New recipes

Best of New Orleans #12


The Camellia Grill is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest diner-style restaurants

One of The Camellia Grill's “Whole Meal Sandwiches.”

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, The Camellia Grill, is #12 on our list.

Founded in 1946, this Carrollton landmark is nothing short of legendary. Undoubtedly one of the world’s finest diner-style restaurants, the crowds line up on a daily basis not just for the retro charm and friendly service, but for legendary chocolate pecan pie, double-scoop “freezes,” gigantic omelets, perfect griddled 6-ounce burgers, waffles, and “Whole Meal Sandwiches.” While it’s quite possibly the best breakfast place in town, the best time to go is late at night.

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


Shrimp Po’ Boy Recipe

This one is for my buddy M.A. Sample over at The Wreckroom, I know it’s one of his favorites his wife S.A. makes a mean Po’ Boy as well.
I am forever on a quest for a good New Orleans French Bread recipe or substitute, this bread was an okay stand-in to scratch that Po’ Boy itch, but it’s just not the same. As I’ve said in the past, when it comes to Po’ Boys, the bread is really the star of the show. This one wasn’t exact, but somewhat similar, soft on the inside and a nice crisp crust.
There are a few restaurants here in Michigan that could make a half-way decent Po’ Boy, if they just wouldn’t mess with it so much. One place uses Cole Slaw, another puts cocktail sauce on it. Come on man, now you’re just being silly! No Remoulade sauce, no Chipotle mayonnaise, just a dressed Po’ Boy! You’re killing me!
I’ll bet if someone opened a straight up Po’ Boy shop in the right location here in Michigan, they would clean up! The restaurants that serve them here try to make it Gourmet, I just want to grab ’em and shake ’em! It’s called a Po’ Boy, knock it off already! Mayonnaise, Mustard, Shredded Lettuce, Pickles, sometimes Tomato, Filling, hot sauce on the table. Nothing fancy, and the messier the better.
I’ve been experimenting around recently with something I saw Mario Batali use. He used Wondra flour to fry some things, saying it gives a crispier final product. I have to say, I’m sold after the ultra- crispy Shrimp I just fried up. Wondra flour (Gold Medal brand) is found in the baking aisle, it’s what is known as an instant flour, produced to thicken sauces and gravies. You can use just plain old All Purpose flour in place of it in this recipe.
Here is my Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy recipe:

Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy Recipe

1 10-12″ long piece of New Orleans Style French Bread
4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Creole Mustard (Zatarain’s makes a good widely available Creole Mustard. I’m actually working on a recipe for Homemade Creole Mustard.)
Pickle Slices
3/4 Cup Shredded Lettuce
Tomato Slices (Optional)
Fried Shrimp for Filling (Recipe below)

Slice the bread in half horizontally, I also like to give it a minute or two in the oven to crisp up the crust.

Spread the Mayonnaise on the inside of the bottom portion of the bread, spread the Creole Mustard on the inside of the Top portion, and a layer of Mayonnaise on top of that. Spread you lettuce on the bottom portion of bread, then your pickles and Tomatoes (if using). Top with the Fried Shrimp, and put the lid on. Cut the Po’ Boy in half if desired.
Serve with an ice-cold Beer (like Dixie, Abita Amber, or your personal favorite) and kettle style Potato chips (like Zapp’s). Put some hot sauce on the table and enjoy.
**Note**I cracked into my remaining Dixie Beer stash for this sandwich, I have 12 left.

Fried Shrimp for a Po’ Boy

2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil for Frying
1/2 Cup Wondra Flour
Coating:
1/4 Cup Wondra Flour
1/2 Cup Corn Flour

2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning, in all
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Water
1/2 Pound Peeled & Deveined Medium Shrimp

Heat the oil to 360 degrees in a 2 qt. saucepan.
Season 1/2 Cup of the Wondra flour with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning in a bowl.
In another bowl, Mix the egg well with 2 Tbsp of water, and 1 tsp Creole Seasoning.
In another bowl, Mix the Corn flour, Wondra Flour and the remaining Creole Seasoning.

Dredge the shrimp in the seasoned flour, then the egg wash, then the corn/wondra flour mixture. Fry in batches in the 360 degree oil until just golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan, and let the oil come back to temperature before frying another batch.


12 Very Best Things To Do In New Orleans

New Orleans is something of an assault and a delight to the senses. Better still, it’s one of the most fun cities in the USA to explore. This is made even better with the best things to do in New Orleans that are dotted across the city that I’m sure you’ll love.

Now, the best way to describe New Orleans is through its history, unique culture and vibrant streets. After all, these are the things that make the city so famous.

First off, the French influence sets this city apart from lots of other major cities in the USA. It feels totally unique and somewhere fun, exciting to boot.

Plus, it’s also home to one of the US’s most famous street parties Mardi Gras.

Honestly, there’s a whole mix of the best things to do in New Orleans that you really can’t miss. So, whether you’re visiting for a long weekend, or a little longer, I’m hoping to introduce you to a fair few I hope you’ll love as much as we did.

New Orleans is such an exciting city (we loved it).

Take a look, below, at the best things to do in New Orleans. Have the best trip.

1.) French Quarter

Also known as the Vieux Carré, the French Quarter in New Orleans is the oldest and most popular neighbourhood in the city.

This, alone, makes it one of the best things to do in New Orleans if you want to explore the cities heritage.

You see, New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and slowly grew out from the French Quarter into what it is today.

Prepare to see some truly beautiful old buildings, with lovely little balconies wrapping around them, as you wander down the old streets to sounds of jazz music and smell of gumbo.

