavors, I will never be able to eat my Grandma’s sweet potatoes then same way again.
  • Catfish Roulade – Catfish filet wrapped around a combination of crawfish, onion, celery, peppers, and smothered in a lemon butter sauce.

For Desert, they featured slow churned, house-made ice cream, Bananas Foster, pecan pie, bread pudding and of course the classic desert of Mardi Gras, King Cake. I’m getting full just thinking about all the deserts. I will say that you must try the Banana Foster with house made ice cream.

Disclaimer! If you attempt to eat more than a couple of the desserts after several plates from the buffet, you might find yourself slouched over the table in a stupor or making piggy noises. You have been warned

The one thing not included with the buffet are the mimosas. I highly suggest you order the mimosas which are sold by the glass, half bottle and full bottle of sparkling wine. The Orange Juice and coffee are free, so you are just really paying for the sparkling wine. Your waiter will expertly mix it for you and refill your glass when empty.

O.K. Enough with drooling over the food, I will now elaborate about the service and ambiance.

Our waiter, Jim, provided superior service and made us feel like guests in his personal home. He took the time to explain each of the dishes at the buffet and highlighted dishes that we must try. Our waiter’s personal attention transformed our visit into a culinary guided tour, as he taught us about the preparation and unique culinary history of many of the dishes.

When you visit The Court of Two Sisters, I suggest that you request a seat in the courtyard. The walled in courtyard removes you from the bustle of the French Quarter and gives you time to decompress. This quiet covered courtyard makes you feel like you stepped back in time and joined New Orleans Socialites having a garden party and wearing fancy hats. The patio is a tranquil place with old wisteria vines growing out of the patio and intermingling between the tables and wrapping around the overhead. They have probably heard every bit of gossip from the past century. While we dined, the jazz band played an upswing jazz number, while the sun shined down on your good fortune and the birds sung along. This jazz brunch garden party has been going on for decades and we became part of this exclusive club. By the time we finished eating, my gut was distended and I had no ambition of eating anything for hours.

Many thanks to the staff of the Court of Two Sisters for a truly memorable and delicious experience, I recommend this cultural and gastronomic experience to all of my readers.

www.courtoftwosisters.com

Maxim Magazine Balcony Party                                                                       

One of the highlights of our trip was attending a balcony party that was being hosted by Maxim Magazine. As with all of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street is lined with 2nd story balconies, which are the epicenter of Mardi Gras bead throwing shenanigans. From the ground, folks are engaging in a timeless tradition of asking the balcony folks for beads by reaching their hands in the air, begging and flashing their tatas. In contrast, the people on the balconies have the power by displaying “high end” throws and tempting the groundlings to show flesh in exchange. Long story short is that Mardi Gras is a different experience from the balcony and must be experience at least one in your life…strictly from a cultural learning experience. 😉

We decided to have the cultural experience of participating in the Mardi Gras balcony by paying to attend a balcony party. There are three ways to get on a balcony during Mardi Gras:

  1. Several clubs have a balconies, but they are crowded and have a cover charge
  2. Pay to hang out on a balcony for a fixed amount of time, but they are crowded, overpriced, and don’t include drinks 
  3. Attend a balcony party with food, drinks and entertainment.

Obviously the third choice was the best. There are many balcony parties on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras, although you will have to do your homework on the best deal and which includes the most food/drinks at the lowest price.

The balcony party we booked just happened to be co-hosted by Maxim Magazine that day and was used to co-promote Captain Morgan’s Devil Cut Rum. As a result of this co-sponsorship, the food and drinks were upgraded to premium quality. I am sad to report that I did not take very many pictures in the Maxim party or the food. What I can report is that the spread included pretty much every Creole dish prepared by the house chef of the salon. Since many of the Maxim models were in attendance, the buffet was always full :).  In addition to the food and fun and throwing Captain Morgan beads to the groundlings below, Maxim pulled all the stops by bringing in a New Orleans Jazz Band to play sets between the D.J. In addition they brought in an audience interactive “cage your angel” art installation (see picture). A night at the balcony party was well worth it from a culinary, cultural and fun perspective. I would do this again as sometimes you need a respite from the madness on the streets and to change your perspective.

Cage Your Angel installation. The crowd filmed themselves dancing and the vid was projected to the bottles

Day 4 -Fat Tuesday!

Breakfast at River Front Café

Time for a quick breakfast so that we can really enjoy the festivities of Fat Tuesday! We traveled down St. Anne Street towards Jackson Square & Decatur Street. Since it was Fat Tuesday, everyone and their grandma (literally) was out in the street and in full force. On Fat Tuesday, the streets are filled with people in very ornate costumes, most of them homemade. You might see anything from drag queens, to robots to man sized pigs. Since it was a busy day, we decided to eat like tourists for sheer convenience, which led us to the Riverfront Restaurant on Decatur. The local who recommended this restaurant told us, “This is a good tourist restaurant. Their food will not win awards for culinary excellence, but it is good and you will get out quickly.” I looked up the restaurant on Yelp and Urban spoon and it received decent ratings. Most patrons commented that Riverfront’s fried food was their core competency. Here is what we ordered:

Fried Pickles – (Probably the best thing on the menu) The sliced pickles appeared to have been dredged in flour and then quickly deep fried to create a crispy and almost puffy crust around the pickles. These fried pickles had quite an interesting flavor as the vinegary flavor combined with the savory flavor of deep fried batter. The result of this unholy alliance was surprisingly good! The texture was a combination of a crispy batter and gooey fried pickle meat. From first read, this might sound possibly disgusting, but I am going to tell you from firsthand experience that this was amazing! I was extremely skeptical about ordering a basket of deep fried pickles myself, but after trying them I wanted more! They came with a side of ranch dressing which was not mandatory to have but definitely heightened the experience…I am currently trying to find a place in Southern California with a similar preparation; a co-worker told me that Lucille’s BBQ has a similar version, I will have to investigate.

