Uniquely New Orleans Thanksgiving Dishes

For Thanksgiving, New Orleanians know how to celebrate this day of gluttony… er “thanks”… very well and (as expected) take any excuse to celebrate food appropriately. Natives of New Orleans, however, don’t realize they have different meal traditions than the rest of the U.S. until much later in life. When grandma has had fresh oysters easily available, or mirliton (pronounced amongst family like “mel-lee-tawn) growing in the backyard your whole life, how would you know it’s different from the “middle America” we all keep hearing about these days? Below is a list of five traditional New Orleans dishes that many New Orleanians know as staples for their holiday meals that many out-of-towners may not expect.

1. Oyster Patty

Also known as an “erster” patty, this pastry filled with creamy oyster goodness is a common starter that is constantly moving out of the oven and straight to the party platter that family will continue to nosh on until the official dinner time has started. Sometimes it is bite-sized, and sometimes it can be served almost like a starter soup in a small bread bowl. An easy recipe can be found here.

2. Mirliton Casserole

Mirliton is a very mild flavored squash that can be easily and cheaply grown in New Orleans backyards. Because it is so versatile, it is the perfect base for a delicious casserole filled with seafood and traditional creole spices. Every family has a different recipe filled with oysters, shrimp, crawfish, crab or all of the above. An easy and seafood-filled recipe can be found here.

3. Dirty Rice

Dirty rice acquired its name because of its dark color that comes from a protein that some find, well, rather “dirty”. Chicken liver and gizzards are a rich, flavorful part of the bird many cooks these days throw away as trash. Dirty rice is occasionally used as a stuffing, but more often is a popular side dish found on New Orleans tables. A classic version of this dish can be cooked following this recipe.

4. Spinach Madeleine

True pity is felt by New Orleanians when they learn for the first time that this “healthy” (haha) vegetable dish is not an American norm. Its humble beginnings from a southern Louisiana housewife and a Kraft product certainly seem like it should be a universal dish. We all believe it probably will be soon. This creamy, flavorful, spicy spinach dish can be made following this recipe.

5. Cajun Fried Turkey

Ok, so maybe it isn’t a New Orleans dish, but the Cajun Fried Turkey has rapidly grown in popularity thanks to a lot of (most likely drunken and dangerous) family parties where large fryers are used and an excess of poultry is available. Once the word got out in NOLA that about two hours away Southern Louisianans mastered how to fry a turkey, everyone with a large fryer was testing it out. Now every other family in the neighborhood is risking their lives (frying a turkey really is very dangerous, but delicious) with this new favorite. If you’re willing and able, the recipe can be found here.

BONUS DISH. Turkey Gumbo (the next day)

New Orleanians obviously know how to make a mean gumbo out of the leftover stock, so you have to remember to make sure to save those turkey bits and pieces after it has been carved. A good turkey gumbo is the perfect leftover lunch or dinner than can be deliciously stretched out for days. Don’t forget to take advantage of that carcass!

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Top Six Macaroni and Cheese Dishes in New Orleans

It’s officially Fall in New Orleans, whether it feels like it or not, and even though we are still in tank tops and shorts, we’re all starting to crave the comfort foods that go with the season. Once you’ve pumpkin-spiced yourself, the next thing many start to look for is a cozy, creamy, cheesy, hot and filling dish. It’s ooey and gooey and warms the soul. It is macaroni and cheese. Even the cheap macaroni that comes out of a box with powdered cheese is still good, but the really good stuff will lift your spirits to a new dimension of a cheese heaven. What makes mac n’ cheese even more magical is it’s versatility. Throughout the city, you can find versions with bacon, lobster, asparagus or peppers any number of different cheeses. If you’re looking for the best macaroni in New Orleans, we’ve got you covered with six places to get your cheese fix!

1. St. James Cheese

st-james-macaroniA venue whose sole existence is all about the cheese, you know their mac and cheese has to be on point. Oh, and on point it is. Available at both St. James Cheese locations in the warehouse district and uptown, the Cheesemonger’s Mac & Cheese is a blend of multiple cheeses and comes in a large (entree) and small (appetizer) size.

2. Butcher


Butcher is known best for their meats and sandwiches, but they don’t mess around when it comes to their macaroni. The sharp cheddar and house-cured pancetta make up the warm center and the crispy parmesan and bread crumb crust makes each bite crispy and creamy in all the right ways.

