Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Breakfast New Orleans Style

Grits & Debris

Chowing out in NOLA is a favorite pastime for me.  I grew up in the Crescent City.  Here are some of my favorite local breakfast plates and the half-dozen restaurants that make these dishes.  I'll let you Google the restaurants for their location.  By the way, all of these breakfasts in these places that serve really good food.

Coffee in NOLA is generally thick, really thick, but smooth.  Warning though, some places make it so thick that they add salt to take out the bitterness.  If you don't like a slight salty taste to your coffee, go decaf.  


Betsy's Pancake House on Canal Street near Broad Street is a 30-year favorite of local New Orleans residents.  Yes, they make pancakes and lots of them.  Here is a NOLA favorite, shrimp-n-grits.  Betsy puts into the dish a little cheese, a lot of green onions, and a hint of thyme (a creole seasoning favorite).  This dish is meant to be eaten with a spoon, and there is nearly a shrimp in every bite.

French Toast on French Bread:

Unfortunately, in the city that is famous for French bread, not all NOLA restaurants make French toast on French bread.  But Metairie's Corner Cafe does.  And it comes with plenty of powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Those two sausages on the plate would have never made it through the meal, so I called up reinforcements -- a side order of sausage.  Four links work for five slices of French toast.

Crawfish Creole Queen:

Dot's Diners of Jefferson Parish cooks up this decadent dish for breakfast.  Dot has six mom-n-pop style diners throughout Jefferson which is just outside of NOLA.  This crawfish dish is an open-face grilled biscuit covered with two eggs (any style), Dot's own Crawfish Julie sauce, and Swiss cheese.  Talk about good.  Note the hashbrowns are brown, they way they should be, not hash whites or half browns like in the big chain restaurants.

Waffles West End:

Russels was the very first place I blogged several years ago.  It was my Mom's favorite place to go for breakfast.  What makes Waffles West End so good is the fried chicken breasts.  Both the meat and the batter is seasoned.  The trick to that is using low salt seasoning mixes.  That way you can season both without the flavor being too salty.  On the side is a spicy maple sauce.  I used it as a chicken dipping sauce.

Crabcake Benedict:

Crabcake Benedict is a mainstay of most New Orleans breakfast places.  All three of the previously mentioned places have it.  This one comes from the Abita Cafe just 45 minutes from the Greater New Orleans Area.  Just cross the Causeway Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain, get on I-12 East, and then get off and go north on LA59.  These crab cakes are served on grilled biscuits and topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.  Some places have biscuits or English muffin, and some places just the crabcake.  Russels does it with just the crabcake and poached eggs.

Grits & Debris:

Here's a dish that I have found only at two restaurants.  The grits and debris displayed above is from Mother's Po-Boy Restaurant.  The other place is one is the Abita Cafe.  Abita also has biscuits and debris, and that dish is on my bucket list.  Here is a photo of biscuit's and debris that I innovated with extra debris when I was at Mother's.  Mother's has to add this to their menu.

Debris is the left over chuck that has been cooked down the day before for gravy for hot roast beef po-boys.  They serve this succulent leftover the next day on top of either grits or biscuits at Abita and on top of grits at Mother's.

Fried Andouille-Sage Grits:

Russels must have concocted this dish on one hungry morning.  Cooked grits are mixed with sage and crumbled andouille sausage, then made into paddies and deep fried.  The final dish is coated with a béchamel sauce (butter, flour, cream, and whatever).

Grits & Grillades:

This dish comes from a restaurant which has recently re-opened and then closed again -- Louie and the Red Head Lady.  This was their signature dish: sautéed veal served with Chef Louie's special gravy.  My guess is that the gravy comes from what sticks to the bottom of the pan when the veal is sautéed.  See the caramelized onions on top.
When I do it, I season and flour baby veal; then brown the veal in butter.  Afterwards, I put cold water in the hot pan to release the flour and flavor that stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Careful, some pans don't react well to going from hot to cold.    This dish is one of the BEST breakfasts that has ever passed my taste buds.  Grits were meant to be topped with Chef Louie's grillades gravy.

Crawfish Omelet:

Back to Corner Cafe for a crawfish omelet.  Picked upon this dish on the ride out of NOLA on my return trip to Texas.  Cream crawfish sauce on scrambled egg.  Really good.  Next time I'll get them to add cheddar.  Look at that biscuit, nice and crisp, but not burnt ... cooked all the way through.  So far this is my favorite biscuit in NOLA.  NOLA.com had a contest and declared the Corner Cafe's biscuit number three in the city.

Fried Oyster and Bacon Omelet:

Russel's calls this the Big Easy Omelet, and it has fried oysters and bacon!  I didn't know that those two go together so well.  Also complementing the omelet are diced tomatoes, green onions, and cheddar cheese.  All of that is topped with Russel's homemade Remoulade sauce.  Ohh so good!

Bucket List: Crabmeat Omelet.  
Several places offer it.  Will update post on my next trip.


Native or tourist, coffee and beignets are a favorite here in NOLA.   Cafe Du Monde lives up to its name ... it's where the world comes for coffee au lait and fresh beignets in the French Quarter.  Also serving beignets is Morning Call, both in the French Quarter, in City Park, and at Lakeside Shopping Center.  The above photo comes from Morning Call in City Park.

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