Taste of New Orleans Platter – This dish provided a sample of New Orleans most famous rice dishes. This platter consisted of Chicken and Sausage gumbo, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya and Red Beans and Rice. All the dishes are decent with good flavors, although nothing that will win awards. With that said, I really did enjoying these dishes, as they were almost like a passport to understanding the styles of Cajun and Creole Cooking.

  • Crawfish Etoufee is a classic Louisiana Dish that starts with a roux (remember part 1) and then slow stews crawfish tails, onions, celery, peppers and rice to form a rich, soupy stew. The Riverfront restaurant’s version has good flavors and a good balance of rice in the mixture. The only thing I did not like about this dish was that there was not enough crawfish in the mix.

More about Crawfish Etouffee: In French the word, “étouffée”, literally means “smothered” or “suffocated.” In Louisiana, the term “smother” implies that the food is simmered in a small amount of liquid and heavily seasoned. The largest difference between the Cajun and Creole Etouffe is the inclusion of tomatoes in the recipe. If you remember, from part 1 of this blog post, the Cajuns did not have easy access to tomatoes, so their etouffee tends to be more yellow or light brown in color.

  •  Gumbo, the second part of the New Orleans Sampler, which is a very rich and thick stew made from strong flavored stock, meat, celery, bell peppers, and a thickener. The stew is simmered until it heavily thickens. The Riverfront Restaurant’s gumbo used chicken and sausage as the proteins (Cajun style) and tomato paste (Creole style). Overall I really enjoyed the gumbo; it was strong flavors and a slight tingle from the spices.

More About Gumbo –This dish is a stew that originated in Southern Louisiana during the 18th century and is a combination of French, Spanish, German, West African, West Indies and Choctaw tribe cuisines. A factor that differentiates gumbo from a regular soup is the type of thickener used. For example, thickeners can be one or more of the following: okra (West African) ,File’ Powder made from sassafras leaves (Choctaw tribe) or Roux (French). The roots of the word “gumbo” came from this thickener. For example, the African dialect of Bantu uses the word, “Ki NGombo” for Okra. The Choctaw tribal language for File’ is “Kombo.”

  • Red Beans and Rice– This dish is a staple in New Orleans cuisine and is a classic Creole dish. This dish is made from slow simmering the holy trinity of creole vegetables, kidney beans, chicken broth, tomatoes and ham. The Riverfront actually made a respectable red beans and rice; although, I am not a NOLA local to the area so I could be easily fooled.

More About Red Beans and Rice– Historically, Sunday is Ham day in New Orleans, so Monday is leftovers day. What many of the creoles did was use the leftover ham and ham bones to make red beans and rice. The use of the ham bone adds depth of flavor during the very slow simmering process. Red Beans and Rice are only considered authentic if they have a very creamy sauce.

  • Jambalaya– A rice dish that has been cooked with stock, tomato sauce, the holy trinity of vegetables, and a mixture of sausage, shrimp and chicken. This dish is cooked such that the rice is thrown in after the broth from the ingredients come to a boil, thus forcing the rice grains to adsorb the moisture and the flavors. The Riverfront Restaurant made a flavorful jambalaya with a combination of sweet, savory, spicy and acidic. I had better jambalaya during my stay in New Orleans, but it was delicious.

More about Jambalaya: Jambalaya is simply a version of Spanish Paella that was adapted to the ingredients in the New World. This dish originated in the heart of the original European Sector of the city where the Spanish tried to find ways of making their beloved Paella without the use of imported saffron. During this time period, they learned to use tomatoes as a substitute for saffron and slowly began to add other local ingredients.

We packed up from our late breakfast and for the rest of the afternoon we partied on the streets and partook in the celebration of Fat Tuesday by dressing up in costumes, dancing on the streets and interacting with all the other party goers. I will say that Fat Tuesday in New Orleans is a very unique “ground swell” celebration that gets its kinetic energy from the people attending and requires no central organization. Mardi Gras is a cultural experience that cannot be replicated. After a full day of partying in a pig costume, it was time to eat a late lunch. Although it was Fat Tuesday, so there is a conundrum! Let me explain.

Somethin Else Cafe

On Fat Tuesday, everything closes up early, especially the nicer restaurants on Bourbon Street. We started asking around for something that was still open at 6:00pm, for a late lunch. A police officer told us to check out a café frequented by cops and locals called, “Somethin Else Café.” The policeman said, “Locals eat here because we don’t only eat Cajun and Creole.” The Somethin Else Café reminded me of an upscale artsy version of a roadside café that you might find with taking a road trip to Baton Rogue. The atmosphere was hip and upbeat and everyone seemed to be enjoying their food. Here is what we ordered:

The Gator Po boy: This dish consisted of a large fluffy French roll that had been toasted with butter, grilled Alligator sausage, melted pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and their “Secret Sauce.” The flavor of this sandwich was just slightly spicy with subtle hints of Cajun spices. The alligator meat added strong overtones of richness and complexity to the flavor profile. Overall the Po Boy has great flavors and their secret sauce added a little zing.

