Trip to Louisiana/2009 NOLA Roadfood Festival

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mr chips
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/17 09:01:25 (permalink)
Cliff, your adventures are always interesting. Sorry you don't like oysters as I am with your charming s.o. They are one of my favorite foods, fried or raw. You were a good man to treat her.
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/17 14:01:16 (permalink)
Joe, thanks so much for adding all your excellent pics.  It is much appreciated.  Since some of the photos I was going to add would have been duplicates of yours, you just saved me some work, too!!!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
When I suggested to my group that we sleep in and relax at the hotel for most of the morning, I think everyone was relieved and happy.  This was going to be a long day!
We finally made it into downtown New Orleans around 10:00AM.  We checked the line at Cafe du Monde, but it was way too long.  So we wandered over to where they were building the world's longest po boy and had the chance to say hello to Michael Stern, Stephen Rushmore, Marc Bruno and Bruce & Sue.  Soon after, Chris & Amy, plus Sundancer and Iwannago showed up.
It was a lot of fun watching them build the 340 foot long po boy,

but it was a lot more fun eating it.

After the po boy was devoured and most people drifted off, they brought out a couple extra pans of fried oysters and Sundancer made sure we all got some more of those.
JoeRogo and his wife Margaret stopped over to say hello, before Margaret decided shopping sounded more fun than eating.  Of course, we can't have a trip report without a photo of someone taking a photo of their food.  In this case,

Johnny and Joe are enjoying meat pies from the wonderful Lasyone's of Natchitoches.  I give them credit, because they came a long way!  In my photo, Sundancer seems to be a little happier about his duck cracklins.

As you know, that smile soon disappeared!
There are few things I enjoy more than taking pictures of my cousin Johnny in mid-bite.  He loves it, too!" />  Here he is enjoying the wonderful strawberry shortcake from Cafe Reconcile

and I also caught him in the background of my own spearmint snowball.

Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of everything that was sampled at the street festival, as I was too busy socializing.  But the general consensus was that it was a big hit and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to try some of these Louisiana classics and more unusual items.
While walking through the street festival, we met up with nocarolina, and he decided to join our group.  Joe Rogo, Sundancer and Iwannago decided to go back to their hotel to relax, while the rest of us kept moving on......
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/04/17 14:04:45
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/17 14:05:51 (permalink)
What's the story behind the duck cracklins?  I take it Sundancer didn't care for them?

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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/17 15:32:16 (permalink)

What's the story behind the duck cracklins?  I take it Sundancer didn't care for them?


I like cracklins and I have enjoyed them my entire life going back to the days when my grandfather rendered pork skins to provide lard for the upcoming year.
I have heard about duck fat for years and I was certain that I would enjoy the duck cracklins.  It must have been the way they were rendered or prepared but what I was presented was certainly the worst tasting stuff I have ever had.  I passed them around and then promptly tossed what I had purchased into the garbage.
Paul E. Smith
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/20 13:58:09 (permalink)
Saturday April 4, 2009 cont.
Mariton had never been to New Orleans before, so we decided to walk around and check out the city.  After doing some exploring, we passed Central Grocery,

home of the muffuletta. Figuring the five of us could split this sandwich very easy, Johnny and Doug braved the long line to purchase one.  Cut in four pieces,

(sorry it is upside down, but I don't like touching anyone else's food just to get a better photo) this cold cuts sandwich covered with an olive/garlic/anchovy type dressing proved to be a fine snack.  Here is nocarolina

enjoying his quarter.
I had read about how good the fried chicken from Fiorella's Cafe

was supposed to be, so we stopped in for a quick bite.  Quick, of course, being the relative term.  I should have known from this sign

that we were in trouble.  I do know that good fried chicken is something that takes some time, but over an hour later, we still didn't have our entrees.  And the place was hardly busy.  At least the salty, crunchy, thinly-sliced fried pickle appetizer

was a winner.
The food finally came out and this was fried chicken (almost) worth the wait. 

