New Orleans Day 4: Emeril’s NOLA & Final Recap

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Seeing as how I completely forgot to pick up Starbuck’s mugs from the last two places I’ve visited, – New York & Denver – to add to my collection, I made sure I was on top of my game when it came to buying one from New Orleans! :D

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This gem reminds me of the Las Vegas mug in color – dark, chocolate brown – and features a sax player on the front. How appropriate for a city where you can always hear some good jazz music playing!

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We were SO excited for our final, full day in New Orleans, because we had early lunch reservations at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA Restaurant!!!

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NOLA is one of three restaurants Emeril has in New Orleans (we passed by another one in our St. Charles Streetcar!) but we picked NOLA because of its location – in the heart of the French Quarter – and it’s reputation for unpretentious, yet kicked up (as Emeril would say) Cajun & Creole fare.

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The inside of the restaurant is super modern and funky, yet has the elegant touches of the French Quarter like beautifully arched, and wide open windows.

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We were the first ones seated for lunch and couldn’t wait to dig in!!!!

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After ordering, our waitress promptly brought over two, warm specialty breads: Jalapeno Cornbread and Pancetta Rolls. OMG. The cornbread was good, but the rolls were out of this WORLD! Warm, squishy and studded with chopped pancetta. We were thrilled when they came back around to give us more. :D

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For an appetizer I ordered a salad with baby field greens, fresh cracked pepper, toasted pistachios, manchego cheese and marinated cherry tomatoes.

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The cherry tomatoes tasted like roasted garlic!! It was the strangest, most incredible thing! And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat another pistachio if it’s not roasted. Heaven, I’m telling you.

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Next came the big ta-da. I was torn on whether I should order the Shrimp & Grits (I wanted to give grits a second chance!) or the Sweet Barbeque Atlantic Salmon. I asked my waiter for advice and while he said the shrimp & grits was the most ordered dish at the restaurant, he’d get the salmon. So I did!

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I am telling you – this is a meal that I will remember for a very, VERY long time!!!! The barbequed salmon was crusted to crisp perfection on the outside, and sat on a bed of creole maque choux that I can now die a happy woman after eating.

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Maque choux is a southern Louisiana dish that combines fresh vegetables, including fresh corn-on-the-cob, which are braised, then simmered until they are creamy and PERFECT!!!! I’ve never tasted sweeter corn and this is one dish that I dying to try and recreate at home!!!

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Emeril’s was absolutely outstanding in every way. We never felt hovered over, yet the wait staff was at our side, cleaning our table and refilling our water glasses at every opportune moment. They didn’t miss a beat, and I would go back in a second. A New Orleans MUST TRY!!!

The good thing about lunching at a place like NOLA is that you get lunch prices, but not lunch-sized portions. We left the most stuffed we’d been since coming to New Orleans – our meals were HUGE! 8O We hobbled out and knew that walking around the quarter was the only way to feel better!

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It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day to wander and say goodbye to our beloved French Quarter.

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We went back to all the stores we had window shopped at in previous days, and stopped in many of the local art galleries that line the streets. 

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As we were coming out of one shop, we walked straight into Spike Lee!!

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Who promptly turned the other way when he realized he had been recognized, only to be asked for his autograph by this gentleman. Oh, Spike. :)

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Most of all, during our walk, we just looked. In case you can’t tell, the French Quarter is utterly, wickedly charming.

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We’re smitten actually! When you see homes, gardens and quaint courtyards, like those in the streets of the quarter, you truly never want to leave!

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The intricate, iron balconies and blooming, fresh flowers suck you in to a fantasy land.

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We couldn’t have been more pleased with our trip to New Orleans. The weather was gorgeous, the food was outstanding, the city was clean and we never felt unsafe.

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We would will absolutely return to New Orleans someday! 

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We finished our day the best way we knew how – with Beignets from Cafe Du Monde!  

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The perfect sweet ending, to a perfectly sweet vacation!

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The next day, with souvenirs in hand – Zapps, Pralines & Beignet Mix – we headed home, back to Iowa!

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Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my recap of our New Orleans vacation! I’ve really enjoyed sharing with y’all you all. Spreading the word about such fantastic places makes me a happy gal. :D

With that, it’s back to IGE’s regularly scheduled programming tonight – complete with a “ring in the summer” kind of dinner! ‘Til then!

