A few months ago, I wrote about my grandmother and her sisters taking their husbands along on progressive dinners in the French Quarter when they were all in town together, and Paul and I haven't stopped thinking about making our own progressive dinner routes ever since. It's fun, it's easy due to the high number of eateries in the Quarter, and it gives you a little something extra to do while you're down there. Because once you get to the French Quarter, you might want to have a plan. Maybe some of the time you'd like to ramble and follow your nose to the next fun thing, but sometimes you'll want to not make many decisions, and you'll want to know that a particular place is open and particularly worth it. Yesterday, we devised a short progressive lunch for a drizzly Sunday afternoon: Felix's for oysters of any variety, then Stanley for gumbo (or a po-boy or even breakfast, but definitely the gumbo).
Felix's is our favorite French Quarter spot for raw oysters for nostalgic reasons, but also because they always taste good there. Also, Felix's is not a pretentious place; it's not trying to look cute or slick or full of Cajun artifacts. It's just a good place to eat. I'd eat oysters there any old day.
Nothing beats a good bowl of gumbo, ever. A few weeks ago, when we were traveling to Oklahoma for Christmas, I asked Paul what his favorite thing to eat in New Orleans was. I was thinking that my personal favorite was a seafood po-boy, but Paul answered without a second of hesitation, "Gumbo." It's true that our city is the best at making gumbo. There's nothing quite like it for the combination of comfort, soul-edifying flavor, and use of traditional ingredients that it offers. It's taken a long time for me to post a recipe for gumbo on this site, and it's with good reason. We've been making gumbo for years and have tried all sorts of approaches, but we've got a good one here that's sure to please. When you make gumbo, make a big pot and don't take any shortcuts. It's worth it; your New Orleans soul will thank you.
We didn't even cook a Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and we still have mountains of leftover bits and pieces in the fridge! Part of the reason is turkey gumbo, or what I like to call the best leftover turkey invention EVER (here's Paul's recipe from my hibernating soup blog). But after the gumbo's been cooked, eaten, and frozen in Tupperware, there's a good chance you still have some veggies and sausage (or turkey or ham) lying around, looking forlorn. It's frittata time.
Tagged with: leftover, pepperjack, skillet, Bell Pepper, andouille, iron, feta, thyme, oregano, cheddar, gumbo, frittata, celery, onion, easy, breakfast, garlic, Eggs
Jot this down in your travel notebook, your vacation planner, your dream journal, or last year's Jazz Fest ticket: reserve a table for Sunday brunch at Patois next time in New Orleans. If you're into local, good, and hidden, Patois is your dream spot. The brunch menu (not to mention the dinner version) is so good, you'll spend about 15 minutes deciding what to order while you're nibbling the biscuits and muffins from the bread bowl. We looked over many brunch menus before deciding to meet up at Patois, and I think it was one of the best brunches we've had in the city.
Tagged with: black eyed pea, succotash, grillades, patois, andouille, neighborhood, biscuit, grits, broth, uptown, gumbo, okra, octopus, pumpkin, Soup, rabbit, fried, brunch, sunday, mussels, pesto, restaurants, fries, crab, Chicken
Riz jaune has appeared in my life right when I really needed a new "dinner magic" kind of recipe--something cheap, on-hand, and easy to adapt to all sorts of quick dinner fixes. Riz jaune (say "ree zhahn") is basically a Cajun version of fried rice. You make a sort of trinity-plus-Pope concoction (that's onion/celery/bell pepper + garlic), add veggie bits or leftovers you have around the kitchen, ditto with meats (sausage is especially nice), and then you stir in cold cooked rice and eggs. Mix everything up, cook till the egg is firm and scattered all throughout, then eat it as-is or in dozens of other ways that I haven't even thought of yet. Here's what we have had: Riz-jaune-and-red-bean burrito, and gumbo served over riz jaune instead of plain rice. Good stuff. I can also see this being a great stuffing for vegetables or an interesting bed for some gravied chicken or pork.
Tagged with: trinity, burrito, leftovers, gumbo, eggplant, Sausage, pope, tomatoes, rice, mushrooms, Eggs
Last weekend, I attended my first New Orleans food festival--the Seafood Festival, held downtown on Fulton
Street. This was also my first experience with Drago's: their famous char-grilled oysters. On the bottom is their grill (which also happened to have the longest line at the party); top left is the finished product--tender oysters, romano and parmigian cheeses, pepper, lemon, and hot-hot-hot shells.
Crawfish cakes from Mr. B's and Paul's happy face.
Alligator sausage & seafood gumbo from Red Fish Grill and shrimp remoulade from Galatoire's. If you guessed "yum," you're right. Incidentally, this was also my first Galatoire's. It was a big day.
Tagged with: drago's, mr. b's, galatoire's, remoulade, red fish grill, fulton, crawfish, oysters, gumbo, festival, seafood
John Folse is a famous Louisiana chef; I've watched him for years on PBS. He's also the author of several very large and luxuriously informative cookbooks, including The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine.
So when we happened by the freezer case stocked with his frozen gumbos, soups, and bisques, we just had to try one. It was really good, and I could argue that it's also worth the money.
Inside the tub, the frozen gumbo is packed in a plastic bag which you immerse in a pot of boiling water. I was glad for this technique--no one should have to eat overcooked seafood, and the bag helps you reheat the gumbo gently, protecting the crawfish and shrimp. The container says seven servings are in each bag, but they're 1/2-cup servings. Paul and I split the entire container (it's the gumbo part only, so you make your own rice to add--the best way to offer frozen gumbo, I think). We spent about $7, so about $3.50 per meal. That's a good price when you're comparing it to restaurant gumbos at $5 to $10 per bowl, but lousy when you're looking at a huge
homemade pot that will last a few days. But as far as convenience and quality go, Folse's gumbo was much better than I was expecting it to be.
How much does your gumbo cost, per serving?