Mardi Blog: Part(y) Two

Hey there, ‘Redheads… Happy Ides of March to you and yours. Today is a good day to eat a caesar salad with a knife while wearing a toga. Actually, come to think of it, that’s fun on most days. Welcome back to my multi-part recollection of my trip to Mardi Gras. Part One was mostly about the initial shock and awe. Part Two is going to focus on the eating. Sure, we drank alot too, but some of the time it was washing down some pretty great food.

When you’re in New Orleans, you’re required by law to have beignets at Cafe Du Monde. If you’ve never had the pleasure, a beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. Aside from coffee, it’s the only thing they serve there. There was a line around the block. Make that two lines, one to sit and one to go. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait with the riffraff because my buddy Nick greased the palm of one of the busboys to get us a table. It’s nice to be important. It’s important to be nice. Anyway, we sat down and got a round of bennies.

So much powdered sugar, it looked like breakfast at Charlie Sheen’s house. They’ve got themselves a surefire recipe. I’m fairly sure if you fried my shoe and dumped powdered sugar on it, it’d be pretty tasty. Chewier, sure, but tasty. Fuck Wheaties, I want my face on a box of these heavenly morsels. It was a solid foundation on which to pour a bucket of alcohol.

One place that came highly recommended for “the best fried chicken you’ll ever have” was Willie Mae’s Scotch House. We were able to confirm with the locals that it’s the place to go for fried chicken, so how could we not? We found out that it was located outside the confines of the French Quarter. Maybe a mile or so away from the bustle of Bourbon Street. It was a sunny day, so the four of us decided to hoof it. As you may or may not know, it’s taken New Orleans some time to rebound from Katrina back in 2005. The French Quarter has done fairly well, but there are other parts, like the one we walked through, that make Detroit look like Beverly Hills. I would’ve taken some pictures, but I wasn’t keen on flashing any high dollar items while we walked at an increasingly hurried pace toward Willie Mae’s. No wonder the chicken tastes so good. The meal is life affirming. When we got there around noon, there was a line to get in, since it’s only open from 11-3 and it’s a pretty small place.We watched as several cabs dropped off groups of people much smarter than we were. After waiting for about a half hour, we got seated. It was a wonder why there was anything besides fried chicken on the menu, because that’s what everyone was getting. We later found out that they ran out of chicken shortly after we left. As far as their claim to having the best fried chicken? Well, the Colonel should be dishonorably discharged. It was delicious.The breading was flaky and light and the breast was so good, I was tempted to throw beads at it. As my buddy Evan put it, “a meal worth almost dying for.” We decided to call a cab to ferry us back to the relative safety of the mob. When we told our cabbie that we had walked to the restaurant his reaction was, “So, were there five of you originally?”

The best meal we had in New Orleans was at a restaurant called Nola. It’s one of Emeril Lagasse’s. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you go to New Orleans, GO TO NOLA. It’s one of the five best meals I’ve ever had, and I’m not just saying that because I was hammered at the time. I had the Grilled Pork Chop with Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Toasted Pecans and Caramelized Onion Reduction Sauce. The sweet potatoes were like candy, the chop was tender, and the sauce was heavenly. Our only regret was that we went there with two days left on the trip. Aside from the aforementioned fried chicken, nothing else came close.

To be concluded…