Oh, also, be sure to check out some of the many art galleries in the area, find some spooky souvenirs and eat as much Cajun food as you possibly can.

Also, don’t forget to book tickets to Preservation Hall, too.

It’s one of the most special music venues in New Orleans and is so intimate.

2.) Bourbon Street

For something a bit more lively, head to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Located within the French Quarter, Bourbon Street is the place you want to head to when the sun goes down and the lights come on, as the colourful lights entice you to come inside on of the bars that line the streets for a drink or two.

Honestly, it’s a total assault on the senses, which initially took me back. Out of curiosity (and wanting to party), we all decided to walk down Bourbon Street. A couple of drinks later, all 4 of us had joined in on the massive crowds that line the streets and this night became one of our most fun nights on our road trip across America.

My point is, Bourbon street doesn’t feel too shiny, chilled or even overly ‘jazzy’ there are other places in New Orleans for that. What Bourbon streets is for is fun.

Oh and when you’re here, be sure to try a hurricane, a drink famous in the city and also check out the oldest bar in the United States: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

This was our the first bar we popped into and it’s great.

3.) Jackson Square

Located in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, Jackson Square is a beautiful and historic park area surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in the city.

Once here, you will find a local artist colony here, too. Many artists paint, draw, create, and display their works throughout the Square and is really great for an afternoon stroll.

Originally called the Place d’Armes in the 18th century, the Square was renamed after Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans (just in case you’re interested in the history).

Also, there are plenty of little stores and restaurants surround the square, too. Oh, and it is just a few steps from the Mississippi River itself. Exploring Jackson Square is pretty easy and really one of the best things to do in New Orleans on a nice sunny day.

4.) Cafe Du Monde

Located just across Decatur Street (from Jackson Square) is the most famous coffee shop in New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde.

It’s the place to go for coffee, and more importantly, try some of the city’s famous beignets (at Cafe Beignet), too. They’re made fresh to order and they’re so good.

Walking into this open-air style cafe from 1862 is a bit like walking into a powdered sugar-filled wonderland.

Honestly, you’ll leave with a sugar-high but it’s totally worth it.

5.) French Market

Wandering through the stalls and shops of the French Market is easily one of the best things to do in New Orleans if those beignets haven’t filled you up. It’s filled with foodie joints and little stalls.

Running parallel to the Mississippi River, the French Market is awash with plenty of treats and trinkets to try.

In the market, you can buy items ranging from jewellery and masks to old-fashioned Creole candy. Try not to get too lost, though, it gets really busy and you can lose track of time here.

Afterwards, take a ride on one of the old streetcars that trail across New Orleans, too. They’re so retro and pretty unique to the city.

Also, don’t forget to take a trip to Mother’s, too. We had the biggest Po Boys! They’re massive.

6.) St. Louis Cathedral

What looks like a castle in the French Quarter is actually the oldest cathedral in North America. This alone makes it one of the best things to do in New Orleans, especially when you head inside.

You see, St. Louis Cathedral was founded as a Catholic Parish in 1720 and includes both Renaissance and Spanish Colonial architecture that is totally gorgeous.

The cathedral is still in use, as masses are held every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Tours are available, and the cathedral is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:00pm.

Afterwards, take a ride on one of the New Orleans paddle steamers that depart pretty close to the cathedral itself.

It’s totally incredible to see and pretty unique.

7.) City Park

Located slightly northwest of the French Quarter, City Park is a huge park and Botanical Garden to explore.

The Park is full of the best things to do in New Orleans, especially if you’re looking for a more chilled out day.

From carousels and statues (which you’ll find in the Storyland section) to stunning walks, it’s totally gorgeous and well worth a visit.

Honestly, you could very easily spend hours wandering the park.

If all that exploring makes you hungry, head over to Olde Nola Cookery for a tasty lunch. They have the tastiest fried oysters in New Orleans.

8.) New Orleans Cemeteries

Now, this might sound pretty macabre but give me a moment to explore.

The New Orleans cemeteries have become something of a place to see whilst in the city, especially as they house some voodoo remnants from the people that rest there.

You see, since New Orleans is actually built on a swamp. This all meant that the dead were buried above ground in crypts and mausoleums.

Now, it’s not for everyone but St Louis Cemetery probably the most famous of these cemeteries. Perched near the French Quarter, it’s the final resting place of the ‘voodoo queen’, Marie Laveau.

Guided tours are available in many of the cemeteries, including a few night-time ghost tours. Though, definitely give this a miss if you feel like its a bit too dark or macabre.

9.) Gumbo

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without trying one of the city’s most famous dishes. Gumbo!

Honestly, gorging on some gumbo is easily one of the best things to do in New Orleans after a long day exploring.

Now, just in case you were wondering, Gumbo is essentially a Cajun-Creole dish that includes a roux, spices, okra, tomatoes, and herbs. This is then typically with either includes chicken and sausage, or shrimp and other seafood. Oh, don’t forget the filé powder, which is powdered sassafras leaves, that is sprinkled on top.

Some of the most popular places to find gumbo in New Orleans are located in the French Quarter, too. This all means it’s really easy to try when you’re in the city.

Some easy spots to visit for gumbo are The Gumbo Shop, Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant, Antoine’s and Oceana Grill. It’s delicious.

10.) Frenchmen Street

Located on the edge of the French Quarter, in the Marigny neighbourhood, Frenchmen Street is a popular destination for live music and entertainment to enjoy.

Here, you’ll find everything from jazz, rock, blues, Latin, funk, zydeco, brass bands, and even EDM can be found here. Plus, you’ll easily find plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants to spend a weekend at.

