Katies

Katies in Mid City

3701 Iberville Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 488-6582
www.katiesinmidcity.com

True friendships to me should be everlasting. Therefore, one day recently I took the opportunity to revisit one of my old Saturday friendships, an eatery that was established in 1984. Katies in Mid City is that old-time corner restaurant/bar where regulars tend to meet up and new friendships are made. She is so special that she was featured in a segment on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. I was so happy for her! At Katie’s, complete strangers pass your table smile, wave, nod or even verbally greet you with a hello. The chef comes by to check on you. This is what makes New Orleans and it is why it is one of the friendliest cities on this earth and a wonderful place to live and dine.

I was asked by an acquaintance to schedule a lunch and to decide where I would like to dine. After giving it some thought (you know I take my food seriously), my mind drifted back to my past. I had not visited Katies since it reopened in March of 2010 following its devastation from Hurricane Katrina. It was time that I checked on my old friend and rekindled an old relationship. I remember it as an eatery where all sorts of people would drift in and all sorts of activity going on. Remarkably it still is. There are many tables strategically placed in this narrow dwelling with many conversations going on, along with 2 flat screen televisions running sports coverage. All this while there is also a backdrop of piped in music. Conveniently located a block from the Canal Street streetcar, it could easily become and should be a regular tourist eatery attraction.

New Orleans’s po-boy

We were directed to our table by the greeter at the door and handed an extensive menu by a very friendly waitress. If someone says they cannot find anything on the menu to suit their taste, they must not be in Katies. Truthfully, I could probably make a meal from the appetizers offered. There are all types- from onion rings (tempted to grab one as I eyed the next table), crawfish or seafood beignets, crab cakes, eggplant fries (I must try these one day) and the list goes on and on. I decided to go straight into the main course and chose a dressed, grilled catfish sandwich substituting the usual side of potato chips with coleslaw for an additional $1.50 (fries, green salad and potato salad were also choices listed). For an additional $2.50, those wonderful golden fried onion rings or sweet potato fries are available. This po-boy was truly heaven. The french bread was so light and airy complimenting the grilled catfish perfectly. Having smothered my fish in both tarter and cocktail sauces, I am sure I used at least 10 napkins to clean up, but while eating an authentic New Orleans’s po-boy, the messier, the better.

Katie's in New Orleans
Katherine’s Cajun Cuban Sandwich

My partner was also extremely happy with the choice made. Being a little bit more adventuresome than I, they decided on Katherine’s Cajun Cuban Sandwich (named after the co-owner). Perfectly stacked, this sandwich of smoked cochon de lait, grilled ham, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles is placed between two slices of french bread then buttered and pressed. This was topped off with a cold Barq’s Root Beer straight from the bottle, the only way to do it. Sticking with the regular chips, after seeing our neighbor’s onion rings they were sorry they did not substitute. The rings are the size of woman’s bracelet and I am certain they are as delicious as they looked.

When you get a chance, check out the website. Katie’s is conveniently open seven days a week (Monday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; and also a Sunday brunch 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.). There are daily specials that are written on the chalkboard near the front door. The brick oven pizzas are wonderful sellers and on Thursday nights, there is a $10.00 special. Pre-Katrina, the walls of Katie’s were outfitted in LSU and purple. She has had a complete makeover, and I must say it is quite appealing and looks good on her. I simply love the new look. I am sure Katie’s would be proud to know she is perfect (5 fleurs-de-lis) and should never change. We all need those friendships that we can always count on through thick and thin. In this case our thick was Hurricane Katrina and her absence and the rebuilding process. Let it be known Katie’s back. She is named like an old friend, and to me that is just what she is.

Restaurants in New Orleans

~ Nola Roux
October, 2012

Dat Dog

 

Dat Dog

3336 Magazine Street

New Orleans, LA 70115

(504) 324-2226

www.datdognola.com

Dat Dog on Magazine

My love affair with hot dogs began years ago. Long before there were nationally televised hot dog eating contests and eateries comprised of mainly hot dogs on the menu, my love for a great dog was already developed. At the age of about 12, I can recall eating six loaded hot dogs throughout the day one Fourth of July. Who knows? Maybe if I had kept that up, I could have been groomed to be a competitor in the Coney Island or Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests. Their hot dogs are eaten straight, mine were loaded! My taste for a good hot dog was so great, that during my high school years my friend’s Mom would prepare stuffed crabs and homemade mac and cheese every Friday. She knew that was my day to visit, so instead of the menu her family feasted on, there were always two hot dogs awaiting my arrival. Displaying love through food, she is an example of the wonderful cooks and Moms we have in New Orleans.