3. Café b!


Yes, I am biased with this macaroni and cheese because the recipe is based on the one I was raised on, but don’t let that stop you from trying it! The Mac and 3 Cheese side is a blend of Irish white cheddar and gruyere and topped with parmesan. It is then finished in an individual cast iron dish so you can enjoy the hot stretchy cheesy dish hot through the last bite.

4. Cowbell

One of the few dishes featured here that is not a baked version of macaroni, this three cheese delight includes poblano peppers and a blend of herbs that keep you digging in for more. If you really want to get crazy, order their lobster mac and cheese version, but trust me, you won’t lose with either choice.

5. Capdeville

If you’re a sucker for truffle anything (like me), the Capdeville macaroni and cheese dish will win your heart starting with the smell. They use a small noodle just to make sure you are reminded that it’s all about that cheesy sauce. Get the large portion. You will want the whole thing.

6. The Big Cheezy

Big Cheezy- Mac n Cheezy
The Big Cheezy knows how to handle cheese between two (or more) slices of bread, and that’s exactly how they serve up their Mac N’ Cheezy. The only macaroni and cheese dish you can eat with your hands, this buttery colossal sandwich will hit you right in the feels. Oh, and try it dipped in the tomato basil. You will be glad you did.

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Brunch in New Orleans for Every Mood

Ah, brunch. Everyone loves you and many restaurants in this incredible food city offer a delicious version. With so many great brunch options in New Orleans, it’s hard to choose where to go. There is no way to create a concise list of “Great Brunch Places in New Orleans,” though many have tried, only to receive backlash for missing so many incredible options. While every mood is not included — us humans are very moody– and obviously not all the best brunch spots in the city are included,here is a list to help narrow it down based on what mood you’re in when choosing brunch!

Mood: I don’t care where we go, I just know I’m in need of some greens

okapi-juice-from-canal-st-bistroWe all know New Orleans isn’t the easiest city for sticking to “that” diet. The temptation of fried, buttered, carb-y, alcohol fueled evenings is too high. At some point, the human body will take a stand and tell you “you need to get some healthy fruits and veggies in you, STAT.” The good news is, Canal Street Bistro features one of the most extensive and delicious juice bars along with their fantastic brunch!

With a juice menu featuring nearly twenty juices, along with a build-your-own option, every guest can get in those vitamins and minerals needed in a tasty glass. Canal Street Bistro is also a great option on pretty days with their outdoor seating, where you can enjoy the sights of the red Canal Street streetcars rolling by in Mid-City.

If you’re not thinking about making your way to Mid-City, another great juicy brunch option is Surrey’s located in the Lower Garden District and in Uptown, New Orleans.

Mood: New Orleans Style Fare, with a Little Extra “Something”

ruby-slipperYou’re looking for that heavy, flavorful meal that will soak up the fun from the night before. You’re not too worried about the wait, because you know it will be worth it, and that’s what mimosas are for! Ruby Slipper is a no-brainer for great brunch options located across the city.

Whether you’re in the Marigny, Mid-City, the French Quarter or in the CBD, there is a Ruby Slipper with a long wait, and multiple mimosa options. Try any of their many benedict options, like the Eggs Cochon, or go with their Banana’s Foster Pain Perdue, because… it’s a banana’s foster pain perdue.

If you just went to Ruby Slipper and are looking for another option, Elizabeth’s is also a heavy hitter. Make sure someone orders the Duck Waffle.

Mood: It’s not about the fancy food, it’s about someone checking on “your mom’en’nem”

betsysYou don’t need anything instagramable, you just need a sweet waitress calling you, “Darlin'” and asking if you would like more fresh coffee. With seasonally appropriate holiday decorations hanging from the ceiling, you will be perfectly happy with an old-school New Orleans diner that was just as popular for your grandparents as it is for you today. Besty’s Pancake House is calling to you and your inner “Yat”.

They don’t need a website because they already have a loyal following made up of lawyers, blue-collar families, RTA employees and doctors. Small kids can order the silver dollar pancakes topped with powdered sugar while adult kids can order the pigs and a blanket and everyone can leave happy. After paying at the register at the end of your meal, your soul will be full after your left with a “Thank ya, baby. We’ll see ya around next time.”

If you’re looking for something just outside the city, you can always check out Dot’s Diner with the same friendly “Yat” love you may be needing.

Mood: Wanting a Different Brunch “Experience”

drag-brunch_edited-1You’ve got some energy, and although it may not be afternoon yet, you’re ready to raise your hands and cheer on a show while enjoying your meal. You need beautiful women parading around your table, and thank god you are in New Orleans, because you have options. The Country Club Drag Brunch is calling to you and you can’t turn it down.