It had a brittle, highly seasoned crust and the meat was properly juicy.  That same crust worked equally well on the pork chops.

Of the sides that we tried, the favorite was the baked macaroni,

which was a very simple dish of comfort food.  Although the rest of us enjoyed our food, nocarolina was very disappointed in his dish,

which I think was red beans and rice.  I'll leave the description of his food up to him.
Fiorella's Cafe
1136 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA
We headed on back to Jackson Square to take some photos, where we again ran into Chris & Amy, who posed in front of Saint Louis Cathedral.

I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but I absolutely loved the original Roadfood t-shirt his friend made for Chris.  It is tough to see, but it is visible in the photo.  Amy had a similar one on later that night.  If they become available, I would most definitely buy one.
Then we came upon a truly bizarre sight.  There was a group of 20 somethings having a pillow fight in the middle of Jackson Square. 

I didn't know what that was all about, until I saw on the news the next day that it had been national pillow fight day.  Man, that sure does look fun!
Time to get on the bus to the crawfish boil! 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/02/23 12:05:13
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/20 14:28:35 (permalink)
And what fun to have come upon it! besides the food( of course your reviews are always great-but you dont like oysters, my friend?Thank God for Mariton) you captured a fun site with the pillow fight...
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/20 17:56:53 (permalink)

I would like to have a roadfood T-shirt also. Maybe Chris could get his friend to make some more and sell them. With the proper approvals of course.
I have always wondered why there has never been any Roadfood clothing on this site under the merchandise area.
post edited by HDtravlr1 - 2009/04/20 17:59:16
carolina bob
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/20 18:23:17 (permalink)
Regarding my dish of red beans and rice at Fiorella's Cafe....  what can I say but "blah"? It's not that it tasted bad. The problem was that it didn't taste... period! Absolutely flavorless. I've always enjoyed the red beans and rice at Popeye's, so I figured that, if a fast-food chain could do a good version, then an honest-to-goodness Cajun/Creole/whatever restaurant in N'awlins' French Quarter would produce an a**-kickin' plate of red beans and rice. Wrongo!! The red beans were just as bland and lifeless as can be; no spicy kick whatsoever. On top of that, the portion of rice provided was quite skimpy. Very disappointing. I should have listened to buffetbuster & co. and ordered the fried chicken. One of these days I'll learn ( maybe! )   
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/20 19:34:24 (permalink)
Cliff it looks like you have been very busy since we saw you last month. Thanks so much for the photos of NOLA and for everyone elses as well. I haven't been to NOLA since I was a child.

BTW, Wendy made homemade banana pudding a couple of weekends ago... DELISH!!!

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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/27 15:55:17 (permalink)
That chicken looks scrumptous!
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2009/04/29 14:29:43 (permalink)
Wow BB! I'm throughly enjoying this report. NOLA is definately high on my list of places to visit. When I win the lottery. *sigh* In the mean time I'll have to live vicariously through these reports. Actually, considering I'm allergic/sensitive to one of the "Trinity" - bell pepper - I'm probably the only person who could go to NOLA an starve!
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/03 15:31:16 (permalink)
With the 2010 New Orleans Roadfood Festival coming up fast, this would seem an opportune time to FINALLY finish up this old trip report.  When we last left, CarolinaBob had just instigated a huge pillow fight!
Saturday April 4, 2009 cont.
It was time to go meet the buses for the Roadfood Shrimp and Crawfish Boil.  Some in my party had to take a bathroom break, so we stopped in at the lobby of the lovely Hotel Monteleone.  While there, I ran into Steven Rushmore, who warned me that he had a surprise awaiting us.  As I found out here and on the Buffalo/Rochester bus tour, when Stephen says he has a surprise, it will be something delicious!  We got on the first bus, led by Stephen and soon arrived at the Roadfood reviewed Hansen's Sno-Bliz

I was thrilled, because I really wanted to eat here while in town and didn't think we would get the chance.  If you were part of the Roadfood group, these shaved ice treats were no extra cost and we had three flavors

to choose from.
Since we were sitting in the back of the bus, we were at the end of the long line. 