What does Alligator Taste like? The flavor really is a combination of chicken and veal, but also with its own unique flavor that cannot be easily described without trying it. The texture of the meat reminded of something between a veal and a pork chop.

Hand Cut French Fries with Cheese -The fries were crunchy on the outside and soft, fluffy and steamy on the inside. I really liked the fresh potato flavor that this dish provided and the yummy melted cheese made for a delicious greasy pile of yumminess, perfect after an afternoon of debauchery.

<<<Fast Forward to five more hours of watching Krewe Parades, taking a nap and a little more Fat Tuesday foolishness. We were ready for our last meal in New Orleans. The year prior, we stumbled upon a little Italian Restaurant call Angeli’s which served food until 2am. We drug our tired bodies to Decatur Street and heading in the direction of Frenchmen Street, and tumbled into Angeli’s, the best local pizza place…

http://www.somethinelsecafe.com/

Where to find the Best Pizza in New Orleans! Angeli’s on Decatur

Technically Angelis is known for serving Italian Food and Sandwiches, although this place is better known for the best pizza in New Orleans. I am placing Angeli’s on my Top 10 pizzas that I have tasted, competing with the finest in New York. When you walk into the restaurant it looks like an artsy trip back into time with brightly painted walls, classic rock memorabilia, and oil paintings of rock and roll stars like Jim Morrison. People at this restaurant are really chill and it feels like you are hanging out in your neighbor’s garage, getting ready for a jam session. An eclectic crowd kept cycling through this joint, but the common thing they all had in common was the fact that they all ordered their pizza.

I’m not sure what secret sauce is used in this pizza that makes it so good. So let me break it down for you. The crust was crisp, yet slightly chewy with nice air bubbles. The flavor of the crust had an ever so slight mineral flavor (similar to a NYC pizza), probably from the old pipes in New Orleans. They used a perfect amount of buffalo mozzarella, just enough to give a chewy, and just slightly stringy consistency. The sauce is a combination of sweet and acidic, just the right balance to accentuate the cheese and add balance to the crust. Speaking of sauce, this pizza had just the right amount of sauce so you got a saucy bite each time. This restaurant has been highly recommended by many locals who tell me they have the best pizza in the French Quarter.

http://angelirestaurant.webs.com/

 My Final Thoughts

The cuisine of a city of tells a story of its cultural history and we immersed ourselves into the soul of the city by experiencing its best food.   During my trip, I learned that the city is home to many different cultures and appreciated the cuisine from this cultural lens. My only regret about this trip was not eating four meals a day, so that I could experience more of the city’s cuisine. The next time we visit New Orleans, it will be during a more quite time so that I can leisurely soak in the city, it’s people and more cuisine. A special thanks to all the wonderful locals who provided hospitality and recommendations. 

New Orleans Gastromic Tour Part 2 of 3 : Beignets, Oysters and Dive Burger Bars

23 Mar

As I had described in my previous blog post about Day 1 in New Orleans, we spent our first night enjoying a leisurely dinner at the upscale and delicious Arnaud’s Restaurant enjoying classic Creole dishes. Later that night we hit Bourbon Street and happily participated in some low-brow Mardi Gras shenanigans that includes strong drinks called hand-grenades, beads and gratuitous displays of boobies. I can write an entire blog post just on the finer points of alcoholic beverages and the “throws” on Bourbon Street, but this is a food blog. Please see my step child travel blog at http://www.wordpress.com/tanddsbucketlist.com, if this type of information interests you.

The next morning we woke up a little groggy headed, but we were ready to experience a full day of watching the Krewe Parades. Since I am a foodie, I had to enjoy a cultural breakfast in New Orleans before I did anything. Plus, I can be real bitch before I have my coffee. One of these mornings we woke up, got dressed and staggered down the street like zombies looking for something tasty to eat. We were roaming the streets trying to find Café Du Monde, arguably the most famous of the beignet and coffee shops. Although while roaming down Rue Royal, we stumbled on a hole in the wall coffee shop called, “Café Beignet”.  The shop was doing a very brisk business with the locals, so we dipped inside to check out what made this place special. Café Beignet turned out to be a hidden gem with some really awesome dishes.

Cafe Beignet

The coffee shop was literally shaped like a tunnel on the inside with brick walls and painted ceilings.  When we walked in, there was a long line of people waiting to place their order. This was a good sign!  The menu featured a full espresso bar, fresh pastries and impressive hot breakfast items. The coffee shop was structured so that you wait in line to place your order and then a server comes by with your hot food to your table. Coffee and cold pastries are served immediately at the counter. The pastry display was actually quite impressive with a large selection of fresh baked goods.

Here is what we ordered:

So it was our turn to order and Daniele ordered a dish called the “Royal Croissant”, which is essentially a toasted croissant with “Louisiana Ham”, white cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and honey mustard.

When Daniele ordered this sandwich I literally said, “Blah blah blah, you should get something a little more exciting and local since we are in New Orleans.”

The guy taking our order smirked at me and said, “Sorry friend, but that is a local dish, just take a bite and you will see.” Daniele gave me a condescending smirk; I stuck my tongue out at her.

As Daniele was stone cold munching down on the Royal Croissant she said, “This is really good, take a bite.”

I was like, “No, No I’m not interested, my crawfish omelet is good and I don’t want to fill up.” Secretly I really wanted a bite.

As always, food on Daniele’s plate looks better after she is almost done, so I finally took a large bite when she left the table for a napkin. She came back and took one look at me with a mouthful of her sandwich and her Royal Croissant almost all eaten.

I mumbled something like, “Yummm that was good,” while trying to swallow it down.

