New Orleans’ nightlife, food, culture and museums have propelled it again to a popular destination for those seeking wide-ranging eclectic flavors. I am lucky to visit with the women in my husband’s family and am, once again, afforded some independence and freedom from my perpetual and much loved role as a mom.
The restaurant I am most excited to visit is Booty’s Street Food. It is a recommendation from a friend from culinary school who grew up in the city. We decide to walk from the French Quarter and find our way through the back streets where atmosphere grows quiet as we leave the hustle and bustle and the residential area lined with its beautiful shotgun houses. The LSU/Florida State football game is on and aside from the occasion “whoops” from those inside watching the game, the streets are quiet. We enter the Bywater District which, we are told, is essentially the “Bushwick of New Orleans,” a growing gentrified area. The small restaurant has a full bar and limited seating. The entrees are street food from across the world found by the restaurants owners and range in price from $9 to $15. We find the small print at the bottom and opt for a five-course tasting menu from the chef, all for $25. The chef, originally from Ecquador comes out after each course, his excitement brimming over our full mouths and happy sounds of pleasure. Meat and vegetable tamales, some of the hottest curry rice we can handle, slow roasted pulled pork next to some amazing mashed potatoes, are a few things created by this passionate chef. We finish the meal with fried plantains and call it a night.
We make the necessary visit to Café Du Monde; one cannot leave the city with the experience of their airy beignets and chicory-laced coffee. We enter around 4 p.m. and by doing so bypass the earlier hour-long wait and sit right down. We leave, covered in powdered sugar and enormously happy.
Dinner is at Josh Besh’s Domenica Restaurant in the renovated historic Roosevelt Hotel. We share a charcuterie board and a giant head of roasted cauliflower for appetizers. The blended feta cheese sauce that accompanies the cauliflower drips on each morsel; it is a wonder I’ve ever had cauliflower without it. The atmosphere is spirited and the staff attentive.
We make sure to visit the French Market and are enticed left and right by hot sauce, alligator bites and oysters shucked to order. I could stay here forever, tasting the small bites and doing my fair share of people watching from the café style tables.
Our last meal is at Mother’s, another New Orleans standard that serves some of the best Po’ Boys and boasts the world’s best baked ham.
Our last meal is at Mother’s, another New Orleans standard that serves some of the best Po’ Boys and boasts the world’s best baked ham. The cafeteria-style restaurant and is laid back and homey. The staff seems like family and after Hurricane Katrina lived nine months in the parking lot in FEMA trailers. An important necessity to the restaurant and its morale, the employees were essential to its recovery and thus existence.
The city is a mixing bowl of sights and sounds. Food is so much apart of its identity, I could never imagine visiting without experiencing as much of it as I can handle.