They don’t call New Orleans the Big Easy for nothing. On my first trip to one of America’s best culinary destinations, I quickly found that it couldn’t be easier to eat your way through this city. For anyone that’s a fan of bold, spicy foods, interesting cocktails and top-caliber restaurants, New Orleans is a trip to put on your list. Here’s a quick look:
New Orleans French Quarter is where all the magic (and maybe a little voodoo) happens. The only way to start your day there is with Cafe du Monde‘s fluffy, sugar coated beignets and a tall cafe au lait.
Seafood is everywhere, but no place does oysters like Acme Oyster House. Their savory seafood gumbo and hush puppies were equally tasty.
Our friend Val, a New Orleans native, insisted that we hit up Mother’s Restaurant in the business district. While the ambiance is nothing fancy, one bite of Mother’s overflowing shrimp po’boy with a healthy dose of Louisiana hot sauce and you understand why this place is a legend. In the corner, Bill sips a mint julep at Oak Alley Plantation.
We also sampled delicious BBQ shrimp and buttery grits at Marigny Brasserie, duck spring rolls and pecan pie at Mr B’s Bistro and of course the classic hurricane at Pat O’Briens.
After coming home (and hitting the gym!) I pulled out my jambalaya recipe to get one last taste of New Orleans. This jambalaya is an easy and nearly one-pot dish for anyone craving some Creole flavors at home.
New Orleans Style Jambalaya
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp butter
1 C white rice
2 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks (cajun seasoned work great)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled
3 andouille or smoked sausages, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp cajun spice, pepper
salt, cayenne pepper to taste
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, saute onions, green pepper, celery and butter until vegetables are softened. In a separate saute pan, begin cooking chicken and sausage. As vegetables soften, add tomatoes, rice, broth and garlic. Season with spices, adding cayenne to taste. Simmer on medium low while meat cooks.
When meats are almost cooked, add shrimp and cook through. Incorporate meats into the stockpot and stir well. Taste and add extra seasoning needed. Simmer until rice is cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
PS: In the Milwaukee area? We’re hosting a HAP Launch Party at The Home Market and you’re invited! Check out the link for details and if you’re coming or have questions, feel free to post a comment on our Contact page! Hope to see you there!