I didn’t realize how much I missed New Orleans until I footed my way through St. Charles Avenue for the first time in almost eight years. Literally footed – I ran my first marathon two weeks ago. From Lee Circle up to Calhoun Street and back downtown, my eyes were peeled for old landmarks from my college years in the late nineties. My ears open for the sounds of the bands and DJs, and for those spectators that dotted the first half of the race course. My mind raced to all those times I took the streetcar from Audubon down through Carondelet and back. To all the nooks and crannies I didn’t take the chance to know back then. That longing to get reacquainted with the city grew stronger as we made our way into the French Quarter through Decatur Street. The tree lined Esplanade miles through the Marigny and City Park up to Mid City were dotted with regret for not exploring as much as I should have. And the Lakefront portion made me grateful for a sunny, mild day that could have not gone any better, throbbing right knee notwithstanding.
The race recap portion of this show is over. On to the first part of this New Orleans trip report, the love letter to my college town and to the great food that enjoyed over five beautiful days. I knew the city would be packed between the race (over 25,000 runners) and other conventions and events. The minute we booked our airfare in December I made most of our meal reservations. If traveling to New Orleans for an event, it’s always better to reserve and then modify reservations than try to walk in to the more popular restaurants.
Breakfast at Brennan’s is a classic for a reason. The impeccable service, the rich egg dishes and the old school ambiance makes us return and recommend this experience to any friend to asks for NOLA tips. The restaurant went through extensive renovations recently, with a large new bar perfect for resting your feet after exploring the Quarter. Not unique to Brennan’s but still a reason to return: the turtle soup. It’s spicy, smokey, meaty, and fragrant, especially with a touch of sherry served table-side.
For our entrees, we chose Eggs Sardou and Egsg Cardinale. Eggs Sardou are poached eggs nested on top of artichoke bottoms with spinach and choron sauce. Choron sauce is a variation of Bernaise sauce with a hint of tomato paste. In Eggs Cardinale, the poached eggs rest on top of a seafood boudin cake, topped with Creole mustard Hollandaise.
We headed Uptown for breakfast at Camellia Grill on Monday. Camellia Grill is another NOLA institution, especially popular with college students. Their breakfasts are known for the crispy, thin pecan waffles and for loaded omelets. I chose this time around the Manhattan omelet with potatoes, corned beef and more crisped up hash brown potatoes. E had the house omelet, doused in chili.
To mix things up, we decided to try a new (for us) place, based on feedback from friends both at home and from the TU days. Elizabeth’s is a funky eatery in the Bywater, about five minutes from the north-end of the French Quarter. The components of all their dishes are made from scratch – it’s no surprise it’s on the top of Eater’s poll for best NOLA breakfasts. E went with the Eggs Elizabeth, a variation of Benedicts that substitutes the English muffin for French bread. I went all out with Eggs boudin – poached eggs atop a boudin patty and smothered with crawfish étouffée. It doesn’t get more New Orleans than that.
Next up? Lunch and dinner favorites. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the 2016 New Orleans trip report coming up in a few days. If there are any breakfast pics we should not miss next time we’re in the city, let us know with a comment.