September 14, 2015

Follow the Sign for some Steamed Head tacos

Everywhere I look these days there's a new Taqueria. And that is OK by me since in general, I cannot eat enough tacos during the summer. Or anytime. (Who am I kidding?)

There is, however, one day that I do set aside to eat tacos specifically to the point of excess.

That day is Tour de Taco. It's like Thanksgiving, but with horchata and needing to know basic Spanish-language food words. A special summer holiday that dates back to the dark ages of Yelp Omaha (2012), that has grown to a time-honored tradition... to a few of us at least!

Sadly, this year I didn't take any pictures of the actual taco warriors / people that joined me to stuff our faces. But there was another good group.

We started with what I thought was a small list of places to visit. It still proved to be too much. Maybe next year I'll finally remember that four stops is [more than] enough!

Our first stop was Taqueria Chango (2405 Hickory St). A little off the beaten path, Chango lives up to its name in decor alone - with a jungle theme and many stuffed monkeys hanging from the ceiling. But is it truly "the king of steamed tacos?"

Business Card with some details, Chango = Monkey, by the way.

Entrance is on the West side of the building (with ample parking available)
Tacos al vapor was a new term to me this year, but it was nearly everywhere we went. As for whether I could really tell the difference between steamed and griddled tacos. Um... the jury is still out on that. But were they just as good? Heck yes. 

I sense a theme here.

Complimentary - and tasty - chips and salsa were very much appreciated!

Head (shoulders, knees) and Cheek Tacos
They started us off with some complimentary chips and two varieties of tasty salsa. I really wanted to order several items, but as a seasoned taco tour veteran I remembered that is soon enough be uncomfortably full. So I stared with two tacos - cabeza and cheek - and a horchata! 

Which reminds me, none of this years' stops serves alcohol. This fact is worth noting because it's even harder to stuff yourself ridiculously full of tacos without a couple beers to wash it all down.

To cut to the chase, I have to say that Chango was my favorite stop of the day… because this was the one I picked to get take-out for Bill, who was holding down the (baby) fort at home. 

Not to be confused with El Rancho.
Next up was El Ranchito (4318 South 24th Street). This was my least favorite stop. Not too much else to say. It wasn't bad, necessarily. Just unremarkable. Chips and salsa were also free here, and the restaurant was busy enough, but the Al Pastor tacos I had were somehow a bit bland (despite an exceptionally appropriate proportion of cilantro). 

Tacos Al Pastor
Chips and Salsa
Our next was a surprise stop at Taqueria el Chavo - which isn't even on Yelp [yet]. Pretty neat little spot behind a gas station (2411 I Street) in an old Masonic building. They have plenty more great pictures of the interior, their taco cart and the tidy and well stocked salsa bar on their Facebook page:

This is another stop worth checking out, but maybe brush up on your Spanish ahead of time. 

This is the place!
El Chavo Carnitas Taco

My first trip to Birrieria El Chalan (4518 South 24th Street) was next - and though I didn't sample their namesake goat stew, I did have two goat meat tacos. One stewed, one regular. Both delicious. 

The House Specials... for next time.
Tender and Tasty Goat Tacos!
Sadly, Driveway Tacos (S 23rd St & N St) was not to be found again. I'll probably stop looking at this point, with taquerias popping up everywhere else I look! I can't even keep up as it is; without trying to track down ghostly locations at random people's houses. 

I'm happy to report that once again that the taco scene in Omaha is alive and well! 

August 05, 2015

Good enough to visit twice in one day, we had the pleasure of eating all varieties of Rig's waffle sliders for the month of July (before the small but strong menu was updated for this month).

And if you've ever been frustrated by trying to locate your favorite mobile food venue, don't fret. This waffle wagon appears to have set up shop permanently in the Blackstone District parking lot in a wonderful symbiotic relationship with Scribtown Brewing and Archetype Coffee.

Rig offers 4 total options for sliders. Three what I'll call savory and one sweet. Sliders are $4.50 each, or two for $7.50 (a bit over a 15% discount). I'd recommend getting them all - that's what we did - before we went back later and got more.

Interestingly enough, everyone's favorites were different. So Rig has something for everyone. My favorite of this batch was the Ramen, though the Wafelafel came in a close second.