The Young Fellaz Brass Band plays several nights a week on the corner of Frenchmen Street and Chartres, too. Plus, an open-air art market is also located in the area, providing unique art for all visitors to the area.

11.) Mardi Gras

If you’re wanting to party, and a truly New Orleans experience, head to the city during Mardi Gras.

Typically, Mardi Gras happens in February and it’s a really vibrant and exciting time to explore the city. Expect lots of parades, parties and plenty of people. The city comes alive.

That being said, you can also stop by during Bayou Classic Parade that typically gets held in November.

It’s totally amazing to see and one of the best things to do in New Orleans if you’re visiting around this time of year.

Afterwards, pop over to GW Fins for some of the tastiest seafood. Their scallops are so good!

12.) Oak Alley Plantation

About a one-hour drive from the centre of New Orleans, Oak Alley Plantation is well worth a visit if you’re heading out of the city.

Now, a tour here will usually mean a two-hour stay but it’s well worth it if you want to learn more about the history of this house and plantation at your own pace.

It’s easily one of the best things to do in New Orleans if you’ve got a car or on a wider road trip (like we were).


Lil' Dizzy's Cafe Arrow

New Orleans's famous Baquet family oversees this laid-back establishment and its brunch buffet, which serves as a primer in Creole cuisine. It's a no-nonsense operation here don't expect complicated cocktails or six versions of avocado toast. You’re here for the variety of local specialities on offer, not to see and be seen. If for no other reason, come for the fried chicken, a closely guarded family recipe that's famous throughout the city you'll have to taste it to understand why.


12 Essential Performances from New Orleans’ Piano “Professors”

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.

Jelly Roll Morton – “The Crave”

Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe — better known as Jelly Roll Morton — boasted that he created jazz. He didn’t, but the Creole (of African and French descent) pianist, composer, and bandleader is a dominant figure in the early history of the music, and the progenitor of New Orleans piano playing. He took up the instrument when he was ten years old in 1902, at 12, he was entertaining prostitutes and their clients in New Orleans brothels, with ragtime, quadrilles, and the popular songs of the day. As a teenager, he became an itinerant musician, traveling through the South, the Southwest, the Midwest, and as far as New York, along the way developing a style that married the blues, ragtime, hymns and spirituals, and the Cuban habanera and Argentinian tango. Jazz historians like Gunther Schuller have hailed Morton as the first great jazz composer and a genius of improvisation who built his extemporizations on melodies and countermelodies.

Morton recorded his composition, “The Crave”, in 1939. It’s a tango with Cuban, as well as Argentinian influences. Nearly 60 years after Morton recorded “The Crave”, the Italian composer Ennio Morricone performed it on the soundtrack of The Legend of 1900, directed by the Sicilian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore, in which Clarence Williams III (of The Mod Squad fame) portrayed the musician.

Isidore “Tuts” Washington – “New Orleans Piano Professor Medley”

Like Jelly Roll Morton, Isidore “Tuts” Washington started playing piano when he was a child. Unlike Morton, who studied with Mamie Desdunes (a pianist who also was a well-known voodoo priest), he was self-taught. Washington was a well-established and popular figure in New Orleans during the late 1920s and 1930s, playing ragtime, blues, jazz, and boogie-woogie. He later worked with blues singer and guitarist Smiley Lewis, playing on Lewis’s 1950 hit, “Tee Nah Nah”. After a sojourn in St. Louis during the 1950s, Washington returned to New Orleans, where he worked at the city’s top nightclubs. Despite having been a major figure in his hometown, he didn’t release an album under his own name until New Orleans Piano Professor (Rounder), in 1983. In the clip below, he performs a medley of “Tee Nah Nah”, “Misty”, “Stardust”, and a classic of the New Orleans repertoire, Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina”.

Editor’s note: The video referenced above is no longer online, so we have added a substitute.

Champion Jack Dupree – “Junker’s Blues”

All fans of New Orleans piano playing know “Tipitina”, written and recorded by Henry Roeland “Professor Longhair” Byrd. But “Fess” based his composition on “Junker Blues”, recorded in 1941 by Champion Jack Dupree, a blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer. An orphan, Dupree was placed with the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs, the same institution where Louis Armstrong spent his childhood. There Dupree taught himself piano he later apprenticed with Tuts Washington and another pianist, Willie Hall, from whom he learned “Junkers Blues”, a song about heroin, reefer, and prison. In this clip from 1971, Dupree performs the song accompanied by Curtis “King Curtis” Ousley, an R&B and jazz saxophonist who enjoyed much popular success in the 󈨀s as a soloist and bandleader. Two months after performing with Dupree at the Montreux Jazz Festival, King Curtis was murdered in New York.

Fats Domino – “The Fat Man”

Antoine “Fats” Domino, born in New Orleans to a French-speaking family, was a hit maker from his very first recording, “The Fat Man”, in 1949. Recorded by the legendary engineer Cosimo Matassa at his J&M Studios, Domino’s debut was the first of many chart-toppers by the shy singer-pianist, reaching number two on the national R&B charts and selling a million copies. As with Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina”, Domino’s debut recording was based on “Junker’s Blues”. Domino substituted his own cheerfully boastful lyrics for the original’s. “Some people call me a junker / Say I’m loaded out of my mind /But I just feel happy / I feel good all the time” became “They call me the fat man / ‘Cause I weigh two hundred pounds / All the girls they love me / ‘Cause I know my way around”. The record marked the beginning of Domino’s creative partnership with the great producer, trumpeter, and songwriter Dave Bartholomew, with whom he co-wrote such New Orleans R&B classics as “I’m Walking”, “Ain’t That a Shame”, and “Whole Lotta Lovin'”.

