The Warehouse District, or New Orleans Arts District, runs a dozen or so blocks north to south from Canal Street to the Pontchartrain Expressway and east to west from the Mississippi to Saint Charles Avenue. In the 19th Century, the industrial neighborhood served as the storage grounds for goods coming in off the Port of New Olreans. In 1976, the Contemporary Arts Center opened on Camp Street and gave rise to a shift in the neighborhood's dynamic. The Warehouse District was soon refered to as the "Soho of the South" and some of the city's revered chefs saw it as the perfect location for their forward-thinking, contemporary approach to cooking.
Entries in new orleans (7)
Today's Cajun Seafood landed on our radar after some unsavory locals sold the joint to us as the place to go for spicy crawfish and boiled turkey necks. So after a humbling trip to Caffin Avenue and the rest of the Lower Ninth, and after fried chicken livers and pepper jelly brunch at Elizabeth's in Bywater, we stopped by Today's for a pound of crawfish ($3.59) and a turkey neck ($1.80).
Today's Cajun is a lunch counter. It's a small space with four tables on one side where guests can sit and eat, but most folks get their food to go. A lot of the menu is prepared foods that are kept warm in steam trays. The meats continue to braise as they sit in their cooking liquid, so when an order is pulled the result is incredibly tender, flavorful protein. That was exactly the case with the turkey necks, which are cooked at Today's in the same boil that crawfish, sausages, pigs feet, corn, and just about everything else on the menu is. The combination of celery salt, paprika, black pepper, bay, chili, and cayenne that make up the boil yield a deeply satisfying, spicy, salty, and undeniably Cajun plate of food.
Delicate turkey meat willfully left the bone as we pulled at it voraciously with predatory fingers. By the time we realized we should get forks and eat like the civilized people we're not, what was left on the paper plate resembled a strange carcass toasting on hot sand in some far away desert. And as the last head from the pile of spicy, meaty crawfish was sucked and thrown onto the graveyard, we were left standing over our kill like proud vultures riding a liberating Creole wind.
Today's Cajun Seafood | 1700 Mcshane Place | 504-940-5995 | map
Spend three minutes online looking into the iconic food joints of New Orleans and Domilise's will show up at the top of your browser. The Uptown po' boy shop is a NOLA institution. We were torn between the fried shrimp, hot sausage, and roast beef, but settled on roast beef after flashingback to our plane ride with the trumpet player; remembering he had said something about "100 napkins" in regard to the sandwich.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is massive. During its ten-day run, over 100 bands play on one of the dozen stages setup inside the track at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Gentilly Boulevard. For eight hours straight, from 11am to 7pm, it's nonstop music, food, booze, dancing, parades, charades, and all around muddy tom foolery. Yesterday was the end of this year's festival. We were there a week earlier and got caught in a bit of rain, but it was nothing the sprawling Blues Tent couldn't misdirect.
There were two main stretches where you could get food, but more than 70 vendors were setup around the fairgrounds. On the flight down, a native New Orleans man, who traveled with a trumpet and nothing else, sat next to us and hinted at the crawfish options we'd find inside the muddy grounds. "Oh yea, you can get crawfish anyway you dream," he said. "If you dream of crawfish." One such way was Crawfish Monica, a sort of Cajun twist on pasta alla vodka with lumps of sweet, spiced crawfish mixed into a creamy, tomato-based sauce. It was damn good, but it wasn't our favorite thing we had. That's reserved for the Cochon de Lait po' boy from Love at First Bite. Click ahead for that and everything else we ate at Jazz Fest on April 28th, 2013.
Treme is about 15 miles east of Kenner, where Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is. U.S. Route 61 will get you there from the airport, but taking I-10 East will shave a few minutes if you're in a hurry. Though if you are, you're in the wrong city. We took U.S. Route 61. Our windows were down and the radio was tuned to WWOZ, which was broadcasting brass band music that we played at a level just loud enough to rival our excitable voices clamoring in the warm breeze. We were on our way to St Ann Street, where Willie Mae's Scotch House serves "America's Best Fried Chicken."
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All good things come to an end, and at 11:05 this morning, our time in the Crescent City did just that. Delta flight 2006 hit its cruising elevation shortly after we left the tarmac at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. At 30,000 feet, the high we had from experiencing one of the country's greatest food cities became a little more literal.
All day Sunday was spent at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and many of the places from our first map are closed Mondays, but that doesn't mean we didn't have our share of po' boys, crawfish, turkey necks, and muffalettas. We have some digesting to do, but wanted to share our new map of the dozen places we went for food and drink during our three days in New Orleans.
View NOLA [April, 2013] in a larger map
No one ever has anything bad to say about New Orleans. It's one of those cities people just visit and fall in love with, like San Francisco or Portland. We've never been to the home of the Who Dat? Saints, the set of Tremé, or the land of étouffée, but that's all about to change. Our flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. We did a little bit of research and put together the above map, but if you think something is missing, or have any advice for first time visitors, feel free to leave comments. This is gonna be good.