Immediately she shoved the remainder of her sandwich to the other side of the table, out of my sticky finger reach. I will say that the ham was sweet and delicious and the croissant fluffy and moist. The tomatoes and lettuce were cool and fresh, making this sandwich quite a nice diversion from the heavy food we had been eating. The guy taking our order was correct; this sandwich was made from fresh local ingredients and was quite impressive. Daniele looked smug and was vindicated by my admission.

Crawfish Omelet – I ordered this dish because I can never get anything like this in California, unless they are using frozen crawfish. The omelet had a generous portion of fresh crawfish, bell peppers, tomatoes and Swiss cheese. The crawfish was very sweet and balanced perfectly with the eggs, Swiss cheese and fresh vegetables. This recipe was extremely simple, although the fresh and local ingredients used in these omelets made the flavors pop on my taste buds. I was chatting with a lady next to me from Baton Rogue who told me that folks from Louisiana regularly throw crawfish on all types of dishes, including omelets. “It’s kind of the way you Californians throw tomatoes, avocado and citrus on everything.”

“Famous Beignets” – When you say New Orleans, I think of beignets! This iconic dish of New Orleans can be found in almost every restaurant in New Orleans and probably a 500 mile radius around the crescent city. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this treat of the gods, let me explain. The French translation for Beignet is, “Bump”. A beignet is made by creating a light fluffy pastry called, “Choux,” which is formed into squares or balls and deep fried. The deep fry process makes the Choux Pastry puff out as it cooks in the hot oil. As a result, the exterior forms a crispy browned crust and the interior is soft, aerated and ever so slightly gooey. Beignets are always topped with powdered sugar and eaten hot and preferably with chicory laced coffee.

When my beignet arrived at our quaint café table, I was ready to devour it as it looked like a fluffy pillow dusted with powdered sugar. I broke into the beignet and the interior was fluffy, and created a geyser of steam. The flavor of the beignet was sweet and slightly rich from the oils used in the deep fry, very similar to a high-class donut. Café Beignet provided three large beignets in a single order, very generous when you compare with some of the other beignet restaurants. (my wife was hoping they would serve different flavored jams with this dish for ultimate flavor)

Coffee with Chicory Root – I cannot do a food blog post about New Orleans without doing a small write-up about their coffee.  New Orleans coffee famously uses dried shavings of Chicory root during the brewing process to add body, aroma, color and mellowness to strong coffee. Blind taste tests of chicory laced coffee have been proven to actually reduce the bitterness experienced on your taste buds. When I tasted Café Beignets coffee, I could tell that the coffee lacked the astringency typical with Starbucks. Rather, Café Beignet coffee was smooth and slipped off the tongue.

Café Beignet turned out to be a fantastic find and the served up some really delicious food. This café is a wonderful way to start your day with breakfast and coffee and please don’t forget the O.G. Beignets.

After we finished up at Café Beignet, my stomach was satisfactorily plumped. We were ready for a full day of watching parades and catching throws.

<<Fast forward seven hours and four parades later, we were exhausted, sore and our stuffed bellies were just a memory; we were in serious need of a relaxing meal.>>

From the Krewe Parades!

I am a huge fan of oysters and was really looking forward to eating oysters that literally slept in the ocean the night before. I convinced Daniele that she would find something else besides raw oysters on an oyster house menu; I cross my fingers that this was true ;). We passed by the ACME Oyster Company and their line was around the corner….maybe not here!  Although, based on the recommendation of one of the street vendors, we found The Royal Oyster House.  

Royal Oyster House

I figured that all the oysters served in New Orleans come from the same oyster beds in Gulf Coast. So technically it didn’t matter what restaurant you go to eat oysters, as long as the restaurant does a brisk business to ensure turnover of the living bivalves. When we walked in the door to The Royal Oyster House, we could sense that this restaurant had a good vibe and it was packed full of people consuming live shucked oysters with a smile on their faces. A good omen!

 

Foodie tip: The Art of Shucking – At the restaurant’s “Oyster Bar,” we were able to watch the “Shuckers” perform their artful skill of separating the sharp oyster shells at the hinge in one fluid movement.  Shucking is performed by:

  1. Sliding a special shucking knife into the slit of the shell
  2. Twisting the knife in a back and forth motion at the hinge, like a screwdriver
  3. When the shell breaks loose, the shell is removed
  4. The shucker proceeds to seamlessly use the same knife to separate the living oyster from the shell in one quick motion.
  5. Place the living oyster on a half shell in a bed of ice

I timed the shucker and he was able to perform the shucking sequence in less than three seconds per oyster. Impressive to watch! If I were to attempt shucking, it would take me a couple of minutes to do the same thing and I would probably slice my hand open in the process. 

We ordered the platter of six oysters, which came out on a bed of ice and they were served with Tabasco, horseradish cocktail sauce, lemons and some other goodies.  Gulf Coast oysters tend to have a consistently sweet flavor and have tender flesh throughout the year. Why you may ask? Due to the salinity and the constant warmth of Gulf of Mexico, the oysters never go dormant. As a result, Gulf oysters do not store up glycogen, which can distort flavor and texture. The oysters I tried were deliciously sweet and had a slight crunch to the otherwise soft meat.

How to look like a Pro:  “Slurping” an oyster–  Unless you are dining at the Queen’s Garden Party, the correct way to consume an oyster is to literally “Slurp” it from the shell….juices “liqueur” and all. Here are the steps so that you too can look like a Pro!

1)      Using a small fork, move the oyster around to ensure it is full separated from the shell.

