by February 15, 2011 at 6:15 am 2,225 0

The Cajun Experience, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

The Cajun Experience, 1825 18th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Laura Herman. You can follow Laura on Twitter @Lmhhabs.

My Northern-raised palate admittedly isn’t very familiar with New Orleans food and drink, so I was excited to check out The Cajun Experience when it opened recently on 18th Street NW. I made it there last week, on a blustery night when I felt a cold coming on, so I was in the perfect mood for warming comfort food.

I started with a traditional Hurricane cocktail (I found mine cloyingly sweet and couldn’t finish it). Next I shared the crawfish mac & cheese — which you can already tell is becoming their most popular dish — and hushpuppies with my friend. This was followed by an appetizer-sized portion of the red beans and andouille sausage as we wanted to save room for beignets for dessert.

As it turns out, the appetizer portions were a good call because portion sizes are HUGE and I ended up taking leftovers home. The food was very filling, though a bit under-seasoned: my red beans dish could have been more flavorful, and my friend noted that the shrimp in her seafood gumbo was overcooked and mushy. The much-hyped crawfish mac & cheese — a menu standout of creamy mac and cheese, flecked with large chunks of crawfish and covered in a layer of broiled cheese — came out unevenly warm.


by March 1, 2009 at 9:41 am 4,076 0

New Orleans--Evening in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is fairly large, almost 80 square blocks (relatively small blocks, it's true). Photo: Luis Gomez, One Photograph A Day.

New Orleans–Evening in the French Quarter on Toulouse Street. The Quarter is good sized, almost 80 square blocks (relatively small blocks, it’s true). It is opulent, tacky, rich, run down, tasteful, quiet, loud, American, European, Caribbean… all at the same time and depending on exactly where you are. I love it. Famous-infamous Bourbon Street is just one small part of the Quarter. (Photo: Luis Gomez, One Photograph A Day.)

We were in New Orleans the week before Mardi Gras for work, and Luis has some photos of the French Quarter at One Photograph A Day. There were many parades and parties in progress and I learned that Mardi Gras is really about a two-week progression up to the main event.

It was our first trip to New Orleans post-Katrina (we were there in May 2005) and the French Quarter, Warehouse District (next to the convention center) and Garden District looked fine. However, Luis was in a couple of other areas of the city, including the Lower Ninth Ward. Things are still not so good there–many abanonded houses and buildings, and a lot of rebuilding still going on. I looked up population estimates and the city supposedly has about 290,000 people compared to 490,000 pre-Katrina.

Some of my favorites photos of New Orleans on One Photograph A Day: New Orleans: Blue Dog… Canal Street: Mardi Gras Parade… Moon Walk on the Mississippi… Streets of New Orleans… and Eating Out in New Orleans.

A quick note on Commander’s Palace: If you go to New Orleans, you MUST eat at Commander’s Place in the Garden District; it’s worth the price. Commander’s Palace is Creole-French-New Orleans food, and one of the Brennan family restaurants (although there was a feud and the properties have apparently been split among family members). The proprietor of Commander’s Palace is Miss Dottie Brennan. The food? I wouldn’t even know how to begin to describe how good it was. I had oyster and chicken gumbo, pecan-encrusted gulf fish and a strawberry shortcake… and a few bites of my friend’s Creole Bread Pudding.


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