Chartres House Cafe (New Orleans, LA)

Outside of the Chartres House Cafe

Say whaaa…New Orleans? Yes, I live in Upstate NY and therefore my posts are generated around places I’ve been to in my own area. However, I recently spent a week in New Orleans volunteering with Common Ground Relief through the College of Saint Rose’s Community Service Office. Most of the time we ate home cooked meals at the location we stayed at, but one night we got to venture out into the French Quarter for a meal.

Before I talk about the food, pardon me for a moment while I talk about New Orleans. First of all, if you’ve never been you NEED to go. Put it on your bucket list. The culture is indescribable and I won’t bother boring you with trying to explain how awesome it is. Secondly, my group was fortunate enough to travel down during Mardi Gras. Oh.em.gee. It was sooo fun. I, it, ahhhh just do me a favor and go.

Additionally, if you can volunteer your time to go and help out, do it. The experience is absolutely rewarding and one you will never forget. You might be thinking to yourself that Hurricane Katrina was almost six years ago and that they can’t possibly still need volunteers. Well, you’re wrong, they do. Any and all help is appreciated.

And now for the food! We ate dinner at Chartres House Cafe , which is located within walking distance of the infamous Bourbon St. It’s nestled on a corner of the street of the same name, Chartres St. Take a look at their online photo gallery to get an idea of what the place looks like, it’s very pretty.

Our group had made a large reservation a week in advance, for 17 people, and we were given awesome seating. We were on the second floor, inside, in a private corner with only a few other small tables sharing the room. The restaurant has a historic feel and I felt pretty swanky walking through it.

Part of the reason Chartres House Cafe was selected was because of its fair prices, considering it’s in the heart of the French Quarter. Our group was asked to spend somewhere around $15 per person, and that was easily done here. Secondly, it was selected for its classic New Orleans offerings so that our group could literally get a taste of the culture.

Eggplant Parmesan Po' Boy!group was asked to stick to a $15/piece budget, and this wasn't hard to do. The food offered (check out their menu) fit classic New Orleans dishes, another reason for selection.

As a vegetarian, my classic New Orleans food dishes are a bit limited. Obvi, the place is known for seafood, and I don’t do that. Jambalaya is also a classic, but is traditionally served with meat. I did, however, get to experience an Eggplant Parmesan Po’ Boy, which is just New Orleans way of describing a submarine sandwich. It was served with fries and was pretty good. I could have done with a little less roll, but all in all it was a great, filling sandwich-ahem, Po’ Boy.

Admittedly, the food doesn’t exactly match the atmosphere. I was kind of expecting some fancier food to match the chandeliers and dim lighting. But, in a weird way, it did kind of fit. New Orleans is a unique place, with a unique culture that is full of down-to-Earth people that love life. So, it worked out.

Now for dessert! Cafe Du Monde was our stop for some classic New Orleans beignets. A beignet is a smaller version of fried dough, that is thicker and then sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. These are delicious, especially when eaten fresh. A pack of three can be picked up from Cafe Du Monde for just a few dollars and is very filling. You can also buy boxes of mix to make at home, which we did. They weren’t as great as the actual cafe version, but they were still eaten up pretty fast! If you feel like giving it a try you can order off of their Web site.

I concentrated so much on stuffing my face with beignet that I didn't take a picture. Google it.

Next time I go (yes, I’m going again), I will definitely do more exploring of the French Quarter. I will also definitely volunteer again. I will also definitely go during Mardi Gras again. And, if you want to go with me, just let me know.

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  1. #1 by alicialegg on March 24, 2011 - 1:59 AM

    Kayla this made my mouth water. Your trip to New Orleans made me want to go. After reading Anne Rice’s Witching Hour, I always wanted to go. If you enjoy leisure reading, give that one a try – I think you will love it because it made me feel as though I had experienced New Orleans without leaving my living room. I am so glad to see a post from you. You are such a wonderful writer / blogger that I didn’t realize that you had me addicted to your blog until I didn’t see one for a few days. You actually make me want to cook! I am looking forward to hearing how your wine is!

  2. #2 by Kayla on March 24, 2011 - 2:02 AM

    Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, I need to get a new wine post up here! I promise I will be blogging more once I graduate in May, but I do need to do more for the time being. I’m planning on doing a wine update with some kind of food pairing, just not sure what yet. Perhaps a pasta dinner that I’m having this Friday…hmmm.

  3. #3 by Wade Abbott on March 24, 2011 - 5:14 AM

    Kudos to you for volunteering! I’ve heard from a number of people that it will be years and years (if ever) before New Orleans fully recovers from Hurricane Katrina. Makes me wonder how much help Japan will need in the years to come as they recover from the earthquake and tsunami.

    And man, oh man… now I’m hungry!

  4. #4 by Jackie on March 24, 2011 - 3:30 PM

    New Orleans = best. place. ever! And aside from Mardi Gras, going during the jazz festival is great too. In general, you can go to New Orleans anytime and have tremendous amounts of fun, there doesn’t need to be an event going on. Kayla hit some good spots but if you go to N.O. you must have a traditional muffaletta, gumbo, jumbalya, any seafood and drink some hurricanes! Also, you have to hit the French Market–the first section is a farmer’s market and the second a pretty good flea market. It’s a must! Oh, you also have to go to the original Pat O’Brien’s piano bar. There are replicas across the country and Cancun but this is the one and only original. Also, the oldest bar in the US is there…I forgot the name….it starts with an “L.”

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