But, this gave us more time to chat and make friends with fellow Roadfooders and to make up our minds on what flavors we wanted to try.  We were also getting advice from some others who already had their sno-bliz, like Jay and Mary Jane

from California and Paul and Roz

from Tennessee.  I also got a nice shot of Chris and Amy

yukking it up, displaying their matching homemade Roadfood shirts.
The inside of Hansen's

looks every bit 70 years old, with lots of interesting signs, some of them handwritten.

Oooooh, spearmint!  Or in this case, spearament!
Well, we were so busy socializing, we did a lousy job of deciding what to order, so that we got one of each.  Somehow, all four of us ended up with strawberry.

So I never got a taste of the nectar or the satsuma, which I heard good things about.  Here is Johnny,

relaxing on the bus with his sno-bliz.  These sno-bliz are nothing like the snow cones I used to eat when visiting relatives in Maryland.  A completely different texture, this fluffy shaved ice really held the flavored syrup.  It was just as tasty at the top as it was on the bottom of the cup.
Hansen's Sno-Bliz
4801 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA
The bus resumed course for the crawfish boil.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/03/03 15:37:44
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/10 14:54:31 (permalink)
Saturday April 4 cont.
We soon arrived at a Roadhouse named Bayou Barn,

for the crawfish boil.  The food was ready, so we quickly jumped in the short buffet line. 

Among the items available were boiled Cajun potatoes, corn on the cob and two different kinds of jambalaya,

one of which had alligator in it!  There was also a large boat full of boiled shrimp.

Unexpectedly, the shrimp still had their heads on, which was very cool.  Outside, there was also a roast pig.

And, of course, you can't have a crawfish boil without crawfish. 

All the food was all-you-can-eat and I promise you that my group of four ate their fair share.  My vote for the best food went to the roast pork, Johnny loved the jambalaya, while Doug and Mariton voted for the crawfish.
While we were eating, I had noticed a man sitting by himself.  Our table could only fit four, so I couldn't invite him over, so I went and joined him.  And he wasn't just anyone.  It was Holly Moore of Hollyeats, my second favorite food website.  Here is a photo

of the two of us.  He is a real nice guy.  Why does it look like he is eating off of my plate?  Hmmmm.  A couple other photos:

That last photo is my buddy Doug, chatting with Roadfooder JoeRogo.  Since they are both from NE PA, they had lots to talk about and Doug told me later what a great guy he thought Joe was.  Truthfully, I had so much fun socializing and meeting other Roadfooders, that I didn't eat nearly as much as usual.
Since the Bayou Barn is literally right next to the water, we had plenty of visitors

looking for food handouts.  There was also a terrific live band, with many people dancing.  The best dancer was Holden,

a friend from past tours and one of the most enthusiastic Roadfooders out there.  Jane and Michael Stern eventually took the stage and along with others from the Roadfood team, started playing along with the band on washboards

and tambourines.
On the bus over, they passed out notecards with numbers on them.  Whatever number you received, you were now part of that group.  Somehow, Doug, Mariton and I all ended up in group #5.  Johnny was in another group.  It was then explained to us that each group was to write their own jingle about Roadfood, perform it on stage and then the winners would get a prize.  The prize was an advanced copy of the new Jane & Michael Stern book, "500 Things To Eat Before It's Too Late".
Now, my buddy Doug is very creative, so I assumed that he and I would write our song.  But, when we went looking for the rest of the people in our group, it turns out that one of them had already written one.  Doug and I read it and our eyes lit up.  This woman from Scotland had done a great job on the jingle, set to the Broadway song, "There's No Business Like Show Business".  The nice people working in the office of Bayou Barn let us make some copies and we went off to practice.  Soon, it was time for the competition.
This group here

went before us and were hilarious.  This man,

(who I believe is EliseT's husband) went up by himself and was also very funny.  Other crowd pleasers were Holden,

