New Orleans has always been on our “bucket list” of places to visit. With its reputation for bold flavors and historic dining venues, “NOLA” was placed at the top of the list.
We began our foodie venture with a “hit list” – a combination of the old and the new. We wanted to sample some traditional foods to learn why they have stood the test of time. And, we wanted to try some new dishes to learn how they are incorporating the traditions of Cajun and Creole flavors into current food trends.
There were abundant options for classic restaurants… but we had to narrow it down. These are a few of the highlights:
Commander’s Palace is a local culinary treasure in the Garden district since 1893 and winner of numerous accolades, including six James Beard Foundation Awards. Known for classic Creole cuisine, we tried the Turtle Soup, Gumbo, Sugarcane Lacquered Quail, Cornmeal Crusted Catfish, and Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé.
Brennan’s embraces both the historic and contemporary. Founded in 1946 and renowned for inventing Bananas Foster, its menu today is an innovative combination of classic and modern cuisine. We enjoyed a Shrimp & Green Tomato Salad, BBQ Lobster with creole spiced butter, and German Chocolate Torte.
Napoleon House is a 200-year-old landmark in the French Quarter and has been a restaurant since 1914. We had an outstanding Muffaletta Sandwich, traditional Pimm’s Cup cocktail, and a Creole Tomato Caprese Salad (with the tomatoes at their peak of flavor!).
Galatoire’s, founded in 1905, still exudes the authentic elegance of a time before Bourbon Street became a street of peep shows and souvenir shops. We ordered one item, Crabmeat Maison, which was a simply delicious rendition of Louisiana jumbo lump crabmeat, green onions, capers, and creole mustard aioli.
Café du Monde … You don’t go to NOLA with a stop here, well-evidenced by the crowds. Founded in 1862, their menu consists of their world-famous coffee in various forms and beignets, which of course, is exactly what we had!
On to the new… a culinary exploration of NOLA flavors, updated to excite the demanding palates of today’s diners.
La Petite Grocery pays homage to its history as a local specialty food store, but today is home to the 2016 James Beard Award: Best Chef South, demonstrated in the surprising Veal Sweetbreads with shishito peppers and blue cheese and a unique interpretation of Chocolate Ooey Gooey Cake.
Restaurant R’evolution offers an imaginative reinterpretation of Cajun and Creole cuisines with a focus on local ingredients, including those from what the chefs call “the swamp floor pantry”. We sampled a NOLA mule cocktail with absinthe, Crab Beignets with Four Remoulades, and Chocolate Doberge Cake.
Café Amelie was a delightful lunch spot with garden dining, and a delicious presentation of Shrimp and Grits with Corn and Andouille Maque Choux, and Baked Oysters with Creamed Spinach and Artichokes.
As we plan our new menus for this upcoming season, look to see some of the NOLA influence – from crab beignets to BBQ lobster to ooey gooey cake, we are excited to share our culinary journey with you!
(A special “Thank You” to our C’est Si Bon customers who shared their recommendations with us!)