Last week was our first time to NOLA. The two food highlights were dinner at Bayona, and cooking class thru New Orleans Cooking Experience with Chef Frank Brigsten followed by eating the meal he cooked. Both were extremely memorable.
If they're ever on the menu when you go to Bayona's, I highly recommend the artichoke soup, the fried rabbit liver with savory bread pudding and figs, and the broccoli flan with lemon ricotta crostini. All 3 were appetizers, I didn't have an entrée. I was actually full after just the soup and liver (the latter could have been an entrée, honestly, and I am not one of those small eater types), so despite how good it was could not finish the broccoli flan. DH had the pork dish off the regular menu and raved about that as well. He's not here this moment to remind me what he had as appetizer.
With Chef Frank, all was delicious, from the oyster soup with bacon and fennel, to the roasted duck with tart cherry sauce, the dirty rice, and sweet potato bread pudding. Oh my. We haven't been to his restaurant since haven't been to NOLA before, but we will certainly be going when we return.
We'd started our trip with a 10th anniversary Sunday brunch at Commander's Palace. The service was over the top wonderful, making it a very special occasion, and I remember very much enjoying the food too but have to admit that I didn't write it down and am no longer remembering what I had, while I remember every bite of Bayona's and Chef Frank's. I guess that says something, not to knock the food at CP at all, since again I know we both very much enjoyed, but just wasn't memorable in the same way. Of course, it was brunch and not dinner, so that's probably part of the reason.
We also enjoyed the oft recommended muffaletta at Central Grocery, and beignets not just at Café du Monde but also at Café Beignet and at Morning Call. At Morning Call, where we had lunch, we were surprised and delighted to also very much enjoy our savory food, dh had the jambalaya and I had my first ever crawfish etoufee. Mmm.
Loved the Vietnamese coffee at Magazin; we'd stopped there for a walking break when we were walking up and down Magazine St., but unfortunately when we went back for food, they were closed.
And having sampled pralines from three places (oy), our favorites were from Southern Candymaker, the sweet potato, rum, and peanut butter ones.
Btw, if anyone's interested in doing the cooking class thru NOCE, it's very expensive but I highly recommend it as a splurge that's worth it if you can swing it. Well, I can't speak to the classes with the other chefs. But Chef Frank was more than happy to answer as many questions as we wanted to throw at him, as well as share memories, stories, NOLA culture tidbits, etc. A memorable evening for more than just the food.
Other places we went were more middle of the road, I actually don't think we had any bad food the whole week, tho' there were places we might not return, as there are so many others to be tried.
Since this is chowhound I'm of course food focused here, but can't wait to return both for food and the music, oh those jazz clubs, so wonderful! Thanks to those in other threads who helped us make our choices.