again by himself and our own CarolinaBob,

with a poetic insult aimed at Chili's.  Good job Bob!
When it came time to go up on stage, Mariton balked, because she is shy and not growing up in the USA, she had never heard the song before.  When I told her that if she goes and we win, she can give her copy of the book to cousin Johnny.   Being the trooper she is, she agreed to go.  I kept my copy of the lyrics and here it is:
There's no food like Roadfood, the best food of all,
up in Boston over to Chicago,
down to Houston over to N'Orleans
if Jane and Michael say we have to go there,
we'll go there and feast,
on pies and chicken and ribs and lickin' our lips,
we'll make our way home,
saying that this year was,
just the best one yet,
new friends we've met,
our minds are set,
the Sterns know food that is a fact,
no need to check,
Roadfoods the way to go!
To make a long story short, we were declared the winners, along with the earlier group.  I thought they were better than us, but I wasn't about to argue.  No matter, it was still so much fun!
It was eventually time to go home and we rode the bus back to Canal Street in downtown New Orleans.  Since CarolinaBob was parked quite a distance away and none of us were keen on him walking so far, we gave him a ride back to his car.  From there, it was straight back to the hotel. 
Everyone I spoke to had a fantastic time at the Roadfood Crawfish boil and it was one of my highlights of the year. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/03/10 15:08:02
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/10 15:24:02 (permalink)
Hey buffetbuster , Thanks for the updates.  That was one great trip.

Are you going this year?
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/10 15:32:38 (permalink)
Unfortunately, I can't be there this year because of work.  Trust me, I'm not happy about it.
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/10 15:42:58 (permalink)

Unfortunately, I can't be there this year because of work.  Trust me, I'm not happy about it.

Same here.
How about I tempt you into calling in sick with breakfast at Mother's
Debris and egg biscuit.

And a ham and egg biscuit.

One of the best breakfasts I ever had.
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/10 15:48:37 (permalink)
Great pics!  I still have a visit to Mother's coming in this report.
carolina bob
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/10 19:33:52 (permalink)
In case anyone's curious about my "poetic insult"...
         All you people
         Save your bucks
         The food at Chili's
         Really sucks

Very short but very appropriate. 
post edited by Carolina Bob - 2010/03/11 00:22:46
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/14 00:12:30 (permalink)
Going to NOLA at the end of the month.1st time and am excited as all get out.
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/14 10:52:17 (permalink)
Byron, don't miss that Central Grocery muffaletta; I'm going in October and so excited for that I can't see straight.  
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/17 14:08:15 (permalink)
Sunday April 5, 2009
Certainly, we couldn't visit New Orleans without a stop at Cafe du Monde.  Unfortunately, we got here so early, all the outdoor seating was closed, which is disappointing, since that is a big part of the experience.  So, we had to sit inside.

No matter, the important thing is that we can still eat the beignets

and drink the cafe au lait.

The beignets were super hot and went down easily.  One of the people in my party thought that there was too much powdered sugar on the beignets.  But, I'm one of those who thinks you can never have enough!
The one thing I don't like about eating at Cafe du Monde is the mess.  I have too much Felix Unger in me and it truly bothers me to leave a messy table. 

At this place, it is virtually impossible not to.  In the 20 minutes we were here, they opened up the outside seating and it was starting to fill up fast.  On the way out, Mariton had us men pose for a photo.

Cafe du Monde
813 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/03/17 14:15:48
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/17 14:33:15 (permalink)
Nice addition to the thread, BB!

Now I want a beignet. 
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Re:Trip to Louisiana 2010/03/20 01:04:16 (permalink)
If anyone is going sooner rather than later, Food Wars will be filming Mar 22-Mar 24 - Parkway Tavern vs Domilise's!
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Re:Trip to Louisiana/2009 NOLA Roadfood Festival 2010/03/29 21:08:25 (permalink)
What a great review!  I've been to NOLA many times but never had the nerve to to do the road trip you did.  It was a great read & made me wish I was there.
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