Dogs DOgs DogsTo me, hot dogs are a traditional football menu item and what better way to start the 2013 New Orleans’ Saints Football Season in Dat City, than with a dog from Dat Dog! Football was truly in the air on this Saturday before the much anticipated, big season opener of The New Orleans Saints vs The Atlanta Falcons. Magazine Street is on our tourist map and it was filled with natives as wells as visiting folk from The ATL. If there is one bit of advice I would like to relay about this area of town if you are going to dine, leave for your destination early. Most eating venues only have on-street parking. There is no “off time” because nestled among the many restaurants, are all types of shops making parking a difficult task. Don’t be afraid to park a distance away because there is plenty to entertain you during your walk before you reach your destination. Also, after dining you will need to walk off one of the best hot dogs in the area.

After finding a place to park about five blocks from Dat Dog, my sidekick and I started our lengthy walk. My first visit, their second, I was glad to have someone that knew the ropes. We walked into a sea of orange and blue Florida football fans enjoying the menu and the large screen television. There was also a long line of guests waiting to place their orders. After looking at the chalkboard menu, I was glad that the line was so long because it gave me time to ponder on what exactly to order. There were beef dogs, pork dogs, crawfish sausage dogs, alligator dogs, hot sausage dogs, smoked sausage dogs, hot bratwurst, just to name a few. For non-meat eaters, there is even a sea dog (fried cod fish with homemade tartar sauce). I felt like I was reliving Forrest Gump substituting the shrimp with hot dogs! There was even a turducken dog (a mixture of fowl: duck, turkey and chicken). My sidekick was ecstatic to corral this one because the word on the street is that it is known to sell out fast. From the looks of his empty basket, he truly enjoyed it. Toppings (included in the initial cost) for this list of dogs is extensive. I felt a need to gently test these waters, so I settled on a pork dog. Okay, call me boring, but the next time I visit, and I will revisit, I promise to be a bit more adventuresome. From your traditional toppings of chili, cheese, relish, onions and mustard, there are also bacon bits, mushrooms, Andouille sauce, creole mustard, just to name a few to please your palate. All this served on a tasty, somewhat sweet bun and an order of fries that were enough to satisfy two diners. I don’t know how it is done, but incredibly these fries stayed hot to the last bite of my dog. Toppings for the fries (plain or sweet potato) can also be numerous chili, tomatoes, crawfish etouffe, and sour cream, plus much more. They can actually serve as a complete meal. Drinks are plentiful; from tea to soft drinks to local and international beers. There is something to quench every thirst.

Dat Dog

We feasted outside on the patio because of the large football crowd inside under large umbrellas that guarded us from the sun. There is an outdoor bar with two large screen televisions for outside viewers and restrooms nearby. While inside waiting in line, I noticed a sign about reserving the upstairs for birthday parties. How cool would that be to have a hot dog party at Dat Dog? I should really think about this for my next birthday.

Dat Dog

To owner Skip Murray, I would like to thank you for returning to your native New Orleans after 27 years from the UK after Hurricane Katrina to join the list of ever growing restaurants in our city. We need each and every one of you to satisfy the taste buds of our citizens and visitors. Currently, there is one great hot dog at two locations (original location still in operation at 5030 Freret Street). Hopefully, there will be more. Some diners may think that the prices are steep (hot dog, fries, and soft drink averaging about $12.00), but this is not your average dog. It’s Dat Dog, on that Dat Street in Dat City and I top Dat Dog with 4 fleurs-di-lis and I know Dat you will not be disappointed!

Restaurants in New Orleans

~ NOLA Roux

September, 2013

Cafe du Monde New Orleans

Cafe du Monde New Orleans is located on Decatur Street, in the French Quarter across the street from Jackson Square. This exquisite cafe is not to be missed. Order up a cup of coffee. It has a slight flavor of chicory, which makes it such a special treat. Don’t forgo an order of French-style beignets and you will be set for the afternoon. (By the way, a beignet is a French doughnut, literally meaning “fritter”.)