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Comments

  1. Wow – at the food (that salmon!!) and at The French Quarter – sooo beautiful! I’d love to visit there :)
    LOL at Spike Lee too, I never would have recognised him! It’s a shame you didn’t see Brad Pitt wondering about, doing some re-building…

  2. Rosalyn 04.01.2010

    Looks you had a great time! I just thought you might like to know, for when you run out of beignet mix, that you can buy it at World Market in West Des Moines. :)

  3. Caitlin in MD 04.01.2010

    Awesome trip. Did you see Brangelina’s house while you were there? Its in the French Quarter…on Gov. Nicholls Street.

  4. Jennyj 04.01.2010

    I loved the recap, and I’m glad you enjoyed the south:)

  5. Yvette 04.01.2010

    I am sufficiently home sick now and hungry. It is bittersweet for your New Orleans recap to be over. Bitter because I loved every bit of it and sweet because it was making my horribly homesick.

  6. Yum! I’ve always wanted to try Emeril’s restaurant…hopefully I can get there someday!

  7. Court and Whit 04.01.2010

    Omg, New Orleans looks so pretty. I would really want to go there someday=))))

  8. penny. LA 04.01.2010

    Brings back wonderful memories! Thanks for all the great photos!

  9. andie 04.01.2010

    I’m glad you enjoyed your meal at NOLA. My husband & i went there a while ago and we didn’t love it as much as some other downtown/uptown restaurants. But of course, as a local, I naturally have my favorites. ;) LOL

    I’m really glad you guys enjoyed your visit to New Orleans. It is a really wonderful, beautiful place and I’m so proud to call it home!

    and did you ever get to try the Zapp’s Cajun Crawtators? Those are the best! If you ever want stuff from new orleans, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll send it to you. :)

  10. Erin 04.01.2010

    The Cafe Du Monde beignet mix is quite good! I’m sure they cannot compare to the real thing, but they do make pretty tasty beignets. It looks like you had an amazing time, and now after reading all of your posts I desperately want to visit New Orleans!

  11. I love the lunch idea at great restaurants. We did that when we visited Charleston.

    Thanks for sharing your trip.

  12. I would love to go to Emeril’s NOLA someday! I’ve been to one of his place’s in Vegas and it was incredible! I can only imagine what NOLA is like. YUM!

  13. Love Nola….so glad you had a great trip!!

  14. Samantha 04.01.2010

    What a fun time!! Your pictures are so beautiful!!

  15. Cynthia 04.01.2010

    Thanks for sharing your trip!! I think NOLA may be added to my list of vacation spots. Those plantation pictures are absoutely beautiful and you are right about being in a place with beatiful scenery and wonderful gardens to put you in to a fantasy land. Loved every picture you took and all your commentary. So glad you and Ben really enjoyed your trip.

  16. Heather 04.01.2010

    Love, Love, LOVE NOLA!!!!!! I can never get enough of it. Try to make it out atleast once a year, but missed it last year :(
    I just bought a bag of those Voodoo Gumbo this week and posted it on my blog. Too funny!

  17. Oh my… that meal looks fabulous!!!! SO jealous!!
    New Orleans really sounds like an amazing place to visit, absolutely beautiful!

  18. Donna 04.01.2010

    Looks great Kristin! New Orleans has been on my list for awhile and I think you just boosted up the odds of me going there very soon! Glad you had a wonderful trip!!

  19. Ashley 04.01.2010

    I loved this! I felt as if I was right there with you along the trip! So happy that you had so much fun! I must visit there soon!

  20. Midgetkeeper 04.01.2010

    Really enjoyed hearing all about your trip, looks like an excellent time.

  21. sharon weaver 04.01.2010

    I missed a chance to go to Orleans once and have been kicking myself every since. So glad you enjoyed the trip and thanks for all the beautiful pictures. Also good to know that Emerils was worth the visit, some times they are hyped up and not as good as we hope.

  22. AP 04.01.2010

    If it wasn’t so warm here in Iowa now I would be extremely jealous, but since the weather has perked up a little I’m only *a little* jealous :)

  23. jen 04.01.2010

    looks like such a fun vacation! I’ve never been, but New Orleans just went on my “must see”list! thanks for sharing everything with us!

    p.s. good to have you back!

  24. Angharad 04.01.2010

    Sounds like you had an absolutely amazing time! I’ve loved New Orleans both times I’ve been lucky enough to go. What a cool atmosphere that place has. I haven’t been since katrina though and it would be really interesting to return.

    I bet you might have a really cool photo from this trip to add to my post on local colour – check it out and please send a photo if you think you have one!!

