I would like to first note that I know this post is long-overdue. I know that. But you have to understand. My PC is terrible and is getting old and crotchety. I had about 75% of this post done several days ago, but right in the middle of it, my PC decided that it wanted to stop doing what it was supposed to at that moment, and I lost what I had written. (As a side note right now, the computer works pretty fine normally, but if left on for too many consecutive hours, things stop working and a reboot is needed.)
And due to certain circumstances, I don’t have the pictures I was gonna post with this now. However, I will get the pics uploaded and added to the blog when I am afforded the opportunity.
Moving on, I recently took a little trip to New Orleans (henceforth appreviated to NOLA). It was a really great get-away anyway, but made further awesome by the fact that NOLA is a really great food town, and I ate a lot of it. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. I gorged myself on food and loved every morsel of it. Since I’m slightly bitter about losing all of my previous work on this post, I regretably won’t be going into the same detail as I had planned, especially as it pertains to the timeline of everything. I shall give you the highlights though.
First notable item is that, where my friends live (with whom I stayed for my trip), chain restaurants are very hard to find. I love this. It forces you to eat from the local guy and support the local economy, and on this trip, I was not disappointed at all.
I had raw oysters for the first time at the Royal House (chili sauce and extra horseradish, please), followed by a perfectly prepared shrimp po-boy. For those who do not know what a po-boy is, they are basically just sub sandwiches, usually stuffed with fried food, and some vegetation…and then lovingly adorned with mayonnaise.
I had a fantastic pizza at a local pizza joint that was topped with carmelized onions, roasted garlic and fresh basil. All the flavors really came together and were really fresh and great.
I got down on some really good bar-be-que at a place called the Joint (“Where We’re Always Smokin'”). I was told by my friend that the place had been featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and that made me hate it a little bit, mainly because of my dislike of Guy Ferry. Anyway, the BBQ was good though the sauce selection was lacking, and to me, the mac and cheese was a little dry. I had a combo plate with brisket and pulled pork on there. The brisket had a really flavorful crust on there and the fat melted in my mouth.
Red velvet ice cream from a local ice creamery nearby. This one surprised me. Maybe it’s because I live in Orlando. Everything around here is commercial, big-name chains. We had a local ice cream place here for a little bit and they closed down. It’s really cool (pun intended) that there are ice cream places that are locally owned and operated and thriving just fine. I mean, if you think about it, owning an ice cream store has got to be at least a little tough since it seems to me that just selling ice cream and frozen treats would be a tough way to pay the rent. But I digress.
I also had gumbo from a place oddly named the Gumbo Shop. I figured I should try their namesake and I’m glad I did. I had the chicken and andouille gumbo and I devoured it. Partly because I was starving, but partly because it was really delicious. I added a few drops of Tabasco and it was even better.
I couldn’t complete this post without mentioning that I went to the famous Cafe du Monde and enjoyed their signature beignets and a frozen cafe au lait. These things were crazy. Perfectly fried crispy on the outside, moist and delcious on the inside and covered in a mountain of powdered sugar. It was really a great experience and it was a really fantastic afternoon snack. The frozen coffee was probably the best I’ve ever had. Sometimes, frozen coffee can lose some of its “oomph” in the freezing process, but this stuff had a very profound coffee flavor and yet still milky and freezy.
However, none of those things stack up to the best thing I ate while I was in NOLA. My awesome wife made reservations for my group to some of John Besh’s restaurants in the area for lunch on my last day out there. I decided that we would go to Luke Restaurant. Best decision I made, and my guests were happy too. The burgers at Luke were actually ranked in the top 10 in the country by Food and Wine magazine. And I think you guys know me and my burgers. I did not order the burger. Now, you’re probably thinking “What could possibly be on the menu to cause J Lethal to not order one of the best burgers in the country?” If you’re not thinking that, it probably means you’re friends with me on Facebook. But anyway, the answer to that question is “the Charcoute Maison.” Or, roughly translated, the “House of Pork.” This was so glorious and the perfect last note for me in this town. It was a huge pork shank, smoked to an absolute perfection. It had developed a rich, deep and complex smoky flavor and managed to have a really nice crust on the outside too. Also, there were large chunks of pork belly thrown in the mix, which with their crazy fattiness, was just great. On the side of this enormous plate was a housemade sausage, which was everything one would want in a sausage. All this served on a bed of housemade saurkraut and some baby red potatoes thrown in. Holy cow..err.. pig! I barely made it through half of the meal, but everything complimented everything else perfectly. Grab a piece of meat that was a little too fatty? Get some kraut in there and the acid will balance it out. Sausage too bland for you? Slather it with some of the honey-dijon sauce they put on the side (The actual correct answer here is “get out because this food is delicious.”) Just wait until you see the picture of this thing!
But alas, my trip had to come to an end. Oh well. Maybe one day I’ll go back and be able to enjoy more of the amazing food. But until such a time, I’ll just make my own amazing food 🙂