New Orleans is a formidable feasting ground that goes far beyond the Cajun and Creole mainstays. Where to start? Eat dessert first.
Don’t worry, you can always walk it off by taking a stroll along the lush, manicured streets of the Garden District, or soaking in local color and music throughout the Marigny & Bywater neighborhoods. Or my favorite — a walk through the city’s grand, yet slightly dilapidated cemeteries. And yes, by all means, spend a few hours in the French Quarter, but there’s so much more to see and eat in New Orleans outside of this tourist haven.
Sno BallsLet’s get one thing straight – a sno ball is nothing like a snow cone. A snow cone consists of crunchy, ice bits covered in sweet syrup. Typically the syrups sinks to the bottom leaving tasteless ice on top, and lots of liquid on the bottom. In comparison, a sno ball is an angelic, refined frozen treat. The shaved iced is so fine and smooth (just like snow), it traps the syrup throughout, and melts in your mouth like silky cotton candy. Seriously, once you try a sno ball you will never eat another snow cone again. The locations below all make their own flavor syrups in-house, and are all closed for the winter.
- Plum Street Snowballs – 1300 Burdette St. – A Chinese takeout container full of sweet frozen treats.
- Hansen’s Sno-Bliz – 4801 Tchoupitoulas St. – The crowd calls this the fluffiest of the shaved ices.
- Sal’s Sno-Ball – 1823 Metairie Ave – Rich chocolate is the favorite at this neighborhood stand. It’s one of the few sno ball vendors open late.
BeignetsPillows of deep fried sweet dough. ‘Nuff said. Grab a coffee and a beignet (or 3) at one of the renowned locations in New Orleans.
- Cafe du Monde – 800 Decatur St. – Take in some people watching while eating sugar-topped beignets.
- Morning Call – City Park Casino – In a hurry? The lines tend to be shorter than other beignet joints in the area.
- Cafe Beignet – 334 Royal St. or 311 Bourbon St. – The Royal street location has a tranquil garden courtyard where you can eat in relative quiet in the French Quarter.
Yes, beignets are French-style doughnuts, but they are category all to themselves in Louisiana. Here’s where you can find house-made cakey or doughy, icing topped, traditional American doughnuts.
- Blue Dot Doughnuts – 4301 Canal St. – Founded by former New Orleans cops who are self proclaimed doughnut experts, you’ll find traditional favorites, and modern pairings such as bacon maple.
- Buttermilk Drop Cafe – 1781 N Dorgenois St. – Scratch made doughnuts, including bite-sized buttermilk drops, as well as homemade king cake and other baked goods.
- District Doughnuts and Sliders – 2209 Magazine St. – Not sure if you have a hankering for a gourmet doughnut, or are craving a savory pork belly or fried chicken slider? This is a casual place where you can have both, and pair it will artisanal, small batch coffee.
Classic Cafes & Pastry ShopsBecause sometimes you just want a sweet snack instead of lunch.
- Angelo Brocato – 214 N Carrollton Ave. – Old-skool Italian bakeshop that offers pastries and gelato. They make their own cannoli shells and filling — one of the few places in the country to do this.
- Breads on Oak – 8640 Oak st. – A large selection of artisan breads, pastries, and sandwiches using organic and locally sourced ingredients. Nearly half the menu is vegan.
- Croissant D’Or Patisserie – Pastries and sandwiches made in-house daily at their French Quarter location.
- Gracious Bakery – 1000 S. Jeff Davis Pkwy. – Artisanal pastries, flaky croissants, and rustic, crusty breads. You can also grab breakfast or weekend brunch.
- Sucre – 3025 Magazine St. & 622 Conti St. – Homemade macarons, gelato, chocolates, and a variety of other decadent sweet treats. They all taste as good as they look.
- Willa Jean – 611 O’Keefe Ave. – A contemporary bakery where you can grab a pastry to go, or sit down for a full breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’ve been lauded for their scratch-made biscuits, which can be eaten alone, with gravy, or as the bread on a decadent egg and cheese sandwich.
One of the best things about eating in New Orleans is that the culinary landscape continues to evolve, while still retaining its southern roots. Case and point, there’s plenty of vegan eats to be found in the city, including these bakeries.
- Shake Sugary – 3304 St Claude Ave. – A variety of vegan and non-vegan scratch-made treats including pastries, pies, biscuits and even breakfast.
- Girls Gone Vegan – You’ll find their vegan and gluten-free pastries at a handful of cafes and coffee shops around the city.
- Breads on Oak – 8640 Oak St. – Both vegan and non-vegan artisan goods.