We were there for the Essence Music Festival, but New Orleans is known for it’s cuisine: Po Boys, Gumbo, Beignets, Jambalaya and the list goes on. Since it was my first trip to the Big Easy, I wanted to try some of the tourist hot spots.
Cafe Du Monde. This is where our weekend got started. Cafe DuMond serves up beignets and coffee all day long. Our table was a mix of diners ranging from adventurous gourmets to “do I get fries with that?” Somehow Cafe Dumond was a crowd pleaser all the way around. The beignets are delightful, not quite a pastry, but thick and satisfying. They are served under a blanket of powdered sugar. It’s sort of like funnel cake, but not. And the coffee was a chickory blend. Being that one of my travel companions delivered an impromptu sonnet on how much she loves everything coffee from the grounds, the aroma, and the hints she can detect in the flavor, others of us just needed a cup of Joe to get us going. And then there was the one who swore she never touches the stuff. “Water, please. Thank you.”
An oyster bar named Desire. The French Quarter is known for it’s music, nightlife and mischief. But people-watching while waiting for our table at Desire was just…there are no words. And once we got inside the party didn’t stop. Desire is a part of the elegant Royal Sonesta hotel, but reserved, it’s not. Aside from the concerts themselves, Desire was one of the most exuberant, boisterous stops we made, but well worth it. On the menu we sampled everything from Fried Green Tomatoes to Catfish. It was definitely worth the wait.
Dooky Chase. This family owned restaurant was tops on my list of places to visit. I’d heard and read so much about the restaurant and it’s matriarch Leah Chase over the years. I’m not sure how many presidents have visited this landmark prior to President Obama, but there have been quite a few. This was one stop that required a cab ride and though a phantom storm almost put our dining plans on hold we made it. The buffet had everything from grits to gumbo! Loved it. Ms. Chase even came out to talk to her guests. She is just as feisty as she is inspiring. The decor and artwork makes quite the impression.
Soif Faim. Chef Klaus of the Intercontinental Hotel recently won a NOWFE award for his lamb sliders. So we had to give it a try. After a long day of panel discussions and celebrity sightings, this was just what we needed before an evening of concerts.
Mother’sRestaurant. This was our go-to breakfast spot. But make no mistake about it, even in the morning there’s a line outside the door.
Then there were just some delicacies we had to pass on. Pickled Pig Lips? ”
“No, thanks. We ate already.”