|Eat Well in New Orleans
||Some words and things you need to know in order to eat well in New Orleans. ...and "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
That's a Cajun phrase you'll hear often in this part of the world. It means, "Let the good times roll!"
You bet, cher. You betcha!
CREOLE VERSUS CAJUN CUISINES
Sometimes people don't realize that there are 2-major Louisiana cuisines, Cajun AND Creole. It can be really confusing, as both use sauces and the "holy trinity" of onion, garlic and bell (green, mild) pepper. Even more confusing is the fact that there is a Creole AND Cajun Jambalaya dish (the brown Jambalaya is Cajun, while the pink is Creole (its color comes from adding tomato sauce to the dish). Maybe this will help you better understand the differences:
Cajuns (corrupted from term Acadian) trace their heritage to the Acadian French, initially expelled from France (Normandy and Brittany), then from Nova Scotia (Acadia) in 1755, many settled in the Acadian Parishes of South Louisiana. Cajun cuisine is frequently referred to as heavy and "country" cooking. Because the bayou and swamp areas where they lived abounded with fish and wild game, and the soil produced delicious vegetables and fruits, the Cajun cuisine utilizes these ingredients along with herbs and spices, to add excitement and hotness. Brown Jambalaya, boudin sausage, fried alligator, paneed rabbit, boiled crawfish, and blackened fish dishes (made famous by Chef Paul Prudhomme) are examples of Cajun dishes.
Creole dishes tend to be milder than Cajun, and initially evolved from French techniques and recipes. Creoles trace their heritage primarily to the French, Spanish, Africans and Italians. Food is mild in flavor, but complex in preparation, which leads many to say the cuisine is more refined than Cajun. Some examples of Creole dishes are: red Jambalaya. gumbo-- a rich stew made from a roux, which is caramelized flour, and thickened with sassafras (file) then served over rice, also Oysters Rockefeller, crawfish etouffe, shrimp Creole, shrimp cocktail with Remoulade sauce, and many pasta dishes exhibit the Italian influence. Generally, if it has a sauce piquant or is simmered in an Etouffee sauce, it's Creole.
New Orleans is known the wide world over for its exotic cuisine. Not surprisingly, a number of linguistic idiosyncracies crop up on local menus. To wit:
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- Andouille (ahn-doo-ee) (French: [ãduj], American English: [an’du:,
I] is a spiced, heavily smoked pork sausage, distinguished in some varieties by its use of the entire gastrointestinal system of the pig: for example, traditional French andouille is composed primarily of the intestines and stomach.
The style of sausage is now widespread, and so it is unclear whether it originated in France, whence the name comes, or in Germany, where similar recipes also have a long history. A similar sausage, Nduja, is produced in the region of Calabria in southern Italy; the name is clearly derived from the French, and it is thought that the recipe may have spread there from France during periods of French dominance in the Middle Ages. This suggests a history going back at least 1000 years.
The recipe was brought to the New World by the French colonists of Louisiana, and Cajun andouille is the best-known variety in the United States. The spiciest of all the variants, Cajun andouille is made of butt or shank meat and fat, and seasoned with salt, cracked black pepper, and garlic, and smoked over pecan wood and sugar cane for up to seven or eight hours at approximately 175 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius). The resulting sausage is used in a wide range of Louisiana dishes, such as gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and ?touff?e. LaPlace, Louisiana has proclaimed itself the Andouille Capitol of the World, and holds a huge festival in October of each year.
- Boudin (boo-danh) - Boudin describes a number of different types of sausage used in French and Cajun cuisine. There is little in common between French boudin blanc and boudin noir, but the Cajun varieties differ only by the addition of blood to the boudin noir.
Boudin blanc - A type of sausage made from a milk or pork rice dressing wrapped in pork skin. Pork liver and heart meat are typically included. Rice is more frequently used in Cajun cuisine, whereas the French version tends to use milk, and is therefore generally more delicate than the Cajun variety. Although the sausage wrap is edible, the stuffing is typically squeezed out of one end. In Cajun cuisine, it is often served with cracklins (fried pig skins) and saltine crackers. Boudin Blanc dressing is also used to make Boudin balls. The dressing is not stuffed into a casing but formed into a ball around a cheese center, then rolled in breading and deep fat fried.
