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Best of New Orleans #18

Best of New Orleans #18

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Chef and owner, Leah Chase, and her unique breed of down-home Creole cooking has made this restaurant a must-visit

This Treme Creole landmark has been in operation since 1941.

Every day during the month of August, we’re highlighting one restaurant from our recent ranking of the 31 Best Restaurants in New Orleans. Today’s restaurant, Dooky Chase, is #18 on our list.

Since 1941, Dooky Chase has been a Treme Creole landmark, all thanks to the now 91-year-old chef and owner, Leah Chase. Her unique breed of down-home Creole cooking has made this restaurant a must-visit, and when it was nearly destroyed in Hurricane Katrina the whole community pitched in to help rebuild. It doesn’t get much better than her gumbo, crab cakes, crab soup, fried oysters, and red fish Orleans, and the homey, friendly atmosphere is unrivaled.

Here's our complete ranking:
#31. Maurepas Fine Foods
#30. Boucherie
#29. Mother’s
#28. Luke
#27. The Joint
#26. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
#25. Mahony’s
#24. MiLa
#23. La Petite Grocery
#22. Gautreau’s
#21. Coquette
#20. Parkway Bakery
#19. Clancy’s
#18. Dooky Chase
#17. Drago’s
#16. Emeril’s
#15. Redfish Grill
#14. Jacques-Imo’s
#13. Bayona
#12. Camellia Grill
#11. Domilese’s
#10. Willie Mae’s Scotch House
#9. SoBou
#8. Root
#7. Herbsaint
#6. Domenica
#5. Cochon
#4. Peche
#3. August
#2. Galatoire’s
#1. Commander’s Palace

The Best Gumbo in New Orleans

Nothing heats up a chilly autumn day like a steaming bowl of gumbo. Dozens of New Orleans restaurants serve the iconic Louisiana dish. Here are our four favorites.

Some people say the best way to mark the seasons in Louisiana is through a culinary calendar. Crawfish come in season in winter shrimp boats go out in spring gardeners pick tomatoes and okra in summer and everyone makes gumbo in fall. That&aposs when all the ingredients finally come together.

New Orleans&aposs restaurants offer hundreds of variations on the Cajun-Creole concoction. They all begin with a roux𠅊 mixture of spices and flour thickened with cooking fat. From there, chefs create hearty, dark varieties with smoked meats like Andouille sausage or duck and tasso, or fill lighter seafood versions with shrimp, crabmeat, tomato, and okra.

We spent a few days exploring eateries in the French Quarter (and beyond) in search of our favorite gumbos. Here are the tasty results.

Chef/co-owner Drew Knoll is all about seafood and oysters at Station 6, the Bucktown restaurant he owns with his wife chef Alison Vega Knoll, who is now focusing on her gourmet market The Larder in Metairie. Knoll, whose background includes running a gourmet restaurant in Antigua, puts so much seafood in his seafood gumbo — gulf shrimp, oysters, blue crab — that it’s a meal in itself. But then you’d miss his blackened Gulf fish and crab casserole, which would be a shame.

Seafood gumbo from Station 6 Madeline Rose for Station 6

Fried Catfish Recipe New Orleans Style

This Fried catfish Recipe has evolved over the years as a compilation of several New Orleans-style recipes. Almost always fried a little on the spicy side.

Many restaurants in New Orleans pride themselves on their house specialty fried catfish recipe.

This is one of those New Orleans-style fried catfish recipes. Humorously called “fries” the thin strips of catfish are coated in cornflour and cayenne, then deep-fried to a crispy golden brown.

Try these “fries” with your favorite Creole dip or tartar sauce – they also make outstanding sandwiches served on toasted French rolls, slathered with Cajun mayo.

Give this fried catfish recipe a try!

Be sure to Like Foodgasm Recipes on Facebook for more great recipes.

I love Fried Catfish and this New Orleans Style is just how I like it.

  • 1 fillet 10 ounce catfish
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup corn flour or half cornmeal and half corn starch
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Wrap the catfish fillet in plastic and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes – you don’t want it rock solid, just very firm.

Lay the partially frozen fillet on a work surface and cut it into ½ inch strip, slicing on the diagonal. They should resemble French fries.

Season the fish with the cayenne, covering the entire surface equally. Put the seasoned fish in the refrigerator to thaw out.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. It should reach a medium-high temperature of 375F.

