Red Fish Grill -New Orleans

What a wonderful time to be exploring this vast country!  I have three months left of work before I get ready to move to Boston.  I decided I needed something to get me through these last few months, so I planned myself an epic getaway.

Over the next week or so, you can expect to hear all about the amazing food I eat while I travel through New Orleans and Lafayette, LA and then Boston and New York.  All of these places are ones I have never even been to before or have only seen minimally.  Needless to say, my mind and stomach were ready for this adventure.

The first stop of my multi-state tour was to New Orleans, LA.  My aunt lived in Lafayette, LA for my entire life until I was in college, and I had never been down to visit.  She and my uncle recently moved back, so I took this opportunity to come visit them and see Louisiana.

I got on a plane to New Orleans yesterday fully ready for some Cajun food.  I am a little sad that I won’t be able to enjoy all the wonderful seafood New Orleans has to offer because of my shrimp allergy, but I will still be getting the full cajun experience.

I was starving when I got off the plane after a few delays.  The flight extended into when I normally would have eaten lunch, especially with the time change.  We headed straight to the French Quarter where a festival was happening.  Before we could explore, I needed some food and a cold glass of water.  I was dehydrated from a long morning of travel, and it was hot and humid.   I was feeling gross and sweaty already.  I was already over New Orleans before I even had a chance to see it.

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We popped into a restaurant at the beginning of Bourbon St: Red Fish Grill.  It was a huge restaurant with a cool aesthetic.  I was mostly looking forward to an air conditioned place to sit down and get some water, but I was also very hungry.

Our waiter could not have been more New Orleans down to his accent.  I had a slight difficulty understanding him, but he was lively and so passionate about his work.  He was so knowledgeable about Cajun food and the restaurant’s menu.  Even though I had been looking over the menu, his overview of it made me decide what to get.  I wanted to try the best of what Cajun food has to offer, and I must say I got a great introduction.

My dad said I should try some alligator when I was here if I could.  I was interested in getting this alligator and seafood gumbo at Red Fish.  The problem was that it had shrimp in it, and I really wasn’t interested in a super hot dish.

Instead, we ordered an appetizer of alligator boudin balls at our waiter’s recommendation.  Boudin is a sausage-like meat product made with meat, rice, onions, green peppers, and seasoning.  It is a Louisiana specialty.  This restaurant adds alligator meat to the boudin mix, rolls them into balls, and then breads and fries them.  These boudin balls are served over a mustard sauce and topped with a strawberry pepper jelly.

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I fell in love with this dish.   The filling was so delicious with beautiful flavors.  Cajun seasoning truly is in a league of its own.  This was a nice treat while I sipped on cold water and a cranberry mint lemonade.

Then, I learned about BBQ oysters, and how that is another popular food in New Orleans.  In DC, raw oysters bars are very popular, so I had never heard of eating fried oysters with BBQ sauce.  Since that seemed to be a very New Orleans thing, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and get a BBQ oyster po-boy with a side of Creole potato salad.

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Let me just say, this sandwich was the bomb.  It put all the other po-boys I have ever had to shame starting with that perfect crusty French bread.  Bread really makes a sandwich, and no other po-boy I’ve eaten had bread nearly as good as this.

The other components of the sandwich were also delicious.  The oysters were well-fried, and I enjoyed the varying textures in this sandwich.  The BBQ sauce was tangy with hint of spice.  I could absolutely tell there was Tabasco sauce in it, which was a pleasant surprise.  I don’t think hot sauce when I think of BBQ sauce, but Tabasco is a Louisiana product after all.  I could eat this sandwich 100 times, and I still won’t get tired of it.

After lunch, we tried exploring the French Quarter Festival. I felt better after some food and water.  I needed that re-fueling.  I was still rather tired from traveling.

If I am being honest, I was not overly impressed with the French Quarter.  It was hot and full of drunk people.  I think I would have enjoyed it more had it not been a festival day.  If it had been a more quiet day, I think I would have enjoyed walking around and seeing some of the shops.

Bourbon St. is mostly just a row of daiquiri shops and bars.  The other streets around it have much nicer shops and restaurants.  I was hot and exhausted from a long day of travel.  I was over the whole New Orleans experience before it even began.  I don’t regret going into the French Quarter though, because I got an amazing Cajun meal.  The food is what I care about when I travel.  I make plans to eat and then find things to do in between meals.  So, yesterday I started my trip with a good meal and felt satisfied already with my New Orleans experience.

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