So what is it like to dine at the best new restaurant in the country? Thanks to our New Orleans in-laws, we paid a visit to Pêche in New Orleans just before it won the James Beard Award. Book your dinner reservation around the same time you book your plane tickets to New Orleans, and you too should have no problem getting into this friendly, democratic but still fabulous institution. (more…)
New Orleans is one the top culinary destinations in the world, so I am particularly lucky to have a brother and sister-in-law who live there. There are countless places to while away the time while you’re in New Orleans, but here a few more – in addition to Cochon – that we enjoyed the most. (more…)
If anyone could bottle and sell the ideal American restaurant right now, it would be Donald Link of Cochon. Every time I said I was going to New Orleans, all different types of people, foodies and non, young and not-so-young, told me: You have to go to Cochon.
The food, though excellent, is only part of it. So what is Link getting so right? Notable food in a casual and unfussy atmosphere is obviously something diners are seeking out right now, but how do you make a casual restaurant feel comfortable yet sophisticated? (more…)
Certain hometown restaurants inspire a kind of mania among their fans. In New Orleans, that restaurant would be Mother’s, whose po’ boy gets raves from longtime patrons of the creole lunch counter. Go here and locals will give you one important instruction about that sandwich: “Make sure you get the debris.”
As with many recent additions to New Orleans patois, this one has a traceable history. When a customer asked for the shreds of roast beef from the pan on his po’ boy, original Mother’s owner Simon Landry responded, “You mean the debris?” A sandwich was born. (more…)
Life is grand at Galatoire’s, the century-old restaurant in the French Quarter, where ladies in hats and men in white linen jackets gather under the ceiling fans in the sunny, tile-floored interior for a lunch that stretches into the afternoon. An oasis of air-conditioned civility on rowdy Bourbon Street, Galatoire’s still requires men to wear jackets, even if the mercury’s pushing 95. It’s one of many ways that Galatoire’s hews to tradition, even as the rest of the world constantly changes.
One of the best windows into New Orleans food, Galatoire’s specializes in the remoulades and etouffees that give Creole cuisine its particular French-Southern twist. The crowd is largely local, and there’s lots of table hopping on the main floor. Service is genteel, efficient but unhurried. A recent lunch here began with a cocktail proffered up on a silver tray. Cocktail hour seemingly never ends in New Orleans: the bar here was full by 2 in the afternoon. (more…)
At this location on Royal Street in the French Quarter, prime tourist territory, Cafe Beignet could be serving stale doughnuts and watered-down coffee and still they’d make a profit. Fortunately, New Orleans’ pride in good food is evident even in this little cafe, which specializes in these addictive breakfast pastries.
Each beignet is about the size of your fist, so you’d be fine splitting an order of three for a meal in Cafe Beignet’s charming tree-lined side garden. A beignet isn’t exactly a doughnut, and it’s not exactly Italian zeppoli. (more…)
Considering its proximity to vast swaths of upriver farmland, it may come as a surprise that there’s not much emphasis on locally-sourced produce in New Orleans. Seafood here may be as local as it gets, but southern techniques of boiling and frying vegetables and French techniques of butter, butter and yet more butter still rule at most restaurants. Fortunately, a handful of new spots are beginning to bring fresh, seasonal produce to the forefront of the menu.
One such place is MiLA in the Central Business District. Husband-and-wife chef team Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing acquire many of their ingredients from a nearby farm, Lujele, which is described in detail on the restaurant’s website. This all sounded vaguely Dan Barber-ish at first, but then came the clue: this duo, originally from Mississippi (“Mi”) and Louisiana (“LA”), logged several well-regarded years at Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar (Vines) and Fleur de Sel in New York (Rushing) before heading back south. An appetite for green market produce came back with them. (more…)