eating in NOLA.
This past weekend I headed down to New Orleans for a work trip. Now, before you you ask, “Did you have a blast!?!” I’ll refer to two words in the first sentece: work trip. Sure, it was “fun” but we were working and when we weren’t working we were getting ready for more work or eating (ah, and occasionally having a drink).
Anyways, the highlight of this work trip, outside of anything work related, was definitely the food. Grazina’s friend from NOLA had given her a few recommendations before we headed down and we were excited to try these local approved spots. If you find yourself in NOLA and are hungry, give these spots a try.
On Friday morning, we trekked about a mile or so from our hotel into the Lower Garden District to check out Surrey’s. We were promised fresh, organic deliciousness and weren’t disappointed. The menu is filled with South American inspired dishes and we could hardly contain our excitement as we prerused our options.
I went for the Costa Rican breakfast (2 eggs [which i omitted], brown rice, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, chorizo, cheddar cheese), Grazina tried the Migas (Eggs scrambled with onions, tomatoes and Pablano, peppers, cheddar cheese & corn tortilla chips. Topped with pico de gallo. Served with tortillas), and Toneisha had the Corned Beef Hash (Chunky sauteed corned beef, boudin,andouille sausage, and hashbrowns, topped with two eggs with toast). The boudin (aka Blood Sausage) was a house speciality, fresh from Crole Country Sausage Co.
Oh course we order sides of biscuits and gravy, because, duh, we’re in the south. The girls had mushroom gravy with their biscuits and I had the sausage gravy that was incredibly flavorful.
Needless to say, every bite was amazing. We were those girls who took photos of everything they ate (yes, people noticed, but c’mon!). If you find yourself in NOLA, be sure to come here for breakfast. The wait is worth it.
After a busy and hectic day of work on Friday, we met up with our PR team and some bloggers for a fancy French/Italian/Southern inspired dinner at the acclaimed Herbsaint. It’s a beautiful spot with white linen and a robust menu sure to make your mouth water. We started off the evening with cocktails. I kept it simple with the Herbsaint Champagne Cocktail, but if you want to mix it up, there are plenty of options.
Being in NOLA, I knew I had to try gumbo, though this posed an interesting problem, being that I don’t love seafood. Lucky for me, their gumbo of the day was Sausage and Chicken gumbo. Bam. Ordered. Devoured. It was spicy, flavorful and tasted just like I expected it too. Delicious.
For the main course, I picked the special, a 7 oz pork stack. It was definitely flavorful, but wasn’t as good as I expected it to be (too much fat, not enough meat). Nevertheless, the corn polenta that accompanied the meal made up for it. A perfect balance of flavor and texture.
I can’t remember what everyone else got, except for the fact that Grazina ordered the Gnocchi and loved it.
The amazing bartenders at our hotel bar (where we spent more time in two days than anyone probably should), told us we couldn’t miss out on a meal at Jacques-Imo. Actually, anyone from NOLA who we mentioned it to said the same thing. So, after a 20 minute cab ride through the picturesque, tree-lined, university laden streets, we arrived at this Creole and Cajun hot spot. The restaurant has a funky flair in terms of decor, and even more so when it comes to their menu.
We had about a 45 minute wait ahead of us, so we sat at the bar and made friends with some locals and New Yorkers while sipping on Abita and Jockamo IPA. Once our table was ready, we got right to it with an round of cornbread and fried green tomatoes. I’m 139379729% serious when I saw this was the best corn bread I had ever had in my life. Ever. There was garlic. Butter. Some other deliciousness. I don’t know what it was, but it was amazing and I will never enjoy cornbread again if it’s not from Jacques-Imo. The fried green tomatoes were good too, but nothing to write home about, except for the fact that they were the only green things that I consumed the whole trip. NOLA does not have a good relationship with green vegetables.
For the main course, I ordered fried chicken based on the zillion foursquare recommendations, Toneisha got the catfish, and Grazina and Kathe spilt the redfish. Eveyone’s food was delicious, but no one was able to finish their meal — the portions were huge.
Despite the fact that Jacques-Imo was out of the way, it was well worth the cab fare to hit up this spot.
That’s it! If you have three meals in NOLA, here’s where to eat. I promise you won’t go hungry, you won’t kill your bank account and you won’t feel like a tourist. Bon appetit!