Combine the cornflour with the kosher salt and black pepper. Toss the thawed catfish in the seasoned flour and fry them in batches. Pick up each piece with tongs and swirl it a little in the hot oil before releasing it. This will keep it from sinking and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Fry the catfish pieces until they are golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain the cooked fish on a wire rack or paper towels. Serve hot.

Food For Thought – Even though these “fries” are coated in cayenne, they may not have enough sizzle for some people. You can fire up the engines with as much cayenne as you can handle! For extra flavor that is not necessarily hot, try adding granulated garlic, dried onion and a bit of celery salt to the cornflour mixture,

Good To Know About This Fried Catfish Recipe – Corn flour is extra-fine cornmeal. You can approximate the texture by putting cornmeal in a blender and process it until it has a consistency like flour. You can also use a combination of cornmeal and cornstarch to approximate the texture of cornflour. And you can always use just plain flour to fry with, it just won’t have the same crunch.

New Orleans' Drago's Grilled Oysters

This authentic recipe for Drago's charbroiled oysters comes from the horse's mouth: Tommy Cvitanovich, who owns the famous seafood restaurant in New Orleans. The restaurateur developed the recipe more than 20 years ago in response to the raw oyster scare present at the time. Since oyster stock is the best liquid to cook seafood in, he says, he knew charbroiling oysters would produce a good result, especially since it was a take-off on his already popular grilled redfish.

His new menu item took off like a shot, and there is no denying that the freshness of the product made this dish a star: Still handpicked by their own fishermen, the oysters are delivered to the restaurant in Drago's own truck. In his own words, "This is the perfect dish for those who want to enjoy oysters in their unadorned form but can't or won't eat them raw. Once you start eating these charbroiled ones, you won't be able to stop. Don't attempt this without freshly shucked oysters and an outdoor grill."

Our recipe follows Drago's instructions and celebrates the pride with which the restaurant has been serving this flavorful dish for years. After all, it was the hard-work ethic of immigrant Croatian fishermen that gave a boost to oyster farming in Louisiana, so they know a thing or two about freshness and flavor. The Cvitanovichs have generously shared other Croatian recipes like their stuffed cabbage recipe, fritters recipe, and apple strudel recipe through Klara Cvitanovich.

What to do in New Orleans with Kids

While New Orleans might not immediately stand out as a family-friendly vacation spot, there is so much more to the Big Easy than Mardi Gras!

Quirky and unique, NOLA has a wealth of unexpected spots that will make you wish you’d added an extra day to your trip. From live jazz pop-ups, to a rich literary history, amazing food and more – you will not have a hard time keeping the whole family happy in New Orleans.

Ella is getting excited for our trip with this book (which is hard to track down but worth it!) and also rewatching Disney’s The Princess and the Frog which is set in New Orleans.

I’m getting excited by making as many NOLA-inspired dishes as I can, like our Authentic New Orleans Beignets or our Lobster Bisque recipe. (We even had a Princess and the Frog themed movie night.)

One of my favorite ways to save money while travelling is to look into Sightseeing Passes, like this New Orleans Sightseeing Pass. They are also a great gift idea if friends or grandparents ask for suggestions.

This one has two different options: select your top 2 to 6 attractions from their list (Attractions FLEX Passes) OR (my favorite option) pick a 1, 2, 3 or 5 day pass with unlimited admission to the 20 Attractions they offer free admission to. Of course, these passes are only a good deal if you’re actually interested in the attractions they cover. There are a couple attractions for this pass that I’m not super interested in, but the ones we are interested in make it worthwhile. (Not to mention it includes an airport shuttle!)

Check out my list of the 50 things in New Orleans you can do with the entire family – and be sure to PIN THIS POST for your NOLA Vacation Planning.

  1. Enjoy a live Jazz performance at Preservation Hall. Several all-ages shows are available throughout each evening. Find info about showtimes here.
  2. Stroll Magazine Street as a quieter Bourbon street alternative.
  3. Take the St. Charles Ave route on the New Orleans Streetcar to view local architecture while resting little feet.
  4. Ride the “Flying Horses” at Carousel in City Park. Learn more on their website.
  5. Dip your toes in the Gulf of Mexico at Orange Beach or Gulf Shores.

6. If you don’t make Mardi Gras during your trip, get a behind-the-scenes experience at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. Read more here.

