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WHERE TO EAT: CALI EDITION

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Cali as in ME, not Cali as in California – this blog is aaaaaall about food in or near New Orleans!

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsPhoto Credit: 1



Everyone knows Parkway for poboys, The Joint for BBQ, and Rocky & Carlo’s if you are going to Chalmette for some reason, but there is more out there to eat (and drink) in the New Orleans area! Below you will find some of my favorites places and the things I think they do best!

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsPhoto Credit: 1

 

If you plan on eating (at least) three meals in this city, you should probably start your day off right with some good coffee! French Truck is my go-to. They roast their own beans and the staff is always SUPER nice and helpful.

 

If you find yourself needing coffee in the French Quarter, Spitfire is the place to go. It’s tiny with pretty much no seating, but its a great place to grab a coffee to go.

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Breaux Bridge Benedict from Stanley  Right: Mango pancakes & Chicken Tostones Benedict
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I’m not much of a breakfast person but when I am craving some hollandaise, I’ll hit up Stanley for their Breaux Bridge Benedict (house made boudin, ham, american cheese, poached eggs, and hollandaise on french bread – pictured above). Stanley always looks crowded but the wait is never really that long and the wait staff are pros at getting people in and out, without being rude, which I LOVE.


If the quarter is too crazy (do NOT try to go to Stanley during carnival or festival season) and I am in need of hollandaise, I’ll visit Press Street Station. The menu changes but they’ve always got a benedict or two that will ease my craving.


If you want some normal (but REALLY GOOD) eggs and bacon or maybe a breakfast burrito, check out Wakin Bakin. Too hungover to get out of bed? No problem! THEY DELIVER!!!


Want something a little healthier? Satsuma is the place for you. Their juice may seem a little pricy, but trust me, it’s worth it! The ACB is my favorite juice and the green sandwich (on a croissant) is my favorite breakfast food item there.


Lunch. Lunch is my favorite, man. I can’t even find the words to explain how much I love lunch. How about instead I just tell you about a couple (nine) of places I frequent for lunch.

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsFrom left to right: three cheese plate, the Parmesan Reggiano salad, and their special of the day sandwich)
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First I’ll just knock out the tried and true lunch spots: Pizza Delicious (get the caesar salad), Juan’s Flying Burrito (all three convenient locations have margs that will get you wasted), Stein’s Deli (Philly chz steaks on Tuesdays and don’t forget THE BEER ROOM in the back), and last but not least, St. James Cheese Company (I always get the Parmesan Reggiano Salad because I’m a sucker for Italian meats and cheeses but everything there is good).

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsFrom left to right: pickled veggie salad, meat board, mac & chz from St. James Cheese Company
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On to a few more favorites! First up is Butcher. Amazing mac and cheese, the only traditional boudin in the city I like, and specials you can’t skip!

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsFrom left to right: Boiled shrimp, potatoes, corn, & crawfish, gumbo, & fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade from Bevi
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Looking for FRESH seafood? Look no further! Bevi Seafood has all of the freshly caught crawfish, shrimp, and crabs you can eat! (It’s my dad’s favorite too and that’s saying something!) If you don’t want boiled seafood, I personally love the Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade salad or the catfish poboy!

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsThe Rico “breadless” sandwich from Carmo
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I LOVE PLANTAINS so I obviously love Carmo. That Rico tho (A breadless fork sandwich made of a grilled plantain patty topped with melted cheese, spicy smoked ‘n’ pulled pork, avocado, salsa fresca and our tangy sweet spicy “Rico” sauce. Served with organic greens drizzled with mango vinaigrette). Lots of vegan / vegetarian options too.

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsFrom left to right: Pupusas, Sopa de mariscos, rice & handmade tortillas from Norma’s 
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Eating at Norma’s Sweets Bakery is an experience! One I definitely suggest having. (Knowing some Spanish might help when ordering but isn’t necessary – everything is amazing!)


The last place I suggest visiting for lunch is Pagoda Cafe. It’s a cute little place with a ton of outdoor seating and pretty hand painted signage (and good coffee and sandwiches).

 

And now for the main attraction: DINNER!! Because of the number of places I love, I broke them down into three categories: 1. Casual $, 2. Nice but you can wear jeans $$, & 3. Fancy $$$.

 

Casual $:


Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsThe Yumbo Mumbo Gumbo from the Gumbo Stop
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Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop is a must. Get the Yumbo Mumbo Gumbo (sounds silly but just you waaaait)!

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Hawaii 504   Right: BB Curry Noodles with Soft Shell Crab from Banana Blossom
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Best thai restaurant hands down has to be Banana Blossom. Favorites: spicy clams, BBQ shrimp, roti, Hawaii 504, Chiang Mai noodle curry, green curry, BB curry noodles with soft shell crab.