Tall, high-heeled, big-haired sirens serenade brunchers every Saturday at the popular New Orleans restaurant. Fueled by $15 bottomless mimosas, you can’t help but sing along to the baritone beauties while they perform amongst the tables. After eating, you can keep the party going by renting a day pass for the pool and full service bar in the back.

If you are looking for another kind of beautiful, SoBou offers Burlesque Brunch in the French Quarter every Sunday.

Mood: Satisfying the Celebrity Chef Snob

corn-bread-willa-jeaSometimes you have a friend or family member in town who saw this cute chef with famous New Orleans restaurants and they have to check it out! When someone wants to check out the latest restaurant by the chef with the great hair, Willa Jean’s is a great option amongst John Besh’s restaurants.

With on-point coffee, fantastic brunch cocktails, and a pastry selection to make your grandma weep with jealousy, Willa Jean’s is one of the top brunch spots in the city. Order the Cornbread and Baker’s Basket for the table, because once you order the Pancake Souffle, you’re not going to want to share.

We have to give an obvious shout out to the world-famous Commander’s Palace brunch because, duh.

Mood: Looking for a Secret Spot

salonYou want to brunch with a few friends, but you’re not in the mood to chance a run-in with your crazy old roommate. Maybe you’re looking for a place that will be the perfect meal with someone you’re secretly dating and you won’t be worried about getting caught. Salon by Sucre is a surprisingly quiet spot that makes you feel like you are cheating the system.

Seated on a French Quarter balcony, imbibing on their fun brunch cocktail options, Salon’s brunch menu continues to impress with options ranging from a hearty Breakfast Sandwich to a sweet and delicate Bruléed Crepe. Obviously, you have to finish with dessert from Sucre, because that’s what brings the crowd (downstairs).

Going in a totally different direction, a hidden gem can be found deep in the heart of the West Bank at Panda King for Dim Sum on the weekends.

Mood: Gotta Straighten Out with a Bloody Mary

bloody-maryIt happens to the best of us. You want to go out for the brunching, but before the eating happens, you have to get right with a little spicy, savory, hard stuff. Bloody Mary cravings are serious, and you need a serious set-up to satisfy your needs. Atchafalaya will give you want you want, and more.

Atchafalaya was the first restaurant in New Orleans to offer a bloody mary bar and they are still the top choice for people craving something customizable. After ordering your vodka, you meander over to the bloody mary table located across from the bar and go as classic or unique as your vodka-craving-heart desires. The build-your-own setup offers multiple tomato mixes, at least 10 hot sauces, and additions ranging from classic celery stalks to pickled watermelon rind. Oh, and the food isn’t bad either!

If you’re craving something different, Sylvain offers a unique bloody mary made in-house with fresh squeezed tomato juice. It’s unexpected, but you can’t stop drinking it once you get started!

Mood: It’s a Big Old “NOPE” Day

wb_lgo_400x400You get the “Brunch?” text and you’re not having it. You need a dark, quiet, stay-in-your-oversized-tshirt all day kind of day. You know you have to eat, but the thought of human interaction and sunlight isn’t happening. This is why Wakin’ Bakin’ has blessed us in New Orleans.

Wakin’ Bakin delivers breakfast food to those who need the food, but just aren’t leaving their homes. It’s cheap, delicious, and judgement free. Thank you, Wakin’ Bakin’, for existing. Thank you.



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What’s Old is New in New Orleans!

The latest new openings are taking some of the most tired, old-school items and pumping life back into them, making me beg for more.

The amount of new restaurants opening in NOLA is staggering. The Boy and I do our best to keep up, but there are only so many meals (and so much money) that we can fit into our busy lives. One of the latest trends I’ve seen in some of the new places that have opened is taking an old-school dish and making it into something spectacular.

I decided to share three new places that have recently opened that take aged classics and reinvent them to fun and delightful new dishes that remind us of the love they once commanded.

The Big Cheezy

Is there anything more homey and comforting than a huge, ooey, gooey, cheesy mass IMG_20150508_203510stuffed in between two buttery slices of bread? Not really. It’s like a rule that every child has an obsession with grilled cheese sandwiches at some point, and most parents are pretty ok with it too.

