I'm just saying - if you want to really feel alive, live in New Orleans during the spring. From the festivals and blooming azaleas to the food, the whole city stunts full out in the spring. (Subscribe to our THIRTY NINETY LIVING email updates to hear more about it all season long.)
The cherry on top of all of this is, of course, crawfish. Now, I know, (just like everything else we cook) everyone in southern Louisiana has their own family crawfish boil recipe, but the creativity really shows when it comes to the add ins. While CORN, POTATOES, MUSHROOMS, ONIONS AND GARLIC still reign supreme, everyone is leveling up their boil with new tricks and innovative ingredients.
Looking for different add-in ingredients for your next crawfish boil? Here's the best I've seen in new additions to throw into your crawfish boil this spring:
These bad boys are the go to in our family. Trim the stems and throw them in a mesh bag, put them in at the same time as the potatoes because they like to take their sweet time.
Dip these in butter and head straight to crawfish heaven. Throw them in for at least 30 minutes until they're tender.
Because what else are you doing with green beans these days? Watch the time on these - around 10 mins during the soak to keep 'em tender. Use fresh ones or canned - if using canned, just stab a bunch of holes in the can they come in. If you're reading this are inspired to consider asparagus - keep in mind that it's much more likely to disintegrate than the green beans!
This sweet treat will add a sweet and savory level of goodness to the whole pot. Skin it, leave the leaves and throw it in whole for around 10 minutes at the end. Note that this addition will soak up a lot of spice and add sweet to the flavor of your traditional boil.
A few years back, the Louisiana Sweet Potato Yam Association ran an entire ad campaign (#sweetenthepot) dedicated to persuading locals to include this local produce in your next crawfish boil. But hot damn, it worked - and for good reason. Level up your crawfish boil potato game by slicing these in half long ways and adding these into the boil for at least 45 minutes.
Replace basic hard boiled eggs with the hard boiled egg of the Gods. Boil em for at least 12 minutes for hard yolks.
BROCCOLI or CAULIFLOWER
Eating your daily veggies just got a whole lot more appealing. Add in the few trees while it's soaking after you kill the fire - be careful not to stir it around as it'll break up
Because what else are you going to do with the four heads of cabbage you caught at St. Patricks day? Slice it into quarters and throw it in a mesh bag early on in the boil.
LITTLE SMOKIES / SPAM / DEER, ALLIGATOR, ITALIAN OR ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE
With such an appreciation for prepared meats coursing through our veins, you can't go wrong.
Best wishes for a beautiful crawfish season, y'all!
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Did I miss your favorite crawfish boil fixin' add in? Drop me a line in the comments below!
In New Orleans, King Cake is basically a religion. Everyone has their own traditions and values for what makes a good king cake - is it more like bread or more like cake? Can you eat it before twelfth night? Is lemon filling even acceptable as an option? (no.) Is it acceptable behavior to pretend you don't see the baby arm hanging out of one slice? (also no.)
I myself am only a moderate fan of king cake, but there is one king cake that I'll go down swinging and preaching from the rooftops for - the famous, beautiful culinary creation of the DONG PHUONG KING CAKE.
Only problem is - everyone else in New Orleans apparently feels this way too, making the Dong Phuong king cake now the most exclusive baked good in all of New Orleans.
The Dong Phuong king cake first came into my life in 2016, when a co-worker picked one up at Pizza Delicious in Lakeview and it proceeded to change my view on king cake forever. Let's just get this out of the way now - Is it a fully traditional cinnamon twisted bread inspired piece with hard royal icing on it - no. Is it still probably the best Mardi Gras thing you'll ever get to eat? Yes.
The Dong Phuong king cake is like a giant buttery cinnamon brioche croissant with gorgeous layers, topped with a sweet buttercream cream cheese icing that I'll be dreaming about until the day I die. It 100% lives up to the hype and is 100% worth the work of getting it.
The trouble with Dong Phuong king cakes is that they are extremely hard to come by. In year's past, the New Orleans East based bakery cranked out thousands and thousands of cakes, leading to overtime concerns for their staff. Now in 2019, Dong Phuong demand is higher than ever, only a limited number made and pick up options are limited.
Here's all the knowledge I've gotten this year on how to acquire the most exclusive king cake in all of Mardi Gras:
HOW TO GET A DONG PHUONG KING CAKE IN 2019:
1. FORGET ORDERING ONE FOR DELIVERY
Early in the Mardi Gras season, Dong Phong launched their online ordering system for king cakes. The date options for these filled up almost instantly and as of February, there are no delivery slots left.
2. FORGET RESERVING ONE ONLINE
At the start of the 2019 season, Dong Phuong offered a limited number of king cake reservations for in person pick up. It was so popular that I had to wait three weeks for my reservation date. As of February there are no reservations left.
3. FORGET THE KING CAKE HUB
Dong Phuong king cakes are not sold at the really cool new King Cake Hub at the Mortuary.
