Not the itinerary you're thinking of. My Food Itinerary for my trip to New Orleans! I'm not too terribly impressed with New Orleans as a city. I mean, it's got some great architecture. But it's no Chicago. Usually when I am there it's rather hot, very humid, and everything kind of smells like the morning of a really bad hangover.
But the food, the food is amazing. So I always plan out my food itinerary before arriving. First stop will be The Acme Oyster House.
I am no fan of oysters. Looks like snot in a shell to me. They should call themselves the Acme Boo Fries House. Boo Fries, for those who don't know, are french fries that are fried really crisp, drenched in roast beef gravy and then covered in shredded cheddar cheese. In short, heaven on a plate! Eating an entire plate of them would probably send you to the hospital. Typically I get an order for the table and then supplement them with a Gumbo Poopa. "What is a Poopa?", you ask. A Poopa is french bread bowl. You can get it with either their seafood or chicken and sausage gumbo. What really makes this method of serving the gumbo so special is that once you done eating the gumbo, you are left with this bread bowl that is soaked with the gumbo juices. YUMMY!
Let's talk about lunch. Close to the convention center, where I will be working, is a "charming" hole-in-the-wall called The Corporation. (Sorry, no website for it)
I don't think there is room inside this place for more than 30 people. People don't go there to sit down and eat. I suppose they go there to drink. But I would be hard pressed to call this place safe at night. Lunch there is amazing! They have a full menu of Po Boys (subs) and then they have daily specials. All of it is real Cajun food. It's cooked by ladies, term loosely used, that just ooze cajun "sophistication". I really just hope they are washing their hands often. Kidding aside, the food here rocks. I typically order a Roast Beef Po Boy Dressed(with lettuce, tomato, and onion) & Smashed(kinda like a panini). What you get is a hot gooey roast beef sandwich just oozing all it's goodness into the bread. If you aren't seeing a pattern here, perhaps you have forgotten about my love of Sog. If it's hot and soggy, I'll eat it!
Another great place for lunch is Mother's. It's almost impossible to get a table here and often the wait line is around the block.
The real treat here is what they call Debris. Ya know how when you run roast beef through a slicer all those little bits fall off? Well for most places that's waste. Not at Mother's. They scoop that up and put it in a pot, let it simmer forever, and call it Debris. You can get it in a sandwich or as a side with Red Beans and Rice. It's my "Must Have" treat while in New Orleans.
Going a bit upscale…every now and then I do like to dine at places that use cloth napkins. The Gumbo Shop is at the top of my list. There are plenty of fancy places to eat in New Orleans, I mean come on…Emeril is from here! BAM!!!
The Gumbo Shop is what I like to call "Back Alley Dining". In all my travels, some of the best places to eat have been discovered off the beaten track. I was cutting across to Bourbon St. from the river when I stumbled upon this gem. Like I said, it's more of an upscale establishment. They don't take reservations, so on the weekend you are going to be standing in line in order to enjoy "The Best Gumbo I Have Ever Tasted!". They don't put it in a bread bowl like Acme, but I'm ok with that. This is a gumbo that is so flavorful and complex that I want to pick up the bowl at the end and drain it directly into my mouth. I don't want any bread getting in the way of that. Yeah, some people stare…but that's never bothered me.
This post wouldn't be complete unless I talked about my "New Orleans Guilty Pleasure", Krystal Burger.
I don't know who Krystal is, but she has got a way with the greasy burger. These little gems are akin to a White Castle Cheeseburger. About 3 inches square, fried in onions, topped with a pickle, and guaranteed to eventually kill you. They are the perfect cure at 3am for a night of a bit too much drinking. Four of these little burgers manage to coat your stomach and soak up all the alcohol so that by morning all you're doing is burping the onions. Or in my case, within an hour you're burping the onions.
Another option for late night dining is The Clover Grill. This is the closest you will come to true diner food in New Orleans.
They cook they'e delicious hamburgers under hub caps! I don't know why that is different than placing them under one of those little "Burger Dome" things…but it makes all the difference in the world. They also have a Create-Your-Own Omelette option that is more food than 2 people can eat. This is another place I've hit after a night of drinking in order to sober up.
So, what have we learned?
• New Orleans is about the food
• New Orleans is about the drinking
• New Orleans smells like a hangover
I can't wait to get there!