This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
The Hungry Nomad: 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012

June 21, 2012

Central Grocery- French Quarter (New Orleans, USA)

As the guests poured in to New Orleans for the wedding my tour guide duties grew. On another day in the french quarter after walking around  with over ten family members everyone was hungry. Too hungry to sit in a restaurant and wait. So I suggested Central Grocery for their famous Muffuletta sandwich.

Many cities have their own 'must have' sandwich. While in Philadelphia, you must try the Philly Cheese steak, in Montreal, the Montreal smoked beef in Paris perhaps the Jambon-beurre (or the falafels in the Marais one could argue) and in New Orleans, the Muffuleta. Central Grocery is home of the first Muffuleta. In fact, this is the very place that the first Muffuleta was created. Many other shops would soon follow the trend and make their own version of the Muffuleta. Now many New Orleans restaurants carry it as a staple on their menu.

What is a Muffeleta you ask? It is a sandwich consisting of Sicilian sesame bread stuffed with layers of Genoa Salami, Ham, Pepperoni, Provolone, emmentaler and mortadella cheese followed by a big scoop of the special olive salad. 

Once you enter the shop you may think that you have entered the wrong place. It is in most part an old Italian deli serving Muffuleta's at the counter. To get your hands on one of these New Orlean's wonders, you must form a line on the left side of the stand.

Once at the counter, you have very limited options: you can either get a whole Muffuleta for $14.50 or half a Muffuleta for $7.50. The sandwiches are all premade and sitting behind the counter. Once you order and pay you take your sandwich to the back of the deli where there are counter top seatings and a vending machine to buy a drink.

For a family of ten- 3 full muffuletas were more than enough. In fact we had left overs which we savoured for later.  

The family all enjoyed the sandwich which was not only filling but cheap. I myself am not a big fan of the Muffuleta. I find it to be too oily and the olive dressing too salty. I can taste the oil with every bite. I have also tried the Muffuleta at other places in the New Orleans area and found it to be similar in taste and generally not to my liking. But don't take my word for it. Most people love this New Orleans sandwich and I am sure Central Grocery takes pride in creating their very own famous sandwich.

Central Grocery on Urbanspoon

Labels: , ,

June 20, 2012

Royal House Oyster Bar- French Quarter (New Orleans, USA)

I'll admit that I rarely dine in the French Quarter (with the exception of our beloved Mr. B's). Not because there aren't great restaurants in the area but mainly because many of the places are overly touristy and well plain and simple I don't like Southern fried food. There I said it.

But when friends and family are in town and you have spent the day walking around the quarter with the water bottle being your best friend, you will get hungry and will end up eating anywhere and anything in site. On this particular day, I was showing around my cousin who had travelled all the way from Switzerland to be a part of our wedding day.  Hungry and famished we found ourselves at the Royal House Oyster Bar.

Perhaps we went at an odd time in the day (around 4 p.m.) but the place was half empty. We asked to sit upstairs on the balcony. The second floor was emptier. Yet it took a good 15 minutes for someone to greet us at our table. Apparently they hadn't noticed us sitting on the balcony. The ambiance: dull at best. It wasn't the happiest of places I've visited in the quarter.

Cousin hates raw oysters and rarely eats fried food in Europe and I was on a pre-wedding health cleanse. That really limited our choices. I begged Cousin to try a po-boy while she was in town and so she ordered the fried shrimp po-boy with a side of fries. As for myself, I ordered a cup of gumbo and a blackened grilled shrimp salad.

The cup of gumbo was your average tasty gumbo; however, lacked anything special to make it memorable.

The shrimp po-boy, I was told was good. I'm not a fan of po-boys! I'm probably one of the only people living in the South that doesn't enjoy a good po-boy. Maybe its because I've never had an exquisite mouth watering one down here. But every time I have had it, I haven't really enjoyed it much. Perhaps its the combination of all that white bread and fried meat that has led me to dislike it so much. I like my sandwiches on the healthier side and definitely not fried.

The salad was good. The sauce was ordered on the side which I hoped meant that it was a bit healthier. Overall, I can't say that I was impressed by our meal. Perhaps those going for their oysters have a different opinion, after all it is called the Royal House Oyster Bar and maybe that is what they specialize in. As for the rest, I am not so sure.

Royal House Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Labels: , ,

June 19, 2012

Velvet Espresso Bar- Uptown (New Orleans, USA)

Velvet Espresso Bar is located across from Wholefoods in Uptown. It is a very small eclectic coffee shop offering only about 6 counter seats. The shop uses a more sophisticated method of brewing coffee than your average coffee shop (the vacuum brew method). They use two regular beans: Intelligentsia's and Stumptown.

They also offer breakfast and lunch consisting of small sandwiches and sweets (see menu). New Orleans definitely has a void for good coffee shops and Velvet Espresso is a great and desperately needed addition.  I hope Velvet Espresso Bar motivates others to fill the espresso void and open more solid coffee shops where the staff are knowledgeable and passionate about their coffee.

Velvet Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Labels: , , ,

June 18, 2012

Company Burger- Uptown (New Orleans, USA)

There are many places in New Orleans where you can get your hamburger fix. Ranging from the peanut butter burger at Yo Mama's bar to wet and sloppy at Buffa's or Port of Call. However, one of the newest additions to the New Orleans burger family, the Company Burger, offers a more refined American burger.