Boudin noir - A dark-hued French blood sausage or Cajun sausage containing pork, rice, pig blood, and other ingredients.
Boudin rouge In Louisiana cuisine, a sausage similar to boudin blanc, but with pork blood added to it. It originated from the French boudin noir.
- Beignet - (bey-YAY) is a delicious square doughnut liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar, but the word is also used for fried tidbits of fish served as an appetizer.
The word beignet comes from the early Celtic word bigne meaning "to raise." It is also French for "fritter." Beignets, a New Orleans specialty, are fried, raised pieces of yeast dough, usually about 2 inches in diameter or 2 inches square. After being fried, they are sprinkled with sugar or coated with various icings. It is like a sweet doughnut, but the beignet is square shaped and without a hole. Beignets are the forerunners of the raised doughnut. When you hear people in New Orleans say, "Goin' fo' coffee an' doughnuts," they mean coffee and beignets. In 1986, beignets became the Louisiana State Doughnut.
The French colonists of the 18th century brought the recipe and custom of making beignets to New Orleans. Some historians believe that the Ursuline Nuns of France, who came to Louisiana in 1727, brought this simple pastry to New Orleans.
According to the 1902 Picayune Creole Cook Book, published by "The Picayune," a leading New Orleans newspaper: The ancient French colonist brought the custom of serving sweet entrements and eatres, such as Beignets, Compotes, Souffles, Gelees, etc., from the old mother country to Louisiana. The Creoles applied these to the various delightful and refreshing fruits, which abound in Louisiana . . . The custom of serving these sweet entrements spread from New Orleans to other portions of the United States, till now no fastidious chef would think of keeping a fashionable hotel or restaurant with including some of these in the daily bill of fare.
Beignet is one of the most universally recognized names for fried dough desserts which are basically fritter batter. For many years, beignets were shaped into balls or squares and covered with mocha frosting. Later the beignet was cut in the shape of a doughnut, and the raised doughnut was born.
Beignets were most often enjoyed with Café au lait.
In New Orleans, Café au lait is strong dark roast coffee and chicory, served with equal part hot milk. In the early history of Louisiana, chicory was added to coffee to stretch dwindling supplies. It was found that, in addition to stretching supplies, the chicory also created a smoother, richer brew. The addition of hot milk to strong coffee and chicory created one of the oldest and greatest coffee traditions in the world.
The original Café du Monde coffee stand was established in the New Orleans French Market in 1862 and still operates today. The cafe is considered a New Orleans landmark that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, it is traditional to go there for dark coasted coffee with chicory and beignets when visiting the city. At Café du Monde, there is only one food item you can order - beignets. The store is called a coffee stand, but it's very large, with dozens of tables outside under the trademark green-and-white striped canopy, and more inside. On every table are plates of rapidly disappearing beignets. Café du Monde serves beignets in orders of three, and since that's the only food item on the menu, you don't have to say what it is you're ordering. You simply say, "I'll have an order and a Café au lait." Expect a wait in line if you arrive during peak hours (even longer if you want a table).
- Café au lait (KAH-FAY oh-lay) - literally "coffee with milk", is a French coffee drink prepared by mixing coffee and scalded (not steamed) milk. It is similar to Italian latte, but made with drip- or more popularly French press pot coffee instead of espresso and with scalded instead of steamed milk in 1:1 ratio.
It is a staple of the Café du Monde, the legendary coffee shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, where the coffee used for the beverage is combined with roasted chicory root.
- Chicory - (chik-o-ree) is an herb, the roots of which are dried, ground, roasted, and used to flavor the potent coffee New Orleanians favor.
- Crawfish - (CRAW' fish) enormously popular in these parts - is a tiny critter that resembles a miniature lobster.