2)      Dress up your oyster in condiments of your choosing. Typical condiments include horseradish, lemon, vinegar, shallots, mayo and cocktail sauce. I prefer my oysters with a dash of Tabasco and a light squeeze of lemon. Some folks prefer eating their oysters out of the shell naked…but to each his own.

3)      Grasp the oyster with your thumb and first two fingers, near the hinge

4)      Lift the oysters to your face and smile because it will taste delicious

5)      Plant your bottom lip on the shell and open your mouth slightly

6)      Tilt your head and arms back slightly and “slurp” the meat and liqueur into your mouth

7)      Don’t Swallow! Yes I did just go there. An oyster should be enjoyed for its flavors and textures. Simply chew several times to release the natural flavors and relish the tasty treat. You will thank me for this tip later J

Following the technique of slurping, I pummeled through the 6 oysters in no time and was quickly looking for more. I ordered another plate of oysters and knocked those off just as fast. I started to think of Adam Richman from Man versus Food eating over 100 oysters in a single sitting. I stopped eating after my 3rd platter of oysters and I knew that I had to stop or I would get sick from over eating.  The Royal Oyster house rocked the oysters and I left smiling!

P.S. they did have other items on the menu besides oysters, for example Daniele ordered a Crab Cake, which was as delicious in its own right.     

http://www.royalhouserestaurant.com/

http://www.royalhouserestaurant.com/food_pdf/Royal-House-Menu-2011.pdf

So after relaxing over a dinner of fresh oysters and crab cakes, we were feeling a little regenerated and decided to go party the rest of the night on Bourbon Street. I am no longer in my early 20’s, so consuming large amounts of sugar laced Hurricanes would send me into an all-day hangover, which are to be avoided at ALL COSTS! So what is a foodie to do? Drink the city’s finest beer, Abita!

New Orleans Product Spotlight – Abita Beer

Abita is produced by a craft brewer 30 miles outside of New Orleans in a place called Abita Springs. The company brews its beer with water from artesian wells in Abita Springs. In August 2005, Stuff Magazine named Abita’s “Turbodog Ale” as the best beer made in America. My favorite Abita beer is their “golden”, an all-malt lager, and their “Amber” a German style Marzen. Daniele, as a girl, preferred their raspberry infused Wheat Beer called “Purple Haze.” I have been searching for this beer locally in Southern California and stumbled upon it at both High Times Cellars and at Bev Mo in Lake Forest. This is a fantastic beer that I wouldn’t mind having as a beer on stock in my fridge.

Late Night Hunger

Sometime around 2:00am we knew it was time to call it quits for the night. Although before bed time, some food was in order. Although, where do we eat at 2:30am when there are no Denny’s, Norm’s or Del Taco Drive thrus? Like any good traveling foodie, you ask the locals for recommendations. Our hotel was located on Rue St. Ann, which also happens to be called, “the pink line,” which is the unofficial starting point of the gay district in New Orleans. The only local we could find  at this time of night was a 6’2” Lady GaGa look alike. She insisted that the only place we would be able to find something to eat at such a late hour was the Clover Grill, which happened to be two blocks past the “Pink Line.” As we looked just slightly dubious, she looked and Daniele and said, “Honey listen! Unless you want that nasty pizza at the same place they serve frozen daiquiris, you better go to the Clover Grill.” I always trust the locals and I am glad I did!

Clover Grill

“If you are not served in 5 minutes, relax, it may be another 5.  This is not New York City”

This is one of the restaurants with the biggest personalities in New Orleans. This place is essentially a Dive Greasy Spoon Burger Joint in the heart of the gay district. The Clover Grill is open 24-hours a day and its personality never sleeps. When we got to the Clover Grill, we discovered that there was a line around the building filled with a bunch of “fabulous” folks. We got in line and discovered that my wife, Daniele was the only woman in line. We instantly started chatting it up with the peeps in line; everyone was friendly, drunk and hungry. We waited 30 minutes in line trading stories of Mardi Gras with two gentlemen when the bouncer/hostess yelled out,

“Table for 4! Any parties of four?!” She continued, “You better speak up now if you want this table, cause I’m not asking twice!” 

We made eye contact with the two guys we were chatting with and we all raised our hands at once!  The sassy bouncer/hostess took us to our table and told us to enjoy our meal. Our transgender waitress came by to take our orders with sass and flare. We all ordered custom burgers and Chili Fries. Ordering their burgers was almost compulsory, as the smell of burgers and cheese cooking on the grill was intoxicating. Here I witnessed one of the more interesting cooking techniques that they employed, which was using hub-cabs from classic American cars to expedite the speed of cooking the hamburger patties

This restaurant is full of attitude; our waitress kept throwing sassy comments our way each time she came around.  A direct quote included, “You can beat our prices, but you can’t beat our meat.” and  “ Keep both hands on the table”

I ordered a burger with egg, chili and grilled onions. I’m not sure what everyone else ordered because I was too hungry and tired to notice. When the burger came out, it was big and steamy. It was large enough to require two hands. When I bit into the burger, it was juicy and extremely flavorful. The egg was cooked a perfect over easy, such that the egg and meat juices blended into a loving ooze that seeped down the side of my fingers…it was glorious.  The chili cheese fries were also pretty amazing, with an ever so slight creole hint to the chili. If you are in New Orleans, I highly encourage you to visit the Clover Grill, as it is a must see from both a cultural and culinary stand point.  We wished our new friends good-bye, somehow made our way back to the hotel and passed out in bed. The next morning I woke up to my cheeks crusted from last night’s food.

