The Menu

INTRODUCTION

Gumbo

Probably no dish is more evocative of Louisiana in general, and New Orleans in particular, than gumbo. To the point that the dish is usually used as an allegory for the population makeup of the city. There are as many gumbo recipes as there are residents of Louisiana, but in essence the dish is a all-in-one-pot stew ladled over rice. The basis of said stew is a roux, file powder (dried, pounded sassafras leaves) and okra, all of which are thickeners that give gumbo its characteristic gooey-ness. Other ingredients vary by region; in New Orleans and coastal Louisiana seafood tends to dominate, while rabbit, sausage and other meats pop up in Cajun country.

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Jambalaya

An all-in-the-pot sort of dish that consists of the holy trinity (onions, celery bell pepper) as a base, cooked with…well, anything, but usually ham, seafood and chicken. The entire mix is sauteed with rice, which absorbs all of the above flavors; the end result is amazingness.

Etoufee

Another Cajun dish that is a little unfairly associated with New Orleans, as opposed to its actual place of origin in Acadiana. A thick stew (so thick we hesitate to call it a stew) that uses shellfish as a main ingredient – most commonly crawfish. The saucy, rich stew is served over rice, to the point that it appears to smother it, which makes sense as the name of the dish comes from the French word ‘etouffer’ (to smother).

Po’boy

Most outsiders’ first question about the quintessential New Orleans sandwich (which can be found across much of the Gulf South) is: what’s the difference between, say, a po’boy, a sub, a hoagie or a grinder? There are a few schools of thought on this, but we believe the answer lays in the bread. Po’boys are made from French bread, but a particular kind of French bread: not quite as crispy as a baguette (which could hurt your mouth if you just bit into a loaf), but not so soft that it falls apart under the weight of often soupy ingredients (i.e. gravy). Leidenheimer’s is the most iconic New Orleans French bread bakery, but they’re definitely not the only game in town. Po’boy filling can be anything, but standards in this town include fried shrimp, fried oysters and roast beef – the last usually cooked in gravy until it is meltingly soft.

What’s in a name? There are many theories. Our favorite: back in 1929, streetcar workers in the city went on strike. Benny and Clovis Martin, former streetcar conductors turned restaurateurs, decided to show their old colleagues solidarity by serving them free sandwiches, which they named for the strikers: ‘poor boys,’ which in Yat has evolved into ‘po’boy.’

When you order a po’boy you’ll be asked if you want it dressed. Nothing to do with nudity; ‘dressed’ in this case means it comes with mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and onions.

Red Beans & Rice

This iconic Creole dish is one of the blue chip, mainline standards of Creole cooking. Originally, red beans and rice were cooked on Mondays with Sunday’s leftovers. Mondays were traditionally labor-intensive washing days, and red beans and rice arose out of a need for a low-maintenance recipe that could be prepared while clothes were scrubbed. Bits of meat from Sunday dinner were tossed in a pot with beans and left to simmer; hours later, you had a cheap, high calorie, tasty meal that could be spooned over rice. Today red beans and rice are served any day of the week, usually with either a smoked or hot sausage or lovely tasso ham.

Tasso

A salted, smoked Cajun pork, tasso is all kinds of tasty. It’s also incredibly rich, and while it can be eaten on its own, it’s most often used as a flavoring agent in red beans, white beans and (less commonly) gumbo; once it stews for awhile the meat mellows out a bit while adding its richness to the rest of the dish.

Beignets

A light dough, deep-fried and doused with powdered sugar. Beignets are found across the Francophone world, but there’s something special about the square New Orleans version. Contrary to popular belief, beignets are not common across the city; they’re pretty localized to Cafe Beignet and Cafe du Monde, both located in the French Quarter, as well as Morning Call, in City Park.

Pain perdu

French toast. The New Orleans variation is pretty true to the original French recipe: sliced baguettes dunked in eggs, cinnamon, sugar and milk, then fried and served with powdered sugar.

Bananas foster

As you might guess, when New Orleans invents a desert, it ends up being a pretty rich desert. Hence: bananas foster, which has its origin in Brennan’s. The dish consists of bananas (natch) cooked with butter and sugar, served under a decadent sauce of banana liqueur, rum, brown sugar, cinnamon and several tons of butter (just kidding, about the tons, but only just). The whole affair is flambeed and served over vanilla ice cream.

Cafe au lait

Coffee mixed with scalded milk (milk heated to just below boiling). In New Orleans, the coffee is often mixed with chicory, a bitter root that was a cheap taste filler that became popular in its own right during the Civil War.

Bread pudding

The New Orleans version of this popular dessert usually consists of stale bread soaked in eggs, milk and sugar, then baked, served warm and doused in a rich sauce that ought to send you to sleep as soon as you pay your check. One of the most popular desserts in the city.

Our Local Publisher Partners

The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

WWNO

WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

WWOZ

WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

PRC

Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

NOMA

As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

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