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsGrilled squash salad with whipped ricotta and radishes from Ancora
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I love Ancora for more than just their pizza (I pretty much never get pizza when I go there actually – not because it’s not good but because I love everything else more). The staff is super friendly and always letting us try the new things they are working on. Pro tip: sit at the bar, get the Anti-pizza-plate, become a regular.

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Pepperoni pizza (they put them on first THEN the cheese! So good!) Right: Spaghetti & meatballs from Tower of Pizza
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My top two I-would-eat-here-every-single-day-if-I-could-because-they-feel-like-home places are High Hat Cafe and Tower of Pizza. High Hat cooks catfish thin and crispy just like my mom – SO GOOD. Tower of Pizza is like a slice of my personal heaven. (Get it??? SLICE??) The menu is painted on the wall and is never-changing (because it doesn’t have to because it is perfect).

 

Next up are places that are nice but you can wear jeans to which is sometimes important to me $$:

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Kimchi broth seafood stew   Right: Snapper with roasted squash & paella from Kin
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I’m going to go out on a limb right now and say that Kin is THE BEST restaurant in the city right now. I ate there three times in one month (two times were back to back days). The menu changes monthly and they describe themselves as “an intimate, unpretentious locale for Asian, French & international flavors” and I find that to be very true! Pro Tip: Go soon! Right now they are BYOB while they work on getting their liquor license (which helps with the wallet if you are a drinker like me).

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsFrom left to right:catfish w/pickled greens & chili broth, FRIED BREAD with sea salt crab claws with pickled chilies from Peche
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Go to Peche, bring a group (make a reservation beforehand), get all of the snacks, sides and small plates. Finish with the whole fish.

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Spicy San Marzano tomato sauce, mascarpone, & wild arugula pizza from Palador 511   Right: Hanger steak with pesto & roasted veggies from Mariza
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Palador 511 and Mariza are both neat spots in the Marigny/Bywater area. I would suggest getting the pizza at Palador and the hanger steak or black squid ink linguini at Mariza.

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Curried fried cauliflower hummus, grape leaves, pickled veggies, baba ganoush, tabouleh, & lutenitsa from Shaya
Right: the Falafel Fest from 1000 Figs    Photo Credit: 1 / 2

 

Hungry for hummus or falafel or MORE!? Both Shaya and 1000 Figs have you covered. My favorite thing from Shaya is the curried fried cauliflower hummus (but there are soooo many things I love there). As for 1000 Figs, I think the Falafel Fest is the way to go (unless eating alone – its definitely a meal for 2). You get a taste of everything!


Last (but not least) on this list is Oak Oven. I love that you can get half or whole salads AND pastas because I like to try a little of everything if I can! Favorite salad: Parmigiano (romaine, bacon, tomato, egg, olive & parmigiano dressing). Favorite pasta: Handmade Pappardelle (shrimp, artichoke, cherry tomato, lemon & herbs).

 

And finally the “Fancy $$$” category:

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsLeft: Chorizo & blood sausage   Right:  Hanger steak & wine from La Boca
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I love La Boca. It’s the only place where I ate ONLY meat and was completely satisfied. I started with the chorizo de la Casa and and the blood sausage then finished with the Centro de Entrana (the hanger steak). Suggestions from friends: Provoleta (Grilled Argentine Cheese, Olive Oil & Oregano), grilled asparagus and the Ñoqui “La Boca” (Potato Dumplings with Pancetta, Peas & Cream).

 

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsThe Southern Board from Purloo
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The only other place I can think of that I’d happily drop a couple bills in is Purloo. I suggest getting the Southern Board (comes with pimento cheese, smoked lamb, green tomato chutney, deviled eggs, fried pickles and BOILED PEANUTS!). Pro Tip: Sit at the bar if its busy so you can watch them cook, but don’t if its not (because then its awkward having them watch you eat haha).

 

Last comes my favorite part of eating: DRINKING! Below are my favorite places to get an adult beverage:

Food, New Orleans, Drinks, RestaurantsFrom left to right: Cocktail from Latitude 29, myself holding Courtyard’s Hibiscus beer, myself sampling everyone’s NOLA Brewery beers
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Cane & Table (has food equally as good as their tiki inspired drinks), Cure (C&T’s sexy older sister bar), Latitude 29 (other wonderful tiki bar), Stein’s (the ultimate beer room in N.O.), Courtyard Brewery (great for groups), and NOLA Brewery (they have a lot of sour beers and other beers they don’t bottle on draft).

These are all of places above I have been, loved, and can vouch for being awesome. The following are places I have not been, but would like to go: Primitivo, Compère Lapin, Avo, & Kenton’s.

 

Happy eating and drinking, y’all!
~ Cali


(Also to weigh in on this forever king cake debate, Manny Randazzo has the best king cake.)