    Welcome home!

  25. dawn 04.01.2010

    I need to go someday! Looks like you had a wonderful time.
    Awesome!

  26. Melanie 04.01.2010

    Your trip looked amazing! :) I’ll definitely have to add it to my “places I have to go” list.

  27. shannon 04.01.2010

    I LOVE Maque Choux, I make it as a side dish for dinner all of the time… slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and super yummy! That salmon looks amazing, I’ve never eaten at NOLA in the year that I’ve lived here, I’ll have to add it to my list!

  28. Nicole, RD 04.01.2010

    I miss NOLA!! I miss the architecture and food! Beignets….droool!! So delicious!

  29. Awww – amazing pics, girl!
    Loved the New Orlean´s Mug – gotta love city themed Starbucks´mugs!
    Have a great Easter break :)
    Brazilian XOXO´s,
    Gabriela

  30. Alison 04.01.2010

    Thanks for the great recap – now I want to go to New Orleans!

  31. Kelsey Huebsch 04.02.2010

    SO glad to see that you made a visit to NOLA. It’s one of our favorites, too!

  32. becca 04.03.2010

    Hi Kristin,

    Thanks for the NOLA recap! I just read all four days today, thanks for taking us along for your trip. I went to NOLA in October of 2008, and LOVED IT. We never made it to any of Emeril’s restaurants…I’m so jealous of your salmon :) The garden district was amazing, we went on a walking tour and our tour guide told us that because of the recession you could get one of those houses for 6 million instead of 10!!! RIGHT we’ll get right on it hey?

    Becca

  33. Angela 04.05.2010

    Kristin,
    I am going to try your kitchen sink salad today:) It looks awesome! My kids are calling it the dishwasher salad. lol Also want to thank you for the overnight oatmeal recipes. they are so good and I am totally hooked. I found your blog while looking for chocolate covered orange slices and I am so happy:) You have inspired me to eat healthy and for that I am grateful.
    Blessings
    Angela

  34. [...] may remember the epic Barbeque Salmon & Corn Maque Choux lunch that Ben and I had at Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant, NOLA, in the French Quarter. The salmon was sent from Heaven, but that maque choux… I [...]

  35. [...] Shrimp with Maque Choux?! Well this is a lot of like that, except it’s even more like the unforgettable dish I had at Emeril’s restaurant, NOLA, down in New Orleans! [...]

  36. [...] can literally still taste, and the best traditional Tokyo Ramen Soup in town. My third favorite is Emeril’s NOLAin New Orleans. I would pay to fly to NO for a day, just so I could have that BBQ Salmon with Sweet [...]

  37. [...] seriously haven’t stopped thinking about New Orleans since we got back! [...]

  38. [...] As I was watching reruns of The Hills flipping channels last night, I saw a commercial for the new Real World…set in New Orleans! I actually said “NOOOOO!!” out loud. I love that place! [...]

  39. [...] we checked the place out. The decor was swanky but uber cozy too – kind of reminded me of Emeril’s NOLA in New [...]

  40. Felder Charbonnet 09.23.2010

    I’m glad you enjoyed the place that I like to call home :)

  41. Ashley 12.14.2010

    I’m sure you’ve probably heard this, but there’s a New Orleans-style restaurant in Des Moines and it’s very good! It’s called Fat Tuesdays and it’s on the southside (just north of Army Post). You should check it out!

  42. [...] I realize that everyone has something that they like to collect, be it MUSHROOMS, ROOSTERS, STARBUCKS COFFEE MUGS, ANTLER ANCHORS, snow globes, magnets, etc…you get the [...]

  43. [...] meal we’ve had at a restaurant since Emeril’s NOLA in New Orleans last Spring, and certainly one of the best meals we’ve ever had in Des Moines. [...]

  44. [...] Zapps potato chips in our favorite flavah! We fell in love with these kettle-cooked delicacies while in NOLA, and they were a site for sore [...]

  45. Kelly 08.08.2011

    It was fun to read this entry on your blog. I stumbled upon it when looking for where to buy Cafe Du Monde’s biegnet mix in Des Moines! (I saw…World Market).
    We go to NO every year around mid March. I never get tired of it and there are always new things to explore and new foods to try.
    Beautiful city.

  46. […] I realize that everyone has something that they like to collect, be it MUSHROOMS, ROOSTERS, STARBUCKS COFFEE MUGS, ANTLER ANCHORS, snow globes, magnets, etc…you get the […]

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