The Big Cheezy takes the classic grilled cheese and adds wizard magic and blessings from the cheese gods that just works. Go with their namesake, the Big Cheezy, to allow your mind and body to fully understand what this new Grilled Cheese experience is all about. Once you’re able to fully grasp the perfection and new life necessity of the Big Cheezy experience, allow yourself to graduate to any of their other signature options. I recommend the Crazy Old Goat, but believe me when I tell you, you can’t go wrong.

Brown Butter Southern Kitchen and Bar

The latest new neighborhood hot spot in Mid-City is all about southern fare. Brown Butter features a range of the most popular and notable classic Southern dishes ranging from the low-country, Cajun-country or anywhere else below the Mason Dixon line.

What is to be a signature dish at Brown Butter is the Chicken and “Waffle” Sandwich. This 20150314_121657fun play on the classic is not made with waffles or fried chicken. Chicken confit is matched with country ham and aged cheddar and sandwiched in two Sourdough slices. The sandwich is then pressed in a waffle iron to make it crispy and give it a waffle guise. A sweet and savory Steen’s mustard glaze is then poured over the quartered sandwich. The traditional chicken and waffle connection is there but Brown Butter managed to master it in a nontraditional way.

20150314_115720Also, make sure to get the fried pickles. Some may think a fried pickle is just… another fried pickle. BUT the light batter compliments the very thinly sliced, tangy pickle instead of overwhelming it. Even served on top of a deliciously rich buttermilk dressing, the pickles on the bottom maintained a perfectly crispy texture instead of becoming soggy.


Kin is undoubtedly my new favorite restaurant in the city. It’s in a totally bizarre location and even upon entering, you’re still unsure of what you will be getting into since you realize you will be sitting very close to all the other patrons dining with you. While they are anything but old-school, they take familiar ideas and turn them into the epitome of a “surprise and delight” restaurant experience.IMG_20150513_214915

The perfect example is their surf and turf entrée. I mean, there isn’t much that makes you immediately think of a classic steakhouse that grandpa used to visit for lunch with business associates and have a martini, or two, or five. Kin’s “Turf in Surf”, however, is fun and witty and features a divinely cooked hangar steak that is somehow (seriously can’t figure out how they do it) stuffed IN the head of a squid. I mean, it’s just awesome.

Not only are their dishes playful and fun, but they’re also able to pull off witty food and maintain an integrity with the ingredients that creates an overall fantastic and delicious experience.

So, go try out some of the MANY new places opening in the city and DON’T pass up on a dish you think you have had a million times in the past.

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It’s NOT Slow Cooking Season- but here is a recipe that works for Spring!

Fresh Stuff for Dinner!The Boy is one of the few boyfriends around that did not get in trouble when he bought me a slow cooker for Christmas around one of our early holidays together. He certainly had warnings from others, but (thank goodness for his sake) he knew me well enough by then that I love any and all forms of food and cooking. This includes the marvelously easy and delicious form known as slow cooking. Since then, I have received a beautiful dutch oven which is another useful tool that I MIGHT whisper sweet nothings to when no one is around.

Who can’t love any dish that you prep for 20 minutes and then not have to think about while you’re away at work. If anything, my only concern is the torture I’m putting my dog through as he sits at home with the delicious smell of flavors slowly melding together just a few inches above his nose’s reach.

Springtime isn’t usually the time that slow cooking comes to mind. You think of sweet, fresh, crispy Spring fruits and veggies. A standard slow cooked meal like a heavy meat with a deep rich brown stock and mushy vegetables is most certainly not sweet, fresh or crispy.   Alas, sometimes I still need the ease of my dutch oven, even when it’s a warm lovely Spring day.

So, I’ve started to devise a perfect NOLA Spring slow cooker plan. It couldn’t be a traditional and heavy kind of cold-weather meal. Instead, I wanted something with vibrant flavors, that carried that tender slow cooked texture.

And so, I pulled together a few different ideas and came up with this. Slow Cooked Caribbean Pork and Pineapples.

Caribbean Pork and Pineapple


1) One 2lb Pork Loin (I used an end)
2) One lb Fresh Pineapple (cubed)
3) Six Green Onions (cut into quarter inch pieces)
4) Two Garlic Cloves (minced)
5) Juice from One Small Lime
6) One tbsp Hoisin Sauce
7) One tbsp Soy Sauce
8)  Two tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
9) One tsp Crushed Cumin
10) One Red Bell Pepper
11) One Green Bell Pepper
12) Four Cups Cooked White Rice


Cut pork loin into 1 inch cubes. Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of your dutch oven (or a large skillet) and brown all sides of the cubed pork. While still hot, add cubed pineapple and allow the edges to soften. If using a skillet to brown, transfer to dutch oven or slow cooker.