Here's the rundown of the July menu we sampled... the waffles themselves are made of batter specifically crafted to compliment the other ingredients. These are truly gourmet creations - not just toppings slapped haphazard on top of a generic griddled batter.

Cobb Smoked BBQ Ham: ham-slider w. peach BBQ sauce & pickled okra. This one was surprisingly my least favorite... but only because the others were so darn great.

Cobb Smoked BBQ Ham
Rig Ramen: slider made of ramen noodles, vinegar slaw, asian-style beef patty & spicy hoisen sauce. I ate two of these. There's ramen in the waffle, for heaven's sake!

Rig Ramen
Wafelafel: open faced slider made of house falafel – topped w. hummus, red pepper, compote and dill cucumber sauce. This was a VERY close runner-up favorite. You can't really tell because of all the deliciousness piled on top, but the waffle is green from the cilantro-chickpea batter. Genius!

Bacon S’more: slider w. graham cracker batter, mallow and chocolate with smoked bacon. Not much else to say here besides YUM. This one seemed to be the real crowd-pleaser of the evening.

Bacon S'more
Their August menu is already posed and looks to be just as tasty! I can't wait to try all of these as well. (Good business model).

Rig does not have a website, but they are very active on Facebook at, where weekly hours, menu updates, and delicious waffle pictures are routinely posted.

You can eat your sliders in either Archetype or Scribtown. And Jodi (the owner) may even hand-deliver waffles to you - though I imagine that service may go away when Rig soon becomes swamped with business (and it will).

Get here now before there's a line.

July 28, 2015

The motto here is "Eat What's Fun". So while it's not the most grown up grilled cheese experience I've ever had, the kid in you (as well as any actual children you may have dining with you) will get a kick out of Tom + Chee.

Plus, the menu and ability to customize sandwiches is vast enough that even after three visits, I still feel like there's a big chunk of options I haven't explored.

I'm one of those who first heard of Tom + Chee from their Shark Tank fame. Really, this is a great success story for the owners.

And while the idea of a tomato soup and grilled cheese restaurant is an admirable one, I'd ultimately probably prefer Tom[ato] and Chee[se] as they started in 2009... a small tent-based operation run by two couples in Cincinnati's Fountain Square.

For me, I wonder if franchising has perhaps diluted some of the "je ne sais quoi" that made the original Tom + Chee's food so special (though the brand obviously remains strong).

When it comes to the menu, there's quite a bit going on. It might not hurt to read up beforehand a little so you're not caught gaping at the board and holding up the ordering line. All told, there are 4 soups, 4 salads, 9 grilled cheese donuts and 15 sandwiches (plus a "make your own" option).

For ingredients, you can choose from:

  • 6 breads
  • 11 cheeses
  • 8 veggies
  • 7 meats
  • 7 extras (things like pesto, hummus and blueberry compote)

You can also order 'dippers' of the soups - perfect! And adding pickles is free! Wee!

It's impressive that Tom + Chee not only caters to vegetarians (obviously) but also offers gluten-free bread, vegan cheese, and makes their pesto with sunflower seeds (for those with tree-nut allergies). Until my visit is never had pesto prepared that way before (to my knowledge) but it was a perfect stand-in for the original recipe.

Grilled Mac + Chee
Green Goat Salad
The winning dessert donut - out of the three we sampled - was the Strawberry Lemonade: fresh strawberries+candied lemon +mozz+lemon mascarpone+donut. Though there's something to be said for the simplicity of melted Wisconsin Cheddar on a glazed donut. It wasn't quite as life-altering as advertised, but any vehicle that brings the wonder of cheese and donuts to the masses is a win. Now if they could just put a burger in there too...

Strawberry Lemonade Donut
Bloggers on Parade!
Grilled Cheese Donut
Worth mentioning: the first visit (and all others at the time of this writing) were gratis as part of a blogger promo event. Not that T+C is hard on the wallet, by any means, you could get a full meal here for right around $10 - and Tuesday nights kids eat for $1.

Speaking of which, I'm supposed to give away some stuff!

