I hadn’t traveled since June (a long time for me!), so I was thrilled when I found out that I was being sent to New Orleans to attend a work conference. I first visited The Big Easy when I was 17 and went to look at Tulane for college. I remember walking around the French Quarter, particularly Bourbon Street, with wide eyes and a mixture of horror and wonder on my face.
I didn’t choose Tulane for college, and sadly I hadn’t been back to NOLA since. I couldn’t wait to visit and see how it’s changed! I landed in the afternoon, dropped my bags off at the hotel, and headed straight to the French Quarter to take care of a very important matter. I was hungry and only one type of snack would do – beignets and a café au lait at Café du Monde.
Whether you’re a New Orleans native or a first time visitor, a visit to Café du Monde is a must. If you leave New Orleans without trying their beignets, you have made a serious mistake!
The Café du Monde in the French Quarter is open 24/7, and it is busy at all hours of the day and night. Luckily, if you can’t find a seat on the patio, you can simply order from the takeout menu.
Beignets are square pieces of fried dough that are covered with a generous serving of powdered sugar. Or as I like to describe it, fluffy little pieces of heaven.
Café du Monde is also famous for its café au lait, which is made up of half coffee and half hot milk. The café au lait goes perfectly with the beignets, and makes for one amazing snack.
Going to Café du Monde wasn’t the smartest thing for me to do, as I had dinner reservations only a few hours later at Commander’s Palace. Commander’s Palace is a Creole restaurant located in the beautiful Garden District. It has been touted one of the best restaurants in New Orleans since its establishment in 1880.
Before taking my seat, I strolled around the restaurant’s outdoor patio and garden. It is a beautiful place.
The inside of the restaurant isn’t too shabby either.
I started with the Shrimp & Tasso Henican, which is wild Louisiana white shrimp, tasso ham, pickled okra, sweet onions, 5 pepper jelly, and Crystal hot sauce beurre blanc. The shrimp is wonderful and bursting with flavor.
Commander’s Palace is known for its turtle soup. Yes, turtle soup! How could I not try it?! As soon as it is served, a waiter comes by and drizzles a spoonful of aged sherry on top. It is delicious, and yes, tasted a bit like chicken.
The waiter told me that I would be silly not to order the Chicory Coffee Lacquered Quail, which is fire roasted chili and cochon de lait boudin over smoky bacon wilted greens with Tabasco pepper jelly and espresso pecan crust. The quail is cooked just right, and the layers of flavor work perfectly together.
Next was the Rabbit Saltimbocca, which is panéed rabit stuffed with smoky tasso, basil, and crab boiled mozzarella with spinach spatzle, sun dried tomatoes, cracked olives, bourbon Creole mustard, and rabbit jus. It is outstanding!
For dessert I had to order the restaurant’s famous Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé. It is wonderful and a perfect way to end the meal.
Commander’s Palace is fine dining at its best, and I highly recommend it! NOLA, it is good to be back.