LTH Home

Jazz, Flip Flops, Jeans, and Nawlins Ju Ju (Pics)

Jazz, Flip Flops, Jeans, and Nawlins Ju Ju (Pics)
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Jazz, Flip Flops, Jeans, and Nawlins Ju Ju (Pics)

    Post #1 - May 30th, 2005, 1:44 am
    Post #1 - May 30th, 2005, 1:44 am Post #1 - May 30th, 2005, 1:44 am
    Been busy with work, so just gettin around to this...some of my food recollections from my recent visit to New Orleans for jazzfest....

    I never met an organ meat I didn't like. I'd be happy to go Anthony Bourdain style in search of a great meal, no matter the encounter...beating cobra heart, check, tete de veau, mmmm, calling everyday for two weeks to secure a french laundry reservation, priceless.

    This was not one of those trips. This being jazzfest and a badly needed respite from work, I had to lay down some rules. I wouldn't go to any place that wouldn't accept my unshaven, flip flop and jeans self. So, no Peristyle, NOLA, Herbsaint, Commanders Palace, Arnauds, Antoines, or Brigtsens trips.

    This was gonna be straight up dirty south, cheap, casual, and guerrilla style. I was also accompanied by my college buddy, who, while a bright guy with a taste for good eats and the high life (not the Miller variety-god bless the champagne of beers), had no idea how much our friendship would be tested over 4 short days of lines and gut busting munching.

    After a 4 am bout of debauchery, testing the theory "What happens in Nola, stays in Nola.", I shook my friend awake and explained how if we didn't get in line at Uglesich's by 10, we would never eat there, ever.

    Indeed we got there at 10:30 am and the line out the door was like a Ticketmaster line for Guns and Roses circa 1988…


    It seems we had been set adrift in the culinary perfect storm of the impending closing of this fine institution, an R.W. Apple story in the New York Times the day before, and the aforementioned jazzfest. The folks at the front had gotten in line at 7:30. It was indeed a party. Pretty soon I was sucking down some barbequed oysters offered by some of the overstuffed folks who were first to eat. It felt like Woodstock for culinary folk. Folks were friendly and we quickly made friends with some people from San Fran and Philly and tested the bloody mary waters….


    There was a woman, her entire job, to mix bloody marys. Ketel one, fresh horseradish, a dash of Lea and Perrins, some tomato mix, dash of cholula, and a big fat piece of okra among other things were the order of the day. Tasty and spicy.

    Once we braved the 3 hour wait, we were rewarded with Firecracker Shrimp, Deep Fried Oysters with spicy Blue Cheese dressing, and Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp and Remoulade.

    The firecracker was forgettable, like if you mixed arby’s sauce and horsey sauce on big fat fresh shrimp. The oysters with blue cheese were awesome….gorgonzola goodness with briny sea taste and deep fried crunch. The appetizer star though was the fried green tomatoes. Nice toothsome hot garden fresh tomatoes with a thousand island like remoulade.

    This being soft shell crab season, and still salivating from all of Gwiv’s photos of softshell crabs last year, I didn’t let the opportunity pass. This softshell crab was as big as my head, succulent, and plucked perfectly at the softest time, yet with the perfect crunch.


    When it was done, we were thankful for Anthony and Gail Uglesich’s long relationships with the finest purveyors of seafood in our land. May their retirement be good.

    So one food goal down, a farmers tan in hand, and 4 hours later, we were back on the hunt. My buddy and I met up with two friends from Chicago and headed over to Jacquimo’s. As usual the lines did not disappoint, so we headed a few doors down to the dark woody confines of the Maple Leaf bar and sipped some Abita Turbo Dog. After about an hour, we walked through the kitchen of Jaquimo’s (literally the only way to the back porch) and were seated on the back patio.


    We started out with the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake, and deep fried grits in a tasso shrimp sauce. Both were savory and rich. The cheesecake stood out, almost like a quiche, rather than a cheesecake.

    Dinner was the famous Fried Chicken, with a corn maquechoux and mashed sweet potatoes. The Chicken did not disappoint, kind of a cross between Harold’s and KFC, lots of flavor and crunchy goodness.

    My buddy had a Cajun Bouillabaise. Basically a great spicy broth with a flotilla of fat fresh mussels, shrimp, white fish, and oysters.

    For dessert we split some sweet potato pecan pie. Instead of the typical corn syrup base, the sweet potato puree took the place of the filling. This was a standout dessert on the trip.

    After much music, and some more late nights, we made it over to Johnny’s for some crawfish po boys. Pretty standard, lots of crystal hot sauce, lots of tails, crisp lettuce and tomato.


    Next morning, we made the obligatory trek to Café Du Monde for beignet and Café Au Lait. The beignets were fresh out of the deep fryer and the powdered sugar was coaxed into a thick gooey icing ala krispy kreme due to the heat. No real way to eat these beauties without a mess, definitely would be a rookie mistake for any new Orleans cop to eat these on duty:


    The Café Au lait was forgettable, tasted burnt. Didn’t expect much since Du Monde was slinging it from big old urns in the back.

    That morning, we headed out to the actual fest at the fairgrounds. The food was definitely a step up from Taste of Chicago. The highlight for me was the crawfish enchiladas with a white sherry cream sauce. Really a great glory though, I mean pheasant and andouille gumbo, crawfish monica, tajeen etc…very eclectic and decent fair food.

    That night, to gear up for another round of shows, we headed over to Felix’s Seafood. The service was like Denny’s at 4 A.M., nonexistent and rude. The décor was truckstop diner, full of chipped ceramic mugs and formica. I didn’t expect much, and then I had the crawfish etoufee. This was by far the best etoufee I had ever had. I now understood how Heaven On Seaven etc were fakin it. Haven’t been to Liagnappe, but Chicago had nothing like this.

    The next day before we had to ship out, we burned off the better part of an afternoon at the Napoleon house downing Pimm’s cup. Basically summer in a glass. Cool cucumbers and sweet Pimm’s spirits.

    We then rolled over to Central Grocery for some Muffaletta and Cajun Gator Dill Zapp’s potato chips before the flight.


    When you roll in the Central Grocery door from the sidewalk, you are greeted with the scent of fresh ciabatta, spicy salami, and an olive waft from the famous spread. We washed our sandwiches down with some cold long neck Barq’s root beer and were off.

    So many other memories, anise tinged sazeracs on the rotating bar at the hotel Monteleone and fresh shucked oysters at the Acme Oyster Co (apparently we had just missed Peyton Manning by 5 minutes). I can’t wait to go back for the high end food tour.
  • Post #2 - May 30th, 2005, 8:03 am
    Post #2 - May 30th, 2005, 8:03 am Post #2 - May 30th, 2005, 8:03 am
    Thanks for the report and the great picutres. We get a fair amount of New Orleans food talk here (I mean for a Chicago food board...), but precious few pics!

    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #3 - May 31st, 2005, 9:25 am
    Post #3 - May 31st, 2005, 9:25 am Post #3 - May 31st, 2005, 9:25 am
    Coincidentally enough, I am in your Uglesich picture (in the purple baseball hat, just under the front edge of the awning). I'm really going to miss that place.

    Nice pics, too! As VI pointed out, not many NOLA pics here.
    I exist in Chicago, but I live in New Orleans.