New Orleans and Louisiana are renown for their food specialties, including Creole and Cajun cuisine and chefs like John Besh, Emeril Lagasse, Donald Link, Tory McPhail, Paul Prudhomme, and Susan Spicer. While NOLA has numerous famous, upscale restaurants with extremely long waits, requiring reservations way ahead of time and high price, one can also find variety and multitude of inexpensive traditional fare. With my each visit there, I make a point to enjoy traditional, everyday food. I recently started informally documenting my favorite eats with photography, usually using my cell phone. Fish, a common New Orleans fare, is absent from my menu because I don't eat any fish related food products due to my psychological aversion to them resulting from my childhood fish food poisoning.
Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, a New Orleans institution, start one's visit to the city. NOLA beignet history goes back to 1880 and French Creole colonists. This pastry is incredibly simple and is made from a square yeast dough being fried and covered with confectioner's sugar. One has to venture to Cafe du Monde early because it gets crowded and also keep in mind that only cash is accepted, no plastic money of any kind.
Po' Boy, dating back around hundred years, is an overstuffed sandwich on French bread and can contain almost endless variety of edibles. One popular version is Ferdi Special at the well known Mother's Restaurant dating back to 1938. It contains ham, roast beef, homemade cole slaw, mustard, pickles and debris (bits of roast beef that had fallen into the gravy during carving). Mother's Restaurant also has a lengthy outside line during peak times, but it moves pretty fast.
Another popular sandwich is the Muffuletta with Italian origin and dating back to 1906. It's huge being served on a 10 inch round Italian bread and contains Provolone cheese, Genoa salami and Capicola ham, olive salad, green olives, pimientos, celery, garlic, capers, oregano, parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. One of these sandwich could easily serve 2 or even 4 people.
Red beans and rice, favorite food of Louis Armstrong, is city's comfort stable and one of its signature dishes. This Creole dish was historically eaten on Mondays but is now available any time and any day. It commonly contains, red beans, rice, bell peppers, onion, celery, thyme, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, chicken and/or andouille sausage.
Gumbo is another New Orleans specialty. It has some semblance to stew over rice and contains celery, bell peppers, onion, bay leaves, and a combination or separately seafood, ham, chicken, or sausage. Several thickeners are employed, either okra, dried and ground sassafras leaves (filé) or flour and fat roux.
Another famous New Orleans rice, vegetable and meat dish is jambalaya. However, unlike gumbo which is prepared by adding other ingredients over rice, all jambalaya ingredients are mixed with rice. In addition to rice, jambalaya contains green bell peppers, onion, celery, tomatoes, carrots, chillis , garlic, cayenne, black and white pepper, cumin and one or more of the following andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, or crawfish.
One also encounters alligator dishes such as blackened alligator with remoulade sauce. Remoulade sauce can be mayonnaise and/or oil based and may contain chopped parsley, onion, celery, cayenne and black pepper, salt, paprika, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.
One common dessert is a bread pudding, some combination of bread, milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar and usually served with a sweet sauce such as praline pecan sauce or a bourbon sauce.
Another sweet New Orleans delicacy are pralines, a combination of milk, cream, sugar and nuts (commonly pecans) with a consistency similar to fudge.
Bon Appétit and laissez les bons temps rouler !
All images above were taken with my smartphone, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
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