New Orleans (Guy’s Trip 2013)

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve written on this.  It’s not for lack of good eating. I guess it was more of life getting in the way, lack of motivation and general laziness. I was reminded recently why I started this in the first place.  It was originally started as a reference point for family and friends.  If there was ever an instance they were curious as to where to find good sushi, a fancy sandwich or solid steakhouse they could find at least one (hopefully trustworthy) opinion from someone who REALLY likes eating.  So I’m going to try get back into this and update this more regularly.  It’s also a way for me to relive some of my favourite meals.

So a group of my guy friends from university take a trip together every year. It was a way for us to make sure we kept in touch and it was a pre-approved trip away from the wives/girlfriends (sorry ladies, you know I love you).  This year we went to New Orleans and ate some of the most tasty food I’ve ever had.  I’ll try to keep the commentary short since there is a lot of food.

Our first meal was at Central Grocery in the French Quarter.  It’s an Italian grocery store with a well oiled (both figurative and literal) sandwich operation going on in the back.  The sandwich to get here is the Muffulleta.

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First off, it’s quite large.  I think they are designed to be shared by at least two people.  But if you can eat a whole one…kudos.

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So the Muffuletta  is a mix of Italian deli meats, cheese and a olive salad type thing that is quite potent.  If you don’t like olives you won’t like this sandwich.  It’s a good thing I like olives.  As for taste, it’s a little on the salty and oily side.  I thought it was delicious though.  I needed a drink after but it satisfied this craving for Italian deli meats I’ve been having lately.  Next we went to Cafe du Monde for beignets.

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So a friend of mine warned we before going to this place not to wear black.  Should have taken her advice.  I was wearing black shorts and was covered in white powdered sugar after the first bite.  These donut-like pastries come out piping hot, wonderfully doughy but light, and powdered-sugar-sweet (not scrunch your face sweet, but rather the “oh man I want some more” kind of sweet).

That night we went to Acme Oyster House.  It’s one of those famous seafood places with a line up outside the door.  We met this nice couple in line who told us to get the chargrilled oysters.

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And WOW were they right.  This is one of the best things we ate.  Fresh oysters covered in cheese and butter.  After were polished these off, I wanted to suck the rest of the sauce down.  We also tried a few other dishes.  Next to come out was the crawfish.

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I’ve always had a bit of a problem with shell fish in general.  I think it’s because it’s a lot of work to get to the meat.  I’m not quite sure if it’s worth the effort.  I even watched a youtube video before going down in preparation.  It was tasty once you got to the meat but I’m going to have to improve my crawfish extracting abilities before I think I can fully enjoy these.  We also tried a small order of the Jambalaya.

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Very tasty.  Bold flavours but nothing to write home about.  Next was the étouffée.

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Now this was a tasty dish.  Lots of seafood.  Lot’s of sauce.  Lovely cajun flavours.  This is what New Orleans tasted like in my mind before going.  The last thing we tried was the fried crawfish.

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Kind of reminded me of popcorn shrimp.  Crunchy, tasty side sauce, bouncy meat…no complaints from me.

The next day we caught a cab out to Domilise’s, a famous Po’boy sandwich place.

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It was lined up outside the door at 2 in the afternoon.  My first thought, “these better be good”.  I think the fact that I was hung over and standing in the hot sun didn’t help my mood but let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

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We got the shrimp po’boy with gravy.  The gravy addition was a suggestion from another patron in line.  Man was he right.  The shrimp was fantastic and there was a TON of it.  You can see it falling out of the sandwich.  We also tried the fried catfish.

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This was extremely good too.  It was a little easier to eat than the shrimp but I think the general consensus around the table was that the shrimp tasted better.  There were no complaints about the fish though.  It’s just varying levels of awesomeness.  We also tried the roast beef, which I read is the original po’boy ingredient.

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The beef was good.  The gravy was awesome.  The bread used in all the sandwiches is phenomenal. A great roast beef sandwich as far as roast beef sandwiches go but the shrimp and catfish were in a league of their own.

That night we tried a place called “The Joint”.  I think this was featured on a food network show I saw once.  The people in town also referred to it as the only place to get good BBQ in the city.

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So to me, this is the hallmark of a good BBQ place.  When I walked up to the counter, I started rattling off our order and was stopped by the cashier with an abrupt, “Nope”.  I was perplexed and then she said, “we are sold out of the ribs, the chicken, and might have one or two orders of brisket.”  She quickly checked with the kitchen and came back saying they only had half a rack of ribs left, only a quarter chicken left, but enough brisket, sausage and pulled pork to fill our order.  So I proceeded to clean them out of whatever meat I could. We also ordered side of mac and cheese, coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans.

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So the ribs were the best part of the meal.  The ribs fell off the bone, had a wonderful smoky flavour and were seasoned to perfection.  These are some of the best ribs I’ve ever had.  The baked beans were also amazing!  They had a familiar smoky flavour, brown sugar sweetness and hints of pork (I think there was bacon in it).

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The chicken was good.  Nicely seasoned but a little on the dry side.  They provide multiple types of BBQ sauce at the table however so this wasn’t an issue.  The pulled pork was tasty.  Nothing special but solid.  The mac and cheese was pretty standard. Cheesy and not overcooked which was nice.

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The brisket was seasoned well and very tender.  They give you a LOT of it too.  Actually same with the pulled pork.  We couldn’t even finish those, despite our best efforts (and this is an impressive effort coming from 5 hungry dudes).  The sausage was good.  Nicely spiced and cooked perfectly.  The coleslaw was crisp and refreshing.  The potato salad was good.  Not spectacular like some of the dishes but again we are dealing with varying levels of awesomeness.

The next day we went to Luke for oyster happy hour.

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So these might be some of the best oysters I’ve ever had.  Fresh, briny, huge and incredibly cheap.  50 cents an oyster!  We actually went to this place twice.  Both times getting a dozen each.  Check out the bill.

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Crazy cheap!  I love America!  Our last meal was at a place called Coop’s.  We had to wait an hour in line to get into this place so we were starving by the time we got in.  We all ended up ordering the same thing, fried chicken with sides of coleslaw and jambalaya.

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This ranks up there as some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.  Succulent, juicy, crispy, hot, and I loved the spice blend in the batter.  A number of cajun spices but there was something else in there that I can’t put my finger on that made it amazing!  The other standout was the jambalaya.  I’ll come straight out and say, this is the best jambalaya I’ve ever had.  It was a rabbit and sausage mix and had so much flavour I got weak in the knees.  It was one of those blissed out food moments that changes your life.  Man, that was fantastic!

The food in New Orleans is amazing and we didn’t even get to eat our way through all of it.  I like to think we got a pretty good cross section of the food but I would definitely make another trip back to try some more.  As for the night life, there is great music everywhere you look and tons of friendly party-goers to mingle with.  If there is a word of caution I have for visiting, it’s be careful with a drink referred to as the “Hand Grenade”.  It’s much more potent than it looks.

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http://www.centralgroceryneworleans.com

http://www.cafedumonde.com

http://www.acmeoyster.com

http://alwayssmokin.com

http://www.lukeneworleans.com

http://www.coopsplace.net

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~ by jlowjlow on May 26, 2013.

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