Lazy Sunday in the Big Easy

The lightest meal I had all weekend was at the Bourbon House

Recently for Katherine’s birthday we headed farther south to a quiet little town called New Orleans. Needless to say we ate a lot of really good food, drank a lot of really good wine and stomached quite a lot of really bad liquor.

It is just a glorified donut folks

We went on Veterans Day weekend, when a football game and the magic 11-11-11 date drew a lot of brides and revelers to town. Lines seemed to be the norm anywhere we went. Above, is the queue for a beignet at the original Cafe Du Monde as the sign clearly says. Even though the place is open 24 hours there always seems to be a line for an overpriced donut.

What can be more decadent than fried oysters with eggs benedict?

Unwilling to wait in that line, we had breakfast at a great place just up the street called Stanley on Jackson Square, where we only had to wait 20 minutes at 9 a.m. to get in.

The answer is a deep fried soft shell crab

This is still breakfast

The coolest thing about Stanley, no it’s not the plastic megaphone-shaped “screamers” they sell drinks in, is that they make their own ice cream sodas, malts and milkshakes. That flavor mix was lemon Italian soda with blueberry cheesecake ice cream. It was awesome.

Looks are deceiving

While we had a lot of great food in the French Quarter, our best meal was over in the Garden District. Above is Commander’s Palace. It may look like a bad fried fish shack one would find in new England, but inside is some of the best food in New Orleans and by far the best wine list I have ever found. Katherine made me leave the camera in the room when we went to dinner each evening, probably for the best. I needed both hands to eat. (Although it would have provided proof not everything we ate was fried.)Β  We recommend the turtle soup, the veal chop with grits, the bread pudding souffle and everything else on the menu.

The po boy we split at The Gazebo Cafe on Decatur Street

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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111 Responses to Lazy Sunday in the Big Easy

  1. Karen Lewis says:

    Oh my! These photos of the food are alone enough to make me want to go to NO’s to eat! πŸ™‚

  2. Kristy says:

    Mmmmmm. You’ve made me so hungry now. Those fried clams….to die for! Although I probably would have waited in line for the beignet. There was a New Orleans place up here for a while, and I would drive miles and miles to eat those things! So good – even if it is a fancy dough nut. πŸ˜‰ It looks like it was a great trip! Favorite wine to recommend?

    • We didn’t write it down but Commander’s Palace had a Barolo that was awesome. Katherine tries to order that whenever we see it because we don’t see it often here. And I had a French pinot. What was great was they sold everything by the glass and you could get three or six ounce pours.

      • Kristy says:

        Awesome! I’ll make sure we stop at this place when we make it down there. New Orleans is on our short list. I love Barolo too. We just got a bottle from a wine dinner we went to – great stuff. And I love when places sell by the glass like this – it’s a great way to try different things. πŸ™‚ (As long as it’s good wine that is…)

      • Kristy says:

        Made it down to NOLA this past weekend. Commander’s Palace was FABULOUS! Thanks for the recommendations. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the update. That place is amazing, even if it does look a little like a lobster shack.

  3. Laura says:

    HOLY SMOKES. New Orleans has just shot its way to the top of my “really want to visit” list. Fried soft shell crab benedict? Yes, please!

  4. I’m with Kristy.. would have waited in line and THEN gone down to have breakfast where you were. I love travel posts, gives me the itch to go there and hang out in the same places:) The soda looks delicious… I bet you two will invent one with a little alcohol in it for us?? BTW Happy Birthday Katherine!

  5. Courtney says:

    I so need to get to New Orleans- the food looks decadent! And I love a place that makes their own milkshakes. It makes a huge difference. Glad to hear that Katherine had a great birthday – how can you not, with food like that?!

  6. nrhatch says:

    Great post. My favorite thing about traveling is EATING my way around each destination. πŸ˜€

  7. I love trip posts. You learn so much about a new place throught the eyes of a travelling food blogger.
    Thank you for sharing the amazing pictures looking at them made me really hungry.
    P.S. My husband makes me leave the camera at home when we go out to eat while travelling most of the time too lol

  8. Tandy says:

    When I went to New Orleans Cafe Du Monde was NOT the place to be seen – lucky me πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your experiences – I love the idea of crab for breakfast πŸ™‚

  9. What a fun trip with scrumptious food – I love the idea of the crab with the eggs Benedict.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  10. I’m sorry.. I see nothing wrong with fried food lol. I just don’t.. maybe it’s the southerner in me. But this feast looks amazing. And I bet each dinner was amazing. I truly have to eat my way through New Orleans.

