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Not Leaving Empty Handed (Southern Food Items Needed)

Planning my first trip to NOLA...

Slightly overwhelming...and would rather not be considered a tourist!

I would like to come back with some local ingredients. And I am also curious if it's worth taking a private-hands-on class from the NOLA School of Cooking (I own a small catering business and feel that it would be helpful to expand my cooking knowledge.)

After reading several discussions I have finalized a list (am I missing anything?)

Tony Chacere's Seasoned Salt
Zatarain's Brown Mustard
File Powder
Steen's Cane Syrup
Cajun Power Garlic Sauce
Muffaletta
Slap Ya Mama Blends

A lot of people have suggested going to the French Market to purchase these items, but what about going to Sav-A-Center on Tchoupitoulas Street?

Any and all suggestions would be helpful!

Thank you!

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  1. Sav-A-Center is now Rouses, and the one on Tchoupitoulas would definitely have everything on your list including the muffaletta. The Rouses in the French Quarter would have everything except the mirliton probably. Mirliton is in season in the fall though, so it depends on when you're coming. I don't know about the cooking classes.

    7 Replies
    1. re: uptownlibrarian

      Thank you Uptownlibrarian for all your helpful information!

      Can you tell me what a Mirliton is?

      I'm coming in September (I know hurricane season, but it's not as touristy either, which is why we decided September).

        1. re: fieryepicurean

          We have chayote/mirlitons in the grocery stores all year in Houston. I'm guessing that's the case in New Orleans, too. I'm realizing how lucky we are with the big selection we have in our grocery stores here, since I can get everything on the list but the muffaletta in my neighborhood store. You might throw in some Community Coffee, if you really want to go local.

          1. re: arashall

            Thank you Arashall for your input! Greatly appreciated! I've never had mirlitons but understand they are in the squash family and out west we grow a lot of squash, but not mirlitons.

            Is Community Coffee a brand? I've read about Louisiana coffee before, does it have a different flavor? Are the beans from Louisiana?

            1. re: fieryepicurean

              Yes, Community is a brand. It used to be sold only in Louisiana, but has expanded a bit. It's flavored with chicory. Cafe du Monde also sells similar chicory coffee, but all of my friends and relatives from Louisiana insist on Community. We had to "import" it to Houston for a while for a project with lots of cajuns who refused to touch the company-provided Starbucks ;-) IMO the mirlitons are like most other squash, not a whole lot going on by themselves, but a good base for adding other flavors.

              1. re: fieryepicurean

                Coffee is a tropical crop; none is grown in LA. NOLA is the largest green-coffee importing port in N America, though, so plenty of coffee moves through LA.

                Traditional LA roasts are dark (but not Starbucks scorched) and frequently have chicory. Community Coffee is roasted in Port Allen, LA (across the river from Baton Rouge), and it is sold in a wide range of blends & roasts, both as pure coffee and with chicory added.

        2. The Slap Ya Mama seasonings are okay, but not extra-special, IMHO. I'd add Zatarain's liquid crab boil to the list--it's a powerful seasoning agent useful for way more than boiling seafood....a drop or two can liven up boring dishes or help to boost the perceived "seafood/crawfish" flavor when you're short on the real thing.

          Rouse's has a new, spacious store on Baronne St at Girod; you can find everything on your list there. If you have the ability to travel home with refrigerated items, I'd suggest some local andouille--Veron's is a widely available brand that's pretty decent.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Thank you Hungry Celeste! What is IMHO?

            I'll be sure to check out Rouse's new store on Baronne Street and I'll add Zatarain's liquid crab boil to the list (though never boiled fresh crab before, it's on my list of things to accomplish).

            Is there any other andouille that you would suggest besides Veron's. I've read a lot about Vance Vaucresson Sausage Company, but they are not open to the public.

            Have you ever been to 2 Sister's Restaurant on Derbigny Street? I'm looking for "hole-in-the-wall" places like Willie Mae's Scotch House that won't be flooded with tourist.

            1. re: fieryepicurean

              IMHO= in my humble opinion
              Vaucresson's makes excellent sausage, but I am fairly certain V's doesn't make andouille. I mentioned the Veron's brand because it can be purchased at many area supermarkets. Truth be told, I like andouille from Wayne Jacobs smokehouse in Laplace, but it isn't sold anywhere but at the point of manufacture.

