The Essence of New Orleans: A Foodie's Quick Tour

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New Orleans has always been high on the list of places all foodies must go to. That Louisiana food culture with its blend of French, creole, Cajun, and southern influences is what makes it a southern Mecca for foodies. As a result, it makes this city one that my palate was built for. On this particular weekend trip, I got a chance to skim the surface of what New Orleans’ food scene is about. Check out some of the tastes that this city has to offer.



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Don’t let my enthusiasm for NOLA’s food offering overshadow its vast culture and unique sights. While I was there I got to wander the streets a bit and take it all in. Check out that post and all the visuals that accompany it by clicking the link below. But let us take this opportunity to immerse ourselves in the essence of New Orleans’ food scene.

Sylvain

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I started my food adventure in New Orleans with a small bite. I figured I ought to pay Sylvain a visit and get a light cocktail and entrée. As expected, I started things off with a spritz. The perfect summer drink was done with a twist here. The Lazarus Spritz was done up with a blend of Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Aperol, St. Germain, Lemon, Orange Juice, and Cava. This was genuinely the best drink to start the day with.

While I was there taking in the classic styling of the restaurant, I chatted Eric, my server, about the meaning of life and he introduced me to Roads&Kingdoms, a James Beard award winning travel-centric publication with city guides to some great destinations. Check it out after you’re done reading, it is worth the peruse.

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Before I knew it, the Pork Shoulder Benedict was brought out for my indulgence. This plate was delicious and the pork shoulder patty served as the perfect foundation for this breakfast.

Spitfire Coffee

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Honestly, that first round was pretty tough, with the drinking and the eating and whatnot. So I went to Spitfire Coffee, a tiny coffee shop in the heart of the French Quarter, for a cappuccino to wake me up. There was still more to go, and I had to make to the end. This coffee shop served as a pleasant break in the middle of exploring.



The Sazerac Bar

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After taking in some more sights and taking in the vibes of the French Quarter I wandered over to the Sazerac Bar for a sip in a piece of history. This longstanding bar in the famous Roosevelt Hotel is one that is worth the visit. Not only to experience its sophisticated styling with its wall length murals by 1930s artist Paul Ninas but to also experience its expertly crafted cocktails.

Ramos Gin Fizz

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To start things off, I rolled into the Ramos Gin Fizz. I would dive into a dramatic superfluous detailing of the cocktail, but I think The Sazerac Bar paints the picture perfectly with their description. They call it a frothy masterpiece of cocktail engineering. I couldn’t say it better myself. This drink, invented by Henry C. Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon circa 1888, is a medley of Hayman’s Old Tomb Gin, lime, lemon, sugar, egg whites, cream, and orange flower water. This drink was a smooth concoction with the right amount of sharp tones from the lime and lemon.

Sazerac

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But I couldn’t go to the Sazerac Bar without getting the “official cocktail of New Orleans” a Sazerac. It was a solid cocktail to match the flavorful vibes of that day.

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Toups' Meatery

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Now its time for the final piece of this food tour, Toups’ Meatery. One of two restaurants from Chef Isaac Toups, the other being Toups South. I gained awareness of Chef Toups on his show on Bravo ‘Isaac Takes On…’ and a few other clips online of him giving some solid recipes. His restaurants came highly recommended from a few sources of mine, so it made my list of restaurants I have to visit. Toups Meatery stood out on my list this particular day for its sophisticated approach to Cajun cuisine.

Chef Isaac Toups, of Toups Meatery, teaches us how to make a New Orleans style chicken and sausage gumbo. Isaac lets us in on the importance of taking it slow and enjoying a beer while cooking, while expertly formulating his savory stew.

In this episode of Chef's Night Out, we head back down to the Big Easy with Isaac Toups of Toups' Meatery, who shows us some of his old haunts.

Boudin Balls

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The Boudin Balls are a great start to a meal, especially a NOLA meal.

Fried Fish

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The Fried Fish is a pretty spicy dish with some lightly fried fish. It is a blend of fermented pepper and lime chutney, cilantro aioli, seasonal vegetable salad.

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Gulf Seafood Couvillion

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The Gulf Seafood Couvillion was out of this world. I submit that it was worth the flight to New Orleans alone. The Louisiana Gulf fish, shrimp, and crab fat rice are sitting in a flavorful roux. The dish was tear-inducingly good. The bold flavors that this dish possessed are the reason why I love New Orleans cuisine. Experiencing this dish reminded me why its great to be human. Yeah, it was that existential of a moment.

The Gnar

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I had to ride the high from the Gulf Seafood Couvillion with a cocktail. Toups’ Meatery has this pretty cool cocktail menu that is organized by color. I went to the green section and opted for the Gnar drink. I wasn’t a fan of this one, so you may want to go for another color when you’re picking a cocktail.

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I’m not sure if I have reached new levels on my gluttony skills, or just grew a big appetite from exploring the city but putting this post together really put things into perspective. This was a lot of food to pack in for the day, but I do it for the culture. This was merely a taste of the essence of New Orleans. This city has so much to experience, and its food culture has even more to offer. Until next time NOLA, let the good times roll.

With love,

Greg McGregorson