Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I have been a busy bee! The past month had been full of deadlines for both school and work, it was exhausting. However, the end of October was a trip to New Orleans to present at a conference, followed by a couple days of vacation there. Here’s another one of my travel foodie posts! It may even inspire some cajun-inspired recipes in the future 😀
Let me tell you, New Orleans was amaaaaaazing! From the sights, to the live music on the streets, to the food. This was not a city to eat healthy, and how could you with the amazing food! The first half of the week was the conference, and everyday we had to have seafood. Lots of fresh and chargrilled oysters were on the menu each day.
The first evening I was there, my colleagues and I ate at the hotel restaurant, which are famous for their chargrilled oysters. They did not disappoint. I also had a surf n’ turf dish, with blackened catfish that was also pretty good. Great first day in New Orleans.
The next day was my friend’s birthday. She and I walked through the French Quarter, drinking cocktails and enjoying the live music scene. We stopped by a place for some lunch and had amazing crab cakes and…more oysters! The crab cakes were so tasty: crispy on the outside, and fluffy crab meat on the inside with a great sauce on top. For dinner, we went a little fancy and went to GW Fins and had a great dining experience, including a personalized menu for the birthday girl. We all had different dishes to share, including lobster dumplings, and my entree was a fish with corn hash and plantain chips. Day 2 did not disappoint!
Day 3 was my presentation day. My talks went extremely well! On our lunch break we walked to the French Market where they have many different food stalls and gift stalls. This was my first taste of alligator. Alligator is supposedly the leanest of all meats, and since it is a delicacy in New Orleans, I had to try it. It was in the form of a po’boy, which is their famous New Orleans sub sandwiches. The gator itself didn’t taste like much (more like chicken), however, because it is such a lean meat with protein, mine ended up being really tough — they might have overcooked it because another colleague didn’t find that problem. Still, it was a great sandwich.
Day 4 was my big presentation in front of all the attendees – it also went well! We ended up doing a voodoo tour, learning more about the history of voodoo in New Orleans, and we toured some cemeteries. Because New Orleans is built on marshy land, it’s not wise to bury the dead beneath the ground. Instead they set up monuments above ground where they bury the dead. It was very beautiful! We headed back to the French Quarter for lunch, where I had fried oyster po’boys – another delicious meal. The oysters were fresh and light, and it didn’t seem to heavy even though they were fried. On the way back, we had beignets, which are their famous pillowy donuts. It was something to try, but to be honest, it was just a glorified donut to me. The coffee however, is amazing, because they add chicory to it. To me, a sign of good coffee doesn’t require sugar, and this was it.
We had another fancy dinner that night at Commandeer’s Palace. Many drinks were shared, and I had amazing shrimp and grits. I’ve had grits here in Vancouver, but they were not as smooth and flavourful as the ones I had in New Orleans… amazing! For dessert – New Orleans famous bread pudding soufflé with whiskey sauce. This is their restaurant’s famous dessert, so famous, that they even released the recipe. My friend even found the recipe at an airport on her way back! Of course, this is something that needs to be shared, but wow – the complex flavours made it so decadent and rich, definitely well worth trying…or making!
Day 5, most others left, and this was when vacation started with two other friends/colleagues. We ended up in a quaint district of New Orleans, and found a great Mexican restaurant. We ended the night at a carousel bar, where the bar is actually a carousel that slowly turns. Many people were waiting to find a seat on it, but we were close enough. We walked along Bourbon Street and caught a great live jazz show. To be immersed in the music was other worldly.
The next morning was Halloween. We started our morning going to yoga, and it was a nice little place with a great atmosphere. We went to brunch afterwards, where I had fried chicken and poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit. It negated the effect of yoga, and I didn’t even finish it, but it was so moist! What this place was best known for, however, was their bananas foster. I didn’t realize bananas foster originated in New Orleans, but the French toast was to die for!!!
We celebrated Halloween in costumes, and we had a foodie theme – one was a chef, the other was a crawfish, another was a gator, and I was a popular cajun spice brand known in New Orleans. I was complimented for it by many of the locals, so our costumes were a great success! Halloween is even bigger than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was crazy packed and insane…a little too much for the introvert that is me, but still fun nonetheless. We had an amazing dinner – I had a shrimp and corn waffle dish that was a good last meal.
The next morning was leaving day, but I had a chance to eat jambalaya before leaving. It wasn’t anything to special, but it was spicy, and it was overall a great way to end off the trip. I will definitely have to go back again!