From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Food and Drink Guide to Nawlins

Knowing that I grew up in Louisiana, a colleague asked me recently for some restaurant recommendations, as she's heading to New Orleans soon.  I sent her this email privately, but realized in retrospect that I've been asked this question before, from time to time.

Also, how long overdue are we for an Ubuntu Developer Summit in New Orleans?  :-)

Breakfast

 For that New Orleans ambiance, it's hard to beat Cafe du Monde, for chicory cafe au lait and beignets.  I'm definitely more of an espresso-based coffee drinker, but I make an occasional exception for a little chicory cafe.  And the beignets are to die for.  If you're more in the mood for a classic egg/toast/bacon/sausage breakfast, you can venture a bit further afield to the Camelia Grill (expect to wait a very long time, though, as the line is typically wrapped around the block).

Brunch

You'd be hard pressed to find a more ridiculously overwhelming all-you-can eat pile of decadent deliciousness than the jazz brunch at the Court of Two Sisters.  It's quite possibly Kim's favorite thing to do in the entire world.  It's a little pricey, maybe $25 per person. But it's all you can eat of the best Cajun sweets and savories.  It's in the courtyard of a 200+ year old house, with a little jazz band
that wanders around the courtyard serenading you at table side.  I'd call this a don't-miss dining experience in the world (much less New Orleans alone), if you're a true foodie at heart.

Lunch

There's a ton of good po-boy options all around the city -- they're pretty easy to sniff out.  Literally just follow your nose, smelling around for the best fried oysters or shrimp or catfish you can find, and you won't go wrong.  But I'd recommend seeking out a good muffaletta -- basically a giant Italian sandwich with olive tapenade and multiple cuts of meat.  My favorite is from Cafe Maspero.  That's a lot harder to find outside of New Orleans.  You can either order a half or get a whole one to split.  It's gigantic.

Siesta

I much prefer the mid-day crowd at Pat O'Brien's (compared to the craziness that ensues after dark).  Pat O'Brien was a bartender in the 1930's in New Orleans that supposedly invented the hurricane cocktail.  I'll actually have a refreshing mint julepespecially if it's even slightly warm outside in their lovely courtyard.

Dinner

So, so many dinner options...I dedicate an entire blog to it.  You can't go wrong with any of the Brennan family restaurants.  All are very high-end, with world re-known, expert chefs.  There's a few options in the French Quarter. My favorite is the Bourbon House, which in addition to having an amazing seafood and steak menu, also has a few hundred whiskey options and a fabulous cocktail bar.  There's also just the classic Brennan'swhich is outstanding too, as well as the Commander's Palace.  If you really do one of the nicer restaurants around town, maybe bring a dinner jacket and a nice dress-- a lot of these places are very French, very traditional, and very fancy, even if they're not terribly expensive.

Dessert

If you end up at either Brennan's or the Bourbon house, make sure you have a Banana's Foster.  It was actually invented at Brennan's in 1951.  I'm also a big fan of New Orleans style Bourbon bread pudding and pecan pie.  These are everywhere.

Night Cap

You can drink all the Huge Ass Beers and Handgrenades you want outside as you walk up and down Bourbon Street.  On the other hand, if you want to dip in for a couple of fancy cocktails, I'd recommend getting a Sazerac at the gorgeous Sazerac Bar (the world's first jazz nightclub) in the bottom of the world famous Roosevelt Hotel (now a Waldorf Astoria property). Another amazing, New Orleans original cocktail is the Ramos Gin Fizz at the Hotel Monteleone, which actually has a "carousel bar" -- if you're lucky enough to get a seat at the bar, you'll rotate 360 degrees around the bar tenders while they serve your fellow patrons.

:-Dustin

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