Jasmine and Oysters and Beignets

I am completely crazy about New Orleans. We were there this past week and I’ve never not wanted to get on a plane home quite so much in my life.

sunrise, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

The city is so magical, with walls of flowering jasmine, palm trees and ferns. Music explodes out of every crack in the sidewalk Рwalking down the street on a steamy Monday afternoon, I found a girl sitting in the middle of the street playing the bowed saw and singing beautiful blues songs.  Around another corner was a twenty piece brass band and children dancing in the street. I am in love!

The food, of course, is ridiculously good. We went to Mother’s, a restaurant that has been open since 1938. (Would you believe that the first day that we were back in California, there was a special about Mother’s on tv? The universe was sending a message…) Their oyster po’boy was insane, heaped with fried oysters, cabbage, and pickles, and perfect with a liberal dose of their hot pepper vinegar.

I had oysters on the half shell for breakfast and tried alligator for the first time (it was amazing!).

We went to Cafe du Monde for beignets, which is apparently A Thing That Everyone Must Do.

Normally I avoid Things That Everyone Must Do; Cafe du Monde is most certainly very crowded, and there is a line to get in pretty much all day, every day. Customers seat themselves though, so keep your eyes peeled for open tables and grab one when you see it (don’t just stand there for fifteen minutes wondering where the hostess is).

Beignets are like the most elevated piece of fried dough you will ever eat. They are perfectly fluffy and warm, and the absurd amount of powdered sugar that they are served with kind of melts into the beignet as you eat it. We ordered cafe au laits and fresh squeezed orange juice and listened to a trumpet player that was right outside of the dining area on the street. It was dark and cool in the restaurant, making it the perfect powdered-sugar-fried-donut-hideway from the humidity outside. Simply put, New Orleans is a city unlike any other. I will definitely be going back. I am still dreaming of jasmine and beignets.

And congratulations again to J. and B., our friends who got married there, the whole reason for the trip!

For more pictures, go to the grow it cook it can it facebook page.

P.S. That girl playing the bowed saw was in a band called The Jaded Optimists. They were pretty awesome and you can find their facebook page here.