Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pleasant's Bar-B-Q in Ocean Springs, MS

While driving home to Florida after my trip to New Orleans, I stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Pleasant's Bar-B-Q in Ocean Springs, MS. Barbecue styles seem to vary in different areas of the south, so I was interested to see how smoked meat is served in Mississippi.
I had their pulled pork sandwich served with collard greens and baked beans. The pork was served on a  standard white bread hamburger bun. It was finely shredded and was drenched in sauce. The sauce was tasty, but I couldn't really discern any unique Mississippi BBQ style in here. I've had many similar pulled pork sandwiches in Florida. The beans were alright, but the collards were really good. They were nice and tender without being cooked to a mush. I liked.

Pleasant's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 20, 2015

Diva Dawg Food Truck in New Orleans, LA

One of my last food experiences in New Orleans happened at a food truck. They were called Diva Dawg and specialized in hot dogs, fries, and shakes.
The first thing on their menu is what caught my attention. They had a Mardi Gras Beignet Dawg. From the way it was described, it was similar to a corn dog, fried in beignet batter and topped with powdered sugar. I decided I had too many beignets on this trip already and wasn't in the mood for a hot dog so I ordered the Homemade Etouffee Fries.
I had a list of stereotypical New Orleans food items that I wanted to try while in the city. Crawfish etouffee was on this list, and these fries crossed etouffee off the list. The fries were widely cut, topped with the etouffee. It was messy to eat, but it was also delicious. There were plenty of crawfish tails over the fries and the creamy roux from the etouffee made a wonderful sauce for the fries.
Diva Dawg provided me the opportunity to almost complete my food list in New Orleans. The only food I was unable to find was Crawfish Pie. Apparently Crawfish Pie is a food item that's not very common in New Orleans...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Charles Tavern in New Orleans, LA

I got a recommendation to try the St. Charles Tavern in New Orleans from someone who was staying in my hotel. Not having any dinner plans, I walked a couple blocks down the street and gave them a try.
I had the Boudin Ball Po'boy. I tried boudin balls for the first time at Jacques-Imos Cafe a couple nights earlier in the city, but I had yet to have a po boy in New Orleans. A combination of the two sounded good! These boudin balls were different from the ones I had a Jacques-Imos Cafe. These had less of a batter around the meat inside and were a bit more uniform in their consistency. Different, but also good. The boudin balls were served on a white bread with lettuce, tomato, and a remoulade sauce. Fries were served on the side.

St. Charles Tavern on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Central Grocery in New Orleans, LA

I've never had a good muffuletta in the past. I've tried ordering these sandwiches several times at various restaurants in Florida, but they always end up being disappointing. More specifically, every muffuletta that I remember trying has always been very dry and bland tasting. Central Grocery is a New Orleans restaurant which was recommended I try while in the city. They advertise that they are home to the original muffuletta. I was setting myself up for having a disappointing sandwich, but it turns out the original is indeed the best.
The muffuletta from Central Grocery consisted of a large sesame roll filled with mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, provolone, and olive salad. This olive tapenade is what set Central Grocery's muffuletta apart from the others I've tried. In the other muffulettas, whoever makes the sandwiches is always really stingy with the olives. At Central Grocery though, they piled the olives on, adding a whole bunch of flavor to an otherwise boring sandwich. The oil from the olive salad also provided some much needed moisture to the sandwich, preventing the muffuletta from being too dry.
Thanks to Central Grocery, I now know that muffulettas can be much better than I've experienced in the past!

Central Grocery on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 2, 2015

Audubon Zoo Food (Roman Candy Company and Cypress Knee Cafe) in New Orleans, LA

I spent one afternoon in New Orleans at the Audubon Zoo. Food happened while I was there. The first thing I ate came from this nifty looking food cart called Roman Chewing Candy. Apparently this cart is a New Orleans landmark because I later started noticing it on postcards sold in gift shops elsewhere in the city.
I'd never heard of Roman candy before, but it turned out this was a type of taffy. It was being pulled right there in the cart. There was a choice of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. Since strawberry was being made fresh as I approached the cart, that's what I went with.
It was chewy and sweet. Like most taffy, this got horribly stuck in my molars and made me want to brush my teeth for the rest of the afternoon. Regardless, it was still a tasty candy.

The Roman Candy Company on Urbanspoon

The Roman candy didn't quite hold me over until I was done exploring the zoo so I stopped into a restaurant there called Cypress Knee Cafe. While all the other restaurants I passed in the zoo served typical zoo/theme park snack bar foods, Cypress Knee Cafe had a bit more interesting menu. They were located in the Louisiana Swamp section of the park, and had appropriately themed local cuisine.
I hadn't had any jambalaya while visiting New Orleans. I ordered it here to remedy this. Cypress Knee Cafe served a decent sized bowl filled with flavorful rice and chicken. I didn't get any shrimp or sausage in my bowl which are normally standards in the jambalaya I've had in the past. I don't know if these aren't in the zoo's recipe for jambalaya or if I just got a bad mix in my bowl. Regardless of the lack of variety in the meats, when it comes to the flavor of the jambalaya here, it surpassed my low expectations for a snack bar in a zoo.

Cypress Knee Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pho Orchid in New Orleans, LA

I was waiting to watch a few Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans when I stopped into a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Orchid. I think I may have decided to enter Pho Orchid at a bad time. It seemed like they were transitioning from their normal menu to a special take out only menu that they had during parades. I entered and I was given their normal menu. I was ignored for a very long time before a server came back to my table to take my order. In the meantime, everyone else entering right after me was being told to order at the bar off the Mardi Gras menu. I was a bit confused as to whether or not I was given the normal menu by mistake until a server finally came back to take my order.
I ordered the Grilled Pork Bun. This consisted of vermicelli noodles topped with the meat, lettuce, bean sprouts, pickled carrots, cucumbers, and a side of their house sauce. Overall, it was pretty tasty. Some of the pork was pretty fatty, but otherwise I had no major complaints. The vinegar based sauce, along with hoisin and sriracha kept all the noodles nice and moist. 
Besides what seemed to be confusion among the staff about whether to take my order or not, my meal at Pho Orchid was very satisfying.

Pho Orchid Uptown on Urbanspoon


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