It wasn't hard to convince us to return to New Orleans.
When Mason called more than year ago to say he and Kristen were engaged, we were thrilled both for them and, honestly, for ourselves, because we knew it meant we'd be returning to New Orleans.
It had been two years since we last visited New Orleans and it that was two years too long. So in late March, we made the flight down, got in a cab driven by a man named Beauchant (like something out of central casting) and were speedily deposited in the French Quarter, where we planned to stay for four nights (which later becomes five nights, but that's a different story).
We had decided to add some extra days on to the trip, since much of the weekend would be spent at wedding festivities. And we had only one item on our agenda: eating. So we sketched out a plan for where to eat, made few reservations, and got to it.
Here are the meals we loved on this visit to New Orleans, along with a list at the bottom of our full New Orleans recommendations from over the years. All the photos are quick iPhone pics we snapped at meals.
Be warned: this is a caloric ride.
Galatoire's lunch: our starting place for New Orleans dining
We started our New Orleans visit at the famous Galatoire's Friday lunch (we're convinced 99% of this restaurant's popularity is that Southern people just love saying the name). As advertised it was loud, bustling and fun on a Friday afternoon, with a dining room full of locals and tourists. We ordered a trio of Shrimp Remoulade, Crabmeat Maison and Oysters en Brochette (pictured left above), and followed it with a fish topped with Crabmeat Yvonne (a mix of crab, mushrooms and artichoke). As an aside, the new Saveur features the restaurant's recipe for Remoulade Blanc if you want to try it at home.
Another new restaurant for us this visit was Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar. It was near our hotel, and we first went for brunch and were completely blown away. We had an obligatory bowl of Shrimp & Okra Gumbo -- its flavors were so dark and wonderful, it was likely the best gumbo of our lives. But we were blown away by The Boucherie Breakfast, which is a biscuit topped with braised pork shoulder, poached eggs, an Andouille gravy and a slaw. Be still out hearts.
We ended up returning to Adelaide at the end of our trip, just before our (cancelled) flight home (hence the extra night). We loved everything we ate, but especially the Melon Mojito Salad (rum cured melon, pecans, greens and a sweet bacon-molasses vinaigrette).
No trip to New Orleans is complete for us without a visit to our favorite oyster place, Casamento's out on Magazine Street (the oysters at the top of this post are from Casamento's). This was our second visit and we did all oysters: a half dozen on the half shell, a half dozen charbroiled, and an Oyster Loaf, which is fried oysters, dressed, on Texas Toast. Casamento's is still amazing and we loved the oysters, though this was the trip that we decided we're oysters on the half shell kind of gents; the charbroiled oysters, which we ate a number of restaurants, are good but they aren't for us.
Back to brunch, we queued up at The Ruby Slipper for their famous and much sought after brunch. We had a Bloody Mary on the sidewalk, and a half hour later got a table. Cafe Adelaide had wowed us with their biscuit toppings, so we did the same at Ruby Slipper, ordering a Chicken St. Charles (biscuit, fried chicken, poached eggs and a tasso cream) and the Corned Beef Bennie (biscuit, corned beef, horseradish, poached eggs). Phenomenal. We're so in love with this place -- we can't wait to go back.
More on the higher end, we squeezed in a meal at Chef John Besh's August. We didn't have a reservation and just grabbed a table in the bar. The food was spectacular. We loved the beet and crab salad that was served with black eyed pea croutons (little black eyed peas dredged in corn meal and fried -- we're so going to do this at home).
The desserts at August were also excellent -- we had the Blonde Chocolate Panna Cotta and the restaurant's take on Banana Pudding (peanut butter, marshmallow and nilla wafer ice cream).
Here's a shot of the two of us at the wedding, giggling ourselves silly.
Needless to say, a fun time in New Orleans. Below you can find a list of all our New Orleans recommendations.
Book yourself a trip as soon as you're able.
OUR TOP NEW ORLEANS PICS
Galatoire's. http://www.galatoires.com/home We went for the famous Friday lunch. No reservations.
Café Adelaide. http://www.cafeadelaide.com/ We went twice, once for brunch and also for an early dinner before our (canceled) flight home. Both were phenomenal.
Casamento’s. http://www.casamentosrestaurant.com/main/main.html Our favorite oyster place out on Magazine.
Ruby Slipper Café. http://www.therubyslippercafe.net/ This had an amazing brunch. Highly recommend.
August. http://www.restaurantaugust.com/ More on the higher end. We didn’t get a reservation and ate in the bar.
Coquette. http://coquettenola.com/ We did the brunch here. Excellent.
Bar Tonique. http://bartonique.com/ In our book, this is one of the best bars in the world.
OTHER NEW ORLEANS RECOMMENDATIONS
Sylvain. http://www.sylvainnola.com/. We've gone here twice now and both times had excellent meals. The restaurant has a beautiful courtyard.
Acme Oyster. http://www.acmeoyster.com/ This is a fun place to go in and have an oyster snack, but it’s kind of the Applebees of Nola oyster houses.
Cochon. http://www.cochonrestaurant.com/ Deserves the hype. We meant to visit Cochon Butcher on this trip but didn't make it.
Root http://rootnola.com/. If you want a different sort of meal (more modern takes on food) we thought this was great few years ago.
Café Du Monde. http://www.cafedumonde.com/ Yes it’s a tourist trap and yes you should go.
Cafe Beignet. http://www.cafebeignet.com/ The lines are long but the beignets are delicious.
If you find yourself in need of late night food, go to St. Lawrence http://www.saintlawrencenola.com// It was awesome late at night. They serve food until 2.