Creole food is finger-licking, stick-to-your-ribs good. You can say what you like about it, but just know it’s the real deal in my books.
There’s so much variety to choose from: jambalayas, gumbos, po’boys, fried everything, andouille and boudin sausages, fish, shrimp, crawfish, etouffes…. The list could keep going. So far, over the years, I haven’t come across too many items I don’t like. Yes, I actually do like frog legs, crawfish, and boudin. The thought of boudin was a little scary at first, though!
I’m going to keep this simple and just share two classic and totally likeable dishes at great and affordable restaurants in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Who doesn’t like tasty that doesn’t break the bank?
I’m a muffaletta lover. And they’re hard to find outside of creole country. The best I can come up with when I get a hankering for one is a quick trip to my local Which Wich shop, but it’s not quite the same. So, what’s a muffaletta? It’s all about the delicious olive salad spread over salami, ham, and cheese, on a sesame bun. Please and thank you.
I enjoy Cafe Maspero’s muffaletta. It’s a classic done very well, and quite filling. Plus, Cafe Maspero is in the heart of the action in the French Quarter, right off the main drag, Decatur Street. You’re just two short blocks away from Jackson Square. If the muffaletta doesn’t sound like your thing, Cafe Maspero has a great menu with lots of other classic Nola foods to try. You can’t go wrong here : )
I also need to say that stepping into Cafe Maspero is like walking through a time warp. A stroll up to the bar with all its ornate polished wood-carving, high ceilings, brick walls, and giant mirrors, almost makes you feel like you’re stepping back 100 years or more in time. The ambiance here is great. I just need a hoop skirt and parasol to look the part!
Now, what if you’re hankering for some Red Beans and Rice? Or, even worse, the only red beans and rice you’ve ever had is one of those sad grocery store boxed dinner affairs you make at home? In both cases, you need to take yourself immediately to The Original French Market Restaurant. This local joint has been in business since 1803, so there’s no arguing that they’re not legit.
I actually need to admit that I only discovered OFMR’s red beans and rice on this most recent trip. Before then, I’d never had their version of this staple dish. I’ve really been missing out. Let is suffice, without exaggeration, that this is the BEST red beans and rice I’ve ever had. I don’t think I can be more clear than that. The spices and flavor of their version was great and bold! No bland rice and beans here. Additionally, their side salads are pretty killer, too. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, “I’ll be back.”
What about dessert? There are lots of options. Bread puddings seem to be a top dessert in the area, but I haven’t found a favorite yet to recommend. If bread pudding isn’t up your alley, you can always head over to Cafe du Monde (which I covered in an earlier post) and get your fill of beignets. Or you can go to numerous candy and sweet shops in the French Quarter and try some delicious pralines!