Crawfish and shrimp turn up in a wide variety of local dishes, including the ubiquitous Étouffée. For complete details visit: Superb "History and Recipe for a Crawfish Boil - How To Eat Crawfish"
Guests of honor at many New Orleans springtime gatherings, served on back issues of The Times-Picayune right from the huge cauldrons of spicy boiling water they share with new potatoes and half ears of corn. Crusty French bread is served on the side. You can impress the natives by pinching the tails and sucking the heads (although, admittedly, this is an acquired taste). You may know these local delicacies as "crayfish," but no New Orleanian would ever use that term. The local nickname is "mudbugs" because they live in the mud of freshwater streams. [Source: gatewayno.com]
- Étouffée - (ay-too-fay) is a Cajun seafood dish typically served over rice, similar to gumbo, very popular in New Orleans and in the Cajun country of the Atchafalaya Basin to the west. In French, the word "Étouffée" means, literally, "smothered", from the verb "Étouffer" meaning "to stifle, choke or suffocate."
The usual staple of an Étouffée is crawfish, whereas shrimp or crabmeat are more often found in gumbos. Étouffée also differs from gumbo in the spices used, and in the roux or base from which is it made. Gumbo is generally less spicy, flavored with filé and has greyish color. Étouffée uses more cayenne pepper and other hot spices and tends to have a more reddish color, and also to have thicker consistency. In some areas it is has become popular to add tomatoes or tomato paste to the dish. However, most purists believe that once tomatoes are added, the dish ceases to be a true Étouffée, and instead becomes a stew. The main difference between a stew/gumbo and an étouffée is that an étouffée is made with a "blonde roux" (about the color of a paper bag) instead of a typical Cajun roux, which is dark brown. A small amount of tomato sauce is usaully added to this roux. Onions, green peppers and a bit of garlic are also staples in this sauce. The finished product should have the color of a pumpkin.
- Jambalaya - (jum-boh-lie-ya), a culinary cousin of Spanish paélla, is a many-splendored dish involving rice, tomatoes, ham, shrimp, andouillé, chicken, celery, onions and spices. You run across an array of gumbos here. Jambalaya could be a second cousin of gumbo - the recipes are similar with the exception of cooked rice. In gumbo, the rice is cooked separately and the gumbo ingredients are ladled over the rice. In jambalaya, the rice is slowly cooked in the same pot with the rest of the ingredients.
Jambalaya is a rice dish that is highly seasoned and strongly flavored with combinations of beef, pork, poultry, smoked sausage, ham or tasso (lean chunk of highly seasoned ham), or seafood. It is a very adaptable dish often made from leftovers and ingredients on hand, and thus traditionally a meal for the Cajun rural folks rather than their wealthier town cousins, the Creoles.
It is thought that the word "jambalaya" comes from the French word "jambon" mean "ham," the French words "a la," meaning "with" or "in the manner of," and the African word "ya," meaning "rice." Put the words together and they mean "ham with rice." The dish is a takeoff from the Spanish paélla and is also amazingly similar to the West African dish called jollof rice. Jambalaya is a one-pot dish - most cooks prefer to cook it in cast-iron pots.
There is one rule in cooking jambalaya. After the rice has been added, jambalaya should never be stirred. Instead, it should be turned, as this prevents the grains of rice from breaking up. Most cooks turn jambalaya only two or three times after the rice is added, being sure to scoop from the bottom of the pot to mix rice evenly with other ingredients. Shovels are used when cooking outdoors in large cast-iron kettles.
Jambalaya is a favoriate at church fairs, political rallies, weddings, family reunions, and any other affair with an excuse to serve food.
In Gorzales, Louisiana, the Jambalaya Festival and World champion Jambalaya cooking Contest is held annually. This event attract participants who have spent years perfecting the art of cooking and seasoning this wonderful stew.
- Shrimp Creole - When the Spanish began to settle here, they brought us the pepper and the tomato...the beginnings of our "Shrimp Creole!" Shrimp Creole incorporates "The Trinity", the combination of chopped onion, celery, and green bell pepper, the classic Creole ingredients.
- Gumbo (GUHM-boh) - is a thick, robust soup with many variations (all of which include rice), such as chicken and andouillé, okra gumbo, shrimp gumbo and Filé Gumbo - (FEE-lay) (Incidentally, file' is ground sassafras.)
