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new orleans

Beck’s Cajun Cafe

The lovely gals at Philly Food Lovers invited me to try out the eats at Beck’s Cajun Cafe. Since it’d been way too long since I first and last visited New Orleans, I was definitely hankering for some New Orleans cooking! And we had the pleasure of dining with Bill Beck – chef, owner, and pretty darn good eater! Located in Reading Terminal Market, they serve up New Orleans fare, along with a few surprises.
Gator Gumbo! Yep, that’s right folks, there’s gator sausage in here. And it’s sweet, mild, and smoky, and served over white rice. Wow, just wow!
Here is the muffaletta, a new orleans staple. It is a giant heaping sandwich filled with salami, ham, mortadella, sharp provolone, and olive salad served on Italian bread with tons of sesame seeds. I don’t even like olives but I did not mind the  olive salad on this. It’s like their version of the hoagie, only much bigger!
Here’s the shrimp po boy. Po boys are famously New Orleans and this particular one is served on French bread with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and Creole mayo. And the fried shrimp? They are huge, hot, and yummy! This sandwich is so big it’s really hard to maneuver around it.
Now this is the Train Wreck Po Boy. It is not a Philadelphia sandwich and it is not a New Orleans sandwich, it is just something that Beck thought up. And damn, this sandwich packs a flavor punch. It has andouille sausage, steak, salami, cheese, onion, and creole mayo, so that it’s like a cheesesteak, on steroids. It’s got all the goodness from a regular cheesesteak, but with extra flavorful meat coming from the sausage, salami, and mayo. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this sandwich is. You can bet that I’ll be getting this again, and then going for a run to make up for it!
As if the regular food wasn’t enough, we had to go extra crazy by trying two different desserts. First, it was the hot bread pudding. I love me some bread pudding, so I really enjoyed this
But here’s the piece de resistance. Served only wednesdays and sundays, they have hot beignets! These famously famous french fritters are served super hot out of the fryer and topped with powdered sugar. I had missed these so much since my visit to New Orleans, and it’s pretty damn exciting knowing that I can now get them twice a week. But just remember it’s wednesday and sundays, as last saturday, I was sorely disappointed when I went to Beck’s and realized it was sunday that was magical beignets day, not saturday. These were so amazing, I’m drooling just thinking about them again…
Beck also has his own brand of rubs and spices that you can take home with you, that you can use on pretty much anything that could use a bit of flavor. The food is authentic, tasty, and served up in heaping portions, with love. If you want a taste of New Orleans right here in Philly, stop by and get yourself some Beck’s!

Beck's Cajun Cafe on Urbanspoon

Cochon – New Orleans

Up until this point, my dining experiences in New Orleans hadn’t been all that exciting. We ended up at fairly touristy places with good but not particularly great food. But then it all changed when we went to Cochon. We tried to go here on a Sunday night, but note to visitors, there are many restaurants that are closed on Sundays, including Cochon. It’s not anywhere near Bourbon street, which is a nice plus.The place is pretty big on the inside with a good sized bar. The kitchen is fairly open. I really dug the brick walls and all the pig art. This is a small plate kind of place, but they do have some entrees. And yes, there’s a lot of pig on the menu.
Some complimentary rolls served in a cute little bucket. These are super buttery and I’m sure, terrible for you.
Here we have the fried alligator with chili garlic aioli. Sure, it tastes like chicken, but like delicious and juicy chicken. These wood-fired roasted oysters were some of the best oysters I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever had roasted oysters before. We ended up ordering more because we just had to!This was the deviled crab dip with butter crackers. This was good, but nothing great.Here are the fried boudin with pickled peppers. I’m not sure what these were supposed to taste like so I have no idea if these are good or not.The baked mac and cheese. Ok, this may be the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. I couldn’t get enough.The spicy grilled pork ribs with watermelon pickle. These ribs were indeed spicy, and also sweet and tasty.  Here we have the very attractive braised country style rib with brown rice, pickled mushrooms, and beets. I liked everything about this, except for the pork. It was too porky. Do you know what I mean? But everything else was great.Here’s one of the entrees – the smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad.On to the desserts! The peanut butter cream pie with a big hunk taken out of it. Oh yeah, this was as good as you can imagine.The adorable Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with coconut-lime sorbet and dulce de leche. Yum.Finally, the Caramelized Apple Brioche with rum raisin ice cream. Also yum. We had a pretty big party and they were able to accommodate us with a long table in the front. The multitude of servers all kept our tummies full and our thirsts quenched. I would go back for the gator, oysters, and mac and cheese again and again. This is a must-stop!
Cochon Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Cafe Du Monde

One of the things I was most excited about was visiting Cafe Du Monde for new orleans style coffee and beignets. I hopped on down to the original one to wait in a long ass line.
It doesn’t matter when you go here, it’s going to be busy. There’s table service and also a take-out line. Either way, you’re going to wait. It’s crazy and crowded and the servers run around all over the place.
The beignets come in orders of three and they’re surprisingly large and puffy, yet dense. Oh man, when these come out all hot and greasy, you can’t help but scarf them down. It comes with a shocking heap of powdered sugar on top. The funniest thing is that everyone that’s here gets powdered sugar all over their laps. The servers have it all over their entire bodies, it’s rather hilarious. It’s like a rite of passage, getting powdery white stuff all over you. If I had easy access to this place, I’d surely be 1000 lbs.

Cafe Du Monde on Urbanspoon

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