New Orleans Food Porn Explosion

Posted in America, Louisiana, North America, On the Ground

If you’re currently recovering from a Thanksgiving food coma, I have the cure. It’s a photographic hair of the dog, of sorts. I just spent a long weekend in New Orleans and ate my face off (not literally — my face is still very much intact). New Orleans is one of the best eating cities in America, a tiny metropolis steeped in history, booze, and remoulade. No matter who you are, there’s no chance that you’re leaving with an empty stomach. I was down there for the Po-Boy Festival, an occasion worth celebrated five times a year, but since that was just one delicious afternoon I also had the opportunity to check a myriad other culinary treasures. The best part is, I was lucky enough to have a full itinerary crafted by the New Orleans CVB, which meant I oscillated between new NOLA favorites (Donald Link’s Herbsaint) and absolute classics (Commander’s Palace, Brennan’s). After roughly 10 million calories, I now present to you a gustatory tour of New Orleans, or, perhaps more accurately, a New Orleans Food Porn Explosion.

The first stop on my journey was Herbsaint from New Orleans chef-saint Donald Link. Named after the legendary spirit that makes a Sazerac a Sazerac, the restaurant features the fantastic local Louisiana ingredients done up as innovative, modern dishes.

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Blue crab in a watermelon gazpacho. I could have eaten a full bucket of this.

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This is baked asiago, plain and simple. More Italian than bayou, it’s always amazing to rediscover the joy of melted cheese that’s been browned under a broiler.

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Shrimp. Bacon. Rice. What else do you need?

 

The next stop on the tour was breakfast at Brennan’s, a legendary spot run by a legendary New Orleans restaurateur family.Ā  If you’ve ever wanted to experience a fine dining breakfast, this is the closest you’ll come.

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Mini-beignets as an amuse bouche. Light, fluffy, airy, gold.

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This is Brennan’s classic egg yolk carpaccio. Your cholesterol just raised looking at it.

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Sure, you’ve had corned beef hash, but have you had corned duck hash? I have. Not exactly a light breakfast, but it’ll definitely fill you up at the quack of dawn.

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Eggs Sardou. Think of Eggs Benedict, now stop. Instead of any bread situation, you’ve got deep fried artichoke hearts. A worthy substitute.

 

After breakfast, it was time to check out some New Orleans classics. Here’s the awning of Cafe Du Monde, the famous stop for beignets in the French Quarter. Sorry I don’t have a photo of the actual doughnuts, but they disappeared into my stomach after about four seconds.

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Central Grocery is one of my favorite New Orleans’ stops. Sure, it may smell a little funky inside, but the muffalettas are a must. Check it out below:

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One of the most classic restaurants in all of New Orleans is Commander’s Palace, a James Beard Award-winning fine dining spot that seems like it’s straight out of Disneyland — although, clearly Disney used this place as a style guide. While I went for the major tasting menu, the lighting wasn’t up to par for photos, so you’ll just have to enjoy this sampling of American caviars and imagine the rest.

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I was fortunately enough to stay at the Windsor Court Hotel and for brunch on Sunday, more beignets were in order.

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Now it’s time for the Po-Boy Festival.

IMG_2257 IMG_2270Soft-shell crab up top, BBQ fried oysters on the bottom. Yes to both.

Go grab a napkin, pal. Your screen is covered in drool.

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