Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Orleans, Nawlins or New Orleens & Food

What says New Orleans (or Nawlins or New Orleens, however you prefer to say it) better than Po' Boys? Nothing right? Well, not quite.

I had the pleasure of taking a trip to New Orleans with my best girlfriends to meet one of our displaced best girlfriends this past weekend. (The displaced thing is another story for another time). It's become a tradition for us to make this trip just over 2 hours west for the St. Patrick's Day Parade in good ole Nawlins. The parade is always the Saturday before St. Patty's Day & is at least 4 hours long. There's lots of flowers given to girls by men in kilts & tuxedos, cabbages & beads thrown from floats at lightning speed & plenty of green beer a flowin'. But this post is not about St. Patty's Day. It's about the food I had was able to sample while in our beloved southern city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Obviously I'm a foodie & even though I've been to alot of restaurants in alot of different places I have yet to go to one by a famous chef I saw on television. This New Orleans tripped marked my first of these experiences & I was very excited.

On our way to the parade we found a cute little spot to have lunch that was connected to a museum named The American Sector &, as the sign states & we discovered, it is one of John Besh's restaurants. John Besh is a well-known chef who is originally from New Orleans & owns seven different restaurants in the city. You may have seen him on Top Chef, Top Chef Masters & The Food Network. My point is, the dude is famous so it was a highlight for me to be eating at one of his restaurants. Onto the food...

After us girls placed our order they brought a little mason jar of homemade pickles to the table. They were very good, a little vinegary for my taste, but good.

As our food arrived at the table I had to click some pictures of it. I went traditional & ordered the shrimp po'boy that you see at the top of the post. It was served on a square wooden cutting board & wrapped in brown paper. As far as po'boys go I've actually had better, but how can you mess up fried shrimp, tartar sauce, lettuce & tomato all on french bread.

And it was served with these fries given to us in these cute tin cans lined with brown paper.

One of the girls ordered the sliders. I know this looks larger than a normal slider, but it was about average size. It was an order of three of these babies served with an onion bacon marmalade which was absolutely delicious.

The star of the table though was this short-rib sloppy joe. I didn't taste any of it because it was too messy to pass down the table to me, but it looked wonderful & my girlfriend reported that it was really good. It was ginormous too, enough for three people, seriously.

A couple of cabbages & several fake flowers (& a few green beers) later we decided to go to dinner in the lobby of the hotel that was around the corner from the hotel we were staying in. Again, as we got there we discovered it was yet another John Besh restaurant named Dominica. It's an italian place. It's very trendy being full of small plankwood tables, leather chairs, crystal chandeliers & black curtains. It was lovely & right up my alley.

After figuring out how to read the menu, it was a touch confusing at first glance, we finally ordered. One of the girls ordered this salad. It was served with very thin sliced apples topped with pecorino cheese, greens, a blood orange vinaigrette & pecans. It was beautiful & vibrant.

Then came the main courses.

Pizza with prosciutto & arugula, mozzarella & tomato sauce.

Then a margherita pizza, the girls added mushrooms to half of it. It was very good, the sauce was perfect.

I ordered the Gnocchi with mushrooms, pancetta & thyme. It was so delicious I could have swam in the sauce. It was a great, rich comfort food.

Later, we're sitting there sipping our wine & deciding where to go or what to do next when we decide to sample dessert or should I say desserts. They were as delicious as the rest of our dinner had been. First up was the Banana Zuppa Inglese which was a moist banana cake layered with butterscotch mousse & topped with peanut brittle. Absolutely scrumptious!

Then we ordered the Gianduja Budino, chocolate & hazelnut pudding topped with whipped cream & candied hazelnuts. It's fancier that it sounds, this was not your average pudding, more like a mousse. Devine!

The last dessert we settled on was the Frittele Di Mele, apple & ricotta fritters served with a ginger zabaione. The displaced girlfriend wasn't big on any of the desserts but she wanted to drink the zabaione with a straw. It was very sweet & rich but when you dipped the fritters in it there was a perfect balance. I loved this one but it was so sweet & rich you couldn't eat much. We actually left one fritter on the plate....we should be ashamed of ourselves, I know.

On our way out of town we did stop at the famous Mother's Restaurant. I forgot to take my camera in for those pictures which was just as well because I had breakfast instead of one of their famous sandwiches loaded with ham & turkey & dripping with debris & their cabbage & creole mustard concoction. You'll have to imagine that yourself & drool over it later.

That's the brief of my food adventures in New Orleans. It was much better than the usual stopping at the closest place you can find & it's good but nothing to write home about. This trip was much different on that level. 

If you find yourself in New Orleans stop by John Besh's place & tell him Gone With The Whisk said hi & she loved the gnocchi.

Until next time!

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