              2 Sisters is fine; Willie Mae's chicken is delicious, and Cafe Reconcile offers similar homestyle cooking.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Thank you Hungry Celste!

                I'm assuming Laplace is in Louisiana, how far from NOLA? Can you find it in NOLA?

                I haven't heard of Cafe Reconile, but I'll be sure to look it up, thank you again for all your suggestions.

                1. re: fieryepicurean

                  La Place is like 20min west on I10. Jacobs and Wayne Jacobs make excellent andouille. I prefer Wayne Jacobs. Actually I'll be in town Fri. and plan to make the trip over to stock up :)

                  http://wjsmokehouse.com/
                  http://www.cajunsausage.com/

                  1. re: Mytah

                    Thank you...I may have to rent a car!

            2. re: Hungry Celeste

              I think Slap Ya Mama seasoning are excellent. T-Boys is great too, but harder to find. I think Tony C.'s is at the bottom of the list..way too much salt.

              1. re: Mytah

                Thank you Mytah! I'll be sure to try both!

            3. If you get a file powder, try to find a homemade rather than commercial one, generally far more flavor, in fact l order mine online, rather than get it when in N.O.
              Of your list Steen's is a great product, but any of the cane syrups are damn good as well.
              l would add tasso seasoning to your list, adding to gumbos,, and other dishes is a big jolt of flavor.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Thank you Delucacheesemonger.

                Where in NOLA would you suggest I purchase homemade file powder? Do any mom/pap restaurants have it for sale?

                I've never heard of Steen's before (must be a Southern brand, as I live out west) but I'll be sure to check out the other cane syrups too.

                And what is tasso seasoning?

                1. re: fieryepicurean

                  Again, l get my file online, there are numerous sources. You might try at the French Quarter market, l would imagine they have it.
                  Tasso is strips of pork with a special smoked seasoning that makes it unique, The grocery at K-Pauls used to sell it, do not know if they still do. It is wonderful, l still have some.

              2. Why would you want mirlitons if you don't know what they are? (They're a squash-like vegetable, often stuffed in Cajun and Creole cuisine.) Also, a muffaletta is a sandwich - and the bread it's made with. Do you want to buy the bread, the pre-made sandwich or the ingredients for the sandwich? Olive salad is a necessary component and it's widely available. You can probably buy the cold cuts for a muff anywhere in America.

                Coffee with chicory is a nice thing to bring back. Cafe du Monde, Community Coffee, Luzianne and French Market are all brands to consider. I also think that Camellia beans are a must. They're key for red beans and rice. They have such a creaminess that other beans don't have. I also like the Konriko wild pecan rice. Popcorn rice is interesting, if you can find it. I can't leave the city without at least one bag of Zapp's crawtator potato chips. You can find all sorts of mixes and condiments. You can usually find a mix for bananas foster (it's mostly just sugar and cinnamon and other spices and you add butter) but it's still pretty good. Try whatever looks interesting. Most of it will be pretty good, at least. If you have a cooler, it's worth taking back some andouille, some tasso and some boudin. But note that you can now buy all of this stuff online.

                3 Replies
                1. re: angelhair

                  Thank you Angelhair.

                  I guess I'm curious about mirlitons because I believe you become a better cook by exploring food items that are unknown to you, which is why I asked the questions.

                  I am aware that Muffalettta is a sandwich, thank you! Looking forward to enjoying one down in NOLA!

                  I'll be sure to bring back some coffee with chicory in it, thank you for the suggestions of brands.

                  I'll be sure to bring back some camellia beans and your favorite bag of Zapp's crawtator potato chips!

                  1. re: fieryepicurean

                    If you go to the Rouse's on Baronne pick up a jar of the pickled mirliton from Bushwood Farms. They are fantastic. I'm sure any of the other Rouse's carry it as well.

                    1. re: roro1831

                      Thank you roro 1831! I'm sure I'll be spending too much time and money at Rouse's!

                2. While regional coffees are now so readily available, I would still recommend getting a variety of local brands with and without chicory. My favorite when I lived in Louisiana was and still is Dark Roast Community Coffee as it most closely resembled the coffees I had in Europe.

                  You can usually get them in 12 OZ packages in a variety of roasts.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    Thank you Indianriverfl. I'll be sure to pick up a few different coffee varieties!