Postcard from The Big Easy: Louisiana Cuisine

Visiting New Orleans has been a dream of mine since I was in high school, when I would voraciously lose myself in the hauntingly beautiful tale of Ruby Landry, on repeat.  V.C. Andrews is still one of my favorite authors!  Through Ruby Landry, I canoed through the bayou, walked the streets of the French Quarter and listened to the soft sounds of Jazz playing in the background.  So…I was beyond excited to finally visit this cultural, French influenced region that has been on my wish list for a long, long time.

Jess and I had booked a Western Caribbean Cruise for our honeymoon, but because his new job started later than expected (thanks Trump), we cancelled our plans.  Jess just did not feel comfortable taking off a full week of work at that time, and I didn’t blame him.  However, we still had a paid flight to use, so we decided to go to New Orleans anyway for a weekend visit in November.  Initially, we hesitated to call this our honeymoon, so we now call it Part I of our honeymoon.

Even though we were only there for a weekend, we experienced so much culture.  One aspect of that culture was obviously food!

I cannot say enough about the Creole cuisine.  I made sure to try all the major Louisiana delicacies while Jess, as usual, took the safe route with hamburgers and fries.

While exploring the city, we decided to hit up the famous Canal St.  Originally meant to be a canal, the street was never dug up, so it became a major thoroughfare of the city.  At one time, it divided the old French Creole citizens and the new American settlers and became known as the neutral ground.

We stopped at the Palace Café for lunch.  This was an indoor/outdoor establishment, but it was a bit windy in the Big Easy, so we chose to sit inside.  I ordered the turtle soup as my appetizer. Yes-it is most definitely made with turtle.  It was delicious too (Jess even tried a bite!)  Then I ordered the shrimp and cheese omelet with ricotta.  It was ahhhmazzzing!

Canal St. is also a major route for a few of the many Mardi Gras parades throughout the city. Note the beads on the sign-a symbol of the city’s love of culture, acceptance of expression and celebration of life!

Lets talk Jambalaya and Shrimp Gumbo. Jess and I went to dinner one night at the Napoleon House!  Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Orleans from 1812-1815, lived there first.  During that time, he offered his home to Napoleon as a refuge during Napoleon’s exile.  Although Napoleon never made it there, the name stuck. The restaurant still has the original 1800s look to it, making the dining experience all that more authentic.  So to make it even more authentic, I tried shrimp gumbo and jambalaya.  While both were good, it wasn’t something I would order again.  They were a little too spicy for me.

One night of our quick weekend trip, Jess and I decided to check out a local brewery called Crescent City Brewhouse.  We sat outside on the balcony, overlooking the Mississippi River.  We also saw our first of several second-line parades.  A second-line parade is a small parade led by a small marching band and usually involves a wedding party, waving white handkerchiefs in the air, following the band to the next location. It was really pretty amazing and fun to see.

So to keep with the authentic Louisiana cuisine, I tried the Seafood Cheesecake.  I can’t even begin to describe the rich flavor of this dish.  It was sort of like a heavier seafood crab dip covered in fried onions.  It was delicious. It was more savory than sweet!

While I experienced a lot of traditional Louisiana Cuisine, I have already made a list for my next visit.  Next up: the Muffaletta sandwich, compliments of New Orleans Italian immigrants.

Now, for the finale, let me introduce to you Beignets and Chicory coffee from the famous Café Du Monde.

The line was long, but there was a huge wait staff and a quick turnover, so we didn’t wait for more than 15 minutes.  As we waited we listened to the sounds of New Orleans.  Only a few feet from us was a Saxophone player, busking on the corner.  A little further down was a dad tap dancing with his toddler daughter in his arms.  There was definitely plenty to look at as we waited.

There was also a separate line for those who wanted Beignets to go.  We loved the Beignets and the coffee.  Both were amazing.  They do sell k-cups in the Café Du Monde coffee shop.  We purchased several of these, thinking they were amazing gifts for family and friends.  When we got home, we were saddened that the coffee was not as good as what we had at the café…not even close.

Overall, the Creole and Cajun cuisine did not disappoint.  The food was as rich and vibrant as the people.  I cannot wait to get back!!!

Stay tuned for more on New Orleans.