Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Roadtrippin' Continued: NOLA 2011


New Orleans is a mere 6 hours from Memphis, and it is rapidly becoming a favorite getaway spot for me and the SO. We are wanderers and eaters on vacation, and New Orleans has tons of good restaurants waiting to be discovered as well as plenty of things to see without paying a dime. This Memorial Day weekend, we took a little jaunt down.

It was wretchedly hot during the day, but the nights were cool enough to not want to die while waiting for the St. Charles Streetcar.

As soon as we got in, we made our way to the French Quarter for oysters. Feeling pretty delighted with ourselves, we ambled past the long, long line at Acme to plop ourselves down a the bar at Felix's Oyster Bar. My friend Jessica, who has legit cajun cred and intimate knowledge of the city, recommended Felix's, and it didn't disappoint. We split a half dozen chargrilled oysters. Delicious. I thought I hated oysters. No, I love them with butter and cheese and effusive bartenders.

I also had a soft-shell crab po-boy, a huge indulgence that was one of the tastiest, messiest (crab juices, y'all) sandwiches I've had in a while.

The first night we went to Boucherie, a restaurant in a tiny little house just off Carrollton and easily accessible via the St. Charles streetcar. This place was such a gem. Nothing on the menu was more than $15, and so we feasted: mussels, scallops (for SO, who couldn't stop raving about them), artichoke confit (me, so ridiculously rich), and a thai chili chocolate chess pie for dessert. Wish I had taken a picture of the dinner menu, but here's a pic of the cocktail menu:

Fun! And here's my Riverbend Martini -- Hendrick's, orange liqueur, muddled cucumber, orange, and lemon. Summertime means gin.

We'll definitely go back the next time we're there. Service was really slow -- it took at least 20 minutes just to get our drinks -- but it was nice to have a leisurely dinner. Call ahead for reservations; we didn't do that, but they were able to seat us on the porch (the porch! so cute) immediately.

We spent our next day exploring Magazine Street and stumbled onto Sucré, an impossibly precious gelateria/pâtisserie. Much oohing and ahhing over the pastries was had, as was gelato. Raspberry for me:

Super-intense flavors, but I couldn't finish it! The "small" was a pretty generous portion.

More wanderings around Magazine, amusing sign to we liti-GATOR types.

I debated going to Galatoire's that night, but ultimately decided it wasn't really our style. We ended up at John Besh's Lüke (inexplicable umlaut and all), and I'm glad we did. SO got a pot of mussels that were out of this world. I am kind of a mussel fiend and have rarely encountered them in Memphis cooked the way I like them. Back home in Florida, my dad makes them with nothing but butter, white wine, and garlic, and that's how I want 'em when I want 'em. Luke's did them right. Also, they literally came in this kind of pot, which was filled to the brim. I had... hmm, what did I have? Oh yeah, crab ravioli. Good, but I was happy to snipe mussels. Our waiter was very strange and didn't make conversation, or even eye contact for that matter. And banged things on the table. Luckily, the mussels were worth it. We also had the two house beers on tap, the Fru and the Alt, which were both decent.

Followed up Lüke with a trip to Cafe du Monde, bien sûr! Delicious, but note to self, one tiny cup of cafe au lait there at 10 PM=up til like 4 AM. And I am not normally affected like that.

On our last day, we ate a quick lunch at Cochon Butcher in the Warehouse District before heading out of town. This place is super tiny and makes everything on site, from the cured meats down to the pickles (which were excellent and tasted of cucumber still, by the way).

I had a smoky duck pastrami slider.

SO had the muffaletta, which had an olive salad lightly spiked with mustard. Sometimes I avoid the muff' for its heaviness, but I liked this one.

Awesome road trip/vaycay. We're back to reality now, and for me that means packing to move soon, a draining process. There will be some actual cooking on Eating Local in Memphis soon, though. In other news, *someone!* had a 30th birthday recently, and I hosted a beer party at my house, which you can read all about on FuzzyBrew.

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