The folks we met in line and had a latenight bugers at the Clover Grill. Plus a homeless guy jumped in the picture

http://www.clovergrill.com/

Upcoming in Part 3 of 3 –

  • Best Jazz Lunch Buffet in New Orleans- The Court of Two Sisters
  • Learn how to eat a Crawfish
  • Best Pizza in the French Quarter
  • The “Holy Trinity” of Creole and Cajun Cooking
  • Learn the secrets of  New Orleans most famous dishes: Red Beans and Rice, Jambalaya, Shrimp Etouffee, and gumbo
  • Where to eat like and tourist and where to eat like a local

Link to Part 1 of 3 of the New Orleans Gastromic Tour

New Orleans Gastromic Tour: Part 1 of 3 – A Primer on New Orleans Cuisine and Arnaud’s Restaurant

22 Mar

 “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” – Mark Twain, 1884

WWW.TomsFoodieBlog.com has recently visited New Orleans during Mardi Gras to experience the city’s cuisine, culture and people. During this trip my goal was to learn  about and experience every type of cuisine the city has to offer. During my gastromic journey of the city, I was able to experience the some of the city’s best restaurants, local foodie hangouts and experience each of the city’s best dishes. This culinary journey permanently changed my perspective on the use of spices, flavors and the blending of cultural culinary techniques. This blog post will highlight the lessons I learned about New Orleans cuisine and a play by play recount of my experience at local restaurants. This gastromic journey will be recounted in three separate posts, please stay tuned for subsequent posts.

New Orleans Cuisine

The Roots of New Orleans cuisine can be found in a unique melting pot culture formed by various waves of colonization, refugees and a dark history of slave trading. Modern day New Orleans holds onto its amalgamated cultural roots in within the delicious cuisine. Tom’s Foodie Blog recently traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) to enjoy the Mardi Gras culture in full ripeness and to immerse ourselves in the local cuisine. Along the journey I fell in love with the city, the people and above all their wonderfully rich culinary culture. This blog post will explore my culinary adventure in New Orleans and I will attempt to explain how I gained five pounds in five days in the Crescent City.

Before I can even begin explaining the cuisine of New Orleans, I must give a little history of the cultural roots that makes up modern New Orleans. This is not a history blog, although I must give a little historical reference to appreciate the sources of New Orleans’s culinary influences. In general, New Orleans cuisine can be categorized into 3 main categories: Creole, Cajun, and all others. I will talk about the “all others” category later on in this post, but let us take a trip into history to understand the difference between Creole and Cajun.

History Alert! The next couple of paragraphs will explain Creole and Cajun cuisine through the perspective of history. If you have a condition known as “History Intolerance”, you might want to scroll down a little. If you do not mind a little history, you might actually enjoy this next section!

Creole Cuisine –  The origins of New Orleans cuisine can be summarized by saying it has evolved from diverse cultures adapting to their local environment and mixing culinary techniques learned from their neighbors. The word, “Creole” roughly means “The first born in a new colony.” During the age of European Colonialism and Slave Trading, European expatriates settled into modern-day Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi. As subsequent generations prospered in the territory, their cultures begin to slowly blend into their own distinct group called, the Creole.

The original European colonists included the French, whom brought in saucing techniques, rich soups and layered flavors. The Spanish brought in rice dishes and hearty and pungent spices. The German immigrants brought sausages and mustard. The Italians brought in sweet pastries and tomato based cooking. During this initial period, the colonists brought with them their Caribbean and African slaves, who brought in their own cooking techniques. The Colonists also traded with the indigenous population and learned to cook with native vegetables, herbs and animals. The colonists had disposable income and could rely on picking up ingredients from flourishing multi-cultural markets. The wealthier Creoles brought over their personal Chefs from Paris, Genoa and Barcelona and they learned to cook with the local ingredients. Governor Bienville is rumored to have instructed his personal Chef to teach the local population how to cook French recipes using local ingredients, in order to keep the colonists from returning to Europe. Although this story is part lore, the imported Chefs did play a key role in teaching the Creoles how to use local ingredients in the style of their home country. Spanish Paella for example, morphed into Jambalaya as a result of using local ingredients. I will get more into this in part three of my blog.

Successive waves of slaves arrived into New Orleans over the next 200 years, each of them bringing a new culinary influence that seeped into the Cultural Creole Cuisine. The Haiti Slave Revolt in 1804 brought an influx of 10,000 “free people of color.” These people made New Orleans their home, bringing with them their Caribbean and French recipes. At the same time Europeans and Northerners also made their way to the New Orleans area and brought with them the slaved based plantation economy to raise cash crops. These slaves came from the West Indies and Africa and introduced slow cooking and spicy chili ingredients into the dishes. The New Orleans “Creole” cuisine began to morph over the 300 year period into what we can characterize as modern Creole dishes.

"The Arrival of the Acadians"

Cajun Cuisine – The common strain between creole and Cajun cuisine is their common linkage to France and a nod to Spanish influence. Cajun cuisine originated from the French-Canadian region called Arcadia (modern-day Nova Scotia). The French Canadians were expelled from the British Territory as punishment for their involvement in the French Indian Wars. The Arcadians were relocated to the swamps located southwest of New Orleans and they had to survive on whatever food they could farm, forage or capture. Their dishes were just as rustic as their surroundings and they learned to stretch food supplies to last for many meals. There is a Cajun saying that states, “Creole feeds one family with three chickens and a Cajun feeds three families with one chicken.” The Arcadian brought with them their French cooking techniques and adapted them just like the Creoles to include all of the local ingredients and they were influenced by the indigenous population and the Creoles. The Creoles also had a scarcity of dairy products, so today there are apparent preparation differences in certain dishes  creating a “Roux.” A Roux is a foamy base sauce made from melted butter and flour, used in sauces and soups. In Cajun cooking, a Roux will be made out of lard or oil and mixed with flour, resulting in a heavier base, almost like gravy.

