Oh, the beignets. There's a reason everyone talks about you when mentioning New Orleans. You are pieces of fried dough deliciousness only made better by the addition of powdered sugar.
If I could you every day ... well, I probably wouldn't. Just being honest. But on vacation? Yes. PUHLEASE.
Eating was one of the things I was most looking forward to about New Orleans, and I have to say that the city didn't disappoint. I told Pattie that I think you could spend your lifetime trying to eat everywhere and it was next to impossible to get all of the classics - and then some - into one trip. Especially a trip with a race when you schedules are off and foods are avoided to prevent any tummy issues.
Nonetheless, we still managed to enjoy some great food.
Stop No. 1: EAT
This restaurant was suggested to us by the hotel manager. It scored bonus points for being a couple blocks from our hotel and well-reviewed on Urbanspoon.
Its rating went off the charts when we realized we'd be dining with George Clooney.
Of course, the food was good, too. And well priced. I had Butterbeans with Shrimp, and Pattie had Crawfish Pie. A great introduction to NOLA cuisine.
Stop No. 2: The Rum House
I had found The Rum House on Urbanspoon and was totally pumped to try it. The fare wasn't traditional to the city but it was far different from what I'd get at home.
I had two tacos - Lamb Vindaloo and Calypso Beef - with a house salad. The salad had spinach, roasted sweet potato, toasted pecans, shaved red onion and goat cheese. With each bite, I had to promise myself that I'd re-create the meal at home.
And any place that serves Diet Coke in a giant mason jar is a winner in my book.
Sucre is a sweet boutique on Magazine Street that specializes in French macaroons, chocolates and gelato. I had originally scoped out the place to try the macaroons.
And then we got distracted.
All things NOLA sundae with Bananas Foster Sauce, Brown Butter Pecan Gelato, Bread Pudding Pieces, Whipped Cream, Roasted Pecans.
To say it was good would be an understatement.
Stop No. 4: Oceana
Again, a selection by the hotel clerk. You can do all the scoping you want but people who live in the city and need to afford to eat in the city know where to go.
I had the Taste of New Orleans sampler - crawfish etouffe, jambalaya, red beans and rice and smoked sausage. I really liked the etouffe and could have eaten a whole bowl.
Stop No. 5: NOLA
The Holy Grail of our eating extravaganza. Pattie and I like to do one expensive meal when we travel, and we decided to go all celeb with Emeril's NOLA.
We started with the Fried Green Tomato Salad. It was amazing. It made me want to eat fried green tomatoes every day while watching Kathy Bates take out her aggression on a car in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.
And then I had an unremarkable fish dish.
Followed by a fabulous Banana Pudding Layer Cake, split - of course. So good.
It was really important for me this trip to eat. Not to eat bad per se but not get so caught up in calories/weight gain/restriction that I failed to enjoy myself. While I did have plenty of sugar, I feel good that I split a lot of the worst items and balanced it all with lots of movement.
Of course, they were things we didn't have - gumbo, po boys, the traditional muffaletta. I guess there's always next year ...