  11. “I know what it means, to miss New Orleans”

  12. rsmacaalay says:

    Oh yes, those there are all good fried food!

  13. Holly says:

    Wow sounds amazing. Can I just query though because I know foods aren’t always as they seem and you americans do things a bit differently… -is there turtle in the turtle soup?

  14. That is serious food, especially the eggs benedict with soft shelled crab. I’m just not used to standing in line any more.

  15. Charles says:

    I’m curious – how does one pronounce “beignet” in the US? Is it the same as in French? They look nice though, although I’m not sure if they’re worth the queues. I would think the other food-stuffs you’ve pictured are way more worth a try!

  16. Wow – that’s some breakfast!
    I couldn’t have resisted the ice cream soda, either. ‘Specially on a birthday!

  17. rutheh says:

    NOLA Chamber of Commerce could use your photos and post to attract more visitors.
    Looks like a fun birthday weekend celebration.

  18. BrainRants says:

    N.O. is one of the best places to indulge in oysters, though deep frying them is a bit of a crime in my book.

  19. ChgoJohn says:

    What a great place and way to celebrate a birthday! I’m with you, though. I’m not about to spend precious vacation time standing in line for a donut, of all things, especially is a foodie town like NO.

  20. Lea Ann says:

    I love New Orleans. LOVE it. My son, daughter-in-law and some friends went about 10 days ago and my heart stopped when I saw that first photo. I swear that’s them. The blond taking the photo at Cafe du Monde.

  21. Chef Scar says:

    Great post! Having spent time in Biloxi, stationed at Keesler AFB, defending our Southern coast from the enemy back in the 60s, NOLA was our usual destination for R&R. I can firmly attest to the quality of the food, the jazz and elaborateness of the breakfasts, particularly Breakfast at Brennan’s, which we never failed to miss on our weekend pass. And Cafe du Monde was the place for coffee and beignets, after the bars closed. Thanks for the memories!

  22. Looks like a great food-filled trip — the best!

  23. Love how you love all kinds of food. A great post to start your second year. Here, here.

  24. niasunset says:

    WOW! I am hungry too now… This is amazing post! Wonderful photographs you captured as always dear Rufus. And I am so glad to hear that it was a wonderful birthday, in New Orleans… Thank you, Blessing and Happiness for you both, with my love, nia

  25. afrankangle says:

    New Orleans is near my top of the list of places to eat. Thanks for sharing the YUM!

  26. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

  27. zestybeandog says:

    πŸ™‚ YUM! Looks like my kind of Sunday!

  28. Oh boy- are you making me miss out home! New Orleans is where my husband is from and just a few hours from my hometown. The food is just amazing and the scenery and atmosphere is something everyone has to experience once in their life. YES- the fried oysters with eggs Benedict is nothing short of heaven!

  29. Robin says:

    The food in NOLA is amazing. After looking at these photos, I want to go back. Now. πŸ™‚

  30. G-LO says:

    I have not been to New Orleans since before Katrina. They were in the middle of a cold spell and we were between big events, i.e. the Sugar Bowl and Mardi Gras, so it was actually not too crazy. Had some fabulous meals. The best meal was at Donald Link’s Herbsaint, but all of the meals in between were pretty fabulous as well. Hope to get back there again some day.

    And by the way… those oysters on the half-shell looks AMAZING!

  31. ceciliag says:

    Oysters on Eggs benedict! Good God.. Decadence! c

  32. One of my favorite food cities :). Looks like you guys had a terrific time!

  33. jolynccc says:

    loving your blog, plan to come back and often…don’t worry, i’ll wipe my feet at the door!