Gumbo has been called the greatest contribution of Louisiana kitchens to American cuisine. When the first French settlers came to Louisiana, they brought their love for bouillabaisse, a highly seasoned fish stew. Having none of the usual ingredients necessary to make a typical French bouillabaisse, they substituted local ingredients.
After about a century, with the Spanish, Africans, and Natives of the region offering their contributions of food, the stew was no longer recognizable as bouillabaisse and became gumbo. What started out as second best became better than the original.
The word gumbo is derived from African words for okra (guingombo, tchingombo, and kingombo), a pod-like vegetable introduced by African slaves and often used to thicken the stew.
Gumbo is a classic Cajun one pot, communal stew that is especially important around Mardi Gras (the Mardi Gras season officially begins twelve days after Christmas, on January 6, and culminates on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent).
There is only one rule that remains constant in making gumbo: First you make a roux. The roux, a flour and oil or butter mixture, which acts as a thickening agent, is the gumbo's base. There are no other hard-and-fast rules for the ingredients used in making gumbo - anything that flies, crawls, creeps, or lies still may end up in the gumbo pot. There are as many recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in Louisiana. The making of gumbo draws out the competitive streak in most Louisianans, and most cooks closely guard their recipes.
- Mirliton - (Mirl' a tawn) (vegetable or its vine, also known as the chayote) is a hard-shelled vegetable pear that's cooked like squash and stuffed with spicy ground beef, ham, or shrimp.
- Plantain - ((plan' ten) A member of the banana family, is a sweetish vegetable sidedish. Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas and are commonly used when green or underripe and therefore starchy.
- Pain perdu - (Pan pair do) is a local variation of French toast in New Orleans. (French: Pain aux oeufs (pain perdu) for "lost bread"), Pain Perdu is usually made from left over New Orleans-style French bread, which resembles the French baguette, but has a crunchier exterior and a lighter interior.
The bread is sliced on a bias and dipped into a mixture of egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. The slices are pan-fried in butter and traditionally served dusted with powdered sugar and with jam on the side. Alternatively it may be served with cane syrup. (Immediate result: clogged arteries!)
(Now! I ask ya'... Who dares to ridicule Elvis' infamous fried peanut butter and banana sanwiches? Not Moi! They're "yum" in Memphis. :o)
"I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon" ~~ Dorothy Parker.
- Red beans and rice - is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine (not originally of Cajun cuisine), traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables (onion and celery), spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf), and pork bones left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. It is an old custom from the time when ham was a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. Similar dishes are common in Latin American cuisine, including moros y cristianos and gallo pinto.
Red Beans and Rice is one of the handful of dishes in New Orleans cuisine to be commonly cooked both in people's homes and in restaurants. Many neighborhood restaurants continue to offer it as a Monday lunch special, usually with a side order of either smoked sausage or a
porkchop. And while Monday washdays are largely a thing of the past, Red Beans remains a staple for large gatherings such as Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties.
- If you're accustomed to Southern BBQ, a serving of New Orleans barbeque shrimp will take you by surprise; it isn't "barbecued" at all, but whole "peel-and-eat" shrimp simmered in a zingy garlic-butter sauce..
- Pralinés - (praw-leens), is a family of confections made from nuts and sugar syrup. In Europe, the nuts are usually almonds or sometimes hazelnuts. In Louisiana and Texas, pecans are almost always used, and cream is often incorporated into the mixture. Praliné candy patties are one of the most associated foods with New Orleans.
As originally invented in France, pralines were whole almonds individually coated in caramelized sugar, as opposed to dark nougat, where a sheet of caramelized sugar covers many nuts. The powder made by grinding up such sugar-coated nuts is called 'pralin' or 'praliné' in French, and is an ingredient in many cakes and pastries.
The praliné (originally spelled prasline) is said to be named after the French soldier and diplomat Marshal du Pléssis-Praslin (1598-1675), whose cook supposedly invented it. The cook, Clément Lassagne, after retiring from the marshal's service, is said to have founded the Maison dé la Praliné, a confectioner's shop which still exists in Montargis, 110 km south of Paris. The name has certainly existed since the 18th century, but there is no secure connection with the Marshal or his cook.