4. DRIVE TO NEW ORLEANS EAST TO WAIT IN LINE FOR A DONG PHUONG KING CAKE
If you are dying to get one of these king cakes, this is the most dependable way to get one. The Dong Phuong bakery - located wayyyyy out in New Orleans East, past the old Six Flags - opens at 8 am and sells a set number of cakes per day. Once they are gone, the day is over. There is a limit of three king cakes per person!
As the season progresses, the lines will get longer for popular dates (think parade days, office Fridays, weekends, the entire week leading up to Mardi Gras). At the start of February, the 8 am line on a Friday had about 40 people in it. On a Monday, the 8 am line had about 10. Choose wisely and think with your local mind first - don't let the king cake mania get to you!
5. SHOW UP EARLY TO ONE OF THE LIMITED DONG PHUONG DROP OFF STORES
This year, the bakery delivers some stock to five (yes, just five!) other stores. Word on the street is that these sell out almost instantly, with places like Poeyfarre Market using a wait card system to ensure the people in line get the cakes first.
Try your luck at:
Zuppardo’s Supermarket in Metairie
Poeyfarre Market in the Central Business District
Mr. Bubbles Sandwich House on the Westbank
Pho Cong in Covington
Jeanfreau’s in Chalmette
6. OUT OF TOWN? START BEGGING.
With the limited options above, you need a good friend in Nola to make it happen. Know that it's going to take a good bit of effort and be hella appreciative of anyone willing to ship to you!
Take solace in knowing that you're not the only one dreaming of this cake- the demand is even making headlines on Nola.com! Got any other tips for tracking down one of these cakes? Leave us a hint in the comments below!
May the Dong Phuong odds ever be in your favor! Don't forget to subscribe to our THIRTY NINETY LIVING email updates for more Mardi Gras insider ideas.
Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!
Winter weather in New Orleans means many things - but one of my favorites that it's the best time for Pho. Only second to gumbo in my cold weather essentials book, this magically restorative soup never disappoints. With so many great Vietnamese restaurants in the city, it's hard to narrow down to my favorites. Luckily, Magazine street always delivers with a ton of great picks right around the corner. With the impending cold weather this week, make the journey out or Uber Eats these great finds in.
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PHO CAM LY - 3814 MAGAZINE STREET
This incredible place is our little home away from home. They always greet us with the warmest smiles and never judge us for coming more than once in a week (out loud :). It is also BYOB for your own wine, always a treat.
PHO NOI VIET - 2005 MAGAZINE STREET
To me, a great bowl of pho is full of flavor - especially star anise. It's like a little sip of Christmas. This place always gets this flavor just right and puts a great medley of veggies in their vegan pho. This place is also BYOB too!
LILLY'S CAFE - 1813 MAGAZINE STREET
Lilly's makes one beautiful bowl of pho - it's savory, fragrant and they'll throw some great veggies in the vegan pho, including a brussel sprout or two!
MAGASIN VIETNAMISE CAFE - 4201 MAGAZINE STREET
With it's trendy newly-updated interior, Magasin makes a great date night spot. The pho is great and they even offer an Eat Fit menu if you're feeling guilty for all the other pho you've eaten in your life. This one is BYOB too with a small corkage fee!
AUGUST MOON - 3635 PRYTANIA STREET (slightly off Magazine)
Just a few tiny blocks off of Magazine, you'll find August Moon. With great Chinese and Vietnamese menu finds, this place also serves up a delicious bowl of pho. Get all the asian inspired cuisine your heart desires in one place!
Did I miss any of your favorite pho stops? Drop a note in the comments below.
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Stay warm out there!
Choosing a favorite food out of the great encyclopedia of New Orleans cuisine can be complicated. However, I find that the big winners always taste best when made at home with a family recipe. For me, Red Beans and Rice has always been an easy choice. It's been a part of my life forever and I've finally figured out how to make it with 100% of the taste I love and 0% of the guilt that comes from the deliciousness of salted pork and a ham hock.
As I've mentioned before, Tonys Chachere's Cajun Cookbook is the guiding light in my kitchen. My guilt-free red beans and rice recipe is closely adapted from his guidelines, as they have never failed me before. Also, they are abundantly simple (a fantastic trait for any recipe, IMHO).
Tony recommends pickled pork, but I swap that out with a little bit of turkey bacon and this glorious new find I came across at the grocery store last week: Richard's Cajun Selects All Natural Chicken Sausage.
At first, I was hesitant about using chicken sausage in the red beans but now I am completely sold. I think I've officially called my entire family to tell them about this sausage - but you know the secret has got to be that it's from a local company that knows it better be good or they're going to have a bunch of ruined red beans on their hands.
No pot of red beans and rice is complete for me without a Jiffy corn bread muffin and a hit of Tobasco. TBH, if the corn bread is not available, this dish goes down in my favorites ranking. Try the recipe below and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Guilt-Free New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
Easy to make and lightened up with cajun chicken sausage, this guilt-free authentic New Orleans red beans and rice recipe is sure to please.