Four Readers are going to win some Tom + Chee coupons. You can enter using the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
More giveaways from local bloggers here:

Ashley Nicole Photographer (ends Aug. 3)

Coolest Mommy (ends Aug. 14)

Bakes in Slippers (ends Aug. 3)

The Walking Tourists (ends Aug. 11)

Coolest Mommy (ends Aug. 14)

Over the course of my three visits I sampled 3 soups, 2 salads, 3 grilled cheese donuts and 9 sandwiches.

So what were the highlights?

While many of the sandwich descriptions spark interest, there were only a couple real standouts. But along the same vein, there was only one disappointment (sorry, Cookies & Cream donut cheese).

Flying Pig, their most popular sandwich (Roasted Turkey+Bacon+Pickles+Gouda+Sourdough) was also probably my favorite as well. At that point it's not so much a grilled cheese as a toasted sandwich, but the house-roasted meat had a great flavor that was nicely complimented by the pickles and cheese.

Flying Pig - sample sized
And the one day I picked out my own... Out of all possible crazy concoctions, I ended up with cheddar, mozzarella, roasted chicken, & diced tomatoes. Essentially their standard Tom + Chee sandwich (minus the garlic, which I read in the OWH was potentially a little overpowering) plus chicken. All in all, it was A-OK.

My 'Custom' Creation
If I'm going to pay for something I could make at home, typically I want it to either be crazy good - or just plain crazy.

Just plain crazy means donuts with bacon and cheese or the combinations that make you go... "Hmm". These are things like the Blueberry Blue (Blueberry Compote+Blue Cheese+Lemon Mascarpone+Donut) or the fact that you can add potato chips to any sandwich do some extra crunch - though that can dwindle unless you're a quick eater.

Maybe the craziest thing of all? That they also serve a pretty decent fresh caprese salad.

So while they definitely have the crazy covered at Tom + Chee, I don't know if I can fully say it's "crazy good". Nor can I really get behind the moniker of "gourmet". A far more accurate description is what pops up on Google, "No-frills local chain serving creative takes on grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soups & salad."

All that being said, Tom and Chee is still plenty good. I wouldn't hesitate to visit again (and again).

I just wouldn't let yourself get too excited about it because there's nothing worse than disappointment.

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June 27, 2015

Wow. It's been a while since a new restaurant both lived up to and surpassed my expectations. I knew when the pictures from Market House started to flood my social media feeds, I had to get there ASAP. Lucky for me, I ended up visiting on only their fourth day of lunch service. And, though out initial interactions with our server  (and trainee) were a bit on the awkward side, the kitchen was clearly firing on all cylinders right out of the gate. 

Only four weeks in and they're already banging out the hits!

Enough time has passed that I'm finally able to call the restaurant by its proper name (as opposed to Market Basket), though the charge on my credit card strangely still read as Vivace. Hmm.

The menu is relatively brief (in an appreciable way), and changes from lunch to dinner - the two meals I've so far enjoyed here. Maybe Brunch will be next?

I was happy to see on my recent dinner visit, another couple with a baby (my new permanent dining companion). It was an unwelcome sight that at least two tables lit up cigarettes as the evening wore on... even though there were no ashtrays. If we hadn't been finished with our meal, this would have been a huge deterrent for me. I contacted Market House after the fact to try and figure out if patio smoking is 'allowed' per restaurant policy or if this was a rogue occurrence and was told the policy is "no smoking anywhere inside the gated area" that "changes and safeguards will be made" and that it won't happen again. A very prompt and thoroughly appreciated response.

Back to the menu, it's New American, changes a bit from lunch to dinner, and is organized into categories for Snacks, Spreads, Shared Sides, Small Plates & Large Plates.

And even though it's abbreviated, the menu is robust enough to offer enough options that you'll likely have trouble deciding (I know I did).

For my first visit, luckily, our server convinced me it wouldn't be TOO excessive to order 2 small plates for myself.

Coddled Egg Spread
We started with the Coddled Egg, one of five Spread options, all served with grilled peasant bread. I feel the more grilled bread I can eat, the better. And this was no exception. A nice char on the bread went a long way to compliment what was already a delicious start to the meal.

Next came the plates... all of which was impeccable. The Market Salad with butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, radish, shallot, gorgonzola, & avocado, was wonderfully fresh and flavorful. Impressive by any standard - not just "for a salad".