- Pecan Pie
- The only way this pie could be better tasting is to serve it warm and topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Oysters - tons of which are consumed by New Orleanians - are the raison d'étré of Oysters Biénville and Oysters Rockefeller, both of which originated here. For the Biénville-style dish, oysters are baked in their shells in a creamy sauce flavored with shrimp, mushrooms, and sometimes garlic or mustard. Named for the fellow who sauce is made with puréed greens flavored with anise liqueur.
1850 - Antoine Alciatore, the original owner of Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, made a specialty dish of snails called "snails Bourgignon" which was very popular. The restaurant, located on Rué St. Louis in the New Orleans French Quarter, was opened in 1840, and Antoine's is the country's oldest family-run restaurant.
According to Antoine's web site:
In 1874, Antoine being in ill-heath, took leave of his family, with the management of the restaurant in his wife's hands. He felt he had not much longer to live and wished to die and be buried in his birthplace in France. He told his wife he did not want her to watch him deteriorate and said as he left; "As I take boat for Marseilles, we will not meet again on earth." He died within the year.
1899 - When Jules Alciatore took over the business, the taste for snails had subsided, and also there was a shortage of French snails. He wanted to use a local product in order to avoid any difficulty in procuring it. He choose oysters and adapted the snail recipe in 1899 to use the gulf oysters.
Jules Alciatore is known as a pioneer in the art of cooking oysters (as they were rarely cooked before this time). According to legend, it is said that a customer exclaimed with delight after eating this dish, "Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!"
The dish was given the name Rockefeller because the green was the color of greenbacks and the whole dish was so rich that he wanted a name that would signify the "richest in the world." The first name to come to his mind was John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), a name once connoted the absolute pinnacle of wealth and position. No other American dish has received so much praise and attention as Oysters Rockefeller.
The original recipe is a closely-guarded Antoine's secret, though it has been imitated, adapted, and evolved in a host of ways. The original oysters Rockefeller is said to have been made with watercress, not spinach. Jules Alciatore exacted a promise on his deathbed that the exact proportions be kept a secret forever.
- King Cake - Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten during Mardi Gras each year in New Orleans, Louisiana. In fact, a Mardi Gras party would not be authentic without the traditional King Cake as the center of the party.
The cake is made with a rich Danish dough, baked and covered with a sugar topping in Mardi Gras colors; purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. The cakes are easy to make, and in New Orleans every baker seems to have its own version for sale.
The cakes are prepared for the period between the Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. Many are shipped throughout the United States for those displaced New Orleanians longing for a taste of Mardi Gras.
The Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th, or the Twelfth Night. Originally objects such as coins, beans, pecans, and peas were hidden inside of every King Cake. Wealthy Louisiana plantation owners in the later 1800s would sometimes put a precious stone or jewel in their King Cakes. In the mid-1900s, a small plastic baby became the symbol of this Holy Day and was placed inside of each King Cake. The New Orleans tradition is that each person takes a piece of cake hoping to find the plastic baby inside. The recipient of the plastic baby is "crowned" King or Queen for the day and that person is obligated to host the following year's party and supply the King Cake.
The King Cake tradition came to New Orleans with the French settlers around 1870, continuing a custom dating back to twelfth century France. Similar cakes were used then to celebrate the coming of the three wise men calling it the feast of Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King's Day.
- New Orleans Bread Pudding - with Bourbon Sauce is a dessert popular in British cuisine and that of the Southeast U.S., as well as the Belgian cuisine made using stale (usually left-over) bread, suet, egg, sugar or golden syrup, spices, and dried fruit.
The bread is soaked (often overnight), squeezed dry, and mixed with the other ingredients. The mixture is transferred into a dish and baked.
It may be served with a sweet sauce of some sort, such as whiskey sauce, rum sauce, or caramel sauce, but is typically sprinkled with sugar and eaten cold in squares or slices.
Bread pudding should not be confused with Bread and butter pudding.
