By Megan Malamood
Arts & Entertainment Co-Editor
While traveling somewhere new, all people maintain their own ideas as to what is most important to see, hear and take in. However, it seems universally understood that experiencing the cuisine of the area one is in, is a must. Food is an integral part of a place’s culture and in order to fully immerse yourself in it, trying as much local food as possible is encouraged.
A group of students traveled to New Orleans, La., this past October for a college media and journalism conference and while there, sufficiently remained faithful to this sacred rule of travel. In a city with as unique and lively of a culture as New Orleans, we wanted to experience the most we could from our travels and with that goal in mind, we made our way through, trying as much of the food it is renowned for as possible.
If New Orleans—commonly referred to as NOLA—is on the list for future travel destinations, these are some of the restaurants that will help make it an authentic adventure like they did for us.
Sitting on Carondelet St. is Hobnobber’s, a surprising lunch spot that is more than merely enjoyable—it is a hidden gem. At first glance, you will only spot the Hobnobber’s bar in front, but to the side is a hallway that leads to the restaurant where we had our first real taste of NOLA. Led there by the restaurant owner and enthusiastic native who introduced himself as “Big Dog,” we were treated as important guests. This order-at-the-counter establishment is the epitome of a treasured hole-in-the-wall, yet is packed with character, delicious southern food and locals who want a good meal on their lunch break.
Although they offer breakfast, we stuck with lunch and sampled selections ranging from “Southern Fried Chicken and Dirty Rice” to the “Fried Shrimp Plate” and classic seafood “Po-Boy” sandwiches. From “Big Dog” to the homestyle cooked food, Hobnobber’s will add to your NOLA experience in ways you won’t want to miss.
Described as “authentic New Orleans seafood and classic creole fare,” Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House gave us the chance to eat on the city’s famous Bourbon St. in a fine dining setting. The perks of a larger group were prominent again as we were able to be adventurous with our meal— trying oysters, crab fingers, calamari and an alligator dish for appetizers, entrée choices including catfish, shrimp creole and grouper, and impeccable desserts such as chocolate bread pudding, bananas foster and pecan pie. Although it is known for its oysters and bourbon, the Bourbon House offers a wide range of options for a memorable meal.
Located in the French Quarter is Café Du Monde, the original French Market Coffee Stand established in 1862. A definite tourist stop but necessary nonetheless, the café has an impressive turnover rate to accommodate the incessant lines that form at its door. The menu is not extensive but its limited offerings of coffee, juice and donuts is what it is loved for. Café du Monde is world-famous for its “beignets,” which are described on the menu as “French-style doughnuts lavishly covered with powdered sugar.” Bring your sweet-tooth and indulge as we did, in these incredibly delicious treats and famous steaming Chicory coffee.
Taking the New Orleans Canal St. trolley referred to as the streetcar line, our last dinner stop found us at Katie’s Restaurant & Bar, an inviting restaurant a little removed from the heart of the city. Previously voted the Best Neighborhood Restaurant in New Orleans, it has stellar reviews and was even featured on “Diners, Drive–Ins and Dives.”
With a charming and warm décor both inside and out, as well as a personable staff, Katie’s is a delightful restaurant to venture to if you feel inclined to leave the immediate bustle of the city.
With savory entrees ranging from fried tomatoes and gumbo soup to Po-boy sandwiches, pizza and a legendary sandwich with “cochon de lait” pork and BBQ shrimp, it is easy to understand Katie’s success.
To say the least, when our time in the beloved NOLA was through, we left feeling proud of our efforts to capture its full flavor… literally.
However, not only was it the food we tasted, but the company we shared over it as well, that significantly helped to make the trip unforgettable.