User menu

Main menu

Maxim’s New Orleans Mardi Gras Food Guide

Heading to the French Quarter for Fat Tuesday? Here’s how to stuff your face in style.

 

Coop’s Place
1109 Decatur St

The place:
It looks like a standard dive bar – dim interior, drinks served in plastic cups – but it’s the little touches that make this place special. Particularly the picture of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the window that says, “DO NOT SERVE THIS MAN”. That’s a sentiment every football fan can get behind.

The food:
Rabbit & Sausage Jambalaya

Cameron's take:
This should be everyone’s first stop in NOLA every single time they visit. Four different animals go into this dish, but the spicy concoction makes it taste like it comes from one four-headed flavor-beast.

Nick's take:
My first experience of true Louisiana jambalaya, and one not likely to be surpassed. The boneless rabbit, pork sausage and shrimp were all incredible, but it was the addition of tasso – a spicy, fatty smoked pork that’s a specialty of the area – that made me want to take this dish home to meet my parents.

 

Cajun Fried Chicken

Cameron's take:
I got a pocket of uncooked batter buried deep inside the moist white meat of this spicy and perfectly-fried chicken. I wanted to live in that pocket for the rest of my natural days.

Nick's take:
For the rest of my life, I will be disappointed by any fried chicken that doesn’t come with a huge side of jambalaya.
Daisy Duke’s
121 Chartres St

The place:
What looks like your average sports bar actually does a great line in Cajun food, alongside the more typical stuff like wings, pizzas and burgers. Wash it down with an Abita Amber, and you’ve got yourself a meal, son!

The food:
Blackened Alligator Sausage

Cameron's take:
Perfectly meaty, blackened, and slightly fishy in the aftertaste, they don’t skimp on the alligator portions here. It was the fried green tomatoes that made me feel special in the pants area, though.

Nick's take:
The alligator sausage itself was fantastic – succulent, meaty, salty and with all the scales removed – but it was the sides that made my head (and later, stomach) explode: Served with a cup of gumbo, a pile of jambalaya, a large biscuit and a few perfectly fried green tomatoes, this is a dinner for those that like to show their toilet bowl who’s boss.

Red Beans & Rice


Cameron's take:
The beans and rice are beautifully spiced and come in a bowl that is large enough for you to bathe in after you’re finished (or before, we won’t judge you). The warm, flaky biscuit would also make a nice pillow.

Nick's take:
This sounds like a comparatively dull dish, but the enormous bowl – stuffed with huge chunks of hot sausage and another big biscuit – was another pleasantly humongous surprise.
Central Grocery
923 Decatur St

The place:
This 97-year-old grocery store has Italian and Creole specialties on the shelf, but it hangs its hat on the Muffuletta, a sandwich so badass that it was invented for Sicilian farmers (i.e., real men. Not us).

Muffuletta


Cameron's take:
Nothing beats the original. This salty flavor-bomb hasn't changed since its inception and doesn't need to - the thick Sicilian bread absorbs all the olivey-oily goodness and easily deposits it right into your flavor-hole.

Nick's take:
The name Muffuletta actually refers to the circular sesame bread that holds it together, but the sandwich itself is a heart-stopping mix of capicola, pepperoni, mortadella, capicola, provolone, Swiss cheese, and olive salad. On my first bite, I found I’d never wanted to hug a Sicilian farmer so much in my life (this may or may not be true).
Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St

The place:
A favorite of Anthony Bourdain's, this restaurant serves traditional Cajun dishes with a fancy, delicious modern twist. Fun fact: "Tchoupitoulas" was the Aztec god of throwing up into a stripper's bra.

The food:
Cane Syrup Glazed Pork Cheeks With Mushrooms & Roasted Corn Grits


Cameron's take:
These little nuggets of joy are braised to tender perfection. They fell apart in my mouth as my will fell apart in their hands – I got six more orders to go.

Nick's take:
I'd never had pork cheeks before (except as a nickname in gym class, sadly), and I was expecting them to be a little tough. I couldn't have been more wrong: these had the texture of short ribs, and were so deliciously meaty that I wanted to weep tears of pure porky joy. 

Fried Boudin With Pickled Peppers


Cameron's take:
This is like Italian Arancini for advanced users. The rice and breadcrumbs absorb all the liver’s goodness and blow apart in your mouth like a tasty, tasty time bomb.

