Our last night in the Big Easy came around far too quickly! To say an appropriate ‘goodbye’ to one of my favourite cities, we decided to pay a visit to a quirky part of town frequented by NOLA residents and affectionately referred to as the ‘local’s Bourbon’, Frenchmen Street, which is situated near the French Market, just North of the Quarter itself.
Frenchmen Street is rumoured to contain the highest concentration of live music in all of New Orleans; on the night we visited this was particularly apparent as each bar and club was extremely lively early on in the evening, packed with visitors bound for the famous jazz festival the very next day. Frenchmen Street features numerous lively and characterful bars and restaurants but be warned, even on an ordinary night it does get very busy and you may have to queue to even get in, let alone for a seat!
Late night food trucks once graced this part of town; this tradition was even captured on the silver screen in the recently released ‘Chef’ starving Jon Favreau when ‘El Jefe’ was parked on Frenchmen whilst Carl and his son ventured to nearby Café du Monde for beignets. However, on our visit there were none to be seen! Rumour has it this is due to an on going argument with city…..lets hope this isn’t the case forever!!
Although there are no food trucks to chose from, there are a number of great places to eat offering a whole host of different cuisines down Frenchmen. We were lucky enough to grab a table right in front of the stage in the tiny but atmospheric ‘Three Muses’. The bar has an extensive cocktail menu and a lively atmosphere, with vibrant art work on the walls, a bubbly crowd of locals and tourists alike and live music most nights; it is the perfect place to people watch or catch up with friends but be warned, they do not take reservations!
Onto the food……wow!! The food here is amazing, a real fusion of creole cuisine and street food. Portions are small, which was perfect for us due to too much over-indulgence, but it is advisable to order a several dishes and share with your fellow diners, like tapas!
My Mom opted for the ‘Herbs de Provence Roast Duck – Housemade rigatoni, eggplant, tomatoes and goat’s cheese’. She thoroughly enjoyed the dish and said it was full of flavour and nicely cooked. I opted for the ‘Crawfish Enchilada – Louisiana crawfish, melted cheese, shrimp boil chilli sauce’. Even though it has been several months since I ate this, I can still practically taste it, it was delicious! The enchilada was perfectly crisps which provided a nice contrast to the gooey melted cheese; the sauce was not overpowering and complimented the delicate seafood flavour well.
Dad also opted for a seafood dish in the form of ‘Gulf Fish Tacos – Cumin marinated peppers, onions, carrots, red cabbage, chimichurri aioli, corn tortillas’. I loved the presentation of this dish, although simple, I thought it was very effective. My Dad was a bit confused when he saw that his main was served in a roasting tray though! The tacos, like most places in America, were served soft, something which I really do prefer as I find hard shell tacos a bit messy!
Neil went for ‘Two Run Farm’s Lamb Sliders -Tomato Chutney and herbed goat’s cheese‘. Although he was a bit disappointed with the small portion, he said that the sliders were packed with flavour and he even enjoyed the goat’s cheese although he isn’t normally a fan! We all agreed that although we enjoyed the smaller portions, if we were first time visitors that had not over indulged quite so much in the previous few days, it would be helpful for the staff or the menu to explain the concept of the food and make it a little more apparent that the dishes were small and intended for sharing!
As the dishes were small, for once we were able to partake in dessert – I am most definitely glad we did! Mom and Neil chose ‘Chocolate Mousse Tacos – Strawberry salsa and cinnamon anglaise’. I loved the presentation and concept of this dessert, absolutely genius! I had the ‘Peanut butter ecstasy pie with nutella-butterfinger ice cream’. I am a massive peanut butter fan so this certainly hit the spot although it was rather rich, I think I could have done with a slightly smaller portion! The chocolate base was lovely and crispy, the ice cream added another dimension, such a fantastic dessert for a peanut butter lover! My Dad opted for the ‘Coconut cardamom panna cotta – local strawberry compote, amaretti cookie’. Another great dessert to finish off a wonderful meal!
After dinner, we listened to the band for a while before venturing across the road to the weekly art market. Frenchman Street art market is amazing! A quirky and unique place that definitely deserves a visit if you are in the area. It takes place on Thursday – Saturday 7pm – 1am and Sunday 6pm – midnight…..only in New Orleans can you go to an art market that goes on until the early hours!!!
If you want some original, handmade souvenirs that have been lovingly produced by local artists, do not, I repeat do not, go to the French Market! Instead venture a little further down the road and pop in to Frenchman Art Market, it will be the best ten minute detour you will have taken! I loved browsing around the market and instantly wanted almost everything for sale! Neil and I purchased a little ‘Po Boy’ magnet made out of a bottle cap to remind us of some of the amazing food we had eaten in the Deep South and also a wonderful black and white print by photographer Andy Levin to add to our ever growing collection! The girl who sold me the photo explained that the picture was taken not long after Katrina had hit and depicts one of the main roads in the city, Canal Street, completely underwater whilst the photographer helped transport an elderly lady from his neighbourhood to the Superbowl by canoe. The photographer really does have some beautiful shots which really depict the soul of this amazing city that never fails to bounce back, whatever life throws at it; a perfect souvenir for a memorable stop on our trip!