New Orleans: Like a Local

If you read my blog, you know of my great love for the city of New Orleans.  A magical place I visit a few times a year, it truly is my favorite food city in the country.  This weekend, I made my way to The Big Easy for a charity appearance with fellow Young & Restless co-stars Christian Le Blanc and Jeff Branson.

Lucky for us, our plans fell on the same weekend as The French Quarter Festival, an annual music and food festival that happens each April.  Christian, a local New Orleanian, was our more than enthusiastic tour guide and introduced us to a variety of hidden gems around town.  Proving we really could eat our body weight in food, here are some of the highlights of our Cajun culinary adventure.

No trip to New Orleans should miss a traditional brunch at Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter.  Christian, Jeff and myself were treated to a leisurely 4 hour meal that started with Community Chicory Coffee, Brandy Milk Punch and Creole Bloody Mary Cocktails.  Then came the Crab and Oysters Rockefeller, Seafood Gumbo, Turtle Soup, Oyster Soup, Eggs LaFourche & Eggs Hussarde, and Baked Apples in Double Cream.  Last but not least, we participated in making our dessert (see photo of us in flames above) of the legendary Bananas Foster and Crepes Fitzgerald.



Our extraordinary server Lee made us feel like family the moment we sat down.  Giving us the grand tour after our meal, including a glimpse inside the kitchen and the crown jewels on the third floor.

Later in the evening, after a good long walk through the Quarter, we made our way to Uptown for an elegant dinner at Upperline.  Owner and art collector, JoAnn Clevenger, has allowed artists throughout the years to pay their dining tabs with their art.  Her celebrated collection covers most of the wall space around the restaurant making it the perfect place to combine the joys of art viewing and food tasting.

A real Taste of New Orleans included Gumbo, Turtle Soup, Duck Ettouffee, Spicy Shrimp with Cornbread, Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade, Slow Roasted Duckling, Drum Fish Piquant and Louisiana Pecan Pie and Honey Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce for dessert.

The next morning, we started our day at Cafe Amelie with Orange Blossom cocktails: a mixture of Prosecco, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur and Orange Bitters before making our way into the French Quarter Music and Food Festival.

Food tasting at some of the best old school restaurants like Galatoires, The Court of Two Sisters, K-Paul’s, and the Antoine’s booth where I discovered TWO Baked Alaskas are so much better than one…

Early evening was spent in City Park with a stop at Morning Call Cafe for Chicory Coffees and Beignets…

Not a single beignet was spared…

Continuing our walk through the park, Christian strongly encouraged us to reconnect with nature…

Going super “local” meant a stop at Cooter Browns for Oysters, Sweet Corn Nuggets, Wafer Fries and Meat Pies and Gravy…

Finishing the night with my favorite drink from my favorite lounge: The Sazerac Bar inside The Roosevelt Hotel…

If you haven’t already figured this out Christian, Jeff and myself are all champion eaters, And with only a half day left in town, we knew had to fit in as much as we could in the last few hours.

Starting with Surrey’s for Shrimp & Grits and Bananas Foster French Toast…

Stopping for gifts at Tee Eva’s for Pralines and Sweet Potato Pies and a photo opp with Keonna, Eva’s granddaughter who now runs the family business….

No “local style” trip would be complete without a trip to Rouses Supermarket where I learned the phrase “Making Groceries” – an old New Orleans expression that the city’s residents traditionally used for food shopping. The expression derives from the French faire son marché, “to do one’s market shopping,” faire translating either “to do” or “to make.”

We ate, we drank, we conquered.  A heartfelt thank you to Christian Le Blanc for showing us HIS city.  And thank you New Orleans, for just being YOU!  And now… off to a good detox!

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