Add ingredients 3-9 in a bowl and mix well until it is a thick sauce. Pour over pork in dutch oven or slow cooker.

Cover and cook on medium heat (high if you’re using a slow cooker) for 1 hour. Switch to low heat and allow to cook for 2-3 hours. When ready, julienne the Bell Peppers, add to the mix, and allow to cook on low for another 1-2  hours. Avoid the temptation to begin eating straight out of the hot pot.

When ready to eat, plate the pork and saucy goodness over white rice and enjoy it with a glass of your favorite dry riesling. Now you can enjoy!

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1000 Figs- Small Space, Big Flavor

While there are differing opinions on the food truck scene and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing for the New Orleans restaurant industry, I am personally and selfishly, totally behind it. The beauty of the food truck is anyone with the gusto to invest in a truck and the creative juices to appeal to hungry passersby can make it. Even more beautiful is that once they “make it,” they can move to the next big step and actually move into a big-kid kitchen and a creatively decorated space they can call all their own (without wheels).


1000 Figs is the creative brain child born from the drivers of the popular food truck, the Fat Falafel.


Image 100% taken from the 1000 Figs site.

Thanks to the growing support (and fan base) of the truck, the couple behind the wheeled chickpea vehicle was able to move into a small space just off Esplanade avenue. With a real kitchen, and actual tables for guests to dine on, 1000 Figs serves the same enchanting Falafel plates and then some.

The Boy and I were able to go on a whim as a last minute food source before some very white-bread-popular-cover-band-dancing at Starlight Racing at the Fairgrounds. The tiny space is crowded very quickly and can be a tight fit on any popular dining night.

Luckily, they are conveniently located next to Swirl and we were able to wait it out with the lovely wine bar’s regular Friday Night Free For All.

After purchasing a delightful bottle of Black Slate Porrera, we sat at the small wooden table where the silverware is conveniently stored in your own personal silverware drawer. Although there was a slight struggle to come across a wine screw, the wine was poured and the ordering commenced.

To start was the slow braised lamb served with a cucumber salad and yogurt. We had to order it because we had a great wine that went well with the dish and, well, we love lamb (most meat, actually, but lamb is up there on the love scale). The lamb was tender and full of intense Mediterranean flavors that were cooled with the refreshing yogurt and bright cucumber salad. It was a great start for us, but then we moved on to our next dish because we are fat like that.

Braised Lamb- 1000 Figs

Slow Braised Lamb


The Kale Salad with Squid was the healthy part of our meal. Not that what we were eating was unhealthy, but it’s kale and we are suckers for the straight up green stuff.  The light lemon dressing was the perfect acidic partner needed to match the deliciously meaty seared squid that we may or may not have been fighting over.

Kale and Squid Salad- 1000 Figs

Kale and Seared Squid Salad


Falafel Feast- 1000 Figs

The Falafel Feast- A feast indeed!

After going through the first two entrees, we obviously had to hurt ourselves with the Falafel Feast which features Falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, yogurt, pickles, slaw, house salad, tahini, cilantro chile sauce, toum and flat bread.

No, we were not able to actually finish it all, but if we did have the physical ability to do so without severe injury, we would have. The feast was designed as a signature to feature what 1000 Figs does best. It did not feature figs, but the standard Mediterranean dishes were obviously carefully perfected over time and they were able to please the two of us. The rest of New Orleans seems to agree with us that The Fat Falafel food truck has succeeded in their brick and mortar aspirations and we are behind them!

After sharing my thoughts, I want to know yours! What is your opinion on Food Trucks and do you agree they are the start of many new fantastic restaurants in the city?

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Noodles in NOLA

Noodles in Nola are certainly not hard to find.

That’s why it is always one of my favorite go-to options when it’s chilly outside and I’m looking for something to warm my belly. Noodles are a primary comfort food across the globe and there is a reason behind it. In New Orleans, we have a very large Asian population that has blessed this city with their cuisine for years. Recently, the number of restaurants with an Asian influence has exploded (YAYYYYYYYYY).

Here, I’m listing some of the places I get my noodle fix from on a regular basis. They’re all delicious and different, and each with their own dish that I crave. There are a ton of other noodle joints around NOLA, so make sure to tell me about your favorites in the comments below!

