Food Tour - New Orleans, LA

I love traveling but when I do, one of the first things I try to do is taste the famous local foods of the area. Before I came back to Duke for the fall semester, I flew to New Orleans where my roommate lived. We were going to drive up to Duke from there. I was excited because of all the culture in NOLA and the FOOD! Dear goodness…I only had 2 real days there so I had to get cracking on a million and a half things. I’ll go over them really quickly though just so you can go hungry over it…and know what to try!
1. Beignets

First thing that had to be had – beignets from Cafe Du Monde. The line was long but typical and it was hot but we had some street performers doing a piece to keep us occupied. Almost everyone was there for the beignets so it was quick in-and-out though we still sat down. I got the powdery goodness…and it rocked. It was also nice and cheap (under $3).

TIP: Don’t breathe out when you bite into one because you’ll just get it all over the place like I did.

INFO: Beignets are similar to doughnuts as they are deep-fried pieces of dough. They’re stacked on top with powdered sugar…delicious!

2. Gator on a Stick
We went to the French Market afterward to check out all the goodies there. I saw a sign for Gator on a Stick and decided “Why not?” I’ve had alligator before at a fondue place but it was NOLA and gator seemed appropriate.

My only dismay with my purchase was that it wasn’t a chunk of meat that made me think of the rough-and-tough nature of alligators. I was hoping to get the stick and have to rip chunks off of it with my teeth. The place had actually ground up the meat and put it in a sausage format…making me wonder if I was really eating gator or not. Either way, it was good and full of spices. I had to take a breather sometimes because I’m weak when it comes to spicy stuff.

3. Muffuletta

This here was definitely my favorite of the things I had in NOLA. I should’ve figured that out ahead of time though because it IS Italian, and I LOVE Italian food. This really hit the spot; it was also enormous so I got to have some later. I got the small one too…

So what’s in it? The bread makes it rocking – Sicilian sesame. Yum yum. Breads have my heart. That bread is slathered with some marinated olives (the place where I got mine had a tad too much since it soaked through my bottom layer). Then it is layered with capicola, salami, mortadella, emmentaler, and provolone. *drool*

It was giant. It was delicious. It was perfect. Oh and I had some gumbo there too because I knew I wouldn’t have time to get some later. GUMBO is essential to a trip to NOLA and I regret not going to a place that specialized in gumbo…but muffulettas? PERFECTO.

4. Homemade Dumplings

Alright this isn’t a part of NOLA culture but I had to share it because it was fantastic. One of the things that I was excited about doing when I got to NOLA was help my rooomie’s mom make dumplings for one of our dinners. She made everything from scratch, including the wrapper. I got to make bad looking dumplings (because I’m not a crafty, delicate person) and roll out the wrappers eventually. They turned out deliciously albeit ugly when it came to the ones I contributed.

5. Po’Boy

NOLA is famous for its po’boys (sub sandwich on Louisiana French bread). How could I resist getting one? I tried a shrimp one and beef one. I have to say…the shrimp one was the better of the two and boy was it GOOD. I guess everything in NOLA is quite big because I had to save some of the sandwiches for later as well. Both of them were fully “dressed,” as they’re called with all the condiments and veggies on. I’m not sure what more to say on the topic of po’boys. Their origin is complicated because of the various stories about them; I don’t know which to believe. I’ll just believe that they rock.

6. Snowball

My roomie said that I HAD to get a snowball when I got to NOLA. It was basically shaved ice with lots of syrup but the ice was so finely shaved that it was light and nearly fluffy. We went to a small hole-in-the-wall place between neighborhoods that was small and dinky; however, it was great. I had a blackberry creme kind and she had banana foster with pralines & cream on top. I enjoyed it…especially in the August weather.

7. Daiquiris

These stores were everywhere. Think of slushy machines…but with daiquiris. Now imagine a whole store dedicated to 20+ flavors of daiquiris. That’s all these places had…and I enjoy a Hypnotiq one on my last night in NOLA.

8. Pralines
I don’t have a picture of this but pralines are wonderful. They’re basically chunks of carmelized sugar and cream with almonds. I had samples from the French Market but that’s about all I’d have because they were very sweet. I can only take so much.
Yes…a long post but I shall definitely have to keep in mind more personal food tours. Definitely go with locals to get food when you’re traveling to make sure that you’re getting the best of the best and not just tourist traps…even though some of these places were touristy like Cafe Du Monde. It was a fantastically fattening trip and I’ll make sure to watch  my diet a little better the next time I’m in NOLA.