Speaking of impressive, my two small plates were both that, and kind-of salad-esque. Light on the quantity, but heavy on flavor (and with the pork belly... very filling).

Belly and Melon
Let's start with the Belly and Melon.

Oh so perfectly crispy pork belly, compressed watermelon and honeydew, pickled vegetables and watercress with a very subtle sherry vinaigrette.


It was probably one of the most perfect plates I've enjoyed recently.

The other small plate I savored solo was Roasted Beets with grapefruit and orange, arugula, burrata (mozzarella and cream) and marconoa almonds. This came in a close second favorite, but was no less enjoyable.

Roasted Beets
My second visit was for dinner, and was even more delightful. Food was just as impeccable as the first time and the service was nothing short of superb (while retaining a fun, casual flair).

This time we started with the Sunday Gravy Spread (which uses the same flavors as the Pappardelle pasta large plate)... smoked pork sugo, house-whipped ricotta. Spectacular!

Sunday Gravy Spread
Creamed Kale
Our other starter was Beet Fries with fermented chili aioli. Let me say that I am so glad that beets are en vogue right now, because this interpretation was one of the best I've ever had! So crispy, so soft, so perfectly beety... We also ordered up the Creamed Kale. Pretty simple, with parmesan cream an panko, but again, pretty perfect.

Our other plates, Prawns a la Plancha and Short Rib, were equally worthy of wow. And the carrot puree that came with the short rib... sublime. 

I do wonder about dessert, the only area of the menu I haven't started to explore yet... during lunch I was too full, and at dinnertime we paced the meal such that I was satisfied and didn't want to push my limits. Another quest for another time. And there will be many more times.

Beet Fries
Short Ribs w. Carrot Puree
Prawns a la Plancha

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February 14, 2015

Still haven't gotten around to writing that Portland food post yet, but I might as well write about NOLA while it's on my mind (i.e. I'm writing Yelp reviews). Warning, this is a very long post... as we did a lot of eating on this trip.

This trip was mostly conference and a bit of leisure. Either way, I wasn't really flying solo and free-wheeling around on my own whims. Still, we hit a lot of places on my bookmark list.

Ultimately, I have to say that in a city that's continuously touted as a foodie mecca... it wasn't one of my favorite places. Yes there are other facets that contributed to that opinion (continuous daily garbage collection, many, many drunken people with me being pregnant and sober, the Saints handily beating the Packers on Sunday night...)

So it's not high on my list of repeat visit destinations for those reasons, but surprisingly also because the food didn't leave me with a lingering wow factor.

Of course it was good, don't get me wrong. There were some very, very, good eats. And now that I look back 3 months later, there were some clear highlights. But those alone aren't likely enough to draw me back anytime soon.

Here we go.

Root Down DIA

The trip started off with an early morning layover in Denver DIA. This was not a problem since it was also a long layover that allowed me time to have a leisurely breakfast at Root Down.

This meant: grapefruit juice, chilled water, yogurt parfait and a toasted croissant. Parfait included Yogurt, Quinoa, Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam & Cornflake Granola. Delicious.

Parfait to start the day!


The next thing worth mentioning may also have been my favorite item of the whole trip. And it wasn't really anything that fits the mold of 'classic creole / cajun food'. Are you ready???

Yellowfin Tuna Cone
Three words... Yellowfin Tuna Cone.

Yes, tiny ice cream cones with fish in them were a highlight of my food adventures in New Orleans. Even worth amending to my 'favorite food items of all time' list.

This was at SoBou, located south of Bourbon Street (get it?) and attached to the W Hotel. Little did I know at the time that the delicious mocktails [boo] and Sazeracs being cranked out by the lovely woman behind the bar were being slung by a future 'NOLA bartender of the year' for 2014, Abigail Gullo. Though it was immediately obvious that everyone behind the bar really knew their stuff and took pride in their work.

HH here was truly Happier Hour as it became obvious pretty quickly that New Orleans is probably the second worst place to be sober in. [The first being Las Vegas, because there the drinks there are free]. Here in New Orleans, it's $0.25 martinis at lunchtime... Hey, the pink elephant is their mascot at SoBou for good reason.