 RAMEN from Noodle and Pie

Ramen from Noodle and Pie

HOUSE BOWL RAMEN from Noodle and Pie

House Bowl Ramen- Shoyu chicken broth, slow cooked pork shoulder, soft egg, greens, mushrooms, shredded nori

If we’re talking about Noodles, let’s start with the place that named their restaurant after them! Noodle and Pie is a small restaurant on Magazine that keeps the menu limited to ensure the best dishes continue to come out consistently good.
Their ramen is a must, but make sure to try their apps and whatever they have as specials too! Oh, and that pie, yea, save room for some.

Pad Thai from Thai Mint


PAD THAI from Thai Mint

Pad Thai- Rice noodles sauteed with shrimp, green onions, and egg in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce served with sprouts and crushed peanuts.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Thai Mint. As far as convenient Thai restaurants in the NOLA area, The Basil Leaf was something to RAVE about. It was basically the Thai food I was raised on. Well, in the previous owner’s good fortune, he found a beautiful bride and moved back to Thailand, which led him to selling the Basil Leaf (or so I was told). Today it is Thai Mint and it took me awhile to accept the change.

I miss Basil Leaf, for sure, but Thai Mint does a FANTASTIC job with my quick Thai lunch fix when I need one! They have a wonderful service staff (if you find out what kind of happy drugs they are giving the staff, let me know) and they start off with the right kind of Thai heat–with options to get hotter, of course.

Pho from Namese

Namese Pho

RARE STEAK PHO from Namese

Rare Steak Pho- Flat rice noodle in pho broth; served with cilantro, onions, basil, bean sprouts, & limes.

Ah Namese, one of the newer Vietnamese places to grace the NOLA metro area. Lucky for me, their pho is pretty darn good, they are decently priced, AND THEY DELIVER! As a Mid-City girl myself, this was a fantastic addition to the already great food scene in the area.

Pho is the dish for when you’re sick (or not), it’s cold outside (or not), or when you have a hankering for an obscenely filling and flavorful meal (seriously, so filling). I won’t lie, I love many a Vietnamese restaurant in the area, but I do patronize this location most often.

PANCIT from Milk Fish



 Pancit Malabon- Thick rice noodles sautéed in shrimp stock & fish sauce, served with shrimp, squid, milkfish, & pork belly. Topped with pickled quail eggs, chicharron powder, bonito, & cilantro.

Milk Fish is a great intro into Filipino food. First off, go with friends and order the Puluton Plate to get a sampling of their starters to get an idea of what they have to offer and make sure to try their cocktails. No matter how large of a group you go with, make sure at least half of them order one of the two pancit dishes because they are so good and it’s literally one of those dishes that you can’t stop eating because it is so very very tasty and delicious. There is a reason this is a staple in Filipino homes. Order it and be happy. Trust me.

This is just a briefing of the many great places to get delicious, filling noodle dishes during the cold weather here in NOLA.

I have so many other places that serve excellent noodle dishes (more pho, more pad thai, more vermicelli, oh my goodness gracious), but the beauty of this city is that we can love them all! Go out, and get your noodle on and make sure to tell us all about it!

Honorable mentions (that I didn’t have photos for) go out to:

Pho Tau Bay
Sukho Thai
Little Tokyo Noodle House


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A Healthy Salad for the Holidays- A Risk I’m Willing to Take!

Nolafoodette Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad

Historically, the holidays are a time for families to gather and make memories and be fat together. In recent years, the planning for fatness with my family is via email chains with sign-up sheets for who is bringing what.

The host does the turkey, an aunt does a casserole and Nana does a unique specialty dish*. While looking at the list I decided that maybe something light and (GASP) kind of healthy may be in order.

I have been working on a Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad* a lot lately and thought it may be the perfect thing for them. I mentioned it to my mom and, while there was some hesitation on the brussels sprouts and the kale,  she decided to give me the go ahead (thanks Mom!).

And so, wish me luck in bringing a healthy dish to the fat party and (hopefully) they will enjoy it as much as I do!

*Side note on Nana’s dish. It’s a whole, Boiled Octopus with a super secret vinaigrette and it’s freaky – in both looks and awesomeness. Plus, it’s usually in costume.246594_10101447668891965_343119310_n

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad Recipe



Nolafoodette Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad



1/4 cup FRESH Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon minced Shallot
2 minced Garlic Cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt ( I prefer kosher, but do as you do)
Pinch of freshly ground Black Pepper
2 large bunches of Green Kale
12 ounces Brussels Sprouts
1/4 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup chopped  or sliced Almonds
4 ounces Dried Cranberries
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese



Combine Lemon Juice, Dijon Mustard, Shallot, Garlic, Salt, and Black Pepper into a bowl and whisk until it looks like everything is blended. Set that bad boy down and let the flavors make friends.

