August 21, 2013

New Orleans, Day 2 - A Day of Eating

Our first full day in New Orleans we woke up, got ready for the day and walked over to try the famous beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I was less than impressed by the gen. pop. cafeteria feel of the place. The outside seating area was filled with people, some attempting to make there way inside only to be blocked by strollers and confused patrons. We weren't sure how it worked so we snaked our way through the crowd, went inside and stood next to a table that needed to be cleared and waited. No one came. The staff was busy, flying from table to table like bees, little white dishes and coffee cups in hand. I  stared at the menu on the wall. Hickory Coffee. Cafe Au Lait. Beignets, three to a dish. It was limited, yet another surprise for me, at least. We caught one of the servers attention and he came over to clear the table. He took our order before he left. Two dishes of beignets, one black coffee, and one cafe au lait. He repeated our order back to us as if it were too much. "Two orders of beignets?" Yes, two. We hadn't eaten yet and were hungry. Three French doughnuts just wouldn't do for JD, he requires a more substantial meal than splitting with me, though we agreed that six was too much. Minutes later our server returned and set the white dishes in front of us, brimming with powdered sugar. We sat at our little round table in the window until the beignets were gone. 
After breakfast we wandered the streets of the French Quarter away from the tall styrofoam cups on Bourbon Street, making our way towards lunch at the very edge of it on Esplanade. A friend of JD's recommended a place called Port Of Call for the best burgers. The bar was dark and the dining area full when we pushed open the door. We found seats at the bar and took in the scene. Rope nets hung from the ceiling with caught pieces of driftwood strung through with lights. Despite the walk I wasn't hungry for lunch. JD ordered a cheeseburger that came with a side of a loaded baked potato. I can say confidently that everything in New Orleans comes with bacon, and sausage. It would be a difficult city to navigate as a vegetarian. It was here that we found the storied strawberry Abitas, a recipe we will have to replicate next spring. They were lovely. 
Afterward we did some more exploring before heading back to the hotel to soak up the remainder of the hot afternoon sun from the rooftop pool. After unwinding for a couple of hours we got ready again and went out for dinner. We hadn't done much research on where to eat in New Orleans before we left. Our friend Dee sent us with a perfect, detailed list of places she had tried and those she had wanted to when she visited back in October. Then there were the famous places that we had to swear we'd try before we left New York, Cafe Du Monde and Commander's Palace. We had already checked one off of our list and had reservations for the other the following evening. We resigned to checking Yelp for any hidden gems. That is how we found EAT. The reviews said that it was in an old home, and that if chicken fried anything was on the menu that night, it must be tried. By then the air had cooled enough to enjoy the walk and we stopped to take photos along the way. 

The restaurant had a very modern feel with green chairs and chrome furnishings. Drawings and sketches hung from the walls. It reminded me of being at the Greenporter rather than at someone's grandmother's home. I ordered the chicken fried chicken, JD had the cochon with mustard greens and homemade mac and cheese. Everything was delicious. The chicken was perfect, the best I've tasted. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip. 
When we finished dinner a friend and former co-worker of JD's mom, Julian and his wife Jen, picked us up and took us on a tour of the city. They are both such sweet people. And the tour was fantastic. We never would have seen much of the city had it not been for them. The French Quarter is great, but there is so much more to New Orleans than that one little section. Thank you again Julian and Jen for showing us around!

1 comment :

  1. Yum yum yum! We were there last October and loved it. Cafe du Monde was our first stop, those beignets!


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