1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight if possible,
8 oz package of turkey bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch bites,
12 oz package of cajun chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped Tony's Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
1. Combine all ingredients except bacon and sausage in a large pot. Cover with enough water to cover and cook 1.5 hours.
2. While beans are cooking, pan fry turkey bacon and chicken sausage, set aside.
3. Add meat after beans have been cooking for two hours and continue cooking until beans are tender. Add more water from time to time to make a thick, rich gray.
4. Serve with steamed rice. Pairs great with Jiffy corn bread and Tobasco.
There's a certain point in the summertime in New Orleans when regular ice just won't cut it in a cocktail - I need the entire cocktail to be ice. My affection for frozen cocktails has taken me far and wide in Nola to the point of seeing a well put together frozen drink on Instagram and following it all the way to its home (multiple times).
Since arriving here, I've been on the hunt for the best of the best in frozen drinks. Here are my top contenders:
5. THE MINT JULEP SNOBALL | BARELPROOF pictured above
I first saw this drink on The New Orleans Scout Guide's instagram and instantly had to have it. When I ordered it, I asked for the "mint julep snoball that I saw on instagram" but apparently they just consider this a plain mint julep. I crave about two of these a year, one for the Kentucky Derby and one when the real heat of summer begins. I won't call myself a MJ aficionado because beyond that, I don't know if I actually like eating little pieces of mint from a straw. This one was special because it was served in the signature silver julep cup, with a St. Germain straw that had a spoon on the end and a whole mint bush on top. I'd go back to this just for the ice and the fun of drinking it with the accessories.
4. FROZEN VODKA LEMONADE | NOLA DISTILLING
When the Nola Distillery opened around the corner from my house, I was delighted. When they posted that their frozen vodka lemonade was the five dollar cocktail of the day, I became a believer for life. These people have hit the perfect frozen cocktail trifecta - a delicate balance of perfect of tart, sweet and kick.
3. FREEZLING | THE DELACHAISE
Froze, or frozen rose wine, is an unmistakable phenomenon in this city. I've watched it jump from bar to bar, leaving nothing but destruction in its path as it took the place of much better and more beloved frozen cocktails. I will always thank the Delachaise on St. Charles for getting the memo that if we are going to freeze wine, we might as well make it good. Their riesling version of a froze is sweeter and more balanced than it's rose counterpart. It's also white, which is just an added uniqueness.
And while we're here, other notable frozen wine mention: FROZE | THE VINTAGE - These little cuties add a sliced strawberry to the top of your Froze and let me tell you - it makes all the difference.
2. FROZEN MIMOSA | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD
The mimosa is a universally loved drink, a perfect pair of bubbles and tart. Want to make it 80 times better? FREEZE IT. This cocktail forever changed my relationship with frozen drinks. It became the end all be all, the must have, the pièce de résistance of my life in the world of frozen cocktails. In it's hayday, this drink was available all day every day at Superior Seafood - but suddenly, it wasn't. Replaced instead by the delightfully uninspired trend of frozen rose, it was pushed to a brunch only offering. As I have mentioned to the poor bartenders there multiple times and in my yelp review, I will not rest until this injustice is resolved.
1. FROZEN FRENCH 75 | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD
Despite their aforementioned wrongdoing with the frozen mimosa offering, this place just understands what it takes to make a great frozen drink. The frozen french 75 is no exception. I don't even like gin and I'm still super into this drink. It also doesn't hurt that this place offers a 10 pm happy hour as a great streetcar stop at the end of the night - including large frozen drinks for the price of a small.
Honorable mention while still here: POMEGRANATE MOJITO | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD (pictured above)
Whats your go to frozen drink in Nola? Share in the comments!
People in New Orleans have a very particular way of being protective of their favorite things. In the summer, this is particularly true for sno-balls. It was very surprising to me that this delightful treat could quickly turn into a divisive discussion at the dinner table. Want to really test your friendship with someone in New Orleans? Insist that you like a different snoball stand than they do.
I grew up eating snoballs and for a long time, I insisted that all snoballs were the same - It was just ice with some flavoring on it. Now, I will be the first to admit that there is no snoball like the Hansen's Sno-Bliz snoball. I've fully crossed over, I'll go down swinging for it.
I have never been one for waiting in line, not a Disney, not at Old Navy - but at Hansens, I'm in. And it's true, you will usually have to wait at least 30 minutes for the snoball of your dreams, but it's a small price to pay. It also adds to the charm. Once, after a torrential downpour, we biked down to Hansen's and walked straight in. We were the only people in the entire place and I felt like the queen of England. I don't think I'll ever forget it.
This institution has been around for over 70 years and I am telling you, it is because of the ice. I've never seen real snow, but I am pretty sure it is identical to this fluffy perfection. It could also be the secret recipe flavors that they make by hand.
My favorite thing about Hansen's is that I can mix and match to my heart's content. No one bats and eye when I order the most specific snoball known to man.
Here's my best success so far:
Do you insist someone else does it better? Leave a note in the comments below!