And the food was fantastic. And while I wanted to try everything, we settled for the tuna cones, pork belly steam buns (confit pork belly, pickled Napa cabbage, shaved red onions and roasted pumpkin BBQ sauce) and sweet potato beignets (foie gras fondue, duck debris & chicory coffee ganache).
Pork Belly Steam Bun
Sweet Potato Beignets
If I were the kind of person to say things like OMG, this would be the moment.

It was hard not to go back to Sobou immediately at first opportunity, but this was my first day in town and there was so much more to explore I just couldn't justify it. Next time I'm in NOLA, however, this place will be high on my priority list.

Smiling through Sobriety


My next noteworthy food exposition was lunch at Carmo. Another place that doesn't really scream traditional New Orleans, as it's a vegan-friendly tropical cafe.

Carmo's focus is on healthy and affordable dishes in a warm, friendly and casual atmosphere. I'd say they nailed it. Sitting in the bright space during a busy lunch with the doors open and fans swinging overhead, it was easy to feel more on vacation than on break from conference proceedings.

Reading through the reviews, my order was easy. The Rico and freshly squeezed-in-house fruit juice.

Fruit Juice
The Rico
Rico: A breadless fork sandwich made of a grilled plantain patty topped with melted cheese, spicy smoked 'n' pulled pork, avocado, salsa fresca and tangy sweet spicy "Rico" sauce. Served with organic greens drizzled with mango vinaigrette. Such an incredible cacophony of flavor this rather large plate was made short work of.

This did not disappoint either. Could easily be my second-favorite thing of the trip... and it was only day two.

Peche Seafood Grill

Lunch at Peche, then later that night... dessert at Peche.

Only wish I could have had a full dinner here too, I'm sure it'd be above and beyond.

We happened across Peche via a pedicab ride to Carmo. It too was not on my bookmark list, but this just goes to show that some places have so many amazing restaurants that they can oftentimes get lost in the shuffle. Also, it proves that you can't really go wrong sometimes.

If I can 'accidentally' end up at a restaurant that recently won two James Beard Foundation Awards (best new restaurant & best chef: south), then I'm probably doing something right - even if that is just taking other people's opinions into consideration from time to time.

So, Peche was actually great enough to warrant two visits as well, though it was 'only' for lunch and desserts.

Lunch  started with curried shrimp and pumpkin soup and ended with Drum. The soup was a heavenly bisque and the fish was served with a savory, bright ginger and tomato sauce. Completing the plate were fried rice clusters. The whole meal was simply amazing.

Dessert was a very difficult decision, with all options looking equally taste-bud-pleasing. And, how thoughtful, the dessert menu includes a suggested aperitif with each item. [Which, once again, I'm missing out on]. The Salted Caramel Cake with buttercream erased all other woes though. And, Will Ferrell was having dinner at the next table, which was pretty neat too.

Peche menus
Curried Shrimp and Pumpkin Soup
The Drum
Salted Caramel Cake


I ran into the unique challenge of trying to make dinner reservations, the day of, on a Thursday night around downtown NOLA for a group of 6 people... or 8 people... or 10. Never-mind, 8.

Or 10, with the final diners arriving towards the end of the meal, eating leftovers and pulling up chairs.

All in all it ended up being a 2-hour meal, and also a little bit of a disappointment.

It seemed too good to be true that Capdeville was both available for a large group last minute, and within walking distance. Being a large-ish group, we sampled our way through many of the appetizers, including Duck and Strawberry Wontons, Crab Dip and two kinds of Poutine.

While the Duck / Strawberry Wontons were unique, my favorite was the Fried Red Beans and Rice. The green onion aioli and reduced hot sauce drizzles really made the dish. Poutine was a bit of a let down. While, yes they were french fries so they got eaten, the toppers didn't really have the flavor enhancement you usually want with poutine.

I moved on to the Tomato Fennel Soup with basil pistou sauce (think pesto, but without the pine nuts). Flavor on the soup was nice, but seemed to remind me more of a sauce than something I wanted to eat a whole bowl of. The pistou / olive oil also didn't really mix in. Good for presentation, not for my preference of texture.

