In a country where sandwich varieties are almost comically vast (seriously, just take a look at 'em all), the po' boy remains a unique New Orleans specialty. You'll find them served on almost every street corner, not to mention gas stations and fancy restaurants alike. With a sandwich so storied and prolific, finding the best New Orleans has to offer can be an exhausting enterprise. Here are the ones we'll return to time and again.
'louisiana' on Serious Eats
When I first saw the soufflé potatoes at Antoine's Restaurant as a kid, they seemed unreal: smooth, balloon-like cylinders of fried potato that had nothing inside but caverns of air.
You'd be forgiven if you expected gimmicks from NOLA's District Donuts Sliders Brew, whose menu consists almost exclusively of those three things. But then you'd eat your words.
Atomic Burger arrived on the local fast food scene late last year with the promise of freshly made and unprocessed drive-thru food. We found some beautifully griddle-charred burgers and a couple of other welcome surprises.
On a recent trip to New Orleans, I set out on a mission to try as many Gulf oysters as possible in the span of one weekend. My goal: to sample them both raw and cooked, with visits to some of the city's historic and new-school oyster bars (and a touristy joint thrown in for good measure). Sadly, I missed a few of the classics on this trip due to timing and season, but I still found five that really knocked my socks off.
Local slice shops aren't found on every street corner in New Orleans, but the city's volume of satisfying by-the-slice joints has dramatically increased in the last few years. We set out to find the best—see them all after the jump!
When working your way through the list of New Orleans restaurants, everyone (including us) will tell you to hit Cochon, the much-lauded new(ish)comer to the Central Business District. You'll hear it so many times that you're sure there's no way it can live up to the hype or be as mind-blowingly awesome as everyone raves about. But somehow, it is. It's that good—if not better.
When my college friends and I were brainstorming cities for a meet-up weekend, New Orleans was at the top of everyone's list—for the warm weather and the music, of course, but mostly for the food. Here's the best of what we ate.
Ask Bogdan Mocanu if he is using his bright red Stefano Ferrara oven to make Neapolitan-style pizzas, and he will quickly tell you that the type is strictly his own. The oven alone drew me inside Mocanu's newly opened Dolce Vita to grab a menu; potentially finding a different style of pie was a compelling reason for an in-depth look.
Cochon Butcher is a wonderland for meat-lovers, the Willy Wonka Factory of delicious deli-meats, and for my money, the Cold Roast Beef is the golden-ticket.
Every bottle of Tabasco sauce in the world passes through the company's Avery Island, Louisiana production facility, under the watchful eyes of "the family," who use a Civil War era recipe. We visited Avery Island to see exactly how it's done.
Brown the roux in the microwave while the veggies cook and you can have this hearty Cajun stew on the table in under an hour.
A few years ago, Freret Street in New Orleans was a run-down stretch lined with vacant storefronts. Then came a craft cocktail bar (Cure) and a neighborhood market, sparking a renaissance that has made Freret the place to be for eaters and drinkers. One of the newest arrivals to this up-and-coming scene is the month-old Wayfare, which offers soups, salads, and sandwiches in an elegant atmosphere.
A Cajun rub on these catfish fillets blackens over high heat and becomes an intense combination of spicy, earthy, and herbal notes that balances with the flavor of the fish.
If you've come to New Orleans to explore, your crawl should include a few classic cocktails: the Sazerac, the Vieux Carré, Milk Punch, and yes, the Hurricane. Some of these drinks are original to New Orleans and have spread outward from here; some—like the Pimm's Cup—are transplants that have been welcomed and found a new home. Here are 6 essential stops on your Big Easy classic cocktail tour.
Donald Link's Cochon is at the top of our New Orleans recommendation list. After feasting through the city that never stops partying, we've concluded that bite for bite, it's among the most delicious food that Nola has to offer.
The new location of this Marigny favorite is colorful and sunny, with the same fresh, creative, vegetarian-friendly menu as the original location. If you're a brie fan, you will love the Roasted Pear and Brie Melt.
The Wolf Me Down ($7.95) uses an unusual combination of hummus and mozzarella to jazz up a roast lamb sandwich.
When I have just a few days in New Orleans, I don't usually spend them eating pizza. (Can't bring myself to neglect all those beignets and po' boys.) But on NOLA foodman Pableaux Johnson's recommendation, we checked out the pizza at John Besh's Domenica last weekend, and I have to say I'm glad I did.