Café du Monde
Cafe du Monde New Orleans

This coffee shop is on any serious tourist’s list of places to go. A café seems like an unusual attraction, but once you step foot inside and have the treats that await, you will known why the Cafe du Monde is a New Orleans tourist attraction. There may be a lot of customers but there is rarely a very long wait because nearly everyone is ordering the same thing: coffee and beignets, a favorite of the New Orleans desserts. The turnover is quick, so a table isn’t too difficult to find. One of the fun things to do at Cafe du Monde is people watch, besides enjoying the delicious fare. People at a table near you will invariably end up having a powdered sugar fight. This is fun to see, as long as you don’t mind getting a little sugar spilled on you in the process!

New Orleans tourist and native staple, is where you can get one of the best café au laits around. If you arrive at 3 a.m. the place will be buzzing with people downing their chicory coffees and beignets, which are loaded with powdered sugar, which you’d better be careful not to inhale. Sugar up the nose is not a pleasant experience! Save it for your taste buds. Some people claim that the chicory in the coffee staves off a hangover.

This famous café is open 364 days a year, 24 hours a day. What is the one day the Cafe du Monde is closed? Why, Christmas Day, of course! The café closed on August 27, 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the shop suffered little damage, but it remained closed for two months in order to take advantage of the lack of tourism and to renovate the dining areas and kitchen. When it reopened on October 19th, it received attention from the national media.

Café du Monde
Cafe du Monde

The shop can get very noisy and raucous at times, but this is New Orleans, the party capital of the U.S. Get ready for a powdered sugar fight, bring lots of napkins, and come enjoy the food, coffee and the people watching. Built in 1862, Cafe du Monde New Orleans obligatory tourist stop, is known mainly for their beignets. This French-style doughnut was brought to New Orleans by the people we now call Cajuns. Beignets are fried dough sprinkled generously with powdered sugar. Don’t be surprised when you are served a small glass of water with your beignets; it’s to help wash down all of that sugar. The beignet, by the way, is the state doughnut of Louisiana.

Cafe Dauphine

Cafe Dauphine

5229 Dauphine Street
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 309-6391
www.cafedauphinenola.com
cafe dauphine new orleans
Cafe Dauphine

Down in the Lower Ninth Ward in the Holy Cross section of town, sits a gourmet treasure Cafe Dauphine. On the Friday before Hurricane Isaac, my party of three visited Cafe Dauphine by luck of chance. While most people in other parts of the country would be bunkering down for an approaching storm, people in New Orleans try to locate an open restaurant where they can feast on their last meal. Our party consisted of just the right combination of food lovers. We each ordered totally different dishes and settled in for a relaxing evening and talk of the approaching storm. The atmosphere and hospitality at Cafe Dauphine was wonderful.

I cannot remember the last time that I visited a neighborhood restaurant and a worker actually greeted me at the door and held it open with a smile. We were ushered to our seats and not one but two waitresses came over to record our orders. I started off with an appetizer of gumbo, which I found quite tasty, but a little on the salty side. It was loaded with seafood and also chicken and sausage. My main meal consisted of the house salad of numerous fresh greens, tomatoes, cheese, fresh eggs and croutons with homemade thousand-island dressing, stuffed mashed potatoes and stuffed shrimp. The fried stuffed shrimp were humongous and wonderfully seasoned. I usually don’t leave any restaurant carrying a Styrofoam to go container, but it was impossible to finish the order that consisted of four. The potatoes were loaded, but unlike the gumbo, I found a need for a dash of salt.

If I had to choose downsides for Cafe Dauphine, it would be the slow service, lack of adequate parking because it is located in the middle of the neighborhood, and I had to request bread, which I believe should be a staple along with butter on any New Orleans’s restaurant table. Just maybe if hot bread and butter were offered, the wait for the main course would not seem so long. The other members of my party were also pleased with their choices of red beans (slightly on the runny side) with a traditional stuffed pepper, the house special of two deep-fried battered stuffed peppers loaded with crabmeat and shrimp and for the sandwich lover a hot sausage on French with a side of fries.

