Second trip to New Orleans in as many years, and this time I had some help eating. We got to go to some of the more sit-down places, and did that just about non-stop. The weather was rain, so other activities were more out of the equation – like bicycle tour from Confederacy of Cruisers or visiting a preserve like Jean Lafitte or the Bayou Sauvage. Here are another Great 8 of the Louisiana State; My top list of the trip:
Brandito’s Burritos (1200 Saint Roch Ave)- No picture, so you’ll just have to go there yourself. I didn’t anticipate eating Mexican food in Nola, but I knew it would eventually happen - it always does. And it was beyond excellent. Simple, real food, from a small kitchen in the back of St. Roch’s Tavern. The chef/waitstaff is a CIA grad and worked around the area in great restaurants but his current incarnation is this little non-descript back room. I have no idea if this is a secret or a foodie find but whatever. And I don’t care if it is or is not, but I would like to see Brandon making the money that he pleases. The tavern was great too – We saw JD Hill & the Jammers blasting on the Harmonica with his band…..
The level of musical talent is so high in this city. Even the street musicians were so smooth, refined, and bad-ass. Coming back to NY, it’s like walking onto the short bus. There is something along the Mississippi River which breeds soul.
Cake Cafe (2440 Chartres St) – As a new promise to myself: Every time I go to Nola, I will come here. Not only the food, but the neighborhood is one of the quainter and more interesting places to walk around. In my return trip from last year, it again proved to me that the food does nothing but satisfy. This time, we got a crab sandwich and boudin & eggs. The crab sandwich was pure crab with purposeful and limited accouterments – I could eat it for days and days.
La Pettite Grocery (4238 Magazine Street) – I’d eat here every night of the week. Just a French restaurant that has everything down pat, and they make it all themselves. Even the ketchup.
Camellia Grill (626 S Carrollton Ave), where I was introduced to clarified butter as a condiment…
… and their great omelets and waffles. This whole time, we split most of our meals. Nearly every place was so accommodating, as each time we said We’re splittin’ it, they made two plates of the shared meal. This hospitality was noticed and appreciated. Thank you, Nola. Here is one half of a portion of Camelia Grill’s Mexican omelet:
Beignets at Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St) and Morning Call (3325 Severn Ave). Beignets are one of those New Orleans things that every tourist HAS to do. Initially, I dragged myself to going in, but in finality it’s a quick, cheap bite with a pick-me-up. Both beignets were good, not too much different from a zeppole, but whatever. Only Morning Call will get you to dine with majority locals, but Du Monde is usually on the walking path of any traveler to the area. A coffee is always functional when on vacation to get you out of lethargy, so greatness or not I have to recommend either stop.
Lemon Tart from the Crescent City Farmers Market. Visiting farmers markets in other cities is such a refreshing activity to do. It was great to have satsuma oranges as a local treat. I got a lemon tart from some nice lady, and it was fantastic. With only about 15 stalls, this was the biggest local farmers market in the area. It has a long way to go, but it was a good experience.
Russels Marina Grill (8555 Pontchartrain Blvd)- This diner was the perfect local experience. It was humble and real. Zero tourists and just as much catering to them. We had crabcakes with a shrimp remoulade. If that sounds fancy, you’re not from the area.
Dong Fuong (14207 Chef Menteur Hwy) “egg cream”. The pate chaud was good, and the banh mi was decent (I liked the Hong Kong supermarket one better last year), but I loved my introduction to a Vietnamese egg cream aka Soda sữa hột gà at the attached restaurant. A little intimidating at first, where the ingredient list is: seltzer, condensed milk and an egg yolk. Instead of receiving the finished product, they give it to you separated, with a 10 oz bottle of club soda, a glass with 2 inches of condensed milk and an egg yolk sitting on top it.
You pour the seltzer in and mix. I did, and it was awesome. It tasted like I’ve always wanted an egg cream to taste.
New York doesn’t have much Vietnamese, so exploring this neighborhood was fun and interesting.
We went to others. They were good, like Jacques-Imo’s and Elizabeth’s, but these listed were my favorite bites. My “other advice” is for Dragos in the French Quarter; where you’ll get good chargrilled oysters but zero experience. It’s eating in a hotel. I don’t care that much about flavor, so I’d recommend skipping or going to the original.
We stayed in the Irish Channel through AirBnB. Thank you Penny for putting us up. Here is the location, I would definitely recommend her and her place. AirBnB is great in general, especially if you’re not alone. I have always done couchsurfing before, but lately I’m valuing AirBnB more – where I can sleep in an actual bed with potential for actual rest.
Next time, I’d like to go to:
Creole Creamery, bike tours, the Jefferson Parish Oyster Trail, bayou, more nightlife, some bar with red beans and rice, Crabby Jacks or something with a great seafood po’ boy, Cafe Atchalafaya, Bacchanal Wine Store, Nola Food Fest, and Luiza by the Tracks. And where else??