- Bananas Foster - an enormously popular dessert, involves bananas sautéed in butter, sugar, and cinnamon, then flamed with cognac and served over vanilla ice cream. In the 1950's, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. In 1951, Owen Edward Brennan challenged his talented chef, Paul Blangé, to include bananas in a new culinary creation. The scrumptious dessert was named for Richard Foster, who, as chairman, served with Owen on the New Orleans Crime Commission, a civic effort to clean up the French Quarter. Richard Foster, owner of the Foster Awning Company, was a frequent customer of Brennan's and a very good friend of Owen. Little did anyone realize that Bananas Foster would become an international favorite and is the most requested item on the restaurant's menu. Thirty-five thousand pounds of bananas are flamed each year at Brennan's in the preparation of its world -famous dessert.
-- The term flambé [flahm-BAY] is a French word meaning "flaming" or "flamed." Flambé means to ignite foods that have liquor or liqueur added. This is done for a dramatic effect and to develop a rich flavor of the liqueur to the foods without adding the alcohol.
- Muffuletta - (moof-fuh-LEHT-tuh or moo-foo-LE-ta) - Its nickname is simply "muff."
These sandwiches can be found all over New Orleans from any deli to pool halls and the corner grocery stores. It is an Sicilian sandwich that consists of a round loaf of bread (about 10 inches across) filled with Italian salami, olive salad, cheese, Italian ham, and freshly minced garlic. They key ingredient is the olive salad which gives the sandwich its special flavor and makes it appealing to the eye. A true Muffuletta Sandwich must always be served at room temperature, never toasted; it is considered blasphemy to heat the sandwich.
History: The Central Grocery on Decatur Street claims to have invented this sandwich in 1906. Signor Lupo Salvatore, owner of the Central Grocery, started making the sandwiches for the men who worked the nearby wharves and produce stalls of the French Market. The sign over the covered sidewalk proudly proclaims, home of "The Original Muffuletta."
Marie Lupo Tusa, daughter of the grocery's founder, tells the story of the sandwich's origin in her 1980 cookbook, Marie's Melting Pot:
One of the most interesting aspects of my father's grocery is his unique creation, the muffuletta sandwich. the mufuletta was created in the early 1900's when the Farmers' Market was in the same area as the grocery. Most of the farmers who sold their produce there were Sicilian. Every day they used to come of my father's grocery for lunch.
They would order some salami, some ham, a piece of cheese, a little olive salad, and either long braided Italian bread or round muffuletta bread. In typical Sicilian fashion they ate everything separately. The farmers used to sit on crates or barrels and try to eat while precariously balancing their small trays covered with food on their knees. My father suggested that it would be easier for the farmers if he cut the bread and put everything on it like a sandwich; even if it was not typical Sicilian fashion. He experimented and found that the ticker, braided Itallian bread was too hard to bite but the softer round muffuletta was ideal for his sandwich. In very little time, the farmers came to merely ask for a "muffuletta" for their lunch.
Central Grocery's biggest competitor, Progress Grocery, is just two doors away. The Progress Grocery started in 1924, as an offshoot of Central Grocery. Their sign proclaims the "Finest Muffuletta."
To this day, tourists and locals line up at both stores out into the street, waiting for their sandwiches. Muffulettas are more than just sandwiches, they're a tourist attraction, especially during Mardi Gras.
- Po' Boy (poo-boy) - (similar to submarines and heros) are served on thick slabs of French bread and include a dizzying variety of stuffings: roast beef and gravy, ham, fried oysters, fried shrimp, softshell crab and so on.
Also know as Oyster Loaves. Po' Boy is the generic name for the standard New Orleans sandwich made with French bread. They are considered a New Orleans institution. Also called poor boy. Always made with French bread, Po' boys can be filled with fried oysters, shrimp, fish, soft-shelled crabs, crawfish, roast beef and gravy, roast pork, meatballs, smoked sausage and more. They are served either "dressed" with a full range of condiments (usually mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes) or "undressed" (plain). This sandwich is purely American in its variety of sauces and condiments. It is uniquely New Orleans because the oysters are local, as is the crisp and airy bread.
