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looking for specific food items in nola

im taking my boyfriend to nola for three days to celebrate his 30th birthday. he is a vegetarian (ovo-lacto) and hes allergic to mushrooms.
he likes cheesy, bready things, potatoes in all forms, and fried eggplant. im looking for some casual day places to take him, as well as a nicer place for his actual bday. we're not looking for "best restaurant" destinations, necessarily, b/c we're from nyc and now live in san francisco, so we have many world-renowned restaurants at our fingertips (and we're doing a pre-bday celebration with his parents at daniel bouluds place in vegas). what im really looking for are places that are going to do new orleans cooking really, really well, or provide a southern twist on classic comfort foods. and also be at least mildly veggie friendly. unfortunately, we wont be there for brunch, but would LOVE breakfast suggestions.

some specific requests below (including a couple non-veggie ones for me)...thank you so much!
buttermilk biscuits
fried eggplant
beignets (besides cafe du monde...we're going here)
mac n cheese
bread pudding
hash browns
shrimp n grits
poached or fried eggs w/ new orleans flavors
sugar cured bacon
pork belly

thank you!

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  1. There are no other sweet Beignets than Cafe DuMond. Try Elizabeth;s in the Bywater for breakfast and be sure to get the Callas (rice cinnamon fried dough) very good. Get some Muffelata spread (olive salad) from Central Grocery and see of they will sell you a loaf of bread and get some cheese and make a veggie sandwich, they also sell a good stuffed artichoke. I think they have buttermilk biscuits at Mother's, Elizabeths should also have them. Crawfish are out of season right now unless they are inported from China.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      "There are no other sweet Beignets than Cafe DuMond." Simply NOT true. Try Morning Call, 3325 Severn in Metairie...only in business since 1870. http://www.morningcallcoffeestand.com/

      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Metairie is not close to downtown NOLA and every other place I have had beignets are not as good, JMFO! Does not sound like they have time to drive all over the burbs.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          I'm a great fan of Morning Call, finding the beignets at Cafe duMonde leaden and the coffee flat tasting. I've been to both on this trip home, and I'll always think that a side trip to Metry is worth the trouble, even with the current baffling construction!

          1. re: marthasway

            I'll make sure to hop in my time machine in let the original poster circa 2009 know! ;)

            1. re: kukubura

              I hope pointing out my faux pas has made your day, kukubura.

              1. re: marthasway

                Aw, just teasing. It's a good thread, anyway. No harm in bumping it back up.

        2. re: Burger Boy

          I see fresh LA crawfish tails in the stores around here in cajun country. Take a ride if you want some, other than boiled. They are here!

          1. re: cajungirl

            I think you can call them fresh if they are only frozen once, right when they are caught. Are they cooked or uncooked? No way they are live, because Crawfish season is February to July. Fresh tail means they are caught, then frozen.

            1. re: Burger Boy

              They are scalded, I believe, to peel, then packaged for sale at local processing plants around Henderson. There are fresh boiled crawfish in Lafayette already. Yes, it seems early, but it's true!

              1. re: cajungirl

                Louisiana crawfish? They are not bringing them in from somewhere else, China, California? WOW that is really early, I wonder if the season is a little different since Katrina?

                  1. re: roro1831

                    Last year we had a crawfish boil in November. It is not cheap but you can get them.

                    1. re: mrsfury

                      As much as I love crawfish, there is a certain joy to anticipating the beginning of the season. This is akin to xmas decorations going up before thanksgiving at the retailers. At least it is to me.

                  2. re: Burger Boy

                    It has nothing to do with Katrina, as most pond raised crawfish come from areas completely unaffected by K. It's more about profit & weather....we had a very wet October, relatively warm weather, and some producers will push the season to get the $$$ that early crawfish command.

            1. re: midcity

              ill add -- Yo Mama's in the quarter is now doing a long mac-n-cheese that is similar to R&C's, minus the custard or whatever it is R&C adds.

            2. Bread pudding - Bon Ton http://www.thebontoncafe.com/

              Bon Ton Cafe
              401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

              1. Galatoire's has eggplant sticks that you dip in powdered sugar. No kidding. It's good. My veg friend was very happy with her eggs sardou, they have several egg dishes they can make.

                I'm waiting with bated breath for the good hash brown recs, I haven't found any yet. Lots of places do the big potato chunks w/ cajun seasoning, which is good, but not hash browns.

                Galatoire's Restaurant
                209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                1 Reply
                1. re: JGrey

                  Since "potatoes in all forms" was mentioned, try the Potatoes Lyonnaise at Galatoire's -- best potatoes and onions I've ever had.

                  Galatoire's Restaurant
                  209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                2. Go Bennachin, an african restaurant (I wanna say Gambian?) that has many wonderful vegetarian dishes. And African cuisine had a strong influence on the cooking that defines New Orleans so it's cool to compare.

                  Mac n cheese: Lil Dizzy's in Treme, for sure, best mac I've ever had. It was at brunch so you could scoop as much as you wanted!

                  bread pudding: the souffle at Commander's Palace. Holy moly

                  Lil Dizzy's Cafe
                  1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                  Commander's Palace Restaurant
                  1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  Bennachin Restaurant
                  1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                  1. the best fried eggplant in town is at Luizza's by the track. They do not have very many veggie options, but seriously, you would be missing out if you didn't have the eggplant there.

                    1. I think you can get shredded hash browns at Betsy's Pancake House on Canal. Since they're hard to find in NOLA, I make them at home in an electric skillet - flip twice to get them crisp, then add shredded cheese a few minutes before serving. Reallly good!

                      Betsy's Pancake House
                      2542 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                      1. just got back from NOLA a couple of days ago...we found a place in the FC called Croissant D'or that had really nice croissants and even better brioche. I'd recommend that place - seemed more of a "locals" place than tourist.

                        1. Fried Eggplant- Eleven79
                          Mac n Cheese- Jack Dempsey's on Poland Ave
                          Bread Pudding-Bon Ton Cafe
                          Shrimp n Grits- Herbsaint
                          Poached Eggs-Eggs Sardoiu-Brennan's
                          Sugar Cured Bacon- Cochon (The Butcher) The best house cured bacon around bar none
                          Pork Belly-Herbsaint

                          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                          Jack Dempsey's Restaurant
                          738 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117

                          701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Liz Gober

                            Is jack Dempsey's worth it, is it special?

                            1. re: Liz Gober

                              This is the most accurate list on the post. Follow Liz's advice for sure as she hit the mark on all the requests you made.

                              1. re: Liz Gober

                                thanks for all of your recs, everyone!
                                what is the price point for Herbsaint? There aren't any prices on the website.
                                thanks so much...we leave for nola tomorrow and it looks like we'll eat very well :)

                                701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                1. re: albertine

                                  We just got back from 5 days in NO and loved every minute of it. I PLAN to do a write-up soon as time allows, but I must give a shout-out to Emeril Lagasse's restaurant, NOLA, in the FQ. We had lunch there on Friday, and we had fabulously creamy shrimp and grits, and hubby had very good mac and cheese with his BBQ beef brisket. I know a lot of people pile on NOLA, but we thought the food was deliciously outstanding.

                                2. re: Liz Gober

                                  +1 on JD's mac-n-cheese. rich, cheesey, good. the other dishes we had (friend stuff) was ok.

                                  1. re: Liz Gober

                                    gotta mention the praline bacon at Elizabeth's. not a praline fan but i loved this thick cut bacon.

                                    1. re: kibbles

                                      More than a few places use cow rennet (stomach lining) in the cheese used to stuff the artichokes (for stuffed artichoke) you may want to ask....