I would be remiss if I didn’t devote an entire post about my week in New Orleans to food. Man, is the food good there. From beignets at Cafe du Monde to fresh crawfish and snowballs you can’t go hungry in NOLA. Here are a few of my favorite eats from our trip last week. My mouth’s watering just thinking about it!!
Mandina’s is on Canal Street and it’s one of KP’s favorite restaurants. If you’re gluten free they also have a gluten-free menu! I had the rice and beans which was absolutely delicious and Fig and KP had gumbo which looked great. Mandina’s has a really friendly atmosphere and the walls are covered with posters from Jazz Fest through the years.
Crawfish: A Photoessay
On one of our last evenings our volunteer coordinator, Tim, brought up a pound and a half of crawfish to try. We were all gathered at a beautiful house in Uptown for the Women’s Week “Hammers to Heels” party and ducked out when we had a moment to taste fresh New Orleans crawfish. As the bad Bostonian that I am, I didn’t try any (I don’t really like seafood that much…I know, you’re cringing now), but it did free up my hands to take these pictures. From what I could tell, it’s a pretty complicated process–eating crawfish–but Fig and KP loved it!
The Velvet Cactus
This Mexican restaurant was just down the street from where we were staying and we passed it so many times we had to stop for a bite to eat at the end of the trip. The outside seating is beautiful with colored lights decorating the canopy of trees above. I ordered off the gluten-free menu (yes, they had one!) and had some sort of pork taco/burrito thing. It was delicious. The margaritas are good too. If you want to bring kids, or you’re easily entertained by games yourself, there is also a ring toss game you can play while you wait to be seated.
Save room for dessert!!
We must have heard about Hansen’s 50 times from locals throughout the week. In New Orleans, I guess, this is the place to go to get snow balls (not to be mistaken for generic snow cones). You can see them shave the ice into snow right in front of your eyes and you can pick from dozens of flavors and flavor combinations. I got a nectar hot rod with condensed milk. Translation? Nectar snow ball flavoring with ice cream in the middle and creamy milk poured over the top. Wow. It was so good I didn’t even stop to take a picture, but here’s the view from outside and inside the shop. It’s been around since the early 20th century!
Cafe du Monde
I don’t think much explanation is needed here. If you go to New Orleans you should stop at Cafe du Monde at the end of the evening. Notice how the servers have to pay cash every time they go up to get a customers order–you are reimbursing them at after the fact with your payment. (They don’t take credit cards here so make sure you’ve got plenty of dollar bills before you go). The cafe au lait and beignets are the most popular menu items, but I’ve always really loved the hot chocolate.