Last weekend Rick and I took a trip (sans child) to New Orleans for a little R&R. It’s by far one of my favorite cities in the US: the scale of the streets, and how the places are so closely tied to their inhabitants, make it a most enjoyable place to walk around. And walk, we did. I think we must have covered at least 15 miles on foot! Of course, at the end of every journey was some completely amazing, blow-you-away meal… and that brings me to the main subject of this entry.
Before we even booked the plane tickets, we had a number of cafes in mind to visit… places we have been thinking about ever since our first trip to New Orleans in 2003. Cafe Du Monde probably made the biggest impression on us first (and second) time around… with all of three choices on the menu (cafe, cafe au lait, order of three beignets) you can’t go wrong. I tried to circumvent this simplicity by ordering ‘coffee with half & half on the side, and only one beignet’, to which our server nodded, smiled, and then brought out cafe au lait and three beignets. Behold:
Of course we ate them all; I don’t know what I was thinking ordering ‘only one.’
Next morning we trekked 14 blocks from our hotel at 8am to get the mandatory croissant and coffee at the wonderful Croissant D’Or. Such a charming little bakery, with stained glass panels, retro-lighting, and madeleine baking molds and other vintage bakeware in the shop window. We sat in the courtyard in the perfect temperate morning and enjoyed the buttery goodness.
We had walked circles around the French Quarter by this point (12 hours in) so our next destination was Magazine Street for a little shopping and more food. I think Magazine must be 3 miles long, at least. We hopped off the streetcar at (what we thought was) the half-way point to our lunch destination. Fifteen blocks later (remember, this is shortly after the 14 block walk to breakfast), we arrive at Casamento’s, which was so full that one could not open the door to enter. Determined, we waited the 35 minutes or so for a table and a taste of the amazing oyster po-boys and gumbo. Rick had raw oysters with all the fixin’s; I do not partake.
Heading out of the land of shopping, we hailed a cab and headed north to the new mixology empire, Cure. I read about this place in Food & Wine and figured it was worth the journey to see this fire station-turned-bar, and it totally was. Clean modern interiors mixed with an apothecary-like feel, and ornamented with oversized posters of insect anatomy. We settled right in and ordered William Wisecracker (Evan Williams bourbon, Cynar, Maraschino liqueur, Lemon, Demerrara, Mint). For snacks we had the most amazing shredded Brussels sprouts that must have been simmered in olive oil for 2 hours.
Finally, we finished off the vacation with a little southern cookin’: Mother’s, home of the World’s Best Baked Ham. Another line streamed out the door, but luckily it went quickly (they have quite a system) and we were in ordering eggs-over-medium, grits, ham, and turnip greens before we knew it. Oh, and biscuits on the side. The restaurant itself is absolutely saturated – it’s like it’s been coated in brown sugar and roasted for 82 years.
Very hard to leave such a city, but our dogs were barkin’ and we were ready to get home and see the boy again. I definitely satisfied my foodie urges and am now encouraged to carry on with more blogging about recipes. Oh, and I do have some projects heading into construction which I need to post soon! Stay tuned, and enjoy the springtime bounty!