But my entree surprised me most - and unfortunately not in the good way. I selected the Satsuma Salad with Chicken. In theory, sounded amazing... though some of the ingredients were google-worthy: lola rosa (red lettuce), goat cheese, pecans, shallots, satsumas (citrus fruit), fig & port vinaigrette. As you can see in the picture, the lettuce was copious, dark, and rough like kale. The grainy texture made me wonder if it could've stood to be double-washed (a hazard of dark-colored lettuce, I guess).

Goat cheese crumbles and satsuma were both pretty sparse, and the chicken was overcooked and a bit dry. Not really how I wanted to end the meal. (So we went to Peche for dessert - see above). Here's hoping the other dishes are much better.

Duck and Strawberry Wontons
Truffle Parmesan Poutine
Chorizo and Manchego Poutine
Crap Dip and Chip
Fried Red Beans & Rice
Tomato Fennel Soup
Satsuma Salad


I wanted to try Cochon Butcher for lunch, and tried several times during my visit. Unfortunately everyone else in the city - or least the near vicinity - seemed to have the same idea. By the time I got near enough to see the line, I had already thought better of it.

So on the third day we 'settled' for an early Friday lunch at Cochon. Showing up right as they opened at 11am allowed us to be one of the first tables seated, though the place quickly filled up. Our small outdoor table on a temperate day made for a good casual lunch.

Our server wasn't the most enthusiastic, but hey we all have those days. She was still pleasant, but I think wasn't in the mood to explain menu items to some of our more 'inexperienced' diners. Maybe the fact that I was also geeking out over the plethora of pork made everyone else's attitude seem more subdued also. Who knows. But it was Friday, I was at Cochon with nowhere to be, and a world of pork at my fingertips, ripe for ordering.

At the risk of starting to sound like an alcoholic in the desert, once again I bemoaned the fact that I wasn't drinking as I perused the cocktail, beer and cider list before settling for an arnold palmer.

Food-wise, it was clearly unique. To satisfy my pig craving, we started with the boucherie plate. If you're not familiar with the term - as I wasn't - it's a cajun term often applied to a communal butchering. As far as it applies to the plate though, think charcuterie.

Beautifully executed bits of rillette, pate, cured meats and terrine with ground mustard, toasts, house pickled vegetables (including beets!) Good to share a few starting bites, or to make a meal out of for one.

For my entree, I selected the Oyster & Bacon Sandwich. Fried oysters, house-made bacon, toasted bread and mayo. Obviously it was divine. I'd revisit Cochon without hesitation.

Boucherie Plate
Oyster and Bacon Sandwich

Cafe' Dauphine

A quick stop at Cafe' Dauphine, one of the few restaurant options in the Ninth Ward, allowed us to sample one of their signature dishes... Lizardi Rolls (like an egg roll, NOLA style with shellfish and cabbage). Worth a stop if you're in the area.
Lizardi Rolls

Mr. B's Bistro

When you're on vacation, typically there's one night where you have "The Dinner". In my world it's typically planned to be a Friday or Saturday night, at a highly rated restaurant (the selection of which was agonized over many weeks ahead of time). There are always reservations involved, and expectations are high.

Heaping all that pressure on Mr. B's Bistro seemed unfair as we were almost late to our own dinner (they won't seat you until the whole party is available, no matter how bad the parking is or if you accidentally turn down Bourbon street on Friday evening). And my hopes were swayed a bit as we approached the restaurant and were greeted by a vomiting man outside the front door.

But in New Orleans, you don't know if that's food poisoning or just good old-fashioned alcohol excess. So in we went to join the others.

Initial excitement behind us, we were seated in the 'low ceiling' area of the restaurant. Be mindful, individuals of above-average height, that you may want to request a table in the taller space... or just be careful when you stand up.

Standing won't be a concern for several hours at least though, since the pace of dinner at Mr. B's is more on the formal side. As indicated by the old school menu, the name of the restaurant on the plates, and the fact that they will provide and tie a bib for you if you order something that requires hands-on eating. Though I'd describe the overall vibe as casual fine dining.

The Menu
Starters were the Duck Springrolls (duck confit, shiitake mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese; served with ginger-soy dipping sauce) and Garlic Truffle Fries (topped with pecorino romano cheese and porcini oil). And while fries aren't something I routinely order at every restaurant, one of my traveling compats is a fan, and these were probably the best iteration we had in town. And the duck springrolls... no chance those weren't going to be tasty.

