Food and Wine in the Big Easy

Prix Fixe Menu at August
Prix Fixe Menu at August

I just returned from a wonderful, but very short trip to New Orleans. When I think of New Orleans, I don’t think of wine, I think of cocktails. I also have to admit I didn’t realize that New Orleans was such a foodie destination. Shame on me. Below are my reviews of some must-eat, must-drink food and wine destinations (some content originally posted on Yelp).

 Yam and ricotta cavatelli with Brussels sprouts, duck confit, and black trumpet mushrooms
Yam and ricotta cavatelli with Brussels sprouts, duck confit, and black trumpet mushrooms

Chef John Besh’s Restaurant August
Contemporary French made with local ingredients
Neighborhood: Central Business District
My meal began with an amuse-bouche from the chef, an eggshell filled with a crème filling that was very good. I had the three-course Prix Fixe lunch as follows: pâté of local pork with house made pickles, marmalades, and toasted brioche; yam and ricotta cavatelli with Brussels sprouts, duck confit, and black trumpet mushrooms; and dark chocolate hazelnut tart with almond and satsuma ice cream. The sommelier recommended a glass of Côtes du Rhône with my meal, which was a perfect choice. Another good choice would have been an earthy Pinot Noir. The check was accompanied by a truffle and pecan praline. The meal was outstanding, especially for the price of $20.13 + tax and tip. My favorite course was the yam and ricotta cavatelli. The duck confit was similar to pulled pork in texture, but decadently rich. Each course was colorful and full of different flavors and textures. I would definitely return here for lunch.

Grilled mahi and Pinot Grigio at NOLA
Grilled mahi and Pinot Grigio at NOLA

Emeril’s NOLA Restaurant
American, Cajun/Creole
Neighborhood: French Quarter
At NOLA the atmosphere is lively, the food and service are good, and the dress is casual. I had the gumbo of the day, seafood gumbo ($10), and the grilled catch of the day, mahi ($30) with fingerling potatoes, sweet corn, grape tomatoes, fennel-arugula salad, and black truffle butter sauce. Both were delicious. I also had a glass of Pinot Grigio, another great pairing suggestion, which pushed the meal price into the $50-range plus tax and tip. In retrospect, I wish I had tried the entrée of the day, the wild boar chop, as it looked amazing.

The best Bloody Mary ever at Dress It
The best Bloody Mary ever at Dress It

Dress It
Gourmet Burgers
Neighborhood: Central Business District
OK, this isn’t really a wine destination. However, it was a nice place to relax at my hotel. This small restaurant is part of the Omni Royal Crescent Hotel. It’s called Dress It because the primary food is hamburgers and you can “dress” your burger to order. I had just gotten off an airplane and didn’t feel like venturing out, so I stopped in. The restaurant itself wasn’t busy for dinner (breakfast and lunch are more popular), but the small bar was crowded and everyone seemed to be having fun. Instead of ordering a burger, I opted for a daily special: side salad and seafood gumbo and rice for only $10, made especially for me by Walter. It was a great meal for $10. After dinner I ventured over to the bar where all of the fun was and ended up having the BEST Bloody Mary of my life made by Ren, who serves as bartender/server/room service when on duty. I will be back to Dress It, if only for more outstanding Bloody Marys.


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