Nick's take:
For the uninitiated, boudin is pork-liver sausage, mixed with rice, breaded and deep fried. It's even better than it sounds. If you don't eat this at least once in your life, people in Heaven will laugh at you.

Louisiana Cochon With Turnips, Cabbage, Pickled Peaches & Cracklins


Cameron's take:
This ball of juicy pork (served with a side of pork) is far subtler than you would imagine it to be. Not that it isn’t fatty and salty and face-stuffingly delicious, because it totally is.

Nick's take:
The restaurant’s signature dish is a mountain of pulled pork, formed into something the size and shape of a cannon ball and served with the fancy version of pork rinds. I had to be resuscitated three times while eating this, and I regret nothing.


Rabbit & Dumplings


Cameron's take:
This beautiful coming-together of rabbit meat, hearty vegetables, and tasty dough is served in the cast iron dish that it is cooked in. Do your best not to eat straight through the skillet.

Nick's take:
Essentially a thick, succulent rabbit stew served with four giant, cloud-fluffy biscuits welded in place by the sheer density of the surrounding liquid, this is one of the most mouth-meltingly wonderful things I’ve ever eaten. Being British, that might not count for much, but it’s still the truth.

Banana Pudding


Cameron's take:
It wouldn’t be a trip to the south without some banana pudding with wafers (in this case, delicious chocolate chip cookies). Top that off with moonshine whipped cream and you got something that both Jethro and I can agree is tastebud-exploding (in the best possible way).

Nick's take:
Served in a mason jar and layered with crumbled up cookie and candied macadamia nuts, this is the work of a demented genius. Had there not been witnesses, I would have smeared this stuff all over my body and then licked it off myself. Then I would have realized I’d made a strange, terrible mistake and asked for a spoon.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake


Cameron's take:
The swamp waters parted and I felt like I was on the South American beach with this coconut, pineapple, lime, and dulche de leche concoction. There was a disappointing lack of swimsuit models, though.

Nick's take:
It’s not as memorable as the banana pudding, but the combination of cake, lime sorbet and ducle de leche is awesome. At least, that’s what I was apparently muttering after falling face first into this dessert in a glorious food coma.
Mother's
401 Poydras St

The place:
This cafeteria-style spot is old (what in New Orleans isn't?) and its food is as deliciously salty as its staff (we mean the last part metaphorically. We didn’t lick the staff).


Ferdi Special
po boy


Cameron's take:
Po' boy enthusiasts usually bypass Mother's, but this moist and meaty sandwich demands your attention. Paired with a cup of the thick and tasty Crawfish Etoufée, Guy's can take a backseat.

Shrimp Po' Boy


Nick's take:
This beast had more shrimp in it than…than…than something that normally has, like, a lot of shrimp in it. Like, loads. Sorry, I’m too full of saucy, amazing shrimp to think of anything clever to say.
Adolfo’s
611 Frenchmen St

The place:
An unassuming Italian/Creole place that sits above the fun, divey Apple Barrel Bar, Adolfo’s serves some of the most delicious food in NOLA. It’s not fancy, but holy cow, is it good.

The food:

Escargot


Cameron's take:
My apprehension about this red-checkered tablecloth joint quickly gave way to food nirvana as early as this first dish. Most things are delicious when they are covered with butter and garlic, but these slimy little guys would have been perfect all by themselves.

Nick's take:
If I order snails, I normally just do it because I like the garlic sauce – the snails themselves are often just a rubbery afterthought. Here, though, they were tender, moist and amazing. It also helped that they were drowning in approximately eighteen gallons of melted butter and garlic, which, incidentally, is how I hope to eventually go out myself.

Cannelloni Filled With Crabmeat And Corn


Cameron's take:
This is a perfect example of the marriage of Creole and Italian cuisine that Adolfo’s is famous for (and that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to live without). With just a hint of spice and not overpoweringly fishy, this log of goodness would have been smuggled out in my pocket if I didn’t finish it in 28 seconds flat.

Nick's take:
How this was an appetizer, I’ll never know – it was the size of a spaniel. Smothered in sauce, stuffed to bursting and cooked to perfection, I could’ve eaten this till it came out of my ears. Not literally, of course – not without some form of horrific combined gastric/sinus surgery.

Pasta With Italian Sausage Marinara


Cameron's take:
If Adolfo’s chose to just go the Italian route, dropping the Creole influence, this proves that they have the chops (no pun intended). Better than many “authentic” red sauce joints in New York.

