So, for my birthday I decided to book a trip to New Orleans for my daughter and myself. I would have taken my son, but he didn’t want to go, plus he just started a new job. He did, however, pay for my birthday dinner, and lunch that day was courtesy of my daughter. I’ve been wanting to go to NoLa for a very long time, so finally I made it happen, and I had the time of my life. Before I even took off from La Guardia Airport I already had a couple of reservations in the Big Easy, here are my recommendations for lunch, even though they’re just as amazing for dinner!

Compère Lapin

If you follow my blog, then you are aware of my fondness of Top Chef contestants due to my conviction that all of their food is amazing. Some more, some less, but all of it amazing. I’ve been to 18 of their restaurants, so I can back up my knowledge! Compère Lapin is owned and operated by Nina Compton, a lovely young lady (yes I had the pleasure of meeting her that day) who competed on season 11, and came in second place, which is by no means an easy task. She is originally from St. Lucia and was named a finalist for the James Beard Award for “Best Chef South” in 2017, and was named to the national list of Best New Chefs.

Her restaurant Compère Lapin serves creative Caribbean inspired food that will let you know exactly why she has been awarded so highly. I usually  don’t order appetizers and a main course for lunch, but hey, it was my birthday, and this was after all Top Chef territory. I had the Cold Tuna Tartare with avocado and crispy banana chips, an amazing combination. Sasha had the Marinated Shrimp with roasted jalapeño jus, which was heavenly. Next up I chose the Hot Fire Chicken with pickles. It was quite spicy, and the sweet pickles were a perfect touch to put out the fire in your mouth. Sasha went for Cornmeal Crusted Catfish Sandwich, and I had a couple of bites, umm, hello, amazing….. It was nice and crispy on the outside, light and flaky on the inside. Thank you, Miss Compton, for proving yet again that Top Chef contestants are above the norm.

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 Commander’s Palace

Most foodies that love New Orleans, love the Commander’s Palace. Knee deep in tradition, it has numerous James Beard Awards and other accolades. It has produced a myriad of chefs that have gone on to excel in the culinary world. Besides the obviously impending great food, you are also treated like royalty, the southern hospitality is alive in this beautiful restaurant. The Commander’s Palace has several dining rooms, and being that it was (a day before) my birthday, we ended up in a sort of a celebration room. Getting to the dining room meant you were being led right through the kitchen, which to me is a personal treat. I love to see where  the magic happens. The dining room was charming with balloons on each table, musicians playing for the guests, a second line forming without warning (yes I participated, waving my napkin vigorously).

It was Sunday morning, so they offered the Jazz Brunch, which meant we were going  to have three courses. No objections here. This is what we ordered: Sasha had the Commander’s Creole Gumbo, which was spot on. I decided to give the Turtle Soup a shot, everyone’s been telling me about it. Even though I only had about 5 – 10 spoonfuls, I have to let you know that it is totally delicious! My mind just couldn’t get over the turtle factor. But if you can, do indulge! It’s scrumptious. Our egg courses were Creole Ham and Eggs for me ( Root Beer glazed pork belly with a soft poached egg over jalapeño cornbread toast, accompanied by white bean purée and Creolaise), and for my daughter the Cochon De Lait Eggs Benedict (Barbecued pork shoulder over buttermilk biscuits with poached eggs and housemade Tasso hollandaise). Yes, both were as amazing as they sound, and the presentation of the food was just beautiful. We finished off with Chocolate Coconut Candy bar and a slice of their famous cheesecake. This was an incredible brunch on every level, and we went straight to our hotel room to take a nap to recover from our food coma…

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Deanie’s Seafood

This awesome spot was very close to our hotel, so we ended up having lunch there twice. Their food is very much traditional New Orleans seafood. Deep fried, seasoned to the max, and portions that will shock you. We took full advantage. Over the span of our two lunches we had raw oysters that were possibly the biggest I ever had, and most likely straight from the ocean that day. We also had the Charbroiled Oysters, which were so delicious, we came back there for that particular reason. We had Po-Boys, which are sandwiches on French bread with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise. Our toppings were shrimp and crawfish, and another time shrimp and catfish. Sasha also tried the Flounder stuffed with Crabmeat, and I tried some, it was ridiculously good. Of course I wasn’t going to leave New Orleans without trying the famous Barbecue Shrimp. These you have to peel yourself, so don’t wear your Sunday best! These shrimp were the largest I ever ate, and all in all this was some of the freshest and tastiest seafood I had! What a great spot!

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What an amazing trip my daughter and I had! I’m so grateful that I’m able to indulge in this lifestyle! (Even though I have to hit the gym in a hurry now) Make sure you read next week’s blog, it will have info on dinner in NoLa!

Until next time!