Over the years, Creole and Cajun cuisine blended so much that the lines have blurred between these cuisines. Some of the locals I met told me that the real difference between these cuisines is that Cajun Cuisines tend to be a little more rustic style cooking. Although if you tell this to a Cajun from the southwest part of the state you had better be prepared to quickly explain and run.

O.K. Enough history and foreplay on the cuisines of New Orleans

Lets jump straight into my gastromic journey into the cultural melting pot of New Orleans! You might just gain five pounds from reading my descriptions of the rich and luxurious food. 🙂

 Arnaud’s Restaurant

We discovered Arnaud’s Restaurant through a recommendation from the New Orleans Chamber of Convention and Visitors Bureau when we inquired about a list of the best restaurants that represent the “Heart and Soul” of New Orleans. We called   Arnaud’s and made a late appointment, since we had just landed. The staff was very pleasant when we made our reservation; they thanked us for choosing them. After dodging thrown beads and boobies on Bourbon Street, we turned onto Rue Bienville and found Arnaud’s Restaurant. They serve gourmet Creole dishes in a very polished environment. I did not know it at the time, but Arnaud’s is a venerable institution in both the New Orleans Culinary scene and the social culture of the city. I chatted with many people about this restaurant and they all agreed that Arnaud’s is a leader of New Orleans’s old culinary guard and continues to influence the flavor and flare of Creole cooking in the city. The restaurant was founded in 1918 by “Count” Arnaud Cazenave Wells and then was passed down to the Casbarian family, whom has owned it since. I learned that the restaurant uses many of the same recipes that they have used for the past 85 Years and they are still made the exact same way that Mr. Arnaud made them. The menu varies wildly from 30 seafood dishes, beef dishes and always something in between.

When we walked into the restaurant there was a lot of old school New Orleans charm in the ambiance. The floors were a black and white tile parquet pattern. The walls were a combination of dark mahogany wood paneling with intricate artisanal designs, which were contrasted with white walls and festooned with oil paintings. Hanging from the ceiling were large crystal chandeliers that would remind you of a classic French salon. The tuxedoed staff attentively waited the table with efficiency and elegance. I looked around and could tell that the customer’s needs were satisfied, as their focus was entirely on their food, or the company at their table. None of the customers were gophering their heads around looking to order or request checks; this is the mark of customer centric restaurant.

Here is what we ordered:

Appetizers

Oysters Arnaud (One of each of their famous baked oysters)

  • Oysters Bienville -The name is derived from the restaurant’s location on Rue Bienville and is a Café Arnaud’s original recipe. This baked oyster contains shrimp, mushrooms, green onions, herbs and seasonings in a white wine sauce. The Oyster Bienville is a rich and luxurious offering that has a creamy mouth feel and a rich flavor from the natural oyster flavor mixed with the creamy sauce. This dish also had hints of sweetness from the brandy and a slight hint of spice from the Cayenne pepper.
  • Oysters Kathryn – This dish was named after Casaberian’s Daughter, Kathryn on their re-launched menu in 1978. This baked oyster mixes artichoke hearts, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, fresh basil, lemon juice and fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano. This oyster has a salty, tangy and creamy flavor. It had a nice balance of ingredients that allows the flavors of the artichoke and basil to peak out.
  • Oysters Suzette – This oyster is made from bacon, pimento, green onion and bell pepper in a creamy roux base. This baked oyster is made in two separate steps, first by cooking bacon and using the rendered fat to cook the vegetables, fish stock and bitters. The second part of this recipe is creating a Creole style, “Roux,” which adds a rich foamy texture. The components are then mixed, creating a rich and heavy flavor, but this dish still has a bright flavor on the palate due to the acidity of the lemon juice and bitters.
  • Oysters Ohan – This dish is the essence of Creole. This dish is made with eggplant and Andouille sausage. This baked oyster is made with simmered eggplant, Andouille sausage and onion. Yes, this is a simple recipe, but is also provides a classic creole flavor.
  • Oysters Rockefeller – This is Café Arnaud’s version of the classic baked oyster dish. The oyster is made with fresh spinach, crispy bacon, celery, green pepper, onion, parsley, spinach and basil and Pernod liqueur… all cooked together and then baked atop an oyster. A lovely and sophisticated dish.

Shrimp Arnaud – Fresh boiled shrimp mixed in a mustard style tomato sauce called Remoulade. Café Arnaud’s is protective of their recipe for remoulade, as this is one of their claims to fame as having the best remoulade in the city. The server refused to tell me the exact ingredients, but simply told me it might remind me of a very fancy mustard sauce with the complexities of an ex-wife. If you eat boiled shrimp in New Orleans, it is likely to be served with remoulade sauce. When I tasted it, it reminded me of combining a high-end German grain mustard, horseradish and English Brown sauce (Worchester and Molasses),possibly tomato sauce? The remoulade provided that classic pungent and slight tart nose feel typical of mustard and horse radish; although, the sauce also had a pleasant savory and slight sweet combination. Nonetheless, it tasted wonderful on shrimp. Typically the remoulade is mixed into the shrimp, although we ordered it on the side, not knowing what to expect. The sauce and shrimp together was wonderful and decided to just pour it on ourselves.  I recommend trying shrimp in a remoulade sauce at least once in New Orleans, as it a perfect example of the cultural blending in Creole cooking.