Nick's take:
The perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and sausagey, this is for anyone looking to add a little lining to their stomach before drinking wine coolers laced with methanol (also known as a “Hurricane”).

Chicken Vincent Topped With Louisiana Tasso


Cameron's take:
On the other hand, if Adolfo (I’m not sure if that’s an actual guy, really) decided to go full-bore Creole, this dish shows why he would have no difficulty. The tasso on top of the chicken was so good I started to look at apartments in the area.

Nick's take:
The chicken barely fit on the plate, and it was covered in about a pound of salty, smoky, tongue-orgasming tasso. And just in case that’s not enough, if came with a mound of spaghetti and marinara sauce. If it was legal to marry a restaurant, I would marry this place. Wait, this is Louisiana – it probably is legal to marry a restaurant, right?
Napoleon House
500 Chartres St

The place:
A beautiful old building complete with an outdoor area, this bar/restaurant is an ideal refuge from the madness of Bourbon St (until Bourbon St inevitably crashes through the door and demands to know why you’re not drinking in the gutter till your teeth fall out).

The drink:

Pimms Cup


Cameron's take:
Enjoy this little piece of summer on Napoleon House’s patio, even if it isn’t summer at all. Sure, it’s got a cucumber in it, but you can still enjoy it. You’re on vacation!

Nick's take:
If you want something a little more refreshing, try a Pimms Cup. Yes, it’s fruity and its main ingredient is a gin-based liqueur, but at least it’s not a Hand Grenade.


Café Du Monde
800 Decatur Street

The place:
This coffee stand was founded in 1862 and has a menu shorter than the wait for service most times. It's open 24 hours, seven days a week and closed only on Christmas (sorry, Santa and Jesus).

The food:

Beignets


Cameron's take:
This was the easiest menu choice I've had to make in this city, but also the sweetest. There is a powder keg of confectioner's sugar on top of each one of these bad boys - if you leave with clean clothes, you did it wrong.

Nick's take:
If you’ve never had a beignet, it’s like a donut, only French, which means it’s fancier, fluffier and generally better looking. It’s also like kissing a cartoon cloud full of star dust.
Camellia Grill
540 Chartres St

The place:
The Camellia Grill recently opened this new location right smack in the French Quarter, but it's not without the original's marble counters, fluffy omelets, and "charming" waiters.

The food:

Sausage Omelet


Cameron's take:
This omelet comes with an unidentified cheese - likely American - but it blends so perfectly with the creamy and fluffy eggs that I could hardly find it.

Nick's take:
This is the single fluffiest omelet I’ve ever encountered. I wasn’t sure whether to eat it or take a nap on it (I did both).

Muffuletta


Cameron's take:
This non-traditional muffuletta has some merits of its own. The corned beef and Swiss made this sandwich a bit reuben-esque.

Nick's take:
It’s not much like the original Muffuletta, but it’s actually a more palatable breakfast food, since it’s hot, greasy, and perfect to wash down with a coffee/beer/Bloody Mary trifecta.

French Market
1800 N Peters St

The place:
This market makes Central Grocery look like an infant. Operating in some capacity since 1791, you can get everything from chincy sunglasses to crawfish to live jazz at this open air bazaar.

The food:

Pralines


Cameron's take:
I was told that this was made from pecans and sugar, but I feel like the main ingredient is actually magic. I could just never stop eating these.

Nick's take:
You know what you really need after an endless barrage of alcohol, fried food and caffeine? A giant sugar-bomb. Trust us, it’s good for you.

Port of Call
838 Esplanade

The place:
The burger dive that sits just on the edge of the French Quarter can't stop winning awards for their burgers. And we can’t stop eating them.

Cheeseburger


Cameron's take:
Stacked high with shredded cheddar and served alongside a baked potato (fries are for chumps) this burger disposed of my hangover faster than any medicine could.

Nick’s take:
Sadly, my hangover was of a more persistent variety, and I missed this one, tucked up in bed instead with yet another carton of Brothers’ Fried Chicken. I’m…I’m not proud of it.

The Superdome
1500 Poydras St

The place:
A monumentally enormous arena prone to large sporting events, meme-friendly halftime shows and lengthy blackouts.

The food:

Hot Dog


Cameron's take:
Of all the hot dogs at stadiums across the country, this one probably falls, well, right in the middle, if we’re honest.

Nick's take:
You have to eat something at the game, right?


Maxim Mardi Gras: We Take You To Bourbon Street
The Girls of Mardi Gras