7. Stroll the Rail-To-Trail Tammany Trace path and finish with a stop at the inclusive playground.

8. After investigating the manicured gardens at Longue Vue House & Gardens, let kids enjoy the Discovery Garden created just for them.

9. Read more about the region and especially William Faulkner at Faulkner House Books. Discover more here.

10. Beloved childhood story characters come to life at Storyland in City Park. Preview the magic here.

11. Get up close and personal with the history, geography, and culture of the region at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Learn more the wealth of attractions here.

12. Connect with the historical roots of New Orleans at Louis Armstrong Park.

13. Get up close and personal with Gulf of Mexico sea life at the Audubon Aquarium.

14. Create a one-of-a-kind glass souvenir at the Shard Shop. See current class offerings here.

15. There’s always something new to see and eat at the French Market.

16. Appreciate the value of insects and delight in the graceful butterflies at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

17. A trip to NOLA wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

18. For an inexpensive adventure sure to excite the kids, take the Canal Street/Algiers Ferry. Get tickets and see the schedule here.

19. The stunning resolution of the Entergy Giant Screen Theater brings wildlife into reality.

20. Once your ride the Carousel, check out the bigger Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

21. The staff at French QuarTour Kids Tour go above and beyond to connect kids to the history and culture of New Orleans. See tour options and more at their website.

22. With a climbing wall and art studio, a stop at Louisiana Children’s Museum offers something new for everyone.

23. See a massive model of early 19 th century New Orleans at the Historic Train Garden.

24. Appreciate the historical importance and impact of the second world war at the WWII Museum – perfect for older kids and teens. You can even take online classes through the museum here.

25. After a visit to the World War II museum, grab a retro bite (and milkshake!) at the Soda Shop.

26. Enjoy the waterside views and hear about the history of water-travel through New Orleans at the New Canal Lighthouse.

27. Running parallel to Bourbon Street, Royal Street offers unique shops and sights for families to enjoy.

28. Stop in for a bite at Pizza Delicious or get a pie via bike delivery!

29. Bring the over-the-top glam of Mardi Gras to life at the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture. Get a preview here.

30. Classic, tasty, and sure to please, enjoy a favorite local sandwich at Short Stop Poboys.

31. Stroll riverside at the Woldenberg Riverfront Park near the Audubon Aquarium.

32. A bit of a drive from New Orleans, but if you’re driving to NOLA anyways, stop in Baton Rouge for Knock Knock Museum. Designed for kids 0 – 8, it offers hands-on STEAM activities in 18 different learning zones. Learn more here.

33. Rent a bike and cruise the trails or venture onto the water at City Park Boat & Bike Rentals.

34. Buy the kids a classic beignet at Café Du Monde, while you sip on the Chicory coffee they’ve been brewing since 1862.

35. See the crumbling remains of a sugar plantation and appreciate the Lake Pontchartrain views at the Fontainebleau State Park.

36. Savor tempting chef crafted dishes at St. Roch Market where everyone can find something to love! Read more about what awaits here.

37. One of the city’s favorite attractions, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 creates a direct connection to the past. However, catch a tour to visit this historic site – vandalism has led the city to end self-guided exploration.

38. The unique features of regional artists’ creations take center stage at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

39. Visit the site of the infamous Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette National Historical Park.

40. One of the top-rated zoos in the country, the Audubon Zoo has a full display of local wildlife include highly endangered Whooping Cranes and Amur leopards.

41. Visit Jackson Square to explore the local artists, architecture, and more. The park is also a great launch pad for other attractions in the area.

42. Kids 6 and under get free admission at the New Orleans Museum of Art & the Sculpture Garden!

43. Don’t miss the chance to take a lovely dog for a walk while you sightsee! Visit the Villalobos Pitbull Rescue Center to learn more.

44. Adventurous families will love an afternoon on a Big Easy Bayou Kayak Tour. They welcome kids of all ages.

45. A perennial favorite, the Steamboat Natchez offers cruises throughout the day or special brunch or dinner offerings.

46. Located off Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the US. Visit for mass or a tour.

47. The unique Music Box Village will stun and amaze your senses. Check it out here.

48. You’ll have a lot of options for swamp tours – check out this review to decide on your favorite.

49. Crescent Park, a beautiful and compact park with riverfront walking paths, is a lovely spot for an after-dinner stroll.

50. Don’t forget the pralines! Leah’s Candy Kitchen or Aunt Sally’s Pralines offer the best around.

Have you visited these spots with your family? Or did I miss any of your favorites? Share in the comments below!

