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New Orleans 2024: Restaurants

As a self proclaimed foodie, I go out of my way to try new and unique food and drinks when I travel, immersing myself with the culture through the cuisine.

This means lots of restaurant hopping and smaller meals to be able to try more. So here is a recap of them all from my 4 day and 4 night trip to New Orleans.

Majority of what we had would be from the French Quarter, where we were staying. And specifically Bourbon Street, with the most options there. The following is in the order which we visited

Rampart Treehouse
Upon landing and settling in to our hotel, we spent our first night exploring the lively Bourbon street, which was bumping even on a Monday. We couldn’t decide on a place to grab a drink at, so after much wandering we eventually decided on Rampart Treehouse for the vibes. With its open doors we were able to to get a good look in at its funky decor. Centred around a faux tree hung with glowing lights in glass jars. It was magical.

Our first cocktail of the trip was an easy one to ease us in. The Anna was a mix of bourbon, ginger beer, and lime and it drank like a digestif. We paired it with a slice of their pre-made pizza left warm under heated lamps. This was the Rampart Supreme, a hefty slice topped with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions, and black olives. We found it a decent late night snacking pizza.

Nola Poboy
Having been drinking and disgusted by the washroom of the last bar we visited, the urgency was real and at this point I would have hovered over a bucket. Luckily it didn’t come to that, as my travel companion was hungry and wanted to stop at Nola Poboys for dinner. Thankfully they have adequate facilities: dirty, but not filthy. Although, I would eventually learn that all public washrooms in NOLA lacked a certain level of hygiene that I am accustomed to, and that this is the norm. But I digress.

The shop is open late, brightly light, and offers no alcohol. I guess it serves as a late night spot to help people sober up within.

The menu is a techno coloured display at the counter. A mix of colours and fonts to spell out their extensive selection of fried foods and sweets. We would get our first taste of authentic southern cuisine here.

Given the name we had to try one of their Poboys. Deep fried shrimp evenly breaded with a spice that grows. I found the shrimp far too salty without the bread and that the mayo and shredded lettuce necessary to cut into some of this. Although it was still disappointing and we did not finish it.

For a side to it we got an order of Fried okra instead of fries. They were a fragrant vegetable, but had a mushy centre. I did like them more than French fries, kidding myself that they were healthy.

The Seafood Gumbo bowl was the worst of it. It was unbearably salty. We used the side of bread just to be able to taste it. I was not impressed with this and this late night, fast food option over all. Although the room spoke differently, but that may be because they were drunk and in their state, this was better than no food.

Coterie NOLA
The next day my girl friend was catching up on some work and I found myself with some solo time. I decided to venture out for some shopping, only to grow hungry with Coterie within spitting distance.

Given the option I opted for happy hour at the bar and was so impressed by the fried food, coming out of last meal that only disappointed. So good that I wanted to write a review of the full experience. More on one of the better meals I had in New Orleans to come, in a separate post.

Back on Bourbon Street and growing hungry, my friend wanted to stop at Mambo’s for dinner. Here, they would redeem New Orleans gumbo for us, as well as offer us our first taste of Crawfish Étouffée, another New Orleans specialty. More on the full meal in a separate post.

Crescent City Pizza Work
We stopped at Crescent City for both their pre-made pizza by the slice and their advertised Jell-O shots. For slices we had one that tasted like a cheeseburger with bits of beef patty, onions, and pickles. As well as a barbecue chicken that was less interesting and could have used a healthy dip into ranch dressing.

The Jell-O shots however were the most memorable drinks we had in NOLA. Served in plastic syringes that you can either do yourself or do onto others. Available in a green lime, blue raspberry, and red cherry; we had to do all three.

Fleur-de-lis Cafe
Knowing that my girlfriend doesn’t eat breakfast, I woke up early one morning to find some for myself. I didn’t want to settle on the ordinary and figured that if I am going to spend money on food, let it be for something authentic to the city. A quick google search yielded Fleur-de-lis Cafe, further than I would have liked, but it was open at 7am.

We had to catch an early excursion tour bus this morning, so I was on a time crunch, and just my luck, the cafe was short staff and there was a wait. However the staff managed to get me my food quickly and I was able to eat and run.

Looking for some healthy vegetable after two days of fried food and excessive drinking, that wasn’t a salad, I went for their fried green tomatoes sandwich, which was delicious thanks to all the flavour in the batter.

I also asked for a side of fruit instead of fries or a salad. All they had was pineapple chunks and sliced grapes, so I took what I could get. Oddly it was hard to find fruit in the city and grocery stores were further than I wanted to travel for an apple.