Pommes Soufflé – “The Fanciest French Fry you will ever taste” – This dish is essentially a very crisp, air filled French fries accompanied by a béarnaise sauce. As the story goes, a Chef was preparing fried potatoes for King Louis and accidentally placed already fried potatoes back into the hot oil. What resulted was serendipity,  the fried potatoes became crispy and puffy…suitable for a King. The table next to us ordered this dish and graciously shared it with us. The Pommes Soufflé were exquisite! On the tongue, the potato was extremely crisp. When I bit down, my teeth cut through altering layers of molten sweet potato flesh and pockets of hot steam. When chewing, the crisp exterior and soft interior mixed on the palate resulted in a highly pleasurable and addicting combination. I had to hold myself back from asking our friends for seconds, after all this was a very respectable operation.

Main Courses

Pompano Duarte

This was one of my favorite dishes while visiting New Orleans. This dish uses one of New Orleans’s tastiest local fish, the pompano. The preparation accentuates the natural flavor of this fish and adds a little pizazz! The dish consists of a golden browned Pompano filet resting in a shallow pool of Beurre Blanc sauce and it is topped with garlicky shrimp. This dish sounds simple in recipe, but it is complex in execution to get the textures and flavors just right. The filet appeared to be pan seared in butter, giving it a golden hue and a crispy finish.

Foodie Info: What kind of fish is Pompano? The pompano is a salt water fish typically found near the gulf coast and southern Atlantic. This fish typically weighs less than three pounds and is prized for its firm flesh, lean meat, and mild flavor. This dish is known for retaining its’ natural flavor during cooking, despite flavorful preparation. Based on my experience, the closest association for texture and flavor is between a Snapper and a Halibut.

 When I bit into a portion of the fish, it was crispy on the tongue and chock-full of juices. The flesh was naturally smooth and had a sweet, creamy flavor. I then tried a portion of the fish resting in a pool of Buerre Blanc sauce; the fish still retained its unique crisp exterior. The Buerre Blanc sauce itself had a clean flavor that simply seemed to fall off my tongue. The flavors were rich and savory from the butter, wine and shallots, yet they also had a slight sting of acidity. The Buerre Blanc was a perfect sauce to match for this type of fish. When I ate the pompano and the sauce together, a little bit of magic occurred in my mouth and my eyes moistened over in joy. This had to be one of the better executions of fresh local fish that I have ever experienced. Together, the flavors combined like elegant silk and pleasantly slid down my throat.

The unjustified step child on this dish was the garlic shrimp atop the pompano. The shrimp were sweet and prepared in alm

 ost a scampi preparation with a hint of Pernod Liqueur. The shrimp would have been an amazing dish alone. Although like the buxom bombshell from High School, the pompano shows up and steals the show from the otherwise pleasant tasting shrimp.

Foodie Info:  What is Buerre Blanc Sauce? It is one of the classic French Sauces, who’s name literally translates to “White Butter.” This is an emulsion sauce that is made from reducing dry white wine, shallots and adding in cold butter until a rich emulsified sauce is formed.

Trout Almandine

My wife, Daniele, ordered the trout Almandine. This local favorite of New Orleans is a buttery duo of local trout and sliced almonds. The origins of Trout Almandine come directly from France and has been adopted in New Orleans using their local speckled trout. The skinless filet of the trout appeared to have been lightly dredged in flour and deep-fried to create a crisp golden brown crust. Atop the fried trout was a pile of golden brown almond slivers that appeared to have been pan browned in lots of delicious butter! On the fish and around the plate was butter, lemon juice and a parsley combination. This preparation of Trout Almandine beats all other similar preparation that I have tried, including those in France. What I liked about the preparation of this dish was that the almonds were piled on top the fish , versus using the almonds as a crust. When almonds are used as a crust, you have no choice on how much almond you include in each bite. With this method, I was able to throttle back my almond consumption and try the creamy smooth flavors of the trout alone. Although, as you guessed, I tried to maximize the amount of almonds in each bite. Another must try dish from Café Arnaud!

When traveling to a new city, it is important to really slow down to appreciate the culture and cuisines. I personally struggle to remember this rule, as I try to experience as much as possible during a short vacation schedule. When I got off the plane, the last thing I wanted to do was start slow with a leisurely three hour dinner. Although as I was soon finished the incredible dinning experience at Arnaud’s Restaurant, I was reminded that the cuisines of a city should be savored slowly and enjoyed bite by bite. If you are planning a visit to New Orleans, a visit to Arnaud’s restaurant should be on the top of your agenda. I will put my reputation on the line by saying you will have a very memorable meal.

Arnaud’s Restaurant Website

Please stay tuned for additional blog posts from my gastromic journey into New Orleans. Part two and three of this blog post will be posted this week. I will be placing the hyper link here when completed.

Click here to Read Part 2

 Part 2 of New Orleans Gastromic Tour will include: Where to find the best beignet in NOLA

  • My experience at a gay dive burger joint
  • A Jazz Brunch Buffet that is a must for all visitors to New Orleans.
  • As a bonus! Learn the finer points of shucking and slurping live oysters and sucking the head of a crayfish!

In Part 2 of The New Orleans Gastromic Tour- Learn how to slurp an oyster!

Thanks to all my readers! I would not be spending all my free time writing without your loyal patronage and positive feedback!

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