Professor Longhair – “Tipitina” / “Every Day I Have the Blues”

Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair, is the Piano God of New Orleans. Yes, there are players with more sophisticated jazz chops (Allen Toussaint, Henry Butler) and greater versatility (James Booker). But for this writer — and I’m hardly alone — “Fess” was incomparable, the rollicking high priest of Mardi Gras, the gold-toothed King of Carnival. His music is the best antidepressant you could ask for — it doesn’t just make you feel good it arouses joy. Wiry and homely, with slicked-back hair (Mike Tessitore, owner of NOLA’s Caldonia Club, gave him his famous moniker), Professor Longhair began recording in the late 󈧬s/early 󈧶s heyday of New Orleans rhythm and blues, making hits like “Bald Head” and “Mardi Gras in New Orleans”. Unlike the smoother, more pop Fats Domino, he didn’t crossover to white audiences, and his career hit the skids in the 󈨀s. He suffered poverty and ill health before being rediscovered in the 1970s, his newfound popularity due to his appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and to late-career albums like Crawfish Fiesta and New Orleans Piano.

In Professor Longhair’s hands, Jelly Roll Morton’s “Spanish tinge” became a primary color. The pianist, who loved Cuban music and played with Caribbean musicians in the 󈧬s, adapted the Cuban clave rhythmic pattern to blues and boogie-woogie. He would lay down habanera and rumba rhythms with his left hand while playing triplets and intricate, surging rolls with his right. Fess’ style was highly influential in New Orleans, and much imitated by other pianists. Given his preeminence in the NOLA piano pantheon, just one sample of his brilliance will not do. The first comes from a 1982 documentary, Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together the clip was subtitled in Italian for broadcast on Italy’s RAI TV network. In it, Fess talks about how he learned to play by repairing broken and discarded pianos, and then plays “Tipitina”. The second clip, “Every Day I Have the Blues”, comes from Live on the Queen Mary, a 1975 show organized by fans Paul and Linda McCartney and recorded on the titular vessel. Professor Longhair died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1980, at age 61, just as his resurgent career was really taking off.

Huey “Piano” Smith – “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”

Huey “Piano” Smith, born in 1934, is a key figure in the early history of rock ‘n’ roll. As with so many New Orleans pianists, Professor Longhair was a major influence on the development of Smith’s style. His playing also drew on the boogie-woogie stylings of Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons Jelly Roll Morton’s jazz innovations and the R&B of Fats Domino. In 1957, Smith formed his band the Clowns with singer and bandleader — and female impersonator — Bobby Marchan. (When Smith didn’t feel like touring, he would have Marchan substitute for him — years before Andy Warhol got the idea to send bewigged impersonators to “be” him at public appearances.) In the late 󈧶s, Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns hit the charts with several singles, the most successful being “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”, in 1957. The single, released with a vocal version as the main side and an instrumental on the flip side, sold more than one million copies, and is one of the best-known and most covered songs from the early rock ‘n’ roll era.

James Booker – “That’s Life”

Recorded live in 1977 at Tipitina’s, the New Orleans club named after Professor Longhair’s indelible tune, James Booker’s version of the Frank Sinatra hit is a gripping emotional and spiritual journey packed into 10 minutes of superb pianism and impassioned (if raw) singing. Booker, in the words of Mac Rebennack, was “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced”. A highly skilled musician who began studying European “classical” music when he was 12, his mature technique astonished Vladimir Horowitz when, at 18, he played for the Russian-born virtuoso.

Throughout Booker’s career, his repertoire included classical pieces, along with his own compositions and covers of material by his musical heroes — Professor Longhair, Ray Charles, Tuts Washington, and others. On “That’s Life”, Booker messes with the lyrics in ways Ol’ Blue Eyes probably would disapprove. “If I didn’t think it was worth a little ol’ try / I’d just roll up a great big joint / And get kinda high”, he sings. Then, around the six-and-a-half-minute mark, he segues into “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” which, at 8:45, becomes Thomas A. Dorsey’s spiritual, “Precious Lord”. Pop, blues, and gospel the sacred and the profane defiance and devotion: Booker flawlessly merges styles and moods into a deeply affecting performance. Performance? Personal testimony is more like it.

Dr. John – “Fess Up”

Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, Jr., better known as Dr. John, has enjoyed a remarkably long, if tumultuous, career, beginning as a teenage session player in the 1950s. At first, he mainly played guitar, but after he lost part of a finger in a barroom shooting, he made the piano his main instrument. When he was in his early teens, Rebennack met Professor Longhair, whose music — and personal style — made an enormous impression. Fess’ playing made him want to be a professional musician, but his stage presence also gave the young Rebennack ideas. “I was also fascinated that he was sitting out there in a turtleneck shirt with a beautiful gold chain with a watch hangin’ on it, and an Army fatigue cap on his head”, Rebennack recalled in a 1990 interview. “And I thought, Wow, I never seen nobody dressed like this guy. Just everything about the man was totally hip.”

Rebennack has made some 30 albums as Dr. John, starting with his 1968 breakthrough, Gris Gris, which introduced his voodoo-inspired “Dr. John the Night Tripper” persona. But he didn’t actually record an album in his hometown until he cut his 16th, Goin’ Back to New Orleans, in 1992. The album’s 18 tracks comprise a mini-history of New Orleans music, from the mid-19th century (“Litanie des Saints”) to the early jazz era (Jelly Roll Morton’s “Milneburg Joys”) to the 1950s (Fats Domino’s “Blue Monday”). Rebennack rounded up some stellar players, too — the Neville Brothers trumpeter Al Hirt jazz singer and guitarist Danny Barker percussionist Alfred “Uganda” Roberts, from Professor Longhair’s band clarinetist Pete Fountain saxophonist Alvin “Red” Tyler, and other notables. With his own composition, the sprightly “Fess Up”, Rebennack pays homage to his hero and mentor, distilling Fess’ distinctive style into three minutes-plus of bluesy, boogie-woogie, rumba-ized funk — or, fonk, in the good doctor’s parlance.

