Monday, March 26, 2012

The Fat Girl's New Orleans Foodie Adventure, Day 1.

Most people make vacation plans based on attractions, historical sites, events, whatever. Me? I make my vacations about one thing and one thing only: stuffing my face with the most amazing food my destination has to offer. Before I book flights or hotels I do plenty of research on the food in the area in order to decide if the distance is worth it. Once a decision has been made I make our itinerary based around our 3 meals, nothing else. We went to NOLA to celebrate our 3 year anniversary. We traveled Monday through Thursday in order to avoid crazy weekend waits in a such a hot tourist destination. Such savvy (hungry!) travelers we are! Let the games begin...

First stop of many, Green Goddess, which came highly recommended by both Yelpers and a fellow foodie friend who knows her stuff. We made this our first stop in NOLA since we arrived around brunch time.

The place is located in a colorful little alleyway connecting 2 busy streets in the French Quarter. We sat outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather and take in the sights. And by sights I mean getting our first taste of NOLA people watching - truly one of the best places ever. Our waiter was nice and knew the menu well. We decided he was no longer nice and just a jackhole when he completely ignored us after Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher arrived. Hopefully they tipped him well. The guy who took care of us afterwards was nicer and more attentive and agreed the other guy was douchy for deserting us.

Anyways, back to what matters: food! I ordered the pressed crab sandwich, my husband ordered the Cuban Luau sandwich. Both were served on incredibly tasty and fluffy French bread which was out of this world. My crab sandwich was a winner - tons of crabmeat in a spicy cheesy sauce. Pure beauty. Hubby's sandwich was also pretty delicious - pulled pork, pickled banana peppers, salami, manchego and pineapple w/ garlic aioli. The flavors were perfect together, I hate peppers and pickled anything and didn't even realize there was something in there I don't usually like. Both were served with nice little side salads.
Pressed Crab Sandwich

Cuban Luau

For dessert, we lived mega-dangerously and had their Notorious Bacon Sundae. Hold on to your panties - pecan praline ice cream, bacon, bacon caramel sauce, lava salts and whipped cream. Truly one of the most beautiful and decadent desserts I have ever come across. The caramel bacon sauce is something I only thought existed in my inner fat girl's bucket list. My husband laughed since the spoon didn't reach the very bottom of the cup and I was struggling for dear life. If it wasn't for Hollywood royalty sitting near by I would've stuck my hand down the glass to get the last bit. Shame.

The menu is incredibly creative - it's a shame we were only in NOLA for 3 days. I would've loved to have had a chance to try more items.

Next up, we decided to take a walk around the French Quarter, which is incredibly stinky but charming in a weird way. Maybe it's the arquitecture, the little shops, the street performers, the temptation to stop and eat at every place we walked by... not sure, but the place has lots to offer. After our stroll we decided to make a stop at the famous Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee.

Cafe Du Monde had me nervous as most places this famous tend to be tourist traps and almost always disappoint, however, this place was so good we even went back on our last night. Crowded? Yes. Crazy? Yes. Busy? Yes. Worth all of the above? Hell Yes! We ordered beignets, hot chocolate and coffee. Their hot choc was so good - rich enough to feel indulgent but not syrupy or overpowering. The beignets were warm, fluffy, with just the right amount of crisp. The powder sugar was heavy but one little dust/shake and it was perfection. We were lucky enough to catch some awesome jazzy drum music by street performers by the patio. The music made the experience feel very NOLA which was awesome on our first day.

Another stop on this stroll was the famous Southern Candymakers which is known for their pralines. This place smells like heaven as it is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of sweet creations. We had pralines: plain, sweet potato, chocolate, rum - all were delicious. Sweet potato was my favorite. Hubby also bought turtles, which were super creamy and the perfect snack to have in the room.

For dinner, we decided to follow a very high recommendation from a former NOLA resident and dear friend. She spoke highly of Dick & Jenny's and expressed her regrets in not having dined there during her time living in NOLA.

NOTE: Save this meal to be your last if visiting NOLA.

Dick & Jenny's ruined our trip to NOLA. D&J's set the bar so damn high that every morsel we put in our mouth from then on just lead us to say "This is good... but D&J's..." So thank you D&J, for destroying my dreams of endless "aha! moments" while in this magnificent city...

We ordered the soup du jour, which was crab bisque topped with a crab beignet. This dish was awesome - the soup was incredibly rich and flavorful and the crab beignet is everything you would imagine a perfect crab beignet would be. It enhanced the best qualities in the ingredients - the sweetness and meatiness of the crab plus the fluffiness and crisp of a perfect beignet. Meaty, fluffy, crispy... amazing.

I ordered the Garlicky Escargot РSaut̩ed Escargot, Neuske Bacon & Mushrooms
 in a Garlicky Butter Reduction. The bacon and escargot combination gave the dish a richness and flavor combo that was outrageous. The bread was also very good - perfect to dip in the sauce (and wipe your plate clean, you know, if that's how you roll.)

Hubby ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes Topped with a Dill-Tarragon Shrimp Ravigote & Red Pepper Aioli. I hate tomatoes but I ate this and enjoyed it. The shrimp was plump and fresh and it's sweetness worked well with the spice in the aioli.

We stuffed ourselved retarded with the cornbread brought to us - the butter it comes with was addicting. It was so rich and just... buttery. Like in your face buttery. As in no holds barred, full on fat, artery clogging butter. The best butter ever.

We made an executive decision and bypassed the entree in order to leave room for dessert. I reluctantly allowed my dear spouse to choose the dessert since I had chosen dessert earlier (bacon sundae!) and he went for the Chocolate Amaretto Cake – Layered with Chocolate Ganache, Topped with Toasted Almonds & Amaretto Whipped Cream. The cake itself wasn't very flavorful, but that's a-OK since it allowed the rich and creamy ganache and amaretto whipped cream to shine in the spotlight. The cake was massive but we inhaled it. All.

Also, most importantly, service was impeccable. Hunter, our server, was the best server we've had in a while. He was attentive, polite, and made excellent recommendations.

I said it before and I'll say it again, save this meal to be your last if visiting NOLA as the bar will be set so high you will just be filled with sadness as you venture through the city like a crackhead searching to relive for their first high.

So that's day 1... stay tuned for day 2.

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