Bourbon House
Saddled with some alone time, I took to Bourbon House, having passed by when it was closed and being curious by what is advertised as the largest bourbon collection in all of New Orleans. There, I learned about the city’s tie with America’s only national spirit. But more on that within its own post.

Willie’s Chicken Shack
On this night I tapped out early and stayed in, having my social battery depleted. And my girl friend was kind enough to bring me back some fried chicken to go. We had been seeing Willie’s around every corner. Much like how common we see a Starbucks at home. Given the necessity for this many outpost, we thought we ought to give them a try.

And boy were there no regrets. Even not fresh and at a room temperature chilled this was still such crispy breaded chicken on the outside and juicy chicken on the inside. A box set of four pieces also included cajun style seasoned fries and a sweet honey biscuit. Everything was delicious and I would liked to have them again.

On this day I had the whole day to myself and decided to walk aimlessly around the French Quarter and beyond by foot. When it came time to eat, I stopped at the all pink facade of Brennan’s. This was a restaurant that came highly recommended to me by a traveller I struck a conversation with at random. I was not trying to get to it, but since I was here, I thought I might as well. And after poor service at the door, I am glad I did, as this was probably the tastiest and most memorable meal that I have had during this trip. Full review on that, in its own post.

Voodoo Chicken
Seeing as Willie’s Chicken in its prominent yellow exterior was such a hit, I had to try its competitor Voodoo Chicken in purple.

Similar combo and price, I originally thought the two chains were related. A box of breast, drum, thigh, and winglet meat with a biscuit, but this time waffle fries. As a fan of the latter, this appeared to be the better of the two, but I would be mistaken. Eaten fresh this was not crunchy and the meat not tasty. I didn’t even bother finishing it.

On our last night my guest wanted to revisit a restaurant that they enjoyed the first time they visited New Orleans, so I obliged. It gave us an opportunity to visit a different neighbourhood.

Here sat Delachaise at a corner with seating indoors and across much of the side walk, strung with patio lights. A very romantic setting.

Despite what looked to be sit down service you actually have to order at the bar counter, claim your own utensils and water from there, then later go back up to pay. And after all that still consider paying the expected tip!?

We shared a bottle of red and of course had to gather everything we needed to serve our self a glass. Luckily it wasn’t a corked bottle.

For food we got the daily special Muffaletta, which is a Southern-style cold cut sandwich. After so much fried food across the last few days, I found it fresh and on the healthier side. Rosemary ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, smoked gouda, mozzarella, and olive salad; between a sesame seed bun. The fries on the side were the best part: salty and crispy they were the first to go.

The Cuban Twice Cooked Pork was both bland and dry. The peppers were the only thing offering this dish any interest, and it was essential to have sauce with each bite. Braised then fried pork on a bed of deep fried yucca with a citrus sherry vinegar reduction and an aji aioli. Did not enjoy or recommend.

The food was only okay and not as memorable as the setting, so I wouldn’t recommend the visit given that and the service experience above.

Boil Seafood House
And the last restaurant I visited in New Orleans was the Boil Seafood House in the same area as the restaurant above. Being disappointed by the meal before we decided to have a second dinner to leave things on a high note.

My girl friend declared that a seafood boil is a must when visiting the South, and I agreed. There was a long wait to get into this one, so I was glad that she made reservations when we were dining at the restaurant above. There, had one of the spiciest boils I have ever tried and one of the best fried items of the trip. The full review of that meal to come in a separate post.

And of course I had to pack my carry-on suitcase with as many bags of snacks and chips that I could. Sadly they would not all survive, as in order to zip them all up I did have to squish my suitcase shut. I would end up eating those first.

Shake Shack
Fast forward I was at the airport to head home to Vancouver at 3am and looking for breakfast. Here, I took the opportunity to try the American hamburger chain, Shake Shack for the very first time.

I got their classic burger for my very first taste. It had a moist and juicy smash patty, just the way I like it. I can see why people flock to them.

I also got their cheesy fries on the side. These were from frozen, thick cut, crinkle fries with a side of liquid cheese dipping sauce on the side. The fries were quick to grow soggy and overall were nothing special. The sauce is really what sets it apart, and that I did enjoy.

Cafe Du Mode
I also took the opportunity to try Cafe Du Mode, famous for their beignets with multiple locations around New Orleans. I did pop my head into the original one, but did not try or buy anything then. Here and now I got to try these fried squares of dough dusted with powdered sugar.

Best eaten fresh, with the ability to watch them being made to order from behind a glass window. They were delicious. And for this too, I could see why they are so popular. Would recommend.

Here, I also picked up a mini King Cake. Pre-made and decorated in the traditional New Orleans green, purple, and yellow.

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