Friday, May 8, 2009

An Unusual Eater's Remorse Post, Part I

It came to my attention that my wedding is about a week away, and I then have a mere three more days to enjoy being in this fabulous city and eat as much as possible to ensure I get a healthy last dose of my favorites. Since time is making fools of us (yes, I did just quote Professor Dumbledore of Harry Potter. I'll take this moment here to NOT defend myself and my nerduality) once again, I think it's appropriate to write an homage to the tastes that have made New Orleans such a joy to have lived in and a fodder for food porn. This Eater's Remorse post (to be released in two batches due to length) is not about guilt as it often is, but about grief and sadness. My remorse is that the dishes listed will no longer be readily available, their presence in my life sorely missed ... resultant love handles and all. These memories will warm my heart and belly for years to come, and strengthen me for a time when I can once again return to what has become more home than my native home, a city I love so much that I, as I writer, can't even put into words.

So enough with the mushy talk; let's get down to the nitty-(corn)gritty. Here's to some of the best of New Orleans. Salud.

  • Parkway Tavern, Domilise's, Johnny's, Crabby Jack's: fried shrimp po-boys. Crunchy, decadent, cooled with fresh toppings, and sloppy with mayonnaise, I salute you as a po-man among boys.
  • Saltwater Grill: fried green tomato po-boys, crackling with cornmeal breading, and topped with crunchy shrimp and creamy remoulade.
  • Central Grocery: Muffuletta. End of story. We know all about these, the Italian cold cuts layered with oily olive salad on sesame-seeded oversized Italian round rolls. This sandwich bested even me with its size, but I've got no regrets.
  • Yo' Mama's: peanut butter bacon burgers. Huge patties of seasoned beef, thick and cooked to your liking, with an appalling amount of creamy peanut butter smeared across the meat, and fresh, crumbled REAL bacon (unlike the overrated and overrated frat boy mess, Port of Call), served with a blase salad or a delicious, plump, and perfectly baked potato. The burgers are fully dressed, with mayo, onion, lettuce, and fat tomatoes. And yes -- you do put ketchup on that condiment-y concoction. Sooo good.
Ethnic Food
  • Pho Tau Bay: B5 - lemongrass beef and crunchy egg roll vermicelli rice bowls, topped with garden-fresh vegetables and covered in a sweet fish sauce dressing mixed with Sriracha. Cool, yet heavy, and always delicious.
  • Sukho Thai: Dirty Noodles, an obsession of mine that Boy just doesn't "get." Wide rice noodles cooked to perfect tenderness, with crunchy broccoli, fried egg, and white meat chicken slices in a sweet yet smoky soy reduction. Addicting.
  • Nine Roses: pork and cabbage gyoza-style dumplings, greasy and in portions of 8 for under $6, accompanied by a sweet soy dipping sauce that rivals the shrimp noodle wraps of Chinatown.
  • Nine Roses: roast pork and egg noodle soup, just like the rich broths and soups of Chinatown, but freshened up with bean sprouts, cilantro/parsley, and sweetened with shallots. Mmm.
  • Sara's: Indian, Thai, and French Creole rolled into one creates dishes like the sweet and spicy eggplant something.
  • Hoshun: Singapore Noodles -- yellow curried thin rice noodles with juicy, sweet roasted pork (not your typical roast pork, although it is red), peppers, and dried shallots, giving it a Vietnamese feel -- and Gou Loo pork -- a whopping platter of fried then candy coated in a pineapple-soy sauce.
  • Cafe East: this may be blasphemy, but the hot and sour soup, with a chicken instead of pork base, is the best hot and sour soup I've ever had. They don't shy away from the weird, from the tree ear fungus to the bamboo shoot to other unidentified roots. I've been known to stockpile pints of this soup to save myself a trip to Cafe East's inconvenient location in Metairie.
  • Miyako: Flaky panko rather than thick tempura batter makes the shell for their shrimp tempura. Lunch specials here were a steal, too, if you feel like a long one and smelling tantalizingly like soy and white pepper fried rice and hibachi meats for the rest of the day. Always worth it.
  • Lola's: Mmm, paella. It's always a perfect meal at Spanish-Mediterranean Lola's in Mid-City New Orleans, from the sangria to the little white pistolettes with strong crushed garlic aoili to a skillet that can sear off a few layers of skin.
  • Juan's Flying Burrito: home of the best pico de gallo-type salsa I've ever had in my life. Complemented with fresh-made tortilla chips, it'd pretty much be the whole dinner for me ... if I had any kind of self-restraint and didn't always get suckered into a massive, overstuffed hot burrito or some fabulous steak tacos with melty cheese on wheat. *Drools.
  • Lebanon's Cafe: Best falafel in the city, hands down. Garlic permeates the crunchy falafel at this neighborhood Mediterranean joint, and the prices are so low, they're laughable. Example: a gyro wrap is around $4. The vegetarian bake, with carrots, onions, broccoli, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and mushrooms on saffron basmati with melted mozzarella and feta outstanding.
Am I missing anything in these categories? In both senses, yes. I miss all of these items already, and know I'm forgetting some other ethnic and sandwich-y things that I'm going to find hard to live without. I'll continue adding things as my mind is jolted. Keep an eye out, though! A post with a listing of my absolute favorites in terms of Cajun/Creole (real N'awlins) and breakfasts and desserts to come!


  1. Totally agree with being underwhelmed by Port of Call. Yo Mama's is where it's at!

  2. Yeah, they definitely don't live up to their hype! The burgers are nice and thick, but beyond that, nothing special. I'm also a fan of Snug Harbor for really fat burgers.

  3. I hadn't even heard of Yo' Mama's until I read this. Clearly I've been missing something! I'll go ASAP.

    And UGH, your mention of Lola's made me salivate for that garlicky spread (I don't even know that I could call it an aioli). It's 7:13am. Do you see how ridiculous this is?! I didn't love their paella (too watery) but MMM... that bread. that garlic.

    As a side note, is there a way to post this comment from my Wordpress account, as opposed to Blogger? It never lets me and I can't figure it out...

  4. Remy! Congrats on Brown!

    Yes, go to Yo' Mama's ... when you're 21. Unfortunately, if you look young, they won't let you eat a burger. Ask my little sister. We got kicked out lol.

    Not sure about the Wordpress issue ... sorry!