Henry Butler – “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand”

Henry Butler, at 64, is just now getting much-deserved attention from critics and audiences — especially since he relocated to New York and began playing high-profile gigs at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, and Joe’s Pub. Butler has formidable technique — and he’s hardly shy about displaying it — and is uncommonly versatile, drawing on everything from Thelonious Monk to Chopin to Professor Longhair. Blind since birth, he took up the piano when he was six at 12, he became a professional musician, composer, and arranger. His early albums from the 1980s were straight-ahead jazz, with Butler in the company of such luminaries as Charlie Haden, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, and Jack De Johnette.

In the 󈨞s, Butler increasingly explored the music of his hometown, establishing himself as a stellar player in the lineage that runs from Jelly Roll Morton to Tuts Washington, Professor Longhair, and James Booker. In this January 2014 performance at the Jazz Standard in Manhattan, Butler serves up an extended version of Professor Longhair’s “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand”, backed by trumpeter Steve Bernstein and the Hot Nine two New Orleans natives, drummer Herlin Riley and bassist Reginald Veal, make up the band’s rhythm section.

Allen Toussaint – “Workin’ in the Coalmine”

If you’ve heard New Orleans music over the years, you’ve heard Allen Toussaint. The pianist and composer wrote, arranged, produced, and played on many of the biggest hits to come out of the Crescent City. Here’s just a partial list: “Working in the Coalmine”, “Ride Your Pony”, “Fortune Teller”, “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”, “Southern Nights”, “I’ll Take a Melody”, “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, and “Mother-in-Law”. Too many rock, pop, and R&B artists to enumerate have recorded his songs, but they include the Rolling Stones, the Who, Labelle, Paul McCartney, Phish, the Band, Aaron Neville, Dr. John, Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, and Elvis Costello.

During the 󈨊s, he wrote and produced for the Meters, Dr. John, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas, as well as an eclectic bunch of non-New Orleans artists — pop singers B.J. Thomas and Robert Palmer, New Waver Willy DeVille, British folkie Sandy Denny, and the veteran soul singer Solomon Burke. Toussaint arranged the horns on the Band’s albums Cahoots and Rock of Ages and produced Labelle’s 1975 album Nightbirds, which included a little number about a New Orleans hooker with an enticing come-on: “Voulez-vous couchez avec moi, ce soir”. Here, in a 2008 appearance on Later with Jools Holland, Toussaint plays one of his best-known tunes, “Workin’ in the Coalmine”, a 1966 Top 10 hit for fellow New Orleans native Lee Dorsey.

Davell Crawford – “Jock-a-Mo”

“You call it ‘Iko Iko’, but I call it ‘Jock-a Mo’,” Davell Crawford says, introducing one of the most famous entries in the New Orleans songbook. It’s one he has a right to feel proprietary about: Crawford’s grandfather, James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, wrote it. As “Iko Iko”, the number was a Top 10 hit in 1965 for the Dixie Cups, a female vocal trio from New Orleans. Since then, such artists as Cyndi Lauper, Dr. John, the Grateful Dead, the Neville Brothers, and Zap Mama have covered it. In this 2011 solo performance, Davell Crawford returns the song to its roots as a Mardi Gras anthem. His grandfather wrote “Jock-a-Mo” in 1953, inspired by the chants of Mardi Gras Indians, black men who dress up in elaborate, handmade costumes inspired by Native American ceremonial regalia.

Crawford claimed not to know the meaning of the words. “It came from two [Mardi Gras] Indian chants that I put music to”, he told Offbeat magazine in 2002. “I just put them together and made a song out of them.” His grandson Davell released his first album, Let Them Talk, in 1995 his most recent recording is My Gift to You (2013). Crawford’s playing blends R&B, gospel, funk, and jazz he also is a compelling singer, especially on ballads.

Professor Longhair – “Tipitina”

Now here’s your lagniappe, that little something extra given as a token of goodwill. In 1974, Soundstage, a Chicago-based music program on the Public Broadcasting System, devoted an entire show to New Orleans music. The producers rounded up the cream of the crop: Professor Longhair, the Meters, singer-guitarist Earl King, and, serving as the show’s merry (and apparently baked) emcee, Dr. John. Though not listed in the credits, James Booker and Allen Toussaint also are on board. At the five-minute mark, Fess does that tune of his that became a Crescent City standard and his signature song, the one whose chorus goes like this: “Tipitina tra la la la / Whoa la la la-ah tra la la la / Tipitina, hoola malla walla dalla / Tra ma ti na na!”

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Jelly Roll Morton, Isidore “Tuts” Washington, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Allen Toussaint, Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, Henry Butler — and those are just some of the best-known keyboard masters. All the great players have distinctive, individual styles, but there are traits they share, and that characterize the New Orleans sound. Deep roots in in the blues, gospel, and jazz, of course. But since New Orleans is a multicultural port city that has had a long association with Latin America and the Caribbean Sea, its pianists were exposed to, and have assimilated, idioms other than African-American. They’ll play syncopated bass lines derived from boogie-woogie, the blues, and stride. But they also incorporate rhythmic and melodic influences from Cuban rumba and habanera – the “Spanish tinge”, as Jelly Roll Morton famously, but inaccurately, called it.

