Home > Food, Music, Personal > The Food of NOLA

The Food of NOLA

This special report is written with Emily

Day 1: Best. Meal. Ever.

Upon landing in New Orleans we immediately headed to Bourbon Street for an icy hurricane and a journey through the heart of the French Quarter.  We meandered through the streets and circled Jackson Square while consuming our frosty beverages.  It certainly is a strange feeling walking in a city street with an alcoholic beverage in hand.  After our brief foray into the heart of NOLA, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for a dinner at Restaurant August, Chef John Besh’s flagship restaurant.  The restaurant came highly recommended from several reliable sources.  We entered with high expectations and left as devout John Besh enthusiasts.  This was to be Elliot’s birthday dinner and so we arrived early to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail.  As luck would have it, the first table available for our seating happened to be the BEST table in the house–a comfortably large for two corner table with the seats wide open to the interior of the elegant, mahogany-walled dining room.

Our waiter was particularly informative and the restaurant was uniquely flexible in allowing patrons to “design” their own meal.  Each item listed on any of the day’s menus (a la carte and two tasting menus) could be ordered in any way we desired.  The amuse-bouche tipped our hand to the fact that this dining experience would be phenomenal.  A tasty concoction served in a quail egg shell topped with some fine caviar paved the way for our first course: an heirloom beet salad complemented with smoked bacon, jumbo lump crab and a blend of mustards served on top of a blend of lettuces.  Next we each ordered an appetizer.  Emily enjoyed a delectable gnocchi served with crab meat and topped with an amazing truffle oil sauce.  Elliot ordered the oysters three ways: sauteed with pepper, baked with a delicious horseradish sauce, and deep fried southern style in a tangy batter.  What a start!

For the entrees, Emily ordered the filet mignon while Elliot ordered the day’s special veal served over a creamy spinach.  Through and through this was an exceptional culinary experience.  From the atmosphere to the service to the food itself, everything was simply stellar.  We left the meal determined to sample several of John Besh’s other well-regarded New Orleans restaurants.

Day 2: Brunch at Brennan’s and More Besh

We woke up still slightly full from dinner the night before, but ready for our breakfast (more like brunch, but in NOLA no one’s counting) at Brennan’s.  The baked apple appetizer and the french onion soup each delighted and were unique takes on traditional favorites.  Elliot enjoyed his jumbo lump crab omelet (yep a lot of jumbo lump crab down in NOLA) and Emily devoured her egg’s Portuguese–a NOLA twist on Egg’s Benedict.  Most importantly, the banana’s foster dessert wowed with its fire-y production and candied and sugary blend of flavors.

For dinner we visited our second of three John Besh restaurants–Luke.  This is a more casual, although no less tasty experience than Restaurant August.  We both ordered the day’s special slow-cooked brisket in a horseradish ravigote sauce and bouillon potatoes.  This was yet another satiating and delicious meal that induces hunger just thinking about it.

Days 3-5: The Jazz Fest Days

We started the first two Jazz Fest days with pre-festival trips to Mother’s for some amazing po’ boys.  Between the two of us, we conquered the Ferdi, the turkey ferdi, the fried shrimp and the John G, all the while drinking some of the tastiest Bloody Mary’s.  I will let the fact that we dined at Mother’s two days in a row speak for itself.

The food at the festival itself was outstanding.  We sampled the crab meat po’ boy, the craw fish po’ boy, the fried chicken, crawfish monica, fried plantains, jerk chicken and jambalaya.  It is truly incredible that even in the midst of torrential downpour the vendors pulled together such flavorful and delightful meals.  Each day many Jazz Fest attendees left the music festival talking about the food.  Not to sell the music short or anything (because it was incredible and that review will come next), but the food really captured the attention of us festival goers.

At night we enjoyed Bourbon House and Tony Moran’s on Bourbon Street, as well as Emiril’s NOLA and Besh Steak (our third Besh experience).  After the long, food-filled days of Jazz Fest, we weren’t quite as hungry as our earlier meals in the city; however, each restaurant had unique highlights: the bbq shrimp at Bourbon House, the chicken parm at Tony Moran’s, the short rib and friend chicken at Emiril’s, and again a Besh filet at Besh Steak.  I can comfortably say that at no moment in Jazz Fest did i feel “hungry.”  Eating in the city was an activity unto itself.

Out and About at Pat O’s: Our brush with fame

During one night out at Pat O’s on Bourbon Street, we were sipping one of their famous hurricanes when a group of guys and a bachelorette party both started shrieking as if they were seeing the Beatles step onto the stage at Shea Stadium for the first time.  We are talking high-pitched, loud and uncontrollable shrieks.  They run up to some guy who Elliot at first guessed was Seth Rogen.  He was close.  It was Rogen cohort, Jason Segel.  Segel was out on Bourbon Street with his hot non-actress/model girlfriend made even hotter by her non-actress/model status.  We both agreed that her “normalcy” made her even hotter.  While the screaming boys and girls clamored for pictures with Segel, his girlfriend was brushed aside and landed right next to our table.  Elliot quickly struck up a conversation and gathered all the important information: Segel is in town filming a new movie with Ed Helms (of the Daily Show and the Office fame) entitled Jeff Who Lives at Home.  She was friendly and talkative and handled well the chaos surrounding her famous beau.

With all that being said, we both now must satiate our hunger with some delicious New York bagels.  Look for the music review in the next couple of days.

  1. Nick
    May 5, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Very impressed with your star-sighting! The girl with Jason Segel was more than likely just on a date with him though than his actual girlfriend. The guy has been hitting on a fair few women since his arrival. Last Saturday he was with a brunette, a few nights later he hooked up with two attractive blondes, plus there’s talk of a redheaded college student he has been milling around with. He’s certainly not wasting any time whilst he’s here!

    • May 5, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Haha thanks for your comment Nick! Makes sense that it was just a date, as we were Googling “Jason Segel girlfriend,” etc. in an effort to identify the mystery girl. Seems like he’s making his rounds through the non-celeb lady scene in NOLA, good for him!

  1. May 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm

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