We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
It’s not 100% clear where exactly in Louisiana that gumbo originated, but it’s always near the top of any tourists food bucket list when they visit the Crescent City. Whether you prefer chicken and sausage or seafood, there are endless options for good gumbo in the city.
2. Crawfish Étouffée
Although you’ll find crawfish étouffée on just about every menu in the city, this iconic dish actually was introduced to restaurants over in Breaux Bridge in the 1950s, though many believe the dish was invented as early at the 1920s.
As the legend goes, a waiter at Galatoire’s brought the dish to his boss to try in the early 1980s, and it was a huge hit. It didn’t take long for word to spread, and this iconic dish started popping up on menus across New Orleans.
Traditionally, there are two types of jambalaya: Cajun and Creole. Creole jambalaya originated in the French Quarterly the Spanish in an attempt to make paella. Because saffron wasn’t available, they substituted tomatoes. Cajun jambalaya, on the other hand, originated in swamp country where crawfish, shrimp, turtles, etc were readily available.
4. Red Beans and Rice
New Orleans can’t take credit for the invention of this dish, but we sure can say that we do it better than most. Mondays are the traditional day to feast on this hearty dish, and it’s not uncommon for restaurants to feature this popular item as a daily special on Mondays.
This beast of a sandwich was created in 1906 at historic Central Grocery over on Decatur Street. You’ll typically find a long line of hungry patrons waiting to get their muff, and it’s definitely worth the wait to sink your teeth into one of these Italian sandwiches.
While New Orleans may not have invented these sugary treats, we certainly put them on the map. For the full experience, you have to head on over to Cafe du Monde and wash it down with one of their coffees with chicory.
Sandwiches certainly aren’t anything for New Orleans to brag about, but it just feels wrong to call a po’boy a sandwich (or a hoagie, grinder, sub, etc). While there are many versions of how the po’boy got its start here in New Orleans, one thing is for sure: the best po’boys use the most napkins.
8. Bananas Foster
After the Civil War, New Orleans became a huge hub for banana imports from Central and South America. Seeing an opportunity, Owen Brennen challenged his chef, Paul Blange, to create a dish that featured bananas, and that’s the origin story of the legendary Bananas Foster. Brennan’s still serves this iconic dessert, and it’s the most-ordered item on their menu.
9. Oysters Rockefeller
It’s been duplicated numerous times, but the original Oysters Rockefeller was invented at the historic Antoine’s Restaurant by the founder’s son, Jules Alciatore in the late 1890’s. Jules invented the dish due to a shortage of escargot in the city, substituting the readily available oysters. The iconic dish was named after John D. Rockefeller due to the richness of the sauce (Rockefeller at the time was the wealthiest man in America). The recipe remains the same all these years later, and is a closely guarded secret.
10. King Cakes
Tis the season! King Cakes have been a staple for Mardi Gras for ages, and it’s simply not Mardi Gras until you have a slice. During carnival season, it’s almost impossible to escape this tasty treat, as they tend to pop up in your office, every social gathering, and even your own kitchen. King cakes weren’t exactly invented in New Orleans, but the version we see today has certainly earned its spot in the foundation of New Orleans dishes.
11. Charbroiled Oysters
When you want charbroiled oysters, there’s no one that comes close to Drago’s. In 1993, Tommy Cvitanovich decided to experiment with a sauce consisting of garlic, butter and herbs. He brushed the sauce onto the oysters and then gave them a light dusting of Parmesan and Romano cheese and then cooked them in their shell over a hot grill. They were an instant hit, and have since become the most popular item on the menu. On a busy day, it’s not uncommon for more than 900 dozen charbroiled oysters to be served to hungry customers.
12. BBQ Shrimp
Back in the 1950s, Jake Radosta created this dish after a family friend has asked him to duplicate a similar dish he had eaten in Chicago. Jake put his own New Orleans spin on the dish, and the rest as they say, is history. The BBQ shrimp dish immediately was a hit and has remained on the menu ever since.
13. Eggs Sardou
Eggs Sardou was first created over at Antoine’s restaurant, and it’s been a New Orleans brunch staple ever since. Fun fact: eggs sardou is named for Victorian Sardou, a famous French dramatist in the 1800s, who was visiting New Orleans when the dish was created.
What’s your favorite New Orleans dish, and where do you get it from? Shout it out in the comments below!