Saturday, April 5, 2008

Two Chicks in The Big Easy, Day 6: Giant salads, muffalattas, and no beignets

Catch up! Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5.
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It had started feeling dangerously indulgent to be noshing on beignets every morning, so on Sunday we decided to get our coffee and pastry fix from Croissant D'or Patisserie. Above, clockwise from top left: almond croissant; madeleine; a sweet raisin-studded bun; and large-size cafĂ© au lait. All of these were decent but not spectacular—the madeleine had good flavor but was a little dry, the almond croissant had a curiously butter-soaked bottom and no almond paste filling, the raisin bun was nothing special. Perhaps we should have stuck to our customary breakfast, after all.
A little later, while wandering around the French Market, I got a sno-ball from a truck on the side. Here is the "Tiger's Blood" flavor, which the vendor described as being "berry, with a hint of coconut." I can't say I tasted the coconut, but it was pretty good, though it was really sweet and stained my mouth bright red.

We spent the rest of the morning in the charming courtyard of Royal Cafe, where I finished some proofreading and MH did some reading for her classes before we broke for lunch.
Even before I had stepped foot into New Orleans, I had been determined to have a muffalatta; MH doesn't like olives though, and I felt bad dragging her to Central Grocery to have what would basically be an olive-centric meal. Since they seemed to keep well, I had figured I could pick up one up before we left, and just eat it back in New York.

To my dismay, I realized Saturday night that Central Grocery was closed on both Sundays and Mondays—and we were leaving Monday morning. Nooo! Determined to at least try one even if not the definitive version, I got on The Google and figured out that a decent alternative could be had at the historic Napolean House (above).
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Once there, I was delighted to spot an appetizer of boudin on the menu. Here was a chance to try the sausage in its actual sausage form, instead of breaded and deep-fried. The boudin came with a sweet, mustardy sauce and a small tangle of grilled onions and peppers, and the filling was softer and mealier than with the boudin balls. The tangy sauce went well with the sausage, but overall I think the boudin balls were better.
Then, the muffalatta! I ordered a half instead of a quarter as I had planned because MH said she wanted to try it. The sandwich was good, with the olive salad not unexpectedly being the star of the show. I was surprised to see that it wasn't just straight olives (I guess I was thinking of something like tapenade) but rather a chunky mixture of olives, garlic, celery, pimientos, and pickled cauliflower and carrots. MH gave the thumbs-up too.
At the recommendation of my friend CY, that night we went to Angeli on Decatur for a late dinner, a quiet spot we had been passing each time we made our way between our hotel and Frenchman Street.
I made a point of not sharing MH's grilled chicken salad with her this time, since I wanted greens and didn't want to unbalance her meal by eating all the lettuce from it. So I ordered a veggie burger with a salad on the side and we also got a side of pasta salad to split.

But we were somehow again in the land of giant salads, because MH's large grilled chicken salad could have filled a laundry basket, and the "small" pasta salad…
…was a veritable heap of pasta, kalamata olives, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, and red onion, on top of about six leaves of romaine lettuce. We totally could have shared one or the other and been satisfied. I'm not sorry about the pasta salad though, as it was kick-ass—I don't often like pasta salads, usually finding them too oily, too mushy, or too bland, but Angeli's version was tangy, fresh, and perfectly dressed; each tender corkscrew was infused with flavor.
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I enjoyed my veggie burger as well, which actually came as two thin patties instead of one fat one. I loved that it was all grains, beans, and vegetables instead of a mushy, processed mystery patty of vegetable protein masquerading as meat.

And so went our last dinner.
We headed to Frenchman Street to check out the music one last time, where I had this bottle of Abita at The Spotted Cat. It was our final evening in New Orleans, and already I knew that I would miss the place.

To be continued….

Two Chicks in The Big Easy:
Day 1: All fried, all the time
Day 2: Too much buffet, and bad fried chicken
Day 3: Our beignet addiction takes hold
Day 4: Still fried, but deliciousness at last
Day 5: Food court and dive bar surprises
Day 6: Giant salads, muffalattas, and no beignets
Day 7: "Beignet...done that"


  1. Now I really want lots of food I can't get. =(

  2. i have a love-hate relationship with this blog. it always makes me really hungry when i read it