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Shopping for Spices, Sauces, etc.

jenni May 18, 2007 03:54 PM

We will be in New Orleans next month and I would like to buy some fun things like spices, hot sauces, and other things to take home to cook with or give as gifts to people - so I am looking for suggestions about where to go to buy these things.

Last time we were in New Orleans, I saw a lot of things in tourist shops in the French Quarter, but I figured that a stores not aimed at tourists would probably be the way to go.

We will be staying at a hotel in the French Quarter for several nights - have plans to head uptown one day and explore the Fauburg Marigny neighborhood another day, we will be going to Audubon Park as well. Then we will pick up a car and head up through plantation country and then over to the New Iberia area for a couple more days before heading home. So any recommendations that are convinient to our general plan would be great.

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    Fydeaux RE: jenni May 19, 2007 04:08 PM

    Some of those tourist shops on Bourbon or Decatur actually have a pretty amazing choice of what I refer to as 'souvenir' hot sauces, usually decent enough sauces with funny names. If souvenirs are what you are after, these are fine, and these vendors are part of New Orleans and need our support.

    And ordinarily I would suggest the vendors at the French Market, but when I was there just a month ago, there were only a couple of food and produce sellers there. That might have changed by now, and if so, great.

    But what I actually think might be your best bet is too look for some of the neighborhood groceries and delis hiding in the French Quarter such as Matassa's or the Neli-Deli or even the A&P. The items there are intended for eating, and on stuff like remoulade sauce and coffee, you will probably save a bit of money too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fydeaux
      jenni RE: Fydeaux May 20, 2007 12:23 PM

      Thanks for the recommendations. Neighborhood groceries, delis, and things are exactly what I am looking for, rather than the 'souvenier' hot sauces. Definitely want to cook with the stuff, and the people we will be giving things to will want to cook with them too.

    2. m
      marchperson RE: jenni May 20, 2007 12:45 PM

      Tony Chacere's seasoned salt is a tried and true seasoning. Also Kitchen Bouquet to add to a roux if it is not brown enough. Both can be purchased in the grocery store.

      Some of the Jambalaya mixes are good, too, although I find them too salty. Just check the labels to ensure that they are Louisiana products.

      If you go to Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, the pralines sold in the gift shop are incredible and they will ship them for you.

      Oak Alley also has a pretty good onsite restaurant. I have had champagne brunch there. The shrimp and grits are great!

      I am a Louisiana native and glad that you will be visiting.

      1. h
        happy12 RE: jenni May 20, 2007 04:58 PM

        Some of the shops on the sides of the French Market have great hot sauces and mixes. There is a sweet potato pancake mix from Bruce's Foods thats fun. Go visit Avery Island, home of Tabasco, when you are in New Iberia. Its beautiful and you can get every flavor of Tabasco ever made. If you want to make a drive from NI, there is a restaurant in the casino near Franklin. Its called Mr. Lesters. A bit in the country but its wonderful.

        2 Replies
        1. re: happy12
          cajungirl RE: happy12 May 20, 2007 06:09 PM

          Mr. Lester's Steakhouse is very good. It's in Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton. Even better than the steaks is the bread basket filled with lovely and numerous types of fresh baked bread. They have the recipe for bread pudding souffle (from Commander's), but it's not on the menu. You can ask if they have it, but you have to order it with the entree, as it takes some time to prepare.

          1. re: happy12
            jenni RE: happy12 May 21, 2007 11:20 AM

            Avery Island is definitely on our itinerary.

          2. c
            cajungirl RE: jenni May 20, 2007 06:03 PM

            For New Iberia information, I just posted under the I-10 Eateries post with a number of suggestions.

            1. s
              shallots RE: jenni May 20, 2007 06:21 PM

              A couple of food items:
              Zatarain's Brown Mustard
              File Powder
              Andouille Sausage
              Ellis Stensel's Popcorn Rice

              1. c
                cajungirl RE: jenni May 21, 2007 11:36 AM

                When you're in New Iberia, you may also want to visit the Konriko Store, near the oldest rice mill in the U.S. They sell a comparable spice to Tony Chachere's which is very good, along with a variety of rices and spices. Their wild pecan rice is a great find, and you can buy it in burlap sacks of various sizes. Here's the link. But the prices are much cheaper in the store than on-line.