For more NOLA Family Vacation planning, check out our 10 Best New Orleans Restaurants for Foodie Families.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large celery stalk, minced
  • Cajun seasoning to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon liquid shrimp and crab boil seasoning
  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Additional chopped green onions

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then gradually whisk in the flour. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, whisking constantly, until a golden roux forms set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine the onion, garlic, and celery and cook 1 minute. Add the Cajun seasoning to taste. Stir in the broth, corn, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then pour in the milk, cream, and liquid crab boil. When the mixture begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer 7 minutes. Stir in the roux, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending thoroughly. Continue to cook, on low heat, whisking until mixture thickens. Stir in crabmeat, green onions, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 6 to 8 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On (September 10)

Author(s): Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer 

Publisher: Voracious

Pre-order here: $34 at

Fresh on the heels of opening their first joint restaurant,ꃊnal House Station, in Milford, NJ this past July, James Beard Award-winning cookbook authors Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer are at it again—Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On is set to release on September 10. The duo’s latest book is based on chapters that teach readers how to master a “key ingredient or powerful technique,” ranging from braises and sauces to salad dressings and vegetables. You’ll find Canal House’s classic vinaigrette there’s also oven-braised chicken with gnocchi, all paired with step-by-step photos.

Some of the best holidays are celebrated with a wish and cake, but St. Joseph's Day, happening this Friday, March 19, is not what you might expect.

Among the wrought-iron balconies, swaying banana leaves, and river views, Catholic Italian heritage lives on in New Orleans, whose famed French Quarter was once known as “Little Palermo.” The winters roll along with festivities, with Mardi Gras in February, and then the Feast of Saint Joseph.

Just two generations ago, St. Joseph altars laden with Sicilian food specialties filled the homes of New Orleans’ many Italian families. They were so abundant, the newspapers published a special section dedicated to homes with St Joseph altars so that families could plan a day of house calls. That day, they ate fava beans and shrimp roulade and drank marsala wine as they wandered through the neighborhoods with the voices of Louis Prima, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra playing in the background.

According to Elizabeth Williams, curator and founder of the New Orleans Southern Food & Drink Museum, it was a time filled with the aroma of toasted sesame seeds as her Sicilian grandmother spent days baking hundreds of biscotti to be placed on the altars.

There were plenty of reasons for these rituals. Some were never explained to her, but the most important one was and it involved a wish.

“When I was younger, the whole idea was to ask St. Joe for some kind of favor, and if it was granted, you would make a personal altar as a promise to St Joseph,” she says. “This wasn't like, ‘I’m going to win the lottery kinda thing. It could be, ‘My son will find a job. My sister won't die of cancer,’ or whatever the problem was. It had to be about generosity to others, not for personal gain.”

The St. Joseph's altar at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum

They celebrated St. Joseph’s Day to remember hard times, a famine, and to recognize the gifts of life during Lent, the Catholic holiday. Williams says in addition to the party—something New Orleanians do like no one else—the feast day was intended for those in need by raising money and delivering food.

In New Orleans today, the altars of St. Joseph are celebrated across the community–not just those with Italian-Catholic heritage. But there’s just one place where the altar is permanent: the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Williams founded the museum in 2004 to celebrate the stories of food and drink in the Crescent City.

Inside the Sicilian section of the museum, a large altar with a statue of Joseph and Jesus, festooned with white flowers, stands out. Beneath are the sacred dishes intended to be given away and shared: bowls of blessed fava or “lucky beans,” a historic legume that once helped to fight off a historic famine in Sicily, breadcrumbs, a symbol meant to look like wood chips and evocative of Joseph’s carpentry skills and lemons, when held on this day, they communicate an interest in marriage. Platters of sweets like cannoli and seasonal vegetables of artichokes and peppers, cover the three-tiered display.

The three-tiered display highlights the sacred symbols of the Feast of St Joseph, including “lucky” fava beans, breadcrumbs and lemons.

By understanding these foods, one can understand the cultural exchange that took place when Sicilians arrived in New Orleans from Palermo at the turn of the 19th century to work in the sugar cane fields. Life was difficult, but they managed to leave their mark, especially on menus. Many of New Orleans’ staple creole dishes—a blend of European, African, and Native American cuisines—possess a touch of Mediterranean. Tomato was cooked in with the roux sauce, then spread on New Orleans’ famous Po’ Boy sandwiches. Seasoned bread crumbs were added to stuffed vegetables. Shaved ice granita became the popular snowball dessert now served just about everywhere.

