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2000s Archive

Having a Grand Time, New Orleans

Originally Published October 2009
Here’s the deal: We offered some of our favorite restaurant critics a theoretical $1,000 to spend dining out in their home city. In considering how they would use their funny money, which had to cover meals for two, drinks, tax, and tip, these professional omnivores cast a spotlight on their own proclivities, as well as on the thrilling diversity of their respective cities. The result? Some very tasty inspiration.
bourbon st., new orleans
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$220 New Orleans is a place where chefs simultaneously revere and dismantle tradition, resulting in some of the most exciting cooking in America. My $1,000 weekend exploration of the city’s history-steeped cuisine will begin at Cochon, the rustically sleek, ceaselessly popular restaurant where chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski put wind in the sails of Cajun cuisine. We’ll get a flaky crawfish pie or, if it’s summer, okra-cornbread fritters. Catfish court bouillon, rabbit and dumplings, and local legumes or braised greens seasoned with smoky ham hocks, all menu staples, call for a theme-appropriate digestif: moonshine. 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans (504-588-2123; Cochon )

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$10 Saturday starts at the Crescent City Farmers Market, where we’ll buy seasonal fruit—winter satsumas, spring strawberries, summer peaches—for a light breakfast and ogle fresh-caught Gulf seafood. Corner of Girod and Magazine streets, New Orleans (504-861-4488; the Crescent City Farmers Market)

$30 Lunch is at Domilise’s, the po’ boy joint against which most others are measured. Pray that family matron Dot Domilise will be working the open kitchen, cutting loaves of Leidenheimer bread. She’ll load mine with fried local shrimp and another with catfish. Both will be “dressed” and washed down with Abita Amber. 5240 Annunciation St., New Orleans (504-899-9126)

$230 At Patois, chef Aaron Burgau presides over a constantly changing roster of dishes, and we’ll look out for those that reimagine bistro cooking with a southern accent: sautéed sweetbreads in country-ham reduction; foie gras torchon with fennel-kumquat compote; almond-crusted redfish; panéed Mississippi rabbit in a dark tasso reduction. 6078 Laurel St., New Orleans (504-895-9441; Patois)

$8 Sunday morning is for lazy recovery: yesterday’s market fruit and lattes from the Sound Cafe, a coffee shop in bohemian Faubourg Marigny. 2700 Chartres St., New Orleans (504-947-4477)

$430 Sunday night is for indulging in French Creole classics at Galatoire’s. My regular waiter will know to bring me a Sazerac, and we’ll proceed to order soufflé potatoes, crabmeat maison, and shrimp rémoulade. Oysters Rockefeller will arrive after Champagne, followed by textbook trout meunière, lamb chops in béarnaise, brabant potatoes, and crème caramel. And, of course, we’ll pick out a bottle (or two) of good vino, as an expanded wine list is one of the few changes this restaurant has undergone since Jean Galatoire opened it in 1905. 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans (504-525-2021; Galatoire’s)

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