                1 Reply
                1. re: cajungirl
                  jenni RE: cajungirl May 23, 2007 12:03 PM

                  Thanks for the recommendation for the rice mill. I checked out the web site and it looks great - I think a tour of the oldest operating rice mill in the country would be really cool.

                2. l
                  Littleman RE: jenni May 23, 2007 10:03 PM

                  Cajun Land Seasoning..........


                  1. redgypsy RE: jenni May 26, 2007 07:24 PM

                    Tony Cachere's for sure - even though you can now find it in many groceries (even Albuquerque, NM!); Steen's Cane Syrup; Zatarain's Creole Mustard; if you have strong arms or are checking luggage, petit pois (yes they are just baby peas but if you can find the kind actually called petit pois they are the best canned peas you've ever had) and Blue Runner brand red beans and white beans - so perfect you just have to heat and eat.

                    1. Lovthebluz RE: jenni May 29, 2007 10:26 AM

                      Go to the french market for spices and sauces. Do go to Oak Alley for a plantation trip. I discovered Mint Juleps there! It's a lovely tour. Check out Rock N Bowl uptown for some great local flair & great zydeco music.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Lovthebluz
                        BayouBoy RE: Lovthebluz May 29, 2007 10:41 AM

                        Don't forget to pick up a bottle of Cajun Power Garlic Sauce! Mmmm. Looks like the rest are pretty much covered above. You can grab almost all of these at any major grocery store in the area. The Zatarain's Creole Mustard is a must have.

                      2. i
                        imakjun RE: jenni May 29, 2007 11:22 AM

                        Hi! I live in the French Quarter and I would not suggest Matassa's or A&P as they have higher prices because of the heavy tourist traffic. The French Market is one of the best places to go to buy sauces and if you do have a car, I would suggest you pick up the Zatarain boxed foods a a supermarket out of the FQ. There is a Tabasco shop on St. Ann Street right across from Jackson Square which, surprisingly, has very reasonable prices for all of her products. A few suggestions for inexpensive meals in the 1/4: Breakfast: Petunia's restaurant on St. Louis Street; the Coffee Pot on St. Peter Street; and, of course, beignets at Cafe DuMonde anytime. Great po-boys at Johnny's Po-Boys on St. Louis Street; Coop's on Decatur: Try the jambalaya w/rabbit sausage. Irene's on Chartres for a wonderful dinner. If you head to the plantations -- there is a very non-descript restaurant between Laura Plantation and Oak Alley called R&O's or B&O's and they have the best cajun food around. They even have quite a variety of spices, sauces, home made jams/jellies/goodies of all kinds. Have a good trip. Laissez Le Bon Temp Roules....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: imakjun
                          Lovthebluz RE: imakjun May 29, 2007 12:54 PM

                          Right on the money on that restaurant between the plantations! I could not remember the name but it was wonderful...just like someones kitchen! The woman there kept bring things out saying "try this"!!!!

                          1. re: imakjun
                            jenni RE: imakjun Jun 2, 2007 08:28 PM

                            Excellent - thanks. We have most of the restaurants you mentioned on our list, but Coops and the Coffee Pot are not, but they soon will be :)

                            We are planning to drive up through plantation country on our way to Breaux Bridge, and didn't have a good lunch stop suggestion yet. So that one is really helpful.

                          2. v
                            vegas RE: jenni May 31, 2007 12:32 PM

                            On my recent JazzFest trip, I did very well at the Sav-A-Center on Tchoupitoulas across from Tipitinas . . spices, sauces, mustards, jambalaya mix, Zapps, Hubigs Pies, etc. Spent $35 and walked out with 3 grocery bags. They also have a liquor section where you can pick up New Orleans Rum, Abita and Pat O'Briens Hurricane mix!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: vegas
                              jenni RE: vegas Jun 2, 2007 08:29 PM

                              Sounds like the Sav-A-Center is calling my name :)

                              1. re: jenni
                                MakingSense RE: jenni Jun 3, 2007 10:15 AM

                                Definitely hit one of the local groceries. Not Whole Foods. The old joke (adjust for inflation here) was that New Orleans folks just won't pay more than 15 cents for a 25 cent can of corn.
                                My aunt, who was still driving into her 90s, did the grocery shopping for her friends, whom she considered "old," and she'd travel across town to save a dime. She loved Sav-A-Center, Dorignac's on Veterans, and the now-gone Schwegman's.

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