On Sunday Fleur de lis and I took a spur of the moment trip to New Orleans. It’s the city of my birth and where she spent her formative years so we had been talking about visiting NOLA together someday. We knew we would enjoy it but had no idea it would be the trip that it was.
But that is not what I’m here to talk about today. Today I want to talk about the food. Lord have mercy was there food!
And to even tell you about the food I must backtrack to Saturday night. Saturday night we had planned to have sushi at our usual place here in town. We love sushi. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us our favorite sushi place had just started to take a siesta on Saturday afternoons starting right about the time we pulled into the parking lot with Niki Maki on our minds. Ok…on to plan B. Plan B involved seafood as well, but this time Fleur de lis thought it would be fun to do it Creole style. We drove halfway across town and pulled up to the restaurant she had in mind. There we were greeted by a billboard that announced the closure of the restaurant and thanked us for 27 wonderful years. Well drat. By this point Fleur de lis was determined to feed me seafood. She drove back across town to a joint called the Mardi Gras Grill. Thankfully it was open for business and serving some good ol’ Cajun cuisine.
I ordered the fried seafood platter, because by this point I was hungry enough to eat the whole ocean and because I am so indecisive that I really did want a little of everything. And really…what better way than a platter! I also ordered the pretty red drink you see pictured above. The fried seafood platter coupled with the pretty red drink got Fleur de lis all verklempt over a couple of places back home in New Orleans. She told me about having the seafood platter at a little place called Middendorf’s when she would travel from the family home to New Orleans to visit relatives. She also told me about a hot spot called Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter. This place is home to the Hurricane, AKA the pretty red drink I tasted at the Mardi Gras Grill. So by the time the last crawfish was eaten and the Hurricane weathered a trip to NOLA was planned for the next day.
We had morning commitments so we planned to head out as soon as we could after that. Of course we couldn’t actually leave until we were properly nourished so lunch was eaten at House of Pies. Oh…and dessert was eaten there too. No way I can go to a place called House of Pies and not get dessert!
Once we were on the road we both started sharing road trip memories. We had a common memory called Stuckey’s as I’m sure much of America does. We wondered aloud if there were even any Stuckey’s around anymore. Moments later we saw a sign advertising the famous Stuckey’s pecan log so we pulled over for a little visit.
Here we browsed the road trip souvenirs and decided against purchasing any of the lovely trinkets because we knew they would only end up in the trash some day. Instead we decided to go with a six pack of GooGoo Clusters which would end up in our bellies within a few days.
Later around about dinner time Fleur de lis saw a sign for Cracker Barrel and pulled off the freeway so we could eat again. We rounded the corner and came across a gas station that should have been called Kraker Barel instead. Needless to say we didn’t stop there for dinner. We went on down the road a piece and stopped at a well known eatery called the Waffle House. Now I must admit here to a slight aversion to the Waffle House. My last experience there included a worn out waitress, some cigarette ash, a sticky table, and a legion of flies so I was a little nervous about going in. I am here to tell you not all Waffle Houses are the same. This one served up a piping hot waffle free of flies and cigarette ash. Huzzah!
We pulled into New Orleans in the evening with big plans for the next day. And of course our big plans started with the free breakfast at our hotel. After breakfast we did some touring then stopped at a little place I like to call Cafe du Monde. I like to call it that because that’s it’s name. It said so on the sign which I didn’t take a picture of because I was too busy stuffing my face with this.
These are beignets. I have fond memories of beignets at Cafe du Monde. Most of them just involve eating the beignets and sipping the creamy hot chocolate, but they are memories nonetheless.
After leaving Cafe de Monde we went around the corner to Aunt Sally’s where we purchased a 6 pack of pralines to go with our GooGoo Clusters for maximum road trip snacking.
At noon we made our way to Pat O’Brien’s for little nip. I ordered the Hurricane and Fleur de lis chose the Rainstorm.
We had our drinks in to-go cups so that we could take our souvenir glasses home clean. Stumbling out of the bar we decided it was definitely time for lunch.
We made our way over to Mother’s Restaurant where we waited in a long line for some po-boys that were more than worth the wait.
Later, after a food induced coma/nap at the hotel, it was time to eat again. We chose a local dive called the Harbor Seafood and Oyster Bar where I ordered a cup of seafood gumbo AND a cup of turtle soup. I’m indecisive, remember? We also shared a piece of bread pudding that had more fruit in it than I’ve ever known to be in bread pudding. I mean I get the whole raisin thing, but this bread pudding had grapes, pineapple, apple, and who knows what other fruits as well as raisins. Despite it’s chunkiness it was still pretty good.
The next day started with the hotel breakfast, moved on to lunch at Don’s Seafood Restaurant (because our first choice, Middendorf’s, was closed on Tuesdays) where we ate more fried seafood as well as hush puppies to die for and some shrimp etouffee thrown in for good measure, and then culminated with massive amounts of GooGoo Clusters and pralines on the ride home.
I proclaimed then and there that I was never eating again. I was so full from all the yummy food I ate that I couldn’t even imagine putting another thing in my mouth.
Until I woke up the next day craving beignets. Thankfully Crescent City Beignets here in town was an ok substitute for the real thing. Then I had a Tilapia sandwich and a cup of creamy potato soup for lunch at Empire Cafe. Add to that the last of the pralines and you’ve got a good 10 pounds gained over 5 days.
This evening we have plans to go for sushi. And we’ve come full circle. Let’s just hope they’re open for dinner or who knows where we’ll end up!
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OMG – I’m stuffed just reading this. Of course no trip to Nawlins is complete without Cafe Du Monde and Pat O’Briens. I remember that you couldn’t breathe in through your mouth when you took a bite of the beignets or else you’d inhale the powdered sugar and choke. Did you eat alligator?
And here’s the big obvious question…where do they get the seafood – I mean, I thought seafood from the Gulf wasn’t safe anywhere right now.