But to keep it more simple, here are the favorite cookie recipes of St. Joseph’s Day and how to make them.

Sesame Biscotti

Makes about 5 dozen cookies


3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
grated rind of one lemon
1 tablespoon anise oil or almond oil
½ cup milk
½ lb. untoasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the sugar to the dry ingredients. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands. Add the eggs and continue working the dough until it all comes together.

Add the milk a little at a time. Stop adding the milk if the dough becomes sticky. The amount of milk you need will depend upon the weather.

Roll the dough into snakes about ¾ inches in diameter. Cut into 2 inch long pieces.

Dip the dough into the remaining milk and then dredge in sesame seeds. Press down slightly onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cook for 12 to 17 minutes until lightly colored. The cookies should be very very crispy. Remove from cookie sheet and cool thoroughly before placing in an airtight container.

Notes from Elizabeth Williams

My Nana was famous for her sesame seed cookies. She made these cookies using 10 pound sacks of flour. There were sesame seeds all over the kitchen when we made these.



2 cups flour
¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 10 to 12 pieces, very cold
1 small egg
½ tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup cold milk

1 cup dried figs (be sure to cut off remaining stems)
½ cup dates, pitted
½ cup raisins
¼ cup honey
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ lemon marmalade (you can use orange or mixed citrus marmalade)
½ cup walnuts or almonds, chopped (I like to use pecans, but they are not traditional, since pecans are an American nut)
1 Tbsp. sweet marsala, if needed to loosen filling

1 cup confectioners sugar
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup water
Colored sprinkles
Makes 24 to 30 cookies.

Preheat the oven to 375 o F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and place in a food processor. Add the sugar and pulse 3 to 5 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the dough is like sand. Whisk together the egg, vanilla, and milk. Add to the running food processor until the dough just comes together. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead one or two times and divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In the food processor combine the figs, dates, and raisins. Pulse the processor to chop the fruit into small pieces. Add the honey, marmalade, and nuts. Pulse 5 to 7 times to combine. If the filling is very stiff, add the marsala as needed and pulse again.

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a 3"x8" rectangle. Place half of the filling down the center of the dough lengthwise. Bring the dough up and around the filling to fully encapsulate it, pinching the edges firmly. Cut into 1½ inch pieces and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Keep the cookies about an inch apart. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cook the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies begin to become golden. They will be drier, but not crisp. Remove them from the oven and allow them to remain on the cookie sheet for about 3 minutes. Then place them on a rack to fully cool.

In the meantime, make the glaze. The glaze is used on most modern cookies, but it is not traditional. It does make it easier for the sprinkles to remain on. In a bowl sift the sugar. Stir in the cup of lemon juice. Thin the glaze with water until it reaches a consistency that allows you to spoon it onto each cookie. The glaze hardens quickly so glaze no more than 3 cookies and then shake on the colored sprinkles. Continue until all of the cookies are decorated. Cookies must be fully cooled before glazing.

Chef Nini Nguyen Shares Her Favorite Food Experiences in New Orleans

This week, we make our way to The Big Easy — that multicultural Mecca where people go to tour cemeteries, drink drive-thru daiquiris, and jump into second line parades. Though people often associate New Orleans with Mari Gras and getting hammered, it also has one of the most interesting food scenes in the United States. For advice on where to eat, we turned to Top Chef Season 16 contestant and New Orleans aficionado Nini Nguyen.

Nguyen’s cuisine draws from the dual aspects of her identity — her Vietnamese heritage and her NOLA upbringing. Though she grew up appreciating food, she opted to take a traditional career path initially, earning a degree in business marketing from Louisiana State University. But her love of cooking asserted itself and she felt like she had to pursue her passion. She got a start working at Sucre and Coquette in New Orleans, where she specialized in pastries.

For now, Nguyen has left her hometown and made her way to the big show in NYC to strengthen her skill set at Eleven Madison Park and nationwide at Dinner Lab. She’s also the culinary director of Cook Space in Brooklyn, where she uses her experience in the kitchen and on Top Chef to teach home cooks how to cook like the pros.

Watch the video: Gangstar New Orleans Funny Moments #18 (June 2022).


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