Next up, I moved on with the Soups 1-1-1, a sampling of the Gumbo Ya Ya, Seafood Gumbo, and Soup du Jour. The portions were a nice way to experience three more delicious menu items and even ended up being enough to share a bit also... I had a whole meal coming up after all. 
Duck Springrolls
Garlic Truffle Fries

That meal being... Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp & Grits. Not just any bacon, mind you, but pecan smoked bacon. And not just any shrimp was this bacon wrapping, but jumbo gulf shrimp. These savory meat bundles were presented on a bed of creamy stone-ground yellow grits with red-eye gravy (made from pan drippings of sausage, ham, bacon or other pork). Mmmmm, This was what I'd call a quintessential creole dish.

Another must-try was Mr. B's signature Barbequed Shrimp entree. This is one they'll bring with a bib, so get ready to liberate those tasty shrimp from their shells and sop up the accompanying peppery butter sauce with plenty of French bread. Then you can die happy. 

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp & Grits
Mr. B's BBQ Shrimp
Suddenly, an hour and a half later, it was time for dessert!

Another very difficult decision, as every good dessert menu in this city had been so far. I decided on Bread Pudding... "A Brennan family recipe rich in eggs, cream, and butter, served warm with Irish whiskey sauce" and an espresso on the side. Both were a simply perfect end to an epic meal.

Dessert Menu
Bread Pudding

Surrey’s CafĂ© & Juice Bar

Our Air BnB host - and Yelp - both highly recommended Surrey's. And they were both right on.

I was needing something a bit on the lighter side to set down a base for the day, and had the Granola w/ Fresh Fruit, Yogurt and Milk. It was perfect on many levels. Add some fresh-squeezed juice and strong coffee and you have a winner.

If I lived in town this would be on regular rotation as the atmosphere, staff, service, and obviously food, were all spot on.

Granola with Yogurt and Fruit


Can't visit NOLA without trying Boudin Balls. At Tracey's they know what they're doing when it comes to bar food and we weren't disappointed. Be careful if you're hungry, they come out hot! Order at the window and get ready to enjoy. 
Boudin Balls

New Orleans Culinary History Tours

Now, as obsessed with food as I am, this was my first ever food tour.

It was a decent way to spend an afternoon, but personally I'm more accustomed to organizing my own food-related excursions.

We had some "know it all" type people in the group that made the experience a little less than enjoyable for the others (not to mention being pregnant I wasn't drinking, so there's another potential source of annoyance).

Still, I could see this being a very enjoyable experience for some. But if you're inclined to explore on your own you can probably skip it. The food overall was pretty average, and the information shared was good but a little redundant for my taste.

It felt a little like we were 'in the way' at many locations, instead of being treated as guests. And only one of our 6 stops did a restaurant owner / manager acknowledge our group's presence (aside from the gift shop we ended at, that is).

We did hit up some places worthy of note, but I found myself wishing I could spend a bit more time, taste a bit more, and be acknowledged as a customer for the full experience at several stops.

Here's the rundown of our samples:
Gumbo at Antoine's
Shrimp Remoulade at Remoulade (the 'Casual Side' of Arnaud's)
Portraits in the main dining room at Arnaud's
Beef Brisket with horseradish sauce at Tujague's
Gelato at La Divina Gelateria 
Muffaletta at La Divina Gelateria 
Creole Delicacies Cooking Demo
Red Beans & Rice at Creole Delicacies

Cafe du Monde

Like Voodoo Donuts in Portland, this is high on the radar of anyone paying attending to the 'must try' tourist-food spots in town. Unlike the original VD location however, I actually ended up here.

And when you find yourself at Cafe du Monde, whether it's the result of waiting in line forever, or waking up before the sun while the street cleaning crews are still hard at work (my preferred method to avoid the crowd), what you order is this: Cafe Au Lait & Beignets.

From here, what can I say that hasn't already been said in the 5,000+ previous reviews?

It is what it is. Fried dough with a pile of powdered sugar and coffee with chicory and steamed milk. Also, be ready for potential crowds and sticky surfaces.

I'm glad I went, but you'll have to decide for yourself if that's worth waiting in line or waking up early for.
Early morning interior
Cafe au Lait