My trip to NOLA quickly became characterized by late nights and even later mornings. Breakfast was optional and on our third day, my first meal was an afternoon plate of crawfish etouffee.
The name of the French Quarter restaurant where I ate this escapes me now, but oh man, was this rich. Etouffee is a creole dish that’s made of shellfish, highly seasoned, thicker than a stew, and served with rice. I tried, but I couldn’t finish my plate. Afterward, we walked it off along the Mississippi River.
No trip to the French Quarter is complete without a visit to the infamous Cafe Du Monde, and instead of dinner, our group headed to the cafe for beignets and cafe au lait.
Napkins are not optional here and you will make a mess. It’s worth it, though, and what better to wash down these fluffy, sweet, ethereal beignets than with milky coffee? We walked out in a sugar-induced stupor, high on junk food and wanting more.
Naturally, we went towards Bourbon Street, home of spring breaking frat boys, neon slushy hurricanes, and questionable pizzas kept warm under fluorescent lighting. I’ll have one slice of mystery meat pizza, please.
My pizza tasted like regret and loathing, but I washed it down with rum and all was good in the world again.
Speaking of rum, our group headed to the Garden District’s Rum House the next day for lunch. The Garden District was a breath of fresh air from the tourist-flanked French Quarter, and we took in the quiet(er) surroundings on Rum House’s outdoor picnic seating.
I had a plate of “tacos” (note to the uninitiated: these are not your standard Mexican tacos), collard greens, and a patty. If you think these items don’t typically go together, you’re right, they don’t. My tacos were tasty, but the patty left a lot of flavor to be desired. The collard greens made me crave gumbo. Still, the ambiance at Rum House couldn’t be beat.
Later that night we headed towards Parkway Bakery & Tavern for purportedly one of the best po’ boys in town. My heart wanted a fried oyster po’boy, but I ordered a catfish po’ boy instead, because I hear having to use your epi-pen on vacation is kind of a bummer.
This baby was messy, especially with all the Crystal hot sauce I poured all over it. The catfish was greasy, flaky, and spicy. In other words, just right. After four days in New Orleans, I was beginning to realize this was no country for health food.