Friday, September 16, 2011

Real Food Done Real Good - Part 1

I don't even want to tell you the process I have been through to share these pictures with you, but take my word for it when I say it has been a digital, virtual, absolute nightmare! The good news is, I get to share them with you now.

Our Culinary Bike Tour with the Confederacy of Cruisers in New Orleans was one of my favorite experiences of the year. If I can't spend my anniversary on the beaches of Cabo, drinking heavenly pina coladas and eating an embarrassing amount of refried beans, then I want to spend it doing this.

I haven't been on a bike since I was probably a kid, so this definitely brought out a very childlike, adventurous side of me. I was so into it, I think I'm asking for a cruiser bike for Christmas. We spent five hours cruising around different parts of New Orleans and eating at places I wouldn't have the gumption to find or visit on my own. Nevermind that all of the food is amazing, the entire experience is about as much fun as you can possibly have eating!

Our first stop on the tour was Elizabeth's, where we feasted on the fried boudin balls in creole mustard sauce and praline bacon. This was one of two restaurants we stopped at that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

The fried boudin balls in creole mustard sauce were Ty's favorite of the day. They were crispy on the outside and warm, spicy and gooey on the inside. And the creole mustard sauce is good enough to spoon directly into your mouth. It's the consistency of white gravy with a tangy brown mustard flavor.

My favorite dish of the day was also from Elizabeth's. As if bacon weren't good enough on its own, the praline bacon takes it to a new level. It's got that salt/sweet combination and the praline sauce is caramelized and slightly crispy ... I die!

We biked a little more and eventually found ourselves at The Joint, another Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives spot. This is the sort of place you drive by, thinking they probably have really good food, and never actually try it.

They served us ribs, sausage and mac 'n cheese and we paired it -- to perfection -- with Abita Amber. I was a little disappointed when we pulled into a rib place, since I officially swore off ribs about two years ago. But these ribs were smokey and tender and flavorful. Good enough to change my mind.

I get kudos every now and then for my mac 'n cheese, but this dish is a divine thing!

The place was overflowing with character. I had to clean my hands to snap a picture of this sign. It made me think of our friend and die hard Saints fan, Clint Gulett. If only they sold T-shirts! Little did we know, there was more interesting signage ahead!

After all that eating, it was time for a cocktail, and Marie's serves the best Bloody Marys around. The place was a total dive. Slightly scary, but the kind of place I like. Ty said he wished we had a place like this in our neighborhood. I wouldn't go that far with it.

But this Bloody Mary is legit. I love a Bloody Mary with lots of pickled veggies in it. Olives, green beans, whatever. At that point does it become more of a snack?

Another interesting sign we stumbled upon along the way. I like it when people establish strict parameters for relationships right off the bat. Before we left, Ty and I spoke with one of the locals. We loved his stories until he told us the government blew up the levees with dynamite during Katrina. And ... time to move on!

More food and signage to come next time ...


Sommer said...

love elizabeth's! you haven't truly lived til you've had that praline bacon. they have pretty good bloody mary's too, if you like them with more than just a dash of worcestershire. gonna have to try marie's...i love a good blood mary (i was gonna just type 'BM' but i caught myself).

Stephanie Jordan said...

Oh that gave me a good laugh! I'm glad you didn't say BM either! That bacon is addictive! I wish I could justify another trip to New Orleans just for that!

Ashley Netherton said...

This trip sounds like it was so much fun! I can not wait to hear about the rest of your stops!