Grab your Kale leaves after washing and remove the stems. Roughly chop the leaves into small bites and place in a large bowl.

Now get those round little Brussels Sprouts and start shredding them into tiny little ribbons so they are not tough. You can also use a grater to shred them if you’re not confident with the knife, but I can tell you it’s nice stress relief to tear those little bad boys apart. Place what is left of the Brussels Sprout into the bowl with the Kale.

Once you’re finished with the greens, take the lemon party bowl of friends you made first and whisk in your olive oil. Remember to introduce the olive oil in slowly. He is new and if you don’t let him ease in he could be rejected and will always be a little separated from the lemon juice party.

Right before serving, add dressing and Parmesan Cheese to the greens and toss so you get all the flavors in every bite. Garnish with your almonds and you are good to go!



*Side note on the salad photo, I took the photo when it was a meal at home. I added the grilled chicken. If you want to have your salad with grilled chicken, I highly encourage it as a healthy meal! The recipe above does not include grilled chicken

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Going for Fall Food in NOLA

Fall in New Orleans is a wonderfully confusing time of year.

Hot Fall Brunch Pancakes

Ooo it’s so fa… wait, no, that is so not a totally traditional Fall Food kind of situation.

Once September hits, we get a taste of relief from the 90 degree, 80% humidity and we can experience a day (that’s right one day) of a high of 85 with 15% humidity and it is GLORIOUS.

We get that one day and everyone pulls out the boots, scarves, and hats that were shoved in storage (or whatever spare space you could cram them). The coffee shops begin promoting pumpkin spice lattes and then there is pumpkin spice everything everywhere. Then, you wake up the next day and it’s 95 degrees and your feet are sweating when you walk out your house at 8:30 am because you thought it was a good idea to wear jeans with boots and the cute, fluffy, decorated socks you can’t wear during the summer (because, well, your feet will sweat).

Well, I succumbed to wanting to get into Fall. I was able to wait until October, but lo and behold, butternut squash with nutmeg and cinnamon is still delicious when it’s hot outside in this beautiful city. Also, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and well, everything, is talking about this kind of food and I wanted it.

The Sister and I were discussing potential dinner plans while taking a delightful stroll along Bayou St. John with my hairy four-legged child and butternut squash came up.

Long story short, all the fixin’s for Butternut Squash “Ravioli*” ended up in the kitchen and we are microwaving** a far too large butternut squash for our meal that night.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Sage Brown Butter Sauce

So, the ravioli ended up delicious and we enjoyed the hell out of the dinner. We had the AC blasting and I was wearing sweatpants. It was such a marvelous Fall Food kind of meal. But, we still had about a cup of mashed butternut squash with delicious nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, and all the fall deliciousness we are all wanting during this time of year and it was just placed in the fridge until I could find something to do with it.

Fast Forward and it’s the weekend and I want brunch.

You know that mode when you don’t want to put on pants but you want to eat like a spoiled fat kid? Familiar to you or not, that was the mode I was in. So, I raided the fridge and I have an assortment of ingredients that work! Top of the list: Butternut Squash Pancakes!

Mmmmm Butternut Squash Pancakes

Mmmmm Butternut Squash Pancakes

So, it’s a beautiful day and I have the perfect fall brunch foods so obviously we should eat on our lovely balcony overlooking the Canal Street Car line. Here’s the catch. It’s New Orleans and it is not exactly the ideal Fall weather.

It’s not that it was August weather. It was actually a rather nice day; but the kind of nice day that goes well with a delicious, chilled Blanco Sangria with satsuma, apples, and blueberries and NOT Butternut Squash Pancakes.

But, I love this city and I love the weather and I love wine with breakfast, so I’m going to have a Fall brunch with a delicious summery brunch cocktail on my balcony.

And so, I began prepping for some delicious squash pancakes (added some extra brown sugar) and began trying to figure out how to incorporate eggs*** into our meal. So, I have 2 eggs left (after pancaking), leftover kale, lemon, and black truffle paste.

Truffled soft boiled eggs on a bed of kale with a lemon vinaigrette? HELL YEA! Now we're healthy!

