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.
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.
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.