If you’ve been keeping up with the gals of DUCHESS (and, for heaven’s sake, please do!), then you know that we recently spent a whirlwind weekend in New Orleans, fêting the Boswell Sisters and their legacy of close harmony singing. We performed at Snug Harbor with a panoply of NOLA’s finest musicians, then joined a bunch of other girl groups for a Boswell Revue; you can see photos and read all about our trip over on the DUCHESS blog.
This post, however, is about the bacchanal of eating we did in New Orleans. We landed midday and were ready for some lunch, so after setting our bags down in our Bywater shotgun shack, we headed over to The Joint for some BBQ. Because I excel at moderation (ha), I ordered a platter of ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, plus mac & cheese, coleslaw, and a side of pickled jalapeños. A frosty Abita was, obviously, the only appropriate beverage pairing.
Leaving The Joint, we passed by a neighborhood store that had a sign out front advertising “Wildlife Specials”: rabbit, raccoon, and alligator meat were all for sale. Next time?
Some dear friends of mine had recently vacationed in New Orleans in honor of their ten-year wedding anniversary, and they kindly gave me some pre-trip dining recommendations. Thanks to their sage counsel, DUCHESS wound up in the French Quarter’s Verti Marte for some pre-gig po’boys. I opted for a grilled shrimp sandwich. The picture you are seeing is half—HALF—a sandwich. There are fully-grown dachshunds who are smaller than this sandwich. But the shrimp were so tender, and the bread so fresh, that I am proud (and somewhat mortified) to say that I ate the whole thing. The whole thing. And then, in a feat that defies all laws of physics, the DUCHESS gals somehow squeezed into our Spanx and tight dresses and sang the gig. WHERE IS OUR GRAMMY FOR MOST FOOD CONSUMED IN A SINGLE SITTING BEFORE A GIG?
One fine morning, we made our way to Morning Call over in City Park. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without beignets and chicory coffee, after all. We sipped our cafés au laits and ate the feather-light beignets while a young trio played the Meters’ “Cissy Strut.” Despite a brief but torrential downpour, it was the perfect way to spend our morning.
We wound down every evening in NOLA by sitting on the front porch of our sweet little house, listening to the crickets chirp and chatting about the day’s adventures. It was on this porch that I met my new favorite snack of all time: Cajun Dill Gator-Tators. These spicy, dill pickle-flavored potato chips were crunchy and salty and the perfect accompaniment to our icy cold beers. And speaking of beer, I’d like to go on record as saying that there is something singularly atmospheric and satisfying about strolling through the French Quarter on a languid, humid afternoon while drinking a beer in broad daylight.
We closed our trip with a fancy-schmancy dinner at Herbsaint, helmed by chef Donald Link. My entrée, a confit duck leg atop “dirty rice” (rice cooked with chicken liver, bell peppers, and Cajun spices) was a perfect example of how Herbsaint brings quintessentially Southern flavors to traditional French and Italian dishes. We ate, we drank, and we toasted to the magic of New Orleans. Les bons temps definitely rouler’ed, and I cannot wait to go back for some more music and food. Until next time, NOLA!