Truffled soft boiled eggs on a bed of kale with a lemon vinaigrette? HELL YEA! 
Now we’re healthy!

And so, I cooked (didn’t clean) and was ready to get my Fall Food Brunching on a hot New Orleans October day. The pancakes may have been better to some if it was more like 50 degrees, but you know what, I had a helluva brunch at home satisfying my Fall cravings, and then some.

Thank goodness for chilled Blanco Sangria.

The Hot Fall Brunch with Blanco Sangria, Butternut Squash Pancakes and Truffled Soft Boiled Eggs

The Hot Fall Brunch with Blanco Sangria, Butternut Squash Pancakes and Truffled Soft Boiled Eggs


* By “Ravioli” I mean wonton. Yes, I know how to make fresh pasta, but it is very time consuming and I have a small kitchen, which on this particular night was not conducive to our dinner. Buying wonton wrappers (available at most normal grocery stores) is the perfect solution for the average home cook. I will agree that in a perfect world, fresh pasta is the way to go. But I’m not perfect, and neither is the average person, so I’m sticking to the wonton theory.

**YES! You can microwave your butternut squash and it comes out exactly the same in a much shorter time! I also microwave my baked potatoes. Watcha gonna do about it, huh?

*** It’s brunch. We need eggs. If not it’s just pancakes with lunch. Eggs actually turn it into real brunch…. right?


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Historic Creole NOLA Dining at Dooky Chase’s

From the outside it’s a very unassuming building besides, of course, the smell of freshly fried chicken wafting through the air. That smell immediately has your tummy directing your gaze to the corner that has that historic sign that has all New Orleanians nodding in approval of where you chose to eat on your cheat day.

Dooky Chase's - Sign

Dooky Chase’s is run by the Queen of Creole Cuisine, Mrs. Leah Chase. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times and each time I make sure to cherish what she has been able to accomplish with her husband’s bar and sandwich shop that started with his father. Even Disney recognizes the impact of this small establishment!

Dookey Chase's - Tatiana

Once you enter the unassuming building, you are greeted with a signed picture from The Princess and the Frog artists who received a lot of help from Mrs. Chase for the NOLA based Disney film. The Sister and I (we’re huge Disney fans by the way) were loving the picture, but the calling for fried chicken and red beans was too strong so we made our way through to the dining room.

We were greeted by friendly staff, and immediately began strategizing the best way for us to maximize the experience with just the two of us. Thankfully, lunch always offers a buffet. We each ordered a gumbo a la cart and then, while waiting, we continued to plan out the meal.

Dookey Chase- Gumbo


The traditional creole gumbo came out with a dark roux that did not disappoint. I can be picky about the rice to gumbo ratio, and they nailed it. While I usually prefer it to be a bit of a thicker consistency, the flavors that define a good gumbo had The Sister and me trying our best to remain polite while scraping the bottom of each cup.

Then, it was time for us to make our way to the Creole feast that was soon going to be on our plates. The strategy was to go with one solid plate of the MUSTS. The MUSTS would be fried chicken, red beans and rice, and greens.

All your favorites are available, whether it’s dark or white, wing or breast, you can load it on up on your plate. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
The red beans were creamy and exactly the kind of red beans everyone expects to come from their grandma’s kitchen on a Monday (or maybe in my case, Chef Daddio’s kitchen). The greens were cooked down enough to to still retain a great texture and made you feel like you were adding something healthy to the plate. We all know it’s not true, but it’s green and you can’t see the pool of salted pork fat that made it taste so good.


Dooky Chase's - Fried Chicken

We also shared the candied yams, green beans, sauteed corn and okra medley, roasted new potatoes, and a sample of smothered pork.

There was no doubt we were stuffed, but with the buffet comes the Peach Cobbler.
You always make room for the cobbler. Always.

A crunchy crust with the warm ooey gooey peachy goodness is the only way to finish this kind of meal. I’m not a dessert kind of girl, but I sure did eat this dessert.

Dooky Chase's- Peach

We left happy, full, and enriched with the experience of solid Creole cuisine and art that the tiny little building holds within.

Dooky Chase’s is not an earth shattering establishment. It is a historical experience where you can see and taste what old-school, traditional creole cuisine is supposed to be. We’re spoiled by the plethora of new flavors and presentations that we have access to today. Dooky Chase’s is one of the few remaining places that can connect kids (like me) today with the kind of meals our great-grandparents were enjoying when they were our age back in their own dining rooms.

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