Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The BIG Easy

Hold on to your butts, this is gonna be a big one. Me and some fellas took our annual trip to New Orleans this past weekend so I hit up a couple friends for some cuisine recommendations - special thanks to Will Semons and Kristi Willis for the suggestions! In additions Harrah's (to lose money) and Bourbon St (for other stuff), we hit up some great restaurants for some killer grub. And this is that tale.

Both lists included this place:

And both lists recommended this dish:

And this is what that dish looks like:

I wish I had a picture to describe HOW DELICIOUS THESE WERE!! Wow. They actually grill these oysters over an open flame, then brush them with a garlic and herb butter, and dust them with Parmesan and Romano cheeses. They're served with French bread to sop up all that glorious butter. With a nice Abita Turbodog to wash em down, these were a great way to start of the trip.

After donating some cash to the Harrah's Kid's College Fund, it was time for some more grub:

Yes, of the Archie-Eli-Peyton Mannings. None of us were starving, plus we wanted to get a nice sampling of the menu. So we just hit up some apps. SWEET POTATO SKINS with goat cheese, bacon marmalade and green onions - good, but way to sweet. GRIS GRIS DUCK WINGS flash fried with pepper jelly - easily the best thing we had. COCHON DE LAIT "POUTINE" hand-cut fries, pulled pork, pepper jelly gravy and cheese curds - even though the duck wings were best, this was my favorite. CAJUN SLIDERS alligator sausage, caramelized peppers, onions, and Crystal hot sauce aïoli. Overall, the grub was good, but nothing was mind-blowing.

Now let me tell you what WAS mind-blowing, the complimentary continental breakfast at our hotel, The Queen & Crescent.

That's it. No comment.

The one place that we all knew we were going to, was Butcher. We hit this place up last year, and it was so good, we HAD to go back.

Of course, I won the war of the order. I got the Pork Belly with cumber and mint on white bread. Simply delicious.

In another concerned effort to experience as much as of the menu as possible, we tried to make sure everyone ordered something different. So we also got to experience the BBQ Pork "Carolina Style" with slaw - honestly, the pork was a little dry and not very smoky, but the potato salad that it came with was real nice. We also had the Cold Roast Beef with horseradish and arugula - this was real tasty with the added bonus of a sinus-clearing punch.

A quick pause in food and debauchery landed us at the aquarium. Check out this little guy:

Yup, that's an otter swimming on his back. Nothing cuter. Seriously. We also saw sharks, rays, snakes, frogs, turtles, jellyfish, and some fish.

After the aquarium, it was nap time. Then we said, "let's get some doggone Cajun food Ayeeeee!!!!!" Okay, there was no actual "Ayeeeee", but you know what I mean. So we hit Coop's Place. This was one of those hole-in-the-wall, line-out-the-door kinda joints.

Again, trying to get a well rounded experience of the menu, we all got the same thing. Huh? Hand on, you'll get it. We started with the Bayou Appetizer - fried crawfish, shrimp, crabfingers, and oysters. This was a nice alternative to getting a fried entree. We also all tried the Abita Restoration Pale Ale - not bad, the hops worked real nice with the spice of the rest of the meal.

We all ordered the Coop's Taste Plate for dinner. It came with a cup of gumbo - a filé-thickened gumbo had an overwhelming vegetale flavor for me. It also had

A piece of Fried Chicken: good ole fried chicken, no complaints!
Shrimp Creole: clearly Creole sauce poured over boiled shrimp, a little disappointing there, but good flavor.
Red Beans and Rice: a little salt really set this off. The pieces of pork in here were a welcome surprise.
Rabbit and Sausage Jambalaya: real tasty.

All in all, nothing here blew our minds, but it was a great sampler of Cajun cuisine.

Again, another fantastic trip to Nawlins. As far as fun and cuisine were concerned, I graded this trip an A+. As far as gambling, a D- and not an F because I didn't go to the ATM for more cash to lose. We sure did laissez les bon temps rouler.

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