As they pump out bass patterns with the left hand, the right hand unfurls melodic flourishes and cascading rolls. That mixture produces a sound that is immediately recognizable as originating in the Crescent City — funky and driving, yet easy rolling and relaxed. Think of the second-line dancers following the band at a New Orleans parade or funeral procession: Everything they do is funky, but they do it with unhurried grace and style.

The following list comprises ten standout performances by New Orleans pianists, past and present, plus a lagniappe, as they say in NOLA – a little something extra.


Angel Wings by Zorro4 (Pixabay License / Pixabay)


New Orleans Cuisine - Fried Shrimp Po' Boy Recipe

Here is my recipe for a Fried Shrimp Po' Boy. Like I said in my previous post, I'm a purist when it comes to Po' Boys, which is why I am on a quest for a good New Orleans French Bread recipe or substitute. As I've said in the past, the bread is really the star of the show. I found a decent substitute on Sunday from a sub/sandwich shop near my house that sold me a loaf that they make in house. It wasn't exact, but somewhat similar. Here is my Po' Boy recipe:

New Orleans Cuisine - Fried Shrimp Po' Boy Recipe

1 10-12" long piece of New Orleans Style French Bread
4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Creole Mustard (Zatarain's makes a good widely available Creole Mustard. I'm actually working on a recipe for Homemade Creole Mustard.)
Pickle Slices
3/4 Cup Shredded Lettuce
Tomato Slices (Optional)
Fried Shrimp for Filling (Recipe below)

  1. Every Po' Boy sandwich I've eaten in New Orleans was hinged.
  2. I'm smarter than the sandwich. :) It's easier to eat! Granted, a Po' Boy should be messy, but I like to try to keep the filling in the loaf while I'm making a mess.

Fried Shrimp for a Po' Boy

2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil for Frying
1/2 Cup A.P. Flour
1/4 Cup Corn Flour (Masa Harina)
1/4 Cup Corn Meal
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning, in all
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Water
1 Cup Peeled & Deveined Medium Shrimp (I use Louisiana Shrimp)

Heat the oil to 360 degrees in a 2 qt. saucepan.
Season the flour with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning in a bowl.
In another bowl, Mix the egg well with 2 Tbsp of water.
In another bowl, Mix the Corn flour and Corn Meal and the remaining 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning.

Dredge the shrimp in the seasoned flour, then the egg wash, then the corn product mixture. Fry in batches in the 360 degree oil until just golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan, and let the oil come back to temperature before frying another batch.

48 Comments:

Sounds very tasty. I will be trying it out sometime soon and will let you know.

keep punchin' us where it hurts.
s.a. coulda used this recipe last week. that is a fact, (i hope she don't see this).

you know, Danno. I must gain 5lbs everytime I even visit your site! -)

Derek - Thanks, be sure and let us know how it turned out!

M.A. - Damn man. lol, Bless her for trying though, mine wasn't as good as one from N.O. either! Sorry for the low punches, it hurts me as well, I'm a glutton for punishment!

Jill - I know, these aren't exactly fit & trim recipes I'm makin' here. Think of how much I gain from actually eating all of it!

It was the oil Danno..I swear. my shrimp po-boys are usually pretty good. damn that m.a.

Busted. lol. It happens to the best of us S.A., I had a Fried Shrimp disaster myself a few months ago, I was impatient and didn't let the oil get hot enough, all of the breading fell off. It's not easy to fry at home, at the restaurants the fryers keep the temp just right, not so at home.

Alright, Danno. Now I have to decide which to make. I was all set to make the red beans and rice (I have a nice leftover ham bone in the freezer from Easter). Then I saw the jambalaya recipe and was convinced that this is something I should make. AND THEN you merely mentioned the Po'Boy and before you even posted the recipe, I was stuck in a quandary. For days now, I haven't made any of them because I just can't decide. Three of my favorites from my days as Memphian. where do I start?!

Hinged and dressed with a big bag of Zapps! Oh, yeah!!

Caryn - I would suggest putting your Beans on the stove and having a Po' Boy while you're waiting for them to cook Jambalaya tomorrow! That is just too hard of a decision!

Laurie Kay - Another Zapp's fan! I'm going to order some, they're really not that expensive to order/ship online! I like the Crawtators.

Hey Danno.
I whipped up another batch of them shrimps and thanks to the right oil. whalaa they came out great. Made M.A. a PoBoy and me and the younger one in the house had shrimp tacos. which i gotta say I really liked. Which brings me to my next question. Do you have a recipe for Shrimp Taco's? If so please share. thanks S.A.

That's great S.A., I'm sure M.A. was pleased having 2 Po'Boys in such a short period of time. I will put together my Shrimp Taco recipe for you and post it at Cook's Journal in the next day or so!

yeah buddy, 2 shrimp po-boys in a week! the second was much better, she went by your recipe and changed her oil.
s.a. and danno rock!

I can't wait to try this recipe. My mouth is just watering thinking about it. You see i'm a Lousiana native and this recipe is takin me back!

you are absolutely killing me with this recipe. i am a n.o. native and i am in New York City right now, and i cannot find anything like our good food here, in the "cuisine capital" of the northeast. ha. i am dying for a po' boy right here, right now. heaven help me.
tw

Danno. outstanding recipe. I admit I am not a N'awlins native, but I did date a girl for 2 years from Slidell (does that count?). I can't remember the place we would get po boys from there (I was always hung over). Now I live in the Northwest and was craving a po boy. you got it man! MEM--OR--IES!

I'm reading a book by James Lee Burke based in N.O. he talks about shrimp and oyster po-boys with pacayune sauce.any thoughts

Great recipe, find the batter stays on the shrimp. Im going to serve this at my deli, should be a hit!

