Saturday, January 24, 2009

Great Big Glutton Goes to New Orleans

Before heading to New Orleans last weekend, I sought the restaurant advice of a few trusted advisors. My friend Elizabeth passed on her list, adding: “If you don’t come back from New Orleans feeling fat and disgusting, then you haven't done NOLA right.”

Well. I do like my ribbons blue.

We kicked the weekend off right, spending Friday night at John Besh’s deluxe restaurant, August. Everything there -- save the attitude -- was fantastic. The gold star goes to the roast duckling, which came with mounded squirts of buttery foie gras, creamy grits, and smooth quince jelly.

Saturday’s winner was the shrimp po’ boy at Johnny’s: Piles of perfectly crisp fried shrimp with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles atop a heavenly pillow of French bread. Add a little bit of Louisiana’s “perfect” hot sauce, and I can feel my blood turning Creole.

The rest of the weekend turned into a progressive eat-a-thon: Grilled oysters at Acme, outrageous cheeseburgers at Port of Call, sugared beignets at Café du Monde, seafood gumbo and bourbon bread pudding at Lüke, spicy jambalaya at The Gumbo Shop, pecan pralines at Southern Candymakers, toasted muffaletta at Napolean House, and everything with a side of Abita beer, sazerac, or absinthe. I give quiet thanks that New Orleans is a walking town. *Burp*

I wondered beforehand how the city would look, now several years post-Katrina, and I think it’s safe to say that the New Orleans food traditions are alive and well. The beignets are as wonderful as ever, the po’ boys are as filling as ever, and the bread pudding is still as devastatingly rich.

As directed, I am feeling fat and disgusting. And also? Gloriously content.


Anonymous said...

One of the best meals I had last year was at Restaurant August. It's staffed by buffoons, but the food is outstanding. Luke was kind of lame except for the pig trotter rilletes. You really should have gone to Cochon. It's one of my favorite restaurants out there.

So, how about letting people without a blogger account or OpenID post comments? That's a little restrictive:)

Ruthie J. said...

Misha -- 1) Thanks for your nice comment on Robert's blog! 2) I had some *great* gumbo at Luke, but the rest was pretty so-so. 3) Thanks for the tip on comments -- I had no idea! It's fixed now.

Genie said...

Oh, the poboy. It just melts my heart!

Did you get to visit the Abita brewery? I had my first Abita amber last night and quite enjoyed it!

jodycakes said...

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...I am SO jealous.
Sounds like you had a BLAST.
Glad you got to hit up port of call...Mmmm...those cheeseburgers call to me in my sleep!!!

Fulmer said...

Ahh, New Orleans, one of my all time favorite food destinations. I still have not done August or Cochon, but I'm planning a trip for Jazz Fest. Is it just me or is Cafe Du Monde totally over rated?

Ruthie J. said...

We had late-night beignets every night, so I can't say I was in the best state to judge. But in my view? Not over rated.

Anonymous said...

“If you don’t come back from New Orleans feeling fat and disgusting, then you haven't done NOLA right.” -- that is some seriously good advice. I like her.

Also, mad props to the Abita Purple Haze. Glad to see you drank right in NOLA, too. ;)