All dinners include two sides and my only disappointing moment when ordering was that there was no macaroni and cheese. One party member was adventuresome and ordered the bread pudding topped with pecan rum sauce that was granted his approval. In my opinion, with more foot traffic so that the staff can get a smooth flow of things, Cafe Dauphine will become a hot dining experience for locals and guests alike. On a scale of 1 to 5, in my opinion, Cafe Dauphine is given 3.5 fleurs-de-lis. I think for them, the best is yet to come.

restaurants in new orleans rating

~ Nola Roux

September, 2012

The Munch Factory

The Munch Factory

6325 Elysian Fields Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70122
(504) 324-5372
www.themunchfactory.net

Recently, I hesitantly accompanied someone to dinner on a Thursday night after an extremely grueling day at work. All I could think of was going home and taking my usual nap on the sofa before bedding down for the night. Now all I can think of is a revisit to The Munch Factory.

The Munch Factory on Elysian Fields Avenue
Fines Herb Chicken

If you ever felt that the native, young residents of this wonderful city of New Orleans have no direction, think again and take a ride over to 6325 Elysian Fields Avenue. Have dinner and then give me your opinion. Hat’s off to 20+ Chef Jordan Ruiz and his young wife, Alexis, the owners of this eatery that has the community both talking and eating. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, I am ecstatic that Chef Ruiz returned to New Orleans, his hometown, to showcase his trade.

After being totally impressed on my dining experience, I researched the history of this restaurant and discovered that they were previously housed at 5339 Franklin Avenue. I was told by my dinner date that those quarters were too small and could not accommodate the many regular guests and that the parking was horrible, consisting mostly of on street. The new location has a well-lit, convenient parking lot that will hold not only the guests seated vehicles, but also those that have agreed to wait their turn to dine.

We were greeted at the front counter by Chef Jordan’s mom. Yes, this is a family affair and it gives you not only wonderful cuisine, but also a homey atmosphere while dining. Alexis the wife/co-owner promptly welcomed us and showed us to our table and handed us menus. She answered the many questions I had trying to decide what to order and graphically described each item as though they too were part of the Ruiz family. After placing our dinner orders, I began to understand why it is called The Munch Factory. You want to munch and sample everything because it all sounds so tasty. My partner, a regular, ordered an appetizer and insisted that I follow the cue. I agreed and am glad I did, ordering a bowl, not a cup, of classic “old school” chicken and sausage gumbo as the menu describes it. A side item of tomato and basil salad for sharing was also ordered at a price of $3.50. I could have devoured this on my own. Chilled perfectly and with just the right dash of basil, it was perfect. Sorry folks, Nola Roux forgot to photograph the gumbo, only realizing it when all that was left was the spoon and bowl.

the munch factory in New Orleans
Rib Eye Grilled Steak

I settled on the Rib Eye Grilled Steak (medium well), topped with a homemade steak butter sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed green bean, all for a reasonable cost of $20.00. Although bread was not listed on the menu, my dining partner and I requested it for an extra .50 each. If I had to use one word to describe this meal, it would be simply delicious. There was a perfect touch of crusty grilled edges on the steak that was appealing. My dining partner decided to have the Fines Herb Chicken (a whole half of chicken) having heard so many people rave about it during her frequent visits and never trying it before. This chicken is unbelievable! Yes, I also helped her finish her selection. Remember, it is called The Munch Factory; this chicken is pan-fried and roasted at the same time, topped with a creamy herb sauce. I know that sounds impossible, but trust me, you have to try it! Chef Ruiz definitely has skills! It is accompanied by potato croquettes (something I have not seen on any menus locally) with smoked Gouda and Tasso, plus green beans. This is a deal at only $16.00. There was no room for dessert, but it is offered – Tres Leches Cake (angel food cake soaked in milk, topped with whipped cream) and bread pudding (traditional in a bed of rum sauce) for $6.00 each. There are also sandwiches of various types from an Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich that I have heard is very good to Mo’s Patty Melt (hot sausage patties pressed with American cheese, tomatoes and mayo). Seafood (oysters and shrimp) and roast beef are also listed on the menu. Check out the website to get a glimpse of all that The Munch Factory has to offer. It is kid friendly and offers a kids menu and also vegetarian options. Visit the newly opened bar if you like to have alcoholic beverages with your meal or after.

