Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Orleans, Day 3 - Walking Tour and Cochon

So the "third" and last day of the official tour was an afternoon walking tour through the French Quarter where Elizabeth Pearce from Day 1 gave us an insulated lunch bag filled with bite-sized foods that we ate at certain points along the way.  I had originally planned to go into detail about these stops and what we ate except....I didn't really take notes and now can't remember half of it.  All I have are pictures because you know I always take pictures of my food. So I'm afraid this won't be the informative narrative of New Orleans and its cultural culinary traditions that the tour was.  Perhaps that's just as well because it's really best experienced for yourselves in person.  Hopefully the last few blog posts have inspired a few of you to put New Orleans on your destination list, especially if you're a foodie.

I do remember our first stop and that was for Gumbo at Antoine's, one of the oldest restaurants in the French Quarter.  The picture doesn't do it justice as the gumbo was quite good.  I might give the slight nod to Poppy's seafood gumbo the day before but regardless, I might have become a gumbo fan just from this trip alone.

Gumbo at Antoine's
A typical scene in the Quarter - Jazz musicians playing on the streets.  The streets were very clean as New Orleans prepares for the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.

We were really fortunate to have a gorgeous day for our walking tour.

Part of our tour included visiting a private home in the French Quarter.  I took a lot of pictures but I hesitate to post so many pics of someone's home for privacy reasons (even though it was part of the tour) so I'll compromise with one picture.  This is one of the rooms in the back part of the house.  The front and back houses are separated by an enclosed patio which houses patio furniture and lushly growing plants.  The house itself is full of history and portraits of family ancestors and days gone by.

After the walking tour, we were taxi'd over to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum which showcases exactly what it says it does - the origins and representations of food and drinks from the South.  One of the staff gave us demos of several drinks, including Cafe Brulot where you set the alcohol in coffee on fire.  They really like to set things on fire here, lol.  It's an interesting place and if culinary history captures your imagination and interest, it's worth at least a quick visit.
The final stop of the tour included dinner at Cochon - a restaurant that specializes in traditional Southern Cajun cooking.  We sat in tables of 5 and 6 and ordered dishes to share.  Well, at least as much as any of us could eat since I wasn't the only one hitting my caloric limit.  Not that I didn't give it my all....
Appetizer: deep-fried sausage balls (I'm sure they had a more elegant name)
My entree was a fork-tender pot roast with horseradish potatoes.  I had expected the potatoes to be like chunky mashed potatoes but alas, they were more like cold potato salad.  I stuck to the beef.
And my Mac and Cheese side dish which was - wait for it - yummy!
Dessert was based on the waiter's recommendation of pineapple upside down cake with dulce de leche.  The cake was served warm and was nicely complemented by the ice cream and chunks of fresh pineapple.
Anne had the chocolate cake layered with ganache and I think that was toffee.  I was in a food coma by this point and my cognitive brain functions weren't processing much :).
Thus ends the culinary tour of Tasting New Orleans.  It was a fun, albeit brief, trip and I'm so glad I went.  Some of the best vacations are where you didn't get to do everything you wanted so that you have a reason to go back.  I definitely have many reasons to return to NOLA, not the least being I didn't have three stomachs to consume all that delicious food and try all the restaurants my friends swore I had to try.  Definitely next time.

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