The owner, Adam Biderman seems to take a lot of pride in his restaurant. I was lucky enough to have met him the day I went in. I got a brief lesson on his approach to the American burger and restaurant history. His beef patties are all hormone and antibiotic free, with the patties made in house from scratch. The buns for the burgers are baked on the Northshore using his own personal recipe. There is also a condiment station offering a wide array of sauces ranging from garlic mayo to basil mayo.

Who can resist their carrot and chocolate cake stand? I have of course heard about their tasty burgers but whats more I have been told repeatedly about how they have the best carrot cake in town. So without hesitation a carrot cake was added to our order. Biderman told us that the secret to the amazing carrot cake is his mother's home recipe. I must get my hands on her recipe. It was probably the best tasting carrot cake I have ever had...no exaggeration. 

The place was modern and clean. I really appreciate a restaurant that pays attention to sanitation and cleanliness. Many burger joints in the city (some hole in the walls with good burgers as I have mentioned) really pay no attention to sanitation whatsoever and I sometimes question what else is being served with my burger.  But not at Company Burger- the place was spotless clean and whats best you can literally see whats cooking right in front of you.  

Before I get too carried away, back to the issue at hand: the burgers. We ordered two single patty burgers although Biderman later told us we should have ordered the Company Burger- a doubly patty burger. I don't think I could have finished it. I struggled with my own single patty burger.

The burger bun was perfect. Not soggy. Not wet. Not stale. But fresh, chewy and pretty much what a burger bun should be. The patty was delicious and meaty. What I mean by meaty is that you can actually taste the char grilled beef. Sometimes less is more. This is what a hamburger should be. At Company Burger, your burger is served without condiments. You have the option of adding fresh jalapenos and a variety of sauces at the condiment stand.

Okay. So now back to dessert. We were also given the chocolate cake to try. They offer only two kinds of dessert: the carrot cake and the chocolate cake. Both tasty, however, I devoured the carrot cake in less than a minute whereas the Count devoured the chocolate cake alone. It's personal preference I guess but for me the carrot cake ruled.

Company Burger on Urbanspoon

Labels: , ,

June 16, 2012

Cowbell (New Orleans, USA)

When we first walked into this place I immediately felt like I was home for Sunday dinner. The place has a casual  ambiance and the menu offers many comfort foods. I'll begin by telling you that I loved it before I get into the details.
Brack May- philosopher, social entrepreneur and teacher was formerly a chef of the former Cobalt and opened this homey restaurant last year. The place uses many eclectic pieces and elements from post-Katrina (including their sign which as I was told was the door from a washed up car from Katrina). The inside is wonderfully decorated. My favorite: the host stand, black tiles and the lighting fixtures. Maybe I can ask them to come decorate our home?

The menu has a range of comfort foods from mac 'n' cheese, grilled cheese with a side of soup and of course their amazing natural beef burgers and fries (notably the chili cheese fries).

In order not to feel guilty of what was to come we decided to order the mixed green salad served with goat cheese. The dressing was slightly oily but nevertheless it was good.

I was in the mood for anything unhealthy and so of course I ordered the chili cheese fries as a side to my burger. Best decision ever. The fries were so good and the chili cheese topping even better. Needless to say I single-handedly finished the fries without the Count's help. The burger came next. I was completely full after only a few bites.

I love a good burger, especially one that is made with detail and love. The cowbell burger tasted like those high quality burgers my parents made at home. The beef was tender and tasty. The condiments were fresh and were topped off with the special pink sauce they serve with every order. It was definitely one of the best burgers I have had in town.

As we were leaving we noticed their sign hanging outside which stated 'eat happy'. What a great motto. From now on I'm going to always eat happy.

Cowbell on Urbanspoon

Labels: , ,

June 15, 2012

Magasin Cafe Re-visited (New Orleans, USA)

I already wrote a post on this restaurant but I think it deserves another one since their service has dramatically improved. I love Vietnamese food- particularly a good pho and am so happy to have this place so close to home. The Count and I are frequent visitors (don't tell Tan Dinh since the Count has been their loyal customer for years).

I love the interior of the restaurant. It's clean, modern and fresh. There are stools lining the windows for additional seating and a cement area in the middle which they have creatively used as a seating area.

Each table comes ready with an assortment of sauces, cutlery and napkins.

On our list of must haves are the crab rangoon, various spring rolls, the chicken pho and lemongrass chicken banh mi. The Count also tried the fillet Mignon steak dish once which he thoroughly enjoyed.
The crab rangoon is a crispy fried dough filled with cream cheese served with a side of sweet and sour sauce. It was my first time trying it at Magasin Cafe but ever since I have been hooked.

Below is a photo of the chicken vermicelli which as you can see was served with mint, shredded carrots, spring onions and cabbages. The colorful range of flavors exploded into an amazing spoonful of textures and tastes in my mouth. So good and so fresh.

My main dish is always the chicken pho since I love a good soup and for me the pho is a mixture of your chicken noodle soup with a twist. The addition of fresh basil, jalapenos, bean sprouts and lime with a spoonful of the spicy sauce just makes it oh so good. Even when its boiling hot outside.

I also love how they have set up the outdoor space. It reminded me a lot of Thailand (since I have not yet been to Vietnam). It looked like many local restaurants in the area with one man grilling meats on the barbecue outside. Overall, it's a wonderful creative space to stimulate your senses...the best part: it is very cheap compared to other restaurants in the area.

Magasin Cafe on Urbanspoon

Labels: , ,