Wall of Frame

I must confess. Since sampling the Fines Herb Chicken, I have thought of it constantly and am planning a return visit. I now feel part of the inner circle that knows one of this city’s culinary best-kept secrets. I am hoping that this secret gets out of the inner circle and makes its way into other circles around the city. Note that the hours of operation are Tuesday thru Saturday 5-9 pm and on Friday, lunch is served from 11:30 am to 2 pm. After dining, make sure you check out the “Wall of Fame” showcasing photos of frequent visitors. If this is an indication of the Ruiz’s culinary future, it is a successful and bright one. In my opinion, The Munch Factory earns 5 fleurs-de-lis for not only for the wonderful cuisine, but also the determination and dedication of the Ruiz’s to this city.

Restaurants in New Orleans

~ NOLA Roux

September, 2012

Big Shirleys of New Orleans

Big Shirleys of New Orleans

5222 Elysian Fields Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70122
(504) 252-4835

Every so often, I feel the need to have a down-home cooked lunch. Suddenly, Big Shirleys of New Orleans came to mind. I have heard their advertisement frequently on the radio and decided this would be the day that I paid them a visit. My party and I were quickly greeted at the door by a very tall gentleman. With a straight face he asked were we sent over by the radio station to answer the question that would net the $1,000.00 check for the restaurant sponsored contest. I quickly asked what the question was. He stated, “How many midgets can you put in a Volkswagen?” My response was “as many as you have.” He laughed and said you answered correctly but I don’t have the check. Enough of the small talk, I was ready to take on the task I had ventured out for “eating a home-cooked” lunch. He offered us the Obama table, but I opted out because who knows, it is campaign time and Mr. President may be in the neighborhood.

Big Shirleys on Elysian Fields

My party and I pondered on the menu not knowing what to order. The tall gentlemen pulled up a chair while we read the menu over and over again. Trying to divert his attention away from the time we were spending trying to make a decision, I asked him was Big Shirley in. He told me Big Shirley was his mom and she was not in right now. I asked did he think she would be in shortly, and he answered that she was deceased. At that moment I felt that there had been a strong connection between mother and son and that she would be forever with him in his place of business. After taking a moment to recollect myself, I settled on one of the entrees pork chops and 2 sides. My choices of sides were macaroni and cheese and yams. There was an option of having my chops grilled, barbecued, jerked, or fried. Trying to stay somewhat healthy (while ordering those fattening sides); I decided to have them grilled. Pork chops are something I hardly ever place on my “must eat list” when dining out, but I was happy I choose them.

Although the wait was quite lengthy for the amount of patrons seated, I felt it was worth it. My plate arrived with not one, but two boneless chops grilled to perfection just for me. Also on the plate in separate containers were my sides, all surrounded by sprinkles of parsley. The mac and cheese and yams were delicious, but would have been knocked up a notch if they were just a little bit warmer. No meal to me is complete without bread, which I requested and was not charged for. I was given a serving of three crunchy slices of French bread, toasted with butter and sprinkled with parsley. Topping it off was a bottle of Barq’s Root Beer. It doesn’t get any better than this in New Orleans! Entrees range from $7.95 for boneless chicken breast also with order options as the pork chops to $16.95 for a seafood plate (catfish, shrimp and oysters). There are local favorites of red beans and rice, jambalaya and also blackened shrimp or chicken Alfred. Also included on the menu are 7 types of salads and 8 poor boy sandwiches. If you have room for dessert, bread pudding and a dessert special each for $3.50 is listed on the menu. Big Shirley’s is also open for breakfast from 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. On Friday nights, visit them for live jazz at 6:00 p.m.

I am going to contribute the length of waiting time to receive my lunch to the love and care that is given to each plate that passes over the counter to each and every customer. I am sure Big Shirley’s would have wanted it this way. Big Shirley’s receives 4 fleurs-de-lis for its taste, selection and that warm, fuzzy feeling we all need every once in a while.

Restaurants in New Orleans

~ NOLA Roux

September, 2012

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