New Orleans is practically a foodie’s fantasyland. Especially on our busy trips, there are never enough mealtimes to eat all the things I want…. what a first world problem! I sometimes have crazy cravings for distinctly NOLA food experiences, so we made a point of making it back to some long-term loved eateries.
We ate fondue and mussels at Le Crepe Nanou on our first date a dozen years ago, and celebrated our engagement there as well. There’s nothing like a glass of rosé and a little French bistro romance, and they consistently bring both to the table, along with delicious food.
Creole Creamery is just up the block, and I couldn’t help but answer the siren’s call. The darling little boy I made friends with would insist you try the Cookie Monster, creamy vanilla crammed with Oreos and chocolate chip cookies. They mix a whole red velvet cake into their ice cream of the same name, and it is unreasonably good, but they offer a sampler of four mini scoops, and that’s where the party’s at. Banana cane malt, roasted pistachio, creole cream cheese, brown butter pecan- those are just a few of the yums on offer, but my favorite flavors are seasonal. I devoured my cone of black-and-gold crunch- the French vanilla and chicory ice cream with Oreos and chocolate chips is only available during Saints season. I’d argue that my artisan ice cream obsession was honed in this old-timey scoop shop… I for sure ate way too much Creole Creamery in college!
Our apartment was conveniently located in the Garden district, perfectly placed for morning walks toLa Boulangerie. It’s been revitalized by Donald Link and his restaurant group since we moved away, so it’s no surprise there were lines for their fantastic French pastries and breads. It wasn’t yet king cake season, but the decadent Paris brest, glossy croissants, and bountiful fruit tarts more than made up for it.
The Cure really focuses on their mixology- that’s why they make some of the best and most creative drinks in New Orleans. I always suggest some flavors I enjoy to my bartender, and am rewarded with the perfect custom cocktail creation. I can’t be that brave most places, but they nail it every time.
Before heading out for drinks, we had a little take-out dinner party at our house. We picked up Creole-Italian from Vincent’s, which was a frequent date-night spot in college, just around the corner from David’s apartment. The corn-and-crab bisque, canneloni, and Parmesan crusted chicken were all as incredible as I remembered.
Like every good New Orleans girl, I love me some po-boys. Out near the parish line, Crabby Jack’s makes some of the best in town. Like a blast from the past in the building by the train tracks, the fanciest thing is the display of local art for sale. You order at the counter and serve your own fountain drinks, but who needs fancy service when the food is this good?
Keeping it classic, my typical poboy order is a half and half of fried gulf oysters and shrimp, dressed with extra hot sauce, but I also have a weakness for the smoked duck. The cochon de lait was juicy and tender and messy and scrumptious, like always. We also got a fried green tomato with shrimp remoulade- old school New Orleans, but for good reason- the flavors are on point together.
In all seriousness, I sometimes dream of Middendorf’s thin fried catfish. You might not think fried fish could be that amazing, but that just tells me you’ve never eaten there. They’ve been serving it along the water in Manchac since the 1930’s, and along with a deep, dark, sausage-and-seafood gumbo and a Dixie beer, the goodness feeds my appetite and my soul.
Growing up, David and his family used to boat across Lake Maurepas and dock out back for supper. it looks much different now- there were major repairs and renovations post-Katrina, but the lake is ever-lovely. We love relaxing out by the water, with a full belly and a fresh beer… even when the mosquitos are out, the bayou is a truly gorgeous place.