Unique Nawlins Cuisine | Travel Blog

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Published: January 4th 2024

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Cafe du MondeCafe du MondeCafe du Monde

With po’boys, jambalaya, beignets, and more, New Orleans is home to countless legendary foods to call its own. No other dish is as iconic throughout Louisiana as gumbo, however; it’s actually the state’s official dish. It’s a rich stew made with a dark brown roux; the “holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery; a rich stock; and any combination of shrimp, chicken, sausage, or other meats. Gumbo is usually thickened with either okra or filé powder (dried, ground sassafras leaves), and served over rice.
My personal favorite here are the oysters, followed by the Po’ Boys, and the gumbo. But just about anywhere, everywhere, the food is so different from any part of our great country, in fact in the world! Nawlins cuisine is uniquely Nawlins, and America.
For oysters, I prefer the famous Acme Oyster House. For Po’ Boys, I prefer Johnny’s, though many places tout theirs as best. And for gumbo, it must be Felix’s. I did not enjoy the beignets on my last visit at Cafe duMonde. But for a nice evening, complete with sparkling wine, oysters, and maybe a small dessert, I like Mr. B’s.
So, what is gumbo? A flavorful combination of rice, roux (butter

Mister B'sMister B'sMister B’s

and flour), seafood, vegetables and spices, gumbo is Louisiana’s most beloved dish. It’s important to distinguish between Cajun and Creole gumbo, though – the most obvious difference is that Creole gumbo typically has a tomato base. Located just across the street from the famous New Orleans French Market, Coop’s Place serves classic Creole seafood gumbo.
In past years, I have tried the famous places, like the Commander’s Palace, Court of Two Sisters, Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Antoine’s, and the now defunct Ralph and Kacoo’s. My favorite breakfast place is the Ruby Slipper.
The green eggs & ham breakfast croissant from quaint local café Satsuma is pretty hard to resist with its filling of scrambled egg, basil pesto, shaved ham, melted Swiss cheese, and red onion. If pastries aren’t your thing, it’s also available on a bagel or crusty ciabatta. However you eat yours, you can be sure it’s made to order using high-quality local and organic ingredients.

With three locations in New Orleans, there’s no excuse to miss Dat Dog when in Louisiana. There are more than a dozen special dogs on the menu, and both the sausages and the toppings vary from classic to out there (think alligator and crawfish sausages). Customers say you can’t

Typical Po' BoyTypical Po' BoyTypical Po’ Boy

go wrong with anything you choose, and guests also appreciate the creative vegan and vegetarian options.

Po’ Boy history: Originally known as a ‘poor boy’ sandwich, this dish dates back to the 1929 New Orleans streetcar strike, when restaurant owners Benny and Clovis Martin (former streetcar conductors themselves) handed out free sandwiches to their former colleagues. Whenever a striker would walk into their restaurant, Benny would shout to Clovis: “Here comes another poor boy!” A wide selection of fillings are considered traditional, from roast beef to fried shrimp, as long as they’re served on New Orleans French bread. There’s stiff competition for the best in town, but Adams Street Grocery is hard to beat.
Domilise’s is a bare-bones, no-nonsense place, and that’s part of its charm. It’s been around for over a century, and closed for any length of time only because of Hurricane Katrina. The po’boys are legendary and come in a wide variety of styles, including a great rendition of the roast beef po’boy. Unlike many roast beef po’boys, the beef on this one is mostly in slice form, instead of shredded. It’s topped with deep brown gravy, Swiss cheese if you like, and lettuce, sliced tomato,

Nawlins gumboNawlins gumboNawlins gumbo

pickles and sauces if you get it dressed.

New Orleans is teeming with interesting, notable, and historic restaurants, but one place that leaves a lasting impression on everyone who visits is Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar. The menu isn’t huge, but it features a good selection of small plates, shareables, and sliders that can be enjoyed while its star attraction, the carousel bar, does its thing. (And, somehow, bartenders never lose track of customers even as their stools revolve around the outside of the circular bar.) In 1886, the hotel was bought by a Sicilian nobleman, Antonio Monteleone – and, five generations later, his family is still running the hotel. Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald have all been patrons here.

And if you did not get your fill, how about the airport? The Big Easy never skimps on spice, and this outpost (Dooky Chase’s) of the iconic family restaurant in Treme proves that even airport restaurants can boast big flavor. Dig into a comforting plate of shrimp and grits or red beans and rice, sample regional favorites like po boys and jambalaya, then finish on a sweet note with whiskey bread pudding.
The only thing missing would be Dirty Pat and another Super Bowl appearance by my Forty Niners!! But I am certain I can enjoy myself anyway!


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