NOLA Food: From Cajun to Creole

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Lola DiMarco heads to NOLA to explore the best eats

BarreFest is one of the best food experiences in NOLA.

In my pre-trip planning i asked some New Orleanean friends about food recommendations. Bottom line – there is so much great food in NOLA – it should be called ‘The Big Easy’ because your belly is going to get BIG if you don’t take it EASY!

Old Classics that Didn’t Disappoint
I did make it to Cafe du Monde for a cafe latte and beinet AND to Napoleon House for the muffaletta and Pimms cup out on the patio. While these food-stops may not be original they should be essential on anyone’s food list for a definitive New Orleans experience.

in addition i had the occasional counter food – po'boys, gumbo, daiquiri hurricanes and spicy Bloody Mary’s (which are all MUSTS for any visit to NOLA).

Great New Gastronomy
i discovered a couple of wonderful newer places – Sylvain and Le Foret. both have an old-school New Orleans feel with terrific ambience.

Sylvain is a local favorite in the French Quarter (locals sent us there!) serving fresh gastropub fare with a modern twist – delicious! and while I enjoyed the food and cocktails (try their homemade cola with dark rum!!) very much – the atmosphere is really awesome and authentic. It’s housed in a renovated carriage house with historic original doors, ceilings, walls and balconies. the tree-covered courtyard feels like a timeless New Orleans experience. GO! read these articles on sylvain at nola.com and time.com

Le Foret was named “best new restaurant of the year” by New Orleans Magazine and has a menu featuring strong French technique and seasonal flavors. Housed in a newly renovated historic building – Le Foret makes you feel relaxed in a truly indulgent setting. LOVED the food & the service! more on Le Foret at myneworleans.com.

House Party
BUT bar-none the BEST food experience was at BarreFest – a party that some local friendly folk invited us to. Post-jazz fest we wandered over to BarreFest and were greeted with a feast of ribs, crawfish and rum punch. Our new friends even offered lessons in proper deshelling of the crawfish – how’s that for southern hospitality?! SORRY – there is no formal website or press as of yet for “BarreFest”. you can’t make reservations…you just have to be in-the-know!

TRIP TIP – portions are large at a lot of the counter places – you should plan to share if you want to partake in as much food sampling as possible!

Where in the world is Lola? Find out at Lola Travels.