  34. A_Boleyn says:

    Your pictures and descriptions of the wonderful food in New Orleans made me salivate. All of it. I agree about your opinion of the beignets. My mother made better free form fried donuts on her worst day. The chicory coffee was intriguing though I wouldn’t drink it on a regular basis. πŸ™‚

    • They sell it, or a version of it, all over town. They also sell the beignet mix, but who knows…

      • A_Boleyn says:

        My nephew bought a box of the beignet mix when he was in NO and brought it to my house to make for him. (His mom apparently declined his request to fry them up… smart woman!) I made half the box … they weren’t anywhere as good as the ones I had there when I visited, but the fried dough with enough powdered sugar on it was at least palatable. πŸ™‚

  35. spicegirlfla says:

    I’ve been to New Orleans many, many times! I love the city, the history and of course the food!! Just looking at your pics I could taste the food! Sounds like you had a really nice bday getaway! I’m with Katherine on leaving the camera at home every now and then!!

  36. Eva Taylor says:

    I am so glad you had a great time in New Orleans. The photos look great! I’m wondering why Katharine made you leave the camera at the hotel? I usually forget my Canon and end up taking bad pics with the iPhone. The eggs benny both versions look unbelievable.

    • Katherine says:

      Hey Eva, Greg’s camera is huge, it’s a Nikon D200, and there’s really no way to be discreet when taking dinner pictures because usually the lighting’s bad and Greg would need the flash. So I asked him to leave it behind for my dinner birthday. Also, I wanted his attention on me, not getting the right shot! There I said it! Maybe he’ll get me a smart phone for Christmas and I can take discreet shots when the lighting’s bad!

      • Eva Taylor says:

        I understand completely, Katherine. Hope Santa is good to you both and you both get iPhones for xmas!

  37. Have always wanted to go there and now I want to even more…those oysters and eggs benedict…wow! And I wouldnΒ΄t queue for a doughnut with a posh name either πŸ™‚

  38. egg me on says:

    UMM … fried oyster and fried soft shell crab eggs benedict?!?! And homemade Italian soda? WOW. That place sounds great. Happy (belated) Birthday, Katherine! πŸ˜€

  39. Kelly says:

    wow, what a trip. I would not have stood in line either (but i’m not particularly drawn to donuts…) Stanley’s sounds utterly cool. Love the idea of the house ice cream sodas, malts and milkshakes…that would feel utterly authentic to me! Great pictures.

  40. Caroline says:

    Sounds like you guys had a fabulous time! Great photos. I’ve yet to visit New Orleans…I need to get on that. That eggs benedict just might put my dad’s famous recipe to shame (shhh, don’t tell him I told you that). But comon, fried oysters!?! Amazing.

  41. No trip to New Orleans is ever complete without oysters, a po boy and a stop at Cafe Du Monde. πŸ™‚

  42. eva626 says:

    the lemon Italian soda with blueberry cheesecake ice cream looks delish…i wonder how long it took for you to finish it!

  43. What a fabulous trip! That soda with blueberry cheesecake ice cream is making me crazy! πŸ™‚ Your meal that could not be photographed sounds crazy delicious. Hope your Thanksgiving was very happy. πŸ™‚

  44. Lemon Italian soda with blueberry cheesecake icecream… my mind is still sitting on that one!
    Looks like a fun weekend.

  45. peasepudding says:

    I would love to go to New Orleans one day and starting the day with oysters, yum, I order them whenever I can, particularly our Bluff oyster when they are in season

  46. Great pics! Looks like you two enjoyed yourselves!

  47. I SO want a po boy for lunch now! Only one needs to be a rich boy these days to afford all the oysters! Wonderful photos, thank you! πŸ™‚

  48. One of my favorite places in the whole world to visit. I love the food, the town, the quarter and just everything there. I have not been in a long while. Used to eat at a place called Tujacques right down by the french market place.(May have spelled that wrong). I’ve had some great times in New Orleans and you brought back some great memories.

  49. Sissi says:

    Excellent post and photos! Everything looks exactly as one (me) imagines in New Orleans. The eggs benedict with fried crab will haunt me at night. Lucky you!

  50. That soft shell crab is staring me in the face and I can’t do anything about it!!! Thank you for that =)

  51. Stef says:

    I *love* the caption on your Cafe du Monde photo. I laughed out loud! πŸ™‚

  52. Carolyn Chan says:

    That’s a lotta deep fried food!

  53. Oysters, crabs, shrimp po boys and lemon and blueberry cheesecake ice cream soda? Be still, my heart! What a super trip.

  54. it’s been so long since i’ve been to nawlins. just makes me hungry thinking about it.

  55. I am so jealous! I have always wanted to go to NOLA. That blueberry cheesecake ice cream looks to die for. wow.

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