Blue Collar Food Recommendations
I'm sure you guys are sick of giving restaurant suggestions to out-of-towners, but I hope you'll indulge me this one request. I'll be in NOLA next weekend and am needing food help. I'm really not interested in fine dining options. I'll get a bit of that while I'm there, because the food is sometimes too good to miss, but that's not what I'm after.
What I'm really looking for is the working-class food. The good, soulful food that tastes like New Orleans and tourists won't eat. I hate feeling like a tourist and since I don't normally do fine dining at home, I don't want to do it when I travel.
I'd rather eat my gumbo on a bench in a converted gas station than at a table with white linens if the food is good. For example, I live in Austin. We've got some really great food here and are especially fond of our Mexican and Tex-Mex. There's tons of great restaurants in town that serve delicious and creative Mexican and Tex-Mex food all across the financial scale. But, when I eat tacos they almost always come from some truck or trailer parked in an empty lot. They're just better. We've got some high-dollar, sit-down and pay a ton barbecue places here, but the best ones are converted houses that have seen so much smoke the walls are permanently brown.
I've always believed that the best food comes from the poorest people.
So I ask you, fine New Orleanians, where should I go? Where can I taste your town, rub elbows with your culture and not have to tuck in my shirt?
Broad and Banks Seafood- yellow building @ corner of Broad and Banks, certain there is no website. :) Its a mini mart/ to-go restaurant combo. I've only had their gumbo, but let me tell u, it ROCKS! Spicey, 2 types of sausage, chicken thigh pieces, whole 25-30 ct shrimp, medium thickness, and u can ask for no rice, more shrimp than sausage, etc. for no extra charge, in 32 oz styrofoam cup for $8.00! Only drawback is I think they use cornstarch, not roux. Hearing that I know I'd be skeptical, but beyond all reason, it is truly delicious. Don't know what time they open, but close @ 2000. Neighborhood may seem sketchy, but I go there all the time w/out a problem.
Find a place called Kelly's Diner on French Market Place, a couple of doors up from Esplanade. I have only been there twice, but both times I am pretty sure that I was the only out-of-town visitor in the place. Lots of people who were working in the French Market getting carryout, construction workers, other people who work nearby. Meatloaf sandwiches or a pound of shrimp for six or seven dollars, a bowl of gumbo or etoufee for around five; biscuits & gravy for around three, Half a fried chicken & a cup of jambalaya for eight or nine, stuff like that.
Hey, I found a link to their menu, and my memory was pretty good!
look at the Neighborhood Gems thread, Summer Menus thread, and the Ethnic Restaurants thread for some great ideas on hole in the wall, local joints.
you might also add to that list:
The Joint in the Bywater
Rivershack in Old Jefferson (especially for their weekday lunch specials)
both of these laid back places were featured on the Food Network's D D & D show.
J'Anita's on Magazine St. (breakfast/lunch)
Li'l Dizzy's on Poydras (lunch/brunch)
Two Sisters Kitchen at 223 N. Derbigny St (breakfast/lunch)
Sam's Grocery on Brooklyn in Old Jefferson (lunch specials)