I don't work for the company but presto makes a little fry that looks like a commercial fryer the heat elements are raised from the bottom so the flour that sink to the bottom doesn't burn. I have two at home and they work great keeps the grease at the correct temp. Presto® 05466 Stainless Steel Dual Basket ProFry

Hi, I am a Creole born and raised in New Orleans. In my youth I have worked as a chef. I am well acquainted with the chefs at Dookie Chase, New Orleans premier Creole Restaurant. We always butter the French bread and toast it a little in the oven before spreading the Mayonnaises on both sides. There may be other variations, but I have never seen a Fried Shrimp or Oyster Po’ Boy with mustard on it. At the end we hold it together with two toothpicks with olives. Thanks Eugene

Dude. most excellent recipe. I am sooo stuffed..gotta bunch left over that I wil share with friends. also have used all the heads & shells for a wonderful seafood stock. yum..yum..back to my cold beer..Thanx
Dry Fly Dave on Vancouver Island.

Try leaving out the mustard and pickles and eat some hot pickled okra instead.A nice cold brew and a boudain to start makes it heaven!

Will this fried shrimp recipe work with plain all purpose flour? I'm from Lafayette and everyone here in Miami LOVES my cajun cooking. they're tired of the black beans and rice here.

Thanks for another great recipe Danno! I usually don't put the creole mustard either, just ketchup and lots of tabasco! I'm going to try your breading recipe. usually i just get Zatarain's fish fry. And craw tators are the best zapp's variety! Wonder if they ship to Italy?

don't feel bad that you can't find the ingredients. I have to have my friend in Hattiesburg send me care packages!

My fiance and I lived in New Orleans for a year up until Katrina. We got ourselves dead broke but found solace in the hot sausage po' boys from a little zip mart on the corner of Carrollton and Tulane that only ran us a couple of bucks for a full sandwich. Delicious!! We're living in NC now and I'm trying to figure out what sausage they use down in the Crescent. No sandwich can compare to that po' boy.

and whatever happened to 'The Cajun Pub' on Tulane? Liz Atwood served up free grub every Sunday to a loyal following of "po' boys."

Hey Danno, This is Sean C, you might remember me from my rave review of your fried chicken recipe. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to borrow some of these recipes to post on our website, credits intact of course. :)

There's only a splash page up just yet but it will be ready by Monday.

You may email me at seancomeaux at gmail dot com.

This was very helpful..Thanks keep it up!!

My fiance and I lived in New Orleans for a year up until Katrina. We got ourselves dead broke but found solace in the hot sausage po' boys from a little zip mart on the corner of Carrollton and Tulane that only ran us a couple of bucks for a full sandwich. Delicious!! We're living in NC now and I'm trying to figure out what sausage they use down in the Crescent. No sandwich can compare to that po' boy.

Give me a buzz annon, born and raised in NO also living in Greensboro 6 years, and about to open a spot in high point. [email protected]

i just found this web site but this bread might work i have not tried it yet i lived in the french quarter for pretty much all of my life befor moveing to maryland and the one thing i miss is po boys and tony seasoning hope this link helps like i said i have not tried it yet http://www.helium.com/items/1382137-new-orleans-french-bread-poboy-sandwich

Try buttermilk & egg instead of water &egg to fry the shrimp

I made these for our Superbowl party and they were sensational--just like the Saints!!

Oh yuck. a heart attack on a roll. How nasty.

That's why all you southern folks are obese and have health problems. You need to come up with healthier low fat versions of your high fat foods.

trying recipe tomorrow for saints and falcons game. go falcons

Ok Ty I am going to try this recipe tonight for the family. I know it is going to be and taste great!!

All of the comments (towards the end) that are whining about calories or "heart attack on a bun". pahleeese.

It's not like these are eaten once a week! And besides -- have you ever heard of exercise?

I eat shrimp po' boys and my heart, blood pressure, and weight are JUST FINE. When you do things in moderation, you'll be just fine!

Sigh me: Hot babe esting a yummy po' boy :o)

The only shrimp po-boy I've ever had was from Parkway Tavern back in April (2011) but its taste will forever be in my head. I'm back in Toronto and there's absolutely nowhere in the city to get an authentic po-boy, this makes me very sad.

Please keep on posting as this was a quality is rare to find these days. Metformin Online always looking for articles online, Generic Valsartan can help. looking forward to another great blog. Good luck to the author! All the best!

Just saw a show bout po boys in New Orleans, the sandwhich had smoked turkey n ham n tomatoes n shrimp n wow sauce, is that a variation of the original?

its so rude to sy "this is why you're obese blahblahblah"

Just dont ezt it!! and I LOVE new orleans cuisine and i weigh 110 lbs and am 5ft 5 in.

Just excerise and it wont really matter what you eat! Don't knock it before you try it! deliciouse recipe!!

i eat mayonnaise on the 9th sunday of every fifth season for three hours.

It won't work in actual fact, that's exactly what I suppose.

this is to the individual asking about what type of hot sausage new orleans poboy stops use for their poboys. its been my experience that most use patton's hot sausage. its pretty cheap but can only be found in new orleans. winn dixie has their own version which is pretty darn good, and alot of people like vaucresson's you really can't go wrong with any of those choices, and i believe you can buy vaucressons online. hope this helps.

will be tryin this recipe tonight. )

Thank you for your article, really helpful material.

Oh, Wow! I couldn't find Creole mustard in Michigan. So I substituted Louisiana Remoulade Dressing for the mayo and mustard! Fantastic!


