Day 2 of our trip in New Orleans was probably the most unique day while Day 3 was a short day since we had to head to the airport for our flight home. Day 2 was unique because we started at the Oyster Festival in Woldenberg Park then stopped by Cafe du Monde before attending a hands-on cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking.
1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
It just so happened that there was an oyster festival going on both Saturday and Sunday in Woldenberg Park which is right in the French Quarter so just a quick walk from our hotel. We decided to go visit on Sunday which just so happened to be a very sunny day and it was quite hot and humid. But we persevered and got to try some new interesting items. Basically, the Oyster Festival had a stage set up for competitions such as oyster eating competitions, there was also a smaller stage for cooking demonstrations and a bunch of food booths from various restaurants around town.
Although it was an oyster festival, my friend and I did not order any oysters. We both prefer oysters raw and we already had two dozen the day before. Also raw seafood plus outdoors plus hot and humid weather just did not seem like the best idea. Instead we ordered a soft shell crab po-boy and fish beignets. Unfortunately, I forget which restaurants were associated with these items since we were too busy looking for shade and then eating the food. Both items were delicious and filled us right up so we were not able to try anything else.
Cafe du Monde
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, 70116
After the Oyster Festival, we were looking to kill time and so were walking around the French Quarter browsing shops but we also made a point to stop by Cafe du Monde and I believe the one in the French Quarter is the original location though there are now multiple locations around town.
We were debating between taking it to go or sitting down but after seeing the line for takeout and the number of people leaving their tables it was an easy choice. In fact we ended up with our choice of tables since we seemed to have timed our arrival perfectly and a bunch of tables were getting up to leave.
Some people seemed to be confused and were standing around I guess waiting to be seated but basically if you see an open table you can go ahead and grab it and a waiter will be with you shortly.
We got two orders of their beignets which of course are a must and then my friend also got an iced coffee. The beignets are well-covered in powdered sugar and absolutely delicious but really should be eaten on the spot. Each order comes with three beignets and we were pretty full so each saved two for later but they really can’t compare once they’ve cooled down.
New Orleans School of Cooking
524 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Prior to our trip, we signed up for a hands-on cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. They actually offer two types of classes, the hands-on class and open demonstration classes. The difference is in the open demonstration classes, the chef is cooking while you watch and eat whereas in the hands-on class, you are doing all the cooking and eat your own creations afterwards.
Personally, I loved the hands-on class and I think you get more out of it since you are making the meal yourself. And the set-up here and the chef that was teaching us was very good. It was a little pricey though, coming out to about $144 per person after taxes, fees and a $3 off discount code “COOKINGCREOLE” but it does last about three hours and end in a large meal.
The class we signed up for was led by Chef Sarah and our menu consisted of
- Louisiana Meat Pie
- Veal Des Allemands
- Creole Ratatouille
- Chocolate Pecan Pie
Cooking was two to a station and they had unlimited drinks throughout the class including water, iced tea, beer and wine. We may have had more beer then intended or is probably recommended while cooking but the food still came out delicious.
The cooking stations are set up so that they’re all facing the middle of the room and Chef Sarah stood sort of in the middle telling us what to do next and showing us which items to use off one of the group’s stations. She did not do any actual cooking, just walked us through it verbally but it was all fairly simple and nobody ran into any issues.
We actually started with the desert, the chocolate pecan pie, since it had to bake in the oven. It was pretty simple and absolutely delicious. It wasn’t too sweet and the fresh batch of whipped cream we made as a whole group and put on top made it all the better. We did use pre-made mini pie/tart shells though.
Next, we made the Louisiana meat pies. For the meat pies, we use pre-made frozen pie crust and most of the vegetables had already been diced for us. The meat pies were HUGE and though Chef Sarah claimed they were an appetizer, they were definitely more entree-sized. Also, we made one per person. Imagine a pie tin, cut it in half, and that’s how big each meat pie was.
Lastly we worked on the veal and ratatouille at the same time. This time we cut our own vegetables. The sauce for the veal was amazing, probably because of all the real crab flesh that went into it. The ratatouille was okay but I prefer meat to vegetables.
After we finished cooking, everyone sat down at a round table to enjoy the fruits of their labor and talk about where they have been to eat already in New Orleans. The only unfortunate part to the whole experience was that you could not take any leftovers due to licensing so I was beyond stuffed since it felt wrong to leave a lot behind.
The classrooms are also connected to their store where you could buy some of the ingredients they were using. Also, you got to keep the apron you used while cooking. All-in-all a fantastic experience and the highlight of our trip. Of course, the only other activities we had were eating and shopping…
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
On our last day, Monday, we went shopping in the morning and then came back to our hotel to check out. We wanted to grab something to eat before heading to the airport though but did not want to go to far away. It just so happened that Domenica was just around the corner in The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Also, they just so happen to have happy hour daily from 2 pm – 6 pm!
We went around 4 pm and it was mostly empty since it was a Monday. Essentially the pizzas were half off as were many of the drinks. The pizzas are not sized for one person, probably two if not three people so we decided to only order one and shared the clam pizza which had clams, garlic, olive oil and parmigiano reggiano. It was really really good. So although you may be in New Orleans for Cajun or Creole food, do not discount this Italian place.
Domilise’s Po-boys and Bar
5240 Annunciation Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
Other than the soft shell crab po-boy we had at the Oyster Festival, we had not had the chance to stop by somewhere for some po-boys. Looking at lists of top po-boy shops, it seemed quite a few were further away from our hotel. Also, the less costly ones were mostly further away so I figured why not stop by one of these places on our way to the airport? In the end I chose Domolise’s because it was sort of in the direction of the airport, I liked the options and the prices were not too bad.
Domolise’s is located in what seems like the back of a house in a residential area. There were three people working there, one at the bar and two older ladies were taking orders and preparing the food. I ordered a large oyster po-boy and a large shrimp po-boy while my friend ordered the roast beef and swiss. I did not eat them until I got home so while it was pretty good when I had it, it was probably even better freshly made.
You can find their menu on their website here. There seemed to be equal amounts of customers eating in and taking out. If you are taking out, you do not pay until after they have completed your order. Also, they have two sizes. I ordered the large size which I think was over a foot long…