Subscribe Now!
Listen to TK on Shuffler.fm

New Orleans City Guide, Plus Local Pairing

September 29th, 2010

Well hello there, friends. I’ve missed you! Summer has come and gone but suddenly REAL summer has arrived. The Indian Summer we here in San Francisco have all been waiting for. Last week, I spent an amazing weekend with girlfriends in New Orleans, where I ate, ate, and ate (and didn’t sleep much). I haven’t spent much time in the South (beyond a trip to Austin for a conference a few years ago, and a family vacation to Florida) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now that I’m back, I can tell you that I could fully make myself at home there.

Beyond the gorgeous scenery (lush, overgrowing trees, deliriously beautiful architecture) and the food (oh we’ll get to the food), I just found New Orleanians to be some of the friendliest people I have ever come across. They’re not kidding around when they talk about all this Southern hospitality they’ve got down there. I felt like everyone from the bakery lady to my friend’s neighbors were calling me ‘baby’ and I didn’t mind it one bit. Music flowed from every crook and cranny until late, late into the night, and no one was shy about dancing in the street.

I observed high school kids rocking out to jazz players at 2 am and a 40s style wedding procession. Football is a whole other beast in New Orleans. There was no way I was getting out of watching a Saints game. I love the way every city dances to its own drum–New Orleans, though, doesn’t just dance to a drum, it dances to a complete brass band. A city that saw so much destruction has risen above in a way that pulses through every street and establishment (the owner of a cooking store we popped into said, “we’re part of the rebuilding”–it was a powerful sentiment).

New Orleans is known for cuisine–a unique blend of French, Creole/Cajun–and I was beyond impressed with nearly every meal. At the Creole Creamery, I had chocolate ice cream with chicory caramel and goat cheese and berry sherbert. At Luke (chef John Besh is a James Beard award winner) I nearly died over the fresh crab ravioli and foie grois (not to mention the ENORMOUS serving of profitroles). People aren’t shy in New Orleans–want the rest of your drink to go? Just ask for a to-go cup (yup, it works for champagne, too). And when you’re ready to just kick back after all that dancing, drinking and eating? Just take a stroll through Audubon Park.

Here’s a recap of places to try:

Dante’s Kitchen: out of control brunch: I had the house-cured gravalax with poached eggs on a housemade biscuit, the grits and an iced coffee. Divine.
Luke: fine dining without the prices. Enourmous portions, fresh seafood, killer burger, massive wine list and fantastic cocktails.
Emeril’s: one of the well-known-chef’s popular eateries. Try the shrimp and grits.
Ignatius Eatery: on the adorable Magazine Street–crawfish etouffee for your Southern fill.
Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar: fresh juices, French toast, eggs and biscuits to start your morning.
Croissant D’Or Patisserie: historic patisserie in the heart of the French Quarter. Grab a huge almond croissant and a cafe au lait or cappuccino and feel like you’ve been whisked away to Paris.
La Boulangerie: incredible pastries at ridiculous (for a San Franciscan) prices.
Creole Creamery: you just can’t leave NOLA without trying this place–rotating flavors (they have a whole section devoted to chocolate!)
La Crepe Nanou: very authentic, romantic little spot. Get the mussels with pommes frites and one of their salads with a glass of rose.

and of course…Cafe du Monde. Don’t leave NOLA without these beignets. The mess is worth it, trust me!

Local Pairings: Eddie Bo – “S.G.B” and “Funky Yeah” singles

We’re taking a break from our usual programming to provide you with something a little different: a little late-60′s/early-70′s New Orleans’ style funk/rock. Kasey is featuring a city guide based on her recent visit to New Orleans, and so I wanted to share my love for my favorite musician from the “City of Mystery”: Eddie Bo. And sure, I’ve featured Eddie Bo on these pages before, but I think his work is awesome-enough to bare repeating. If you missed our previous post about him, Bo was an accomplished singer/songwriter/musician from New Orleans who passed away last year. Eddie wrote and recorded a deep collection of upbeat, lively tracks ranging from soul, R&B, rock and funk beginning in 1955 all the way into his 70′s. It has been said (I’m quoting from Wikipedia): “Eddie Bo on stage was a total celebration of New Orleans life and New Orleans music. Others became more famous, but Eddie Bo was the greatest.” Head to Musical Pairings to grab the sample tracks! –Matthew


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16375984772198195200 Esi

    New Orleans is at the top of my "must" list. Glad you had a fun weekend!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13400417426242500774 Megan Gordon

    Like you, the only South I've seen is Austin and I've heard that doesn't really count. Have been dying to go and check out New Orleans. Looks like you guys had an amazing time!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Esi: it was at the top of mine and I was not disappointed!Megan: seriously an incredible city- so much life, so much food!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14836957075005953796 Lacy

    We stopped in this summer on our roadtrip and I completely fell in love. I've never been so enamored with a city before. (Not to mention the fact I think I gained a solid fifteen pounds during our stay.)I'll confirm that brunch at Dante's kitchen is a must. Also, I'd like to add Jacques-Imo's to the "must-eat" list. Hands down some of the best food I've ever eaten.Glad you had fun, and thanks for the recommendations! Can't wait to go back again!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Lacy- if I had more time to spend in the city, no doubt I too would gain 15 pounds! I was only there for a few days, so didn't get to try Jacques-Imo (I read a lot about it, though). Next time!! I can't wait to go back either!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05908688613473980514 Karen

    Another great restaurant on fabulous Magazine St. is Lilette. And down a ways towards the Park on Webster is Clancy's. Both are neighborhood places with a history and a loyal following. I think you need another visit to take in what the regulars know — on just about any corner in any neighborhood there is a great place just waiting to serve up gumbo, soft-shelled crab, crawfish bisque, a good muffaletta, or a shrimp poor-boy. Now I am making myself hungry and homesick!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Hi Karen- great suggestions- I'll add them to my list for next time! I was actually visiting a friend who lives in NOLA and while I think she took us to some well-known places, I do think that a lot of the spots we hit WERE her and her friends' 'regulars.' That said, there are always more and more places to explore to get the local feel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15270440612156971084 NicoleD

    Sounds like so much fun, Kasey. Thanks for sharing! We just got back from a vacation and we stuffed ourselves silly :)

  • Ellen

    As a New Orleanian, I think you did a great job! I’m so glad you mentioned Surrey’s. That place is the best! If you do come back all the John Besh restaurants have superb happy hours from 3pm-6pm every day of the week. Its a great way to get a taste for them all with cheap small bites and half price drinks.