My family came in for a visit this month, and I wanted them to have a wide variety of things to do, even though they have been here several times. To start the weekend off right, my fiancé cooked them a meal of southern delight. We began with some boudin, which they had never tried before. Boudin, for those of you who don’t know, is a Cajun sausage. In this instance, it was stuffed with rice, crab and shrimp. Delicious! Next, we moved on to the main dish of Crawfish Étouffée over rice with red snapper and green beans. There is sometimes a distinction in Louisiana between Cajun and Creole dishes. My fiancé makes what is a called a blonde roux for his Étouffée as opposed to a brown roux (or no roux at all). For dessert, I whipped up a batch of homemade sugar cookies and my fiancé made homemade triple chocolate gelato. Needless to say, we were Étoufféed!
The following day we headed out to Mason’s Grill for brunch. They were just voted best Bloody Mary (and you can build your own!) in the country by Food Network. It is a family owned and operated restaurant known for their southern dishes. Their portions are huge and heavy, but amazing! They serve dishes like the Breakfast Burger (bring your appetite), Cajun Breakfast, or Seafood Au gratin Benedict. After devouring our food, we headed out to Cajun Country a.k.a Henderson, Louisiana. In the Atchafalaya Basin, where we took an airboat tour among the cypress trees, learned some history and saw alligators! The Atchafalaya Swamp is the largest in the country (did not know that) and our tour guide at Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Marina did an awesome job of showing us around. After our tour, we wandered around Breaux Bridge and had some late afternoon snacks of BBQ Shrimp, gumbo, Fried Green Tomatoes, Crawfish cornbread and fried shrimp dressed with honey aioli, all at Café Des Amis. Unfortunately, we did not make their Zydeco Brunch, but that is on my list of things to do!
The next morning we headed out to New Orleans for another food adventure (just kidding! Or am I?). We grabbed some local coffee from Community Coffee and headed on down to the Big Easy. After checking in, we wandered around the French Quarter looking for some delicious oysters. Per usual, the line at Acme Oyster was out the door! So we headed across the street to Felix’s, which were equally delicious! (I mean it is the same Gulf Coast, right?). We had them raw and chargrilled, we had some crab fingers, blackened shrimp and some fried pickles. If you have never had Chargrilled Oyster or some tasty crab fingers, you are missing out! Deciding we needed to caffeinate before going out to dinner that evening (yes, we were going to dinner) we stopped at Antoine’s Annex for an espresso. They did have some delicious looking pastries, maybe next time!
Not to be repetitive but we went to R’evolution that night for dinner. We just loved it so much the first we had to try it again, especially with family! Plus, we had to try some more items on the menu. Items such as the Soft Shell Crab Bisque, Beer Battered Crab Beignets, and Rotisserie Duck served with a pea foie gras, Red Snapper and Pork Belly a La Plancha, and the Braised Boneless Short Ribs in a red wine sauce. Yum!
For their last day in NOLA, we went to Chef John Besh’s Luke for breakfast. It is a Franco-German brasserie, but he incorporates Creole as well. I kept it simple and had the local yogurt, with house made granola and berries for breakfast. The others had the breakfast sandwiches on a homemade biscuit: fried chicken and spicy mayhaw glaze and the grilled Chisesi Ham with Emmenthaler cheese and tomatoes. As a thank you, the waiter brought us over a fresh basket of beignets served with hot chocolate sauce. And this is why I love the Big Easy!