Oh, and incidentally "dressed" here has nothing to do with attire: it means a sandwich served "with the works".
Full Details ~~ whatscookingamerica.net
- Hurricane - The drink known to most tourists in New Orleans. During celebrations (and celebrations seem to be every night in the New Orleans French quarter), tourists carry their "to go" Hurricane drinks with them. In New Orleans, you can carry your drink out of a bar and down the street, even into another bar. Hurricanes are also the cocktail of choice during Mardi Gras, when thousands come to parade and party.
The "Hurricane" was made famous by Pat O'Brien's French quarter bar. Other restaurants and bars now serve this drink but it has become synonymous with Pat O'Brien's. this signature cocktail is a potent fruit punch drink that is served in a special hurricane lamp glass in New Orleans. The drink was created during World War II, when liquor such as whiskey was in low supply and bar owners were forced to order large amounts of rum in order to get their quota of whiskey. Pat O'Brien's has become a tourist mecca, and the Pat O'Brien's Hurricane glass is one of the most sought-after souvenirs in New Orleans.
- SNOWBALLS - See: gatewayno.com - Finely shaved ice with the texture of velvet infused with a strongly flavored sweet syrup served in a paper cup with a straw and a spoon. Any self-respecting snowball stand will carry upwards of 50 flavors of syrup, but certain time-honored favorites will always be on the list. They include nectar (New Orleans talk for vanilla), wedding cake (almond) and ice cream (unidentifiable but wonderful). This is a summertime treat designed to beat the afternoon heat. Like wearing white, eating snowballs is most easily gotten away with from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It can be noted that outside the South Louisiana area these are referred to as "Snow Cones". And along with that thought it may also be noted that outside the South Louisiana area, the staple diet is Meat and Potatoes !!
- The Sazerac - cocktail is to New Orleans what the margarita is to the southwest. It is reported to be the first cocktail every invented (at least in the United States). Antoine Amadie Péychaud, a Creole apothecary, is given the credit for first inventing the Sazerac cocktail in the 1830s. In 1795, he immigrated to New Orleans from the West Indies and opened a drugstore called Pharmacie Péychaud. Like many "chemists" of his day, he sold his own patent medicine; Péychaud's Bitters, a proprietary mix of aromatic bitters said to relive his clients' ailments. His medical toddy soon became very popular and friends gathered regularly to sample his late-night drinks.
The drink was named after an imported Sazerac cognac, Sazerac dé Forgé ét Fils, which was originally used in making the cocktail.
Stomach bitters were basically alcohol disguised as medicine. they became extremely popular from 1850 to 1870 due to the liquor tax laws, the popularity of temperance movements, and local restrictions on the liquor trade.
Péychaud had a unique way of serving his drink. He served it an an egg cup, know to the French speakers as a coquétiér. Most historians believe that the word "cocktail" came from a mispronunciation of this French word.
The popularity of the Sazerac cocktail led to the opening of a large bar in 1852 called the Sazerac Coffee House (coffee house was the term used for drinking establishment in the mid-1800s). The bar had a 125-foot-long bar manned by a dozen bartenders all mixing Sazerac cocktails for patrons. In 1870, Thomas H. Handy purchased the Sazerac Coffee House and also bought out the rights to Péychaud's Bitters. In the early days, the Sazerac cocktail was made with cognac or brandy, but as American tastes changed, rye whiskey was substituted. This unique cocktail derived it anise scent from absinthe. Beginning in 1912, absinthe was banned in the United States because of its habit-forming quality. Pernod, Hérbsaint, or Ricard was substituted in place of absinthe.
The Sazerac cocktail is now associated with the Sazerac Bar at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, and the hotel pays an annual fee to the Sazerac Company for the use of the name. When visiting the Sazerac Bar, if you don't want to be labeled as a tourist, be sure not to ask for Ssazerac on the rocks - this drink should never be served with ice.
- Lagniappe - (LAN-yap) is a pleasant little something extra. A bonus. Say, 13 doughnuts for the price of a dozen.
"New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin."
Mark Twain (1884)
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