ROAD TRIP: New Orleans – Mother’s, Deanie’s & Crescent City
I just got back from a long weekend down in New Orleans for one of my best friend’s bachelor parties and thought I had so many incredible food experiences down that that I thought I would share them with you. There are so many unbelievable places in The Big Easy that someone could eat out every single meal for a year and would be hard pressed to be disappointed in a meal.
I didn’t research much food before I went down there like I should have and we didn’t stop into many of Emeril’s restaurants. We basically just asked the locals where we should try within walking distance of our hotel which was located just a few blocks from Bourbon Street. We also used the Foodspotting app (my favorite mobile food app) to find some places in the area. We didn’t jump in one cab the entire time so everywhere we went was on foot and within about three to four miles of each other.
On Saturday, we went to the Crescent City Brewhouse for a little while to stop in and sit down for some beers after walking around the French Quarter Festival. It was a lot of fun because we were able to sit out on the balcony and watch everyone as they walked to and from the festival. We ordered two different appetizers. The first was a dish called Baked Oysters Three Ways which consisted of half dozen fresh shucked oysters topped with crab & saffron, spinach & herbsaint, and spicy eggplant and then baked. The baked oysters were delicious and the flavors were outstanding. It was the first time that I had tried herbsaint, which is a herb-flavored liquor produced in New Orleans, and I really enjoyed it. My only issue is that the oysters were a little gritty but I would no doubt order them again if I went back.
The second appetizer we got before lunch was called the Seafood Cheesecake. It sounds a little iffy but the dish was delicious. It consists of shrimp, crab, crawfish and a blend of goat cheese and provolone served with a pepper sauce and little crispy, buttered baguettes. The seafood cheesecake was delicious as either a spread on the baguettes or as single, seafood filled bites. I definitely recommend getting this.
Crescent City Brewhouse also had some great craft brew made in house. I stuck with their seasonal called the Saints Ambrosia which was a Euro dark lager. Just like Red Oak in Whitsett, NC, Crescent City brewmasters follow the Reinheitsgebot which is the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 stating that the only ingredients that can be used to produce the beer are water, malt, hops and yeast. It was delicious and one of the only beers other than Abita that I tried while I was down there.
Deanie’s Seafood was the first restaurant that we went to when we all got in town. We heard from the bellhop at the hotel that it had some of the best fried seafood in town and he was right. We got to Deanie’s and there was about a 15 minute so we grabbed a few of Abita’s high gravity beers from the bar including the Andygator and the S.O.S. (Save Our Shore). While we waited, I made sure to eye some of the people that were eating at the bar and it looked awesome.
I started out the night with a small bowl of seafood gumbo. The gumbo came as a side to a po’boy for a few bucks extra but I was glad I got it instead of fries. The gumbo was filled with shrimp, crab and a bunch of delicious spices. It didn’t have as much rice as I am used to but, then again, I don’t eat down in Nawlins much so I can’t call myself a gumbo connoisseur. However, this was great and I would go back just for a big bowl of this stuff.
My friend, Jake, and I split an oyster po’boy and a shrimp po’boy so we could get half of each one. The shrimp po’boy (above) was our favorite of the two. I think it was because the shrimp were cooked perfectly and that the oysters may have been fried a few seconds too long. We also smothered the fried shrimp po’boy in Crystal hot sauce which you could find on about any table throughout New Orleans.
I am pretty sure that we failed at our attempt to go to the infamous Mother’s Restaurant. Everything that I have read about it since has said that you must get a po’boy or muffuletta when you go. We woke up early on Friday and it was about a block and a half away from our hotel so we decided to go there for brunch. However, they don’t start serving lunch until after 11:00 a.m. so we were locked in for breakfast after waiting in line for 20 minutes.
The breakfast is served all day but we were limited to only that because of the time we arrived. I ordered the crawfish étouffée omelet with a side of grits and a biscuit. Étouffée is a gumbo-like Cajun soup and it literally means “smothered” in French. The omelet was basic but cooked to a perfect fluffiness with a light cheese filling. The grits were plentiful but pretty bland and needed a couple of shakes of ground pepper. The biscuit was great and came with an awesome fruit spread.
I was pretty pleased with the breakfast but I just wish that I had been able to get a chance to try their po’boys or muffulettas. Esquire Magazine wrote that the Ferdi’s Special (a po’boy with their famous baked ham, roast beef, and “debris”) is one of the best sandwiches in America. I will be getting one of these the next time I go down there. One issue that I had with Mother’s is that most everyone that worked there acted as if the patrons were lucky to be eating there instead of the other way around.