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Eat Your Heart Out in New Orleans: A Food Tour

 

In 40 days #NicheMommy12 will be in NOLA, and we can’t wait!   In our last post  about New Orleans, we inspired you by sharing the rich multicultural history of New Orleans.  Today we want to fascinate  you with N’awlins food.  The cuisine of New Orleans is also an integral part of its rich history.  As a result, the city offers one of the most incredibly diverse cuisine.   While you are there, make sure you take a moment to visit a few of our favorite restaurants and sample a dish here or there (of course, during your conference down time, of course).

Another reason why we wanted to talk food is as you already know, The Niche Mommy Conference features a workshop-style agenda featuring live Social Fabric® University courses presented by Collective Bias.   One workshop will allow attendees to enhance their food photography skills.

As you learn a little about the delicious cuisine that New Orleans has to offer, also take a moment to drool over the photographs.  Being a food blogger isn’t just about knowing how to cook, it’s also about learning how to style your food, the lighting, adding simple props, and so much more.

So as you prepare for your trip to New Orleans, also prepare yourself for exciting flavors the city has to offer.    In this post, we’ll highlight some of the dishes that make New Orleans famous, their history and where to indulge on these classic dishes while there for The Niche Mommy Conference 2012.   And that beautiful photo above?  That’s a New Orleans inspired flan by our favorite food blogger, Bren Herrera of FlanboyantEats.com.  Make sure you check her out.  We’re going to call her flan the official desert of #NicheMommy12!

Gumbo 

Gumbo has come to be one of the best examples of the multicultural melting pot that has made New Orleans what it is. It can be described as a type of stew served over rice. The base seasonings – sassafras and bay leaves – were introduced to settlers by Native Americans. Another important contribution to the creation of gumbo was okra, a vegetable brought over by West African slaves, which both seasons and thickens soup stocks. Gumbo is said to have gotten its name from the West African name for okra – kimgombo. Gumbo went on to be adapted over time, and as most locals will tell you, there is no set recipe for the perfect gumbo. Everyone has his or her own way of making it from adding seafood instead of chicken or sausage instead of ham – its all a matter of personal preference and, of course, in matters of taste, there is no dispute.

Famed chef Paul Prudhomme created “Gumbo Ya-Ya” which can now be found at Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter is a local favorite. Also stop in at The Gumbo Shop also in the French Quarter and try their famous seafood okra gumbo. At Liuzza’s by the Track, in Mid-City near the Fairgrounds Racetrack, you can have the  best of both worlds: chicken, sausage and shrimp all in one!

Make sure you have a cup or two of at least one type of gumbo while in New Orleans, then you can return home and perfect your own style.

Source: gumboshop.com via Christine on Pinterest

Crawfish  Étouffée

While in NOLA you have get to have food that you couldn’t have anywhere else in the country. And even  if you can find these dishes in your hometown, it will never taste as good as  it does when prepared in New Orleans by a New Orleanian. Crawfish Étouffée is  one of the best examples of this theory.

The word étouffée (pronounced eh-too-fey) comes from the French word “to  smother.” The best way to describe the dish is a thicker stew, seasoned to  perfection and chock full of delicious, plump crawfish (or shrimp, depending on  the season). In some ways, its similar to gumbo – same types of Creole  seasonings, served over rice, and made with a roux, but unlike gumbo, étouffée  is made with a “blonde” roux, giving it a lighter color and a very different  flavor.

Jambalaya  

New  Orleans is famous for a lot of different meals – chief among them is the  traditional rice dish known as Jambalaya. While various ingredients in  Jambalaya can vary from chicken, sausage, seafood, or any mixture of the three,  the bold flavor and perfect spice is always present. The Dictionary of American  Food and Drink states that the dish was born late one night when a traveler  arrived at a New Orleans Inn long after dinner had been served. According to  the story, the inn’s cook, a man named Jean, was told to “balayez,” or “throw  something together” to feed the man. The results were delicious and the name  later evolved to “Jambalaya.”

Po Boy Sandwich

 

The history of the New Orleans Po-Boy is a rich one, dating back nearly 100 years. During the Great Depression there was a street car strike. Some former street car workers opened a sandwich shop used cut potatoes and roast beef gravy to make this signature dish, and that was the first poor boy sandwich. Today, french fry and gravy po-boys are still found on many menus.

Po-Boy restaurants are as much a part of personal identity as the neighborhood you grew up in – like a family heirloom, po-boy preference is often handed down from generation to generation. And while die-hard patrons of Parasol’s refuse that anywhere else makes as good of a roast beef po-boy, those who are loyal to Mother’s will tell you that their roast beef debris simply can’t be beat. And who could forget Ye Olde College Inn – a New Orleans staple.

Beignets  

 

The French-Creole colonists who  came to inhabit NOLA in its earliest days originally introduced beignets to New Orleans in the 18th century. The concept of the dessert is simple – dough is fried then covered with mounds of powdered sugar – but the result is extraordinary. As a precursor to today’s doughnuts, beignets are made from  square-cut pieces of yeast dough and do not have a hole in them like most  doughnuts. When served hot, they are absolute perfection, especially when accompanied  with café au lait or chocolate milk.

The most famous place to get  a plate  of beignets is the iconic Café Du Monde, located on Jackson Square. Beignets  come in orders of three on plates completely covered in powdered sugar.

Is your mouth watering yet?  This is just a small taste of the most unforgettable cuisine in the city of NOLA.

So what will you be eating while in NOLA for #nichemommy12?  Share with us by leaving a comment below and then tweeting,  I’m going to eat my heart out in #NOLA with @nichemommy & @CollectiveBias #nichmommy12 #SoFabU!

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Register for the Niche Mommy Conference here.

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Comments

  1. Can you say YUMMMM!!! So I am not a seafood fan, but if I’m able to come to the conference I know I’m going to have to try some!!! Those Beignets , I’ll take a couple dozen of those please!!!!

  2. FWIW us locals don’t go to Mother’s unless we have to… Totally overrated.

    Check out K-Paul’s for old school, traditional New Orleans fare. Try the blackened redfish.

    Try a muffaletta at Central Grocery (there’s still debate over who has the best muffaletta, but for us, Central is the original and stands above them all).

    Also hit up Cochon Butcher. A great breakfast spot is Stanley in Jackson Square – they serve it all day.

    2 great dinner spots that have opened of late are Sylvain & Root.

    That’s our short list. Have fun!