The Muffuletta: New Orleans' Original Italian Sandwich

When you order a quarter of a sandwich, you usually know what you're getting yourself into -- a snack. Not so with New Orleans' original Italian sandwich, the muffuletta. When you ask for a quarter muffuletta, you're getting almost a full meal.

This incredible sandwich was invented at New Orleans institution, Central Grocery. This specialty market in the French Quarter opened in 1906, and catered to the Italian population of the city. Salvatore Lupo, the owner, noticed that some of his regulars struggled with juggling their usual lunch of bread, salamis, cheese and olives -- so the genius put it all together on a sandwich, and the muffuletta was born (sometimes it's spelled "muffaletta," but we tend to trust the experts).

These days, Central Grocery is definitely not the only place in New Orleans where you can get one of these behemoth sandwiches, but they are still probably the best (although everyone has their favorites). The best news is that you can still get a muffuletta, even if you don't live in NOLA -- Central Grocery will ship three or more sandwiches (note: that is a lot of sandwich, so have a party) nationwide. You can get their contact info on their endearingly basic website.

Please excuse the cheesy music in the video below, but we think it's really important that you get to see the making of this monster. The bread is bigger than your head, layered with cheeses, meats -- it's an antipasto platter stuffed into a sandwich and we just love it so much.

I still haven't made it to New Orleans, but I have eaten a muffuletta shipped from Central Grocery, and can tell you it's worth the shipping. If you want to give making your own muffuletta a shot, NOLA Cuisine's recipe looks pretty spot on to us.

*Please note, as with all our American regional food obsessions, this post has been neither sponsored, nor influenced by any company mentioned. There is no sponsorship that could incite love this nerdy.

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Where Should You Go on Your First Night in NOLA?

On the night we arrive, our driver gives us the low down on all the best places to eat. The Ritz Carlton lounge, for beignets, she says. It’s simply the best because of the dips. So, we tuck that information away deciding to visit later that weekend. Of course no trip to New Orleans could ever be complete without that mandatory stop at Café du Monde. These two restaurants are high on our list of spots we have to stop on our girl’s trip to New Orleans.

Bar Marilou Speak Easy

Bar Marilou is not an overly taxing walk from the French Quarter to the Warehouse District. Located in the former library of the City Hall Annex, Bar Marilou, is the perfect spot to celebrate the launch of our 12-day girl’s getaway. Our first three days will be spent here in New Orleans.

The plush red velvet and rich brocade fabrics create a speak easy atmosphere inside the lounge, which is tucked away from the street. Enter through the side door. Look for the neon sign. It’s impossible not to feel mysterious and cool here. Order appetizers and drinks and admire the decor as well as the stunning speak easy attire on all of the bespoke employees.

Traveler Tip: I recommend the liverwurst paté appetizer, which was delicious!

Bourbon Street in New Orleans


CAJUN CRAWFISH BOIL

This recipe is by Maurice Tate, Jr. from Mamou, Louisiana, who says it's "an old and tried recipe for boiling them 'tings!"

Here are instructions and requirements for approximately 100 pounds crawfish to feed approximately 30 people.

The number of people is based on 30 people eating an medium average of 3-1/3 pounds of crawfish (heads on) each. If guests are heavy eaters use 4-1/2 pounds per person and for lite (polite) eaters, 2-1/2 pounds per person to calculate pounds of crawfish required. For heavy eaters increase average vegetables and spices by a factor of 1.36 And for lite reduce by a factor of .75. If crowd is mixed, then medium will probably work OK.

Ingredients:

  • 3 x 35 pound bags crawfish
  • 25 pounds red potatoes
  • 2 pounds garlic
  • 25 ea fresh corn cleaned and broken in half.
  • 10 pounds salt
  • 96 ounces vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 8-ounces bottle Rex or Zatarain's Crab &amp Shrimp Boil liquid concentrate
  • 20 ounces red (cayenne) pepper
  • 20 ounces black pepper
  • 4 ea box (bag) rex (or equal) crab & shrimp boil
  • 32 ounces powdered louisiana (or equal) crab & shrimp boil

  • 2 bottles 12 ounces catsup
  • 2 bottles 12 ounces tabasco sauce
  • 1 bottle 12 ounces horseradish
  • 2 bottles squeeze butter
  • 1 douncesen lemons
  • 4 ea large yellow onions
  • 8 ea rolls paper towels
  • 4 ea old newspaper to spread on tables
  • 2 ea tables
  • 2 ea 39 gal garbage cans with 39 gal plastic bags.
  • 1 ea 60 qt cooking pot w/cooking basket
  • 1 ea propane gas burner w/stand

Batch #1: 25 pounds red potatoes & 2 pounds garlic

1 minute per pound of potatoes. Control heat to prevent boil over.

Remove from water and drain over cooking pot. Place in container (cardboard or styrofoam box) and include 25% with each crawfish batch.

Batch #2: 25 ears fresh corn, broken into 2 pieces

Batch #3: 25 pounds crawfish

  • 8 ounces powdered "crab & shrimp boil"
  • 4 ounces red (cayenne) pepper
  • 4 ounces black pepper
  • 24 ounces salt
  • 32 ounces liquid "crab & shrimp" boil (with 8 ounces liquid concentrate "Crab & Shrimp Boil" make a one (1) gallon batch )
  • 3 ounces Tabasco sauce or your favorite Louisiana hot sauce
  • 24 ounces vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 bag Rex or Zatarain's "Crab & Shrimp Boil"
  • 2 lemons cut in half. squeeze into seasoning pot throwing reins into pot.
  • 1 large yellow onion cut in half.

Batches #4,5, & 6

Repeat batch 3. If there is some concern that batches 5 & 6 will be too spicy, reduce red and black pepper amounts for these batches by 1 to 2 ounces.


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