The Best Things I Ate in New Orleans

New Orleans

Now that it’s Mardi Gras week, I figured it would be a good time to finally talk about my New Orleans trip last month. Matt and I joined my mom and several of her friends for a big trip to celebrate a friend’s mother’s 100th birthday party (crazy, right?). I had never been to New Orleans and was blown away by the city’s food, music, and overall vibe.

Since this blog is all about food, here’s a little summary of my very favorites from the trip.

Louisiana Shrimp Cavatelli

We ate at John Besh’s Luke on our first night. It was definitely a bit touristy, but I had heard great things regardless and it did not disappoint. I ordered the Louisiana Shrimp Cavatelli with creole tomatoes, garlic, shrimp butter. I was a little hesitant because it sounded so simple, but this was proof that simple is often best! The shrimp’s sweet flavor was infused throughout the sauce and I loved every bite.

Crespelle of Roasted Winter Squash

Matt ordered the Crespelle of Roasted Winter Squash with wild mushrooms, herbed ricotta cheese, sage. From the bite I had, it tasted like crepes that had been stuffed and then baked (with lots of cheese). It’s not usually a good sign for Matt when there’s only one vegetarian option on the menu, but in this case it wasn’t a problem at all. I definitely want to try to recreate this at home – it would be perfect in this cold weather.

Louisiana Shrimp "en Cocotte"

My mom ordered the Jumbo Louisiana Shrimp “en Cocotte” with roasted jalapeño cheese grits, andouille & green onion sausages. This was basically a fantastic version of shrimp and grits.

Bacchanal

We had a pretty epic lunch at Bacchanal in the Bywater neighborhood. It was a little out of the way to get to, but our efforts paid off when we discovered that you can buy your wine in their wine shop and the front, order food when you check out, and then go sit in the beautiful patio out back.

Orecchiette

Matt ordered the Orecchiette with Garlic, Tomato, Broccoli Rabe, Caciotta. It was as good as it looks, and my mom and I both stole several bites from his plate.

Grilled Squid

My mom and I shared a few dishes, but our absolute favorite was the Grilled Squid with Potatoes, Fennel, Olives, and Saffron Aioli. It was a nice way to break up all of the rich food we had been eating!

King Cake

We couldn’t leave New Orleans without trying some King Cake. Mardi Gras hadn’t officially started yet, but the city was definitely getting ready for the festivities. This version from Petite Amelie in the French Quarter was filled with lemon curd and was perfectly moist and flaky.

Wood-Fired Oysters

One of our nicer dinners was at Cochon, which came highly recommended by several friends. We started with the Wood-fired Oysters with Chili Garlic Butter and ordered a second plate of them right away once we realized how amazing they were.

Rabbit and Dumplings

I was more than pleased with my order of Rabbit & Dumplings, which was pure comfort food taken to another level.

Cafe Du Monde Beignets

Another thing I absolutely had to try was the Beignets from Cafe du Monde. I was honestly a little hesitant because it was so touristy, but those pillowy clouds of dough were more than worth it.

Charbroiled Oysters

These were the best oysters I had all trip…captured by the worst photo. These Charbroiled Oysters were cooked by a barbecue stand set up outside of Bullet’s, where we had gone to watch some jazz. He was cooking food for the whole bar and shucking/grilling each batch to order. The long wait to get our order only made them that much better!

Boudin Balls

Our final meal in New Orleans was at Boucherie, where we had quite a feast for lunch before we went to the airport. We started with the Boudin Balls with Garlic Aioli, which were surprisingly light and crisp for basically being fried sausage.

Hog Head Po'boy

I ordered one of the specials: a Hog’s Head Po’boy with Goat Cheese, Braised Fennel, and Ramp Aioli. It sounded too weird to resist. Our server explained that they used Vietnamese banh mi bread for their po’boys, making them crispy but not overly flaky. The rich hog’s head meat went perfectly with the tangy goat cheese and sweet fennel.

BBQ Shrimp Po'boy

My mom ordered the New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp Po’boy, which the server told us had won many local awards. I could see why – beyond being perfectly constructed (shrimp were actually stuffed in the hollowed out bread), the shrimp were beautifully cooked and seasoned. This po’boy was all about letting the shrimp flavor shine.

I know we didn’t even make a dent in everything the city has to offer. As you can probably tell, I can’t wait to go back to New Orleans and eat my way through more of the city!

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