Brunch in the Big Easy
New Orleans is one of the premiere culinary cities in the world; serving up amazing foods at all times of the day whether its early morning breakfast before work, fine evening dining, late night platters, or if you just need to fuel up with a nice brunch before you go on to tour the many attractions this amazing city has to offer. Brunch is becoming a more and more popular meal, whether it’s a quick meetup with friends or you just need to fill a coffee fix; New Orleans offers many options for where to fill your late morning hunger.
Court of the Two Sisters
Court of Two Sisters takes brunch up a notch by offer a full jazz brunch buffet. This is a very popular location for brunch so getting reservations ahead of a time is a highly encouraged. Rather than having a set menu, the jazz brunch is a buffet style dining experience that offers many local breakfast favorites like andouille sausage and bacon, glazed ham, grits and grillades, in addition to readymade eggs benedicts and a full omelet station. Some of their lunch buffet options are shrimp etouffee, carved ribeye, and turtle soup au sherry. There is even a full side of the buffet dedicated to deserts including bananas foster and bread pudding. The jazz brunch at Court of Two Sisters is not just about the food but the experience as well. This establishment aims to present an upscale alternative to the modern buffet experience. This includes things such as impeccably dressed waitstaff who always seem eager to help, crisp clean table spreads, and live jazz music to enjoy during your dining experience. An outdoor seating option is also available during nice days that offers seating in a garden courtyard. If you are a first-time visitor to New Orleans or are new to Cajun and creole cooking; then the Court of Two Sisters is an excellent option to visit to get a taste of many of the local culinary flavors all in one meal. Conveniently located in the French Quarter, this is an excellent place to fuel up in the morning in order to explore the French Quarter the rest of your day.
Camelia Grill is a bit further Uptown from the rest of the restaurants I have talked about so far but is still easily accessible due to the St. Charles streetcar that has a stop right in front of this establishment. Camelia Grill was first established in 1946 and has the look and feel or an old school American roadside diner. All seating inside is along a bar, leading to a community feel and the meals are all prepared on the other side of the bar. The friendliness of the tourists and locals add to the experience since you will frequently be seated beside people you get to the meet for the first time, and most are willing to strike up a conversation and exchange stories. If you happen to be seated next to a local, then this is an excellent opportunity for visitors to get some great inside tips for touring New Orleans. Camelia Grill has many of the culinary staples that you can find at a standard roadside diner such as cold cut sandwiches, burgers, breakfast platters, and omelets but what sets Camelia apart is the abundance of other things they add to their menu that are twists on these classics. The variety of omelets that they offer is particularly of note. Whether it’s their Manhattan Omelet that is filled with corn beef, potatoes, onions, and Swiss cheese or their Mexican Omelet that is crammed with ground beef, bell peppers, American cheese, and picante; you are sure to find an omelet item that suites your taste. In addition to the omelets, Camelia also offers a variety of sandwich specials such as the Grilled Reuben or Camellia Muffuletta.
Located on Decatur Street, very close to the French Market; Toast offers the standard breakfast platters such as eggs or waffles found in diners across the country, but their standouts are their crepes and the toast that they got their name from. This restaurant offers toasted French bread topped with a variety of excellent options such as egg with avocado or ratatouille. They even offer their version of salmon and loches served on French toasted bread. As with Acme, this is a very popular local restaurant for breakfast, so lines are requiring an hour or two wait are not uncommon, especially on the weekends.
Aside from the toast, the crepes are also a very popular option to try. Whether is a savory crepe filled with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese for lunch or a sweet crepe filled with strawberry and chocolate for desert; Toast offers several crepe options that are sure to catch anyone’s attention.
Ruby Slipper Café
This diner has a mix or traditional breakfast items as well as local staples. Whether you want a taste of home with a pancake or French toast platter or want to try a little taste of New Orleans for Breakfast with Shrimp and Grits; the Ruby Slipper is sure to fill your breakfast or brunch needs. One of their most popular items on the menu are their various varieties of eggs benedict. Traditionally this consists of poached eggs with a cream sauce served over an English muffin, Ruby Slipper has created several delectable varieties of this classic dish. Whether it’s their Chicken St. Charles that adds fried chicken to the mix or their eggs cochon which serves apple-braised pork over top of their eggs benedict; it would be difficult to leave this restaurant unsatisfied.
While Café Du Monde is the go to choice for any first time visitors to New Orleans and is well worth the visit due to its iconic status in the city; this often results in wait times of a few hours for a cup of coffee and some beignets. Because of this, I would like to offer visitors an alternative place to get your beignet and coffee fill while strolling the French Quarter. Café Beignet has 3 locations near the corner. One is on Bourbon Street inside the legend’s courtyard. This is easy to find, since it is an open-air courtyard in the middle of Bourbon Street that has 3 metal statues of legendary jazz performers at the entrance. The Café Beignet here can be found towards the back of the establishment and comes with the added bonus of live music, as local musicians are often found on the stage in the front of the courtyard. There is also a small Café Beignet location on Royal Street that offers a cozy interior décor. A final location is on Canal Street, the primary street running along the outside edge of the French Quarter. While Café Du Monde has a limited menu of café, café au lait, and beignets; Café Beignet has a much larger option of both coffee and food. The staples that have become associated with modern coffee shops in the United States can be found here such as lattes and cappuccinos. This is in addition to a variety of flavor options such as caramel, mocha, and vanilla among others. Their beignets also come in several flavor options such as chocolate covered or the popular king cake variety that is offered during carnival season. While every location offers a variety of breakfast sandwich options such as the Royal Croissant or the Decatur Club; the Bourbon Street location takes brunch up a few more levels by offers New Orleans staples such as Gumbo or Jambalaya in addition to full meals like Crawfish and Grits or the Andouille Sausage Omelet.
St. James Cheese Company
St. James is a unique restaurant in that they are centered around cheese and cured meat charcuterie boards. Although this may seem like very limited options; the incredible and diverse selection of cheese that this restaurant has is incredible. I have personally had lunch at this restaurant well over 20 times and I always make it a point to try out new cheeses each time. Despite this, I am not even close to sampling everything they have to offer. Their cheeses are important from around the world so whether you want a creamy brie from Italy, a strong blue from France, a refreshing Manchego from Spain, or a sharp cheddar from Wisconsin; St. James has you covered. Whether its cow, milk, sheep, or goat milk; this restaurant is not afraid to push the envelope by bringing in a rotating stock of culinary adventures. Each of their charcuterie boards is served with a selection of both dried and fresh fruits as well as a fruit preserve to compliment the cheeses served. Even their fruit preserves boast incredible variety whether its apricot, fig, or plum; the staff at St. James always seems to know what would pair perfectly with the cheeses they present you with.
Although you can hand select what cheeses and cured meats are brought to you on your own personal charcuterie board, I often allow the staff to pick for me. St. James employs several cheese mongers on staff that specialize in the art of cheese selection and charcuterie board presentation. If you are honest with them regarding what you want, then they are happy to oblige. Feeling adventurous? Tell them so and they will whip up something to send you on a unique culinary adventure.
I hope these ideas provide motivation and inspiration for my readers who are considering adding New Orleans to their travel plans. This unique culinary city offers many more amazing restaurants to try out and I look forward to sharing these with you on upcoming posts. But that will have to wait for another day…