Adventures in Eating

New Orleans: Where All the Food is Good Food

Our Eating Lives features stories about how food, cooking, and eating have shaped who we are and how we live.

About a year ago I took a road trip through the Deep South (New Orleans to Nashville by way of Mississippi), and I ate food that was so good it shouldn’t be allowed. Remember the Sirens from the Odyssey, all that evil mermaid singing that made Odysseus want to jump off his ship to his death? Deep South food is the basic equivalent of evil mermaid singing.

So if I talked about everything I ate on that trip, this post would be five thousand words, and you’re a busy modern human, you barely have time for five hundred words! So let’s just focus on New Orleans for now, we can get to Mississippi and Tennessee down the line (and if you’ve been you know they’re WELL worth getting to).


The Restaurant at the Holiday Inn in Gretna

Okay, you know the food in a city is good when the food is amazing AT THE HOLIDAY INN LOCATED RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAME/SHITTY OUTSKIRTS OF THE CITY. We were going to go down to Frenchman Street for dinner but the scary lightning storms struck (well, scary for us Californians, shrugs and whatever for NOLA natives). I had red beans and rice, HOLIDAY INN RED BEANS AND RICE, and it was a revelation. New Orleans, you win the game. You win the whole tournament.

Unknown-72Johnny’s Po Boys- French Quarter

This was the first place we ate when we got to the French Quarter because their Po Boys had received 500 reviews on Yelp, which is a sign of SOMETHING. There was a line out the door for lunch, which is a double sign of SOMETHING The Po Boys were good. I’m not sure they were line-out-the-door-apparently-all-the-time good. But they were good. If you want a Po Boy and you’re in the neighborhood, do it to it.

images-25Cafe Du Monde- French Quarter

You can’t leave New Orleans without going to Cafe Du Monde and eating eight beignets. No, the actually won’t let you pass the city limits, a bunch of alligators will waddle up and eat you to death if you try. This is just as well, as those beignets are powdered, fried manna from heaven. I don’t like coffee, but I guess if you do like coffee and you dip your beignets in their coffee, that tastes amazing too. Disneyland beignets in New Orleans Square are ruined for me.

Unknown-73Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar- Garden District

God bless friend recommendations. When I posted something on Facebook about going to New Orleans, I got a message from an old college friend telling me that we had to go to Surrey’s Juice Bar for brunch. I thought this was going to be, like, a New Orleans Jamba Juice, but when we got there, I was like “Oh, this is juice AND BRUNCH.”  Then-boyfriend-now-almost-husband got the bananas foster French toast, I got the shrimp and grits, we shared, and a choir of angels sang.


fish-with-ocean-sauceAdolfo’s- French Quarter (Frenchmen Street)

God bless friend recommendations, part two: Electric Boogaloo! Another former college friend recommended this place on Frenchmen Street, you have to get there RIGHT when the open to get a table in the cramped upstairs quarters. Everything on the menu is heaven made proteins and carbohydrates. Everything was good!  I had bites of everyone’s everything and it was all so good! After you’re stuffed, go walk around Frenchmen Street, pop into bars, hear the best music in town, be glad that you’re alive.



So that’s me plus food plus New Orleans. We have any natives or transplants or visitors reading? What are your New Orleans food digs? Is there a single restaurant in New Orleans that sucks at making food? It seems like not!


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  • Kyle Behymer

    New Orleans is a great town for food. While I was a poor graduate student my wife and I stayed at a hotel out in Kenner. I remember walking into a hole in the wall place and seeing two very large men eating at a table covered in crawfish about 4 inches deep. I knew immediately we were in the right place.

  • Dana Staves

    Good gracious, now I want to go to New Orleans. It’s on my bucket list, for sure, and now I have a great food guide to help me out!

  • JillGuccini

    I’ve visited a couple times when my sister lived there, and my sister already has an uncanny ability to find the best eating spots wherever she is, so NOLA was pure heaven. Hands down, the best trips eating-wise I’ve ever been on. They were also a while ago though, so I unfortunately can’t think of a lot of the specific restaurant names now, except for knowing I really did love the classic diner atmosphere of the Camellia Grill.

  • keeksclc

    My friends and I love Jaques Imo’s in Uptown and I have dreams about the muffaletta at Central Grocery in the Quarter. “After you’re stuffed, go walk around Frenchmen Street, pop into bars, hear the best music in town, be glad that you’re alive.” YES

  • Insatiable Booksluts

    We visited New Orleans over Christmas (my BIL lives down there). The food was all fantastic, but my husband especially got addicted to beignets. Okay, okay–we both did. Although we disagreed on who had the best beignets; he liked Cafe Beignet, where I liked a flakier version that we bought somewhere or another in the French Quarter.