Growing up in New Orleans you learn to love eating, drinking and the Saints, although not necessarily in that order. This is a celebration of those three things.
Spending one’s formative years in New Orleans provides countless opportunities to sample some of the greatest restaurants the world has to offer. Hell, you could take many of New Orleans “lower end” restaurants and transplant them to most any other city and they would instantly become that city’s top dining spot. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some bad restaurants here, but they are significantly outnumbered by the good and great.
The idea for this site came one day in late 2008 while I was reading some reviews of restaurants I had just been to. The reviews, while delicious sounding, didn’t always seem to jive with what my experience was. Maybe every restaurant in the city knows what Tom Fitzmorris looks like (likely) or can simply sniff out a food critic (possibly). The more I thought about it, the more I realized that while I’ll read these reviews, I don’t get really excited about a restaurant until I had a recommendation from a friend, relative or acquaintance. You know, a real person who lives in my world that I can relate to. So the idea was to provide those real world reviews. Of course, other priorities (or perhaps laziness) won out and we did nothing with the idea.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2009 (just before The Season, you know for the Saints), and we’re sitting down to a dinner at a popular Esplanade restaurant. The service was simply appalling, and not just for us. I’m not a “yell at the wait staff” guy, because often it isn’t their fault, so I didn’t. But I do firmly believe in voting with your wallet and your recommendations. I could have told someone who worked there, but the problems went all the way up to the person in charge that day. So, we filed the experience away, told whoever asked and haven’t been back since. The experience definitely re-kindled the idea of this site, providing a medium for the average guy’s experience at the restaurants across New Orleans. Of course, with the Saints kicking ass all the way to their first Super Bowl, this would have to wait.
With the season over and our New Orleans Saints crowned World Champions, I’ve got a little extra time to sample our fine (and not so fine) restaurants and write about them. So here it is.
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This is Cupcake writing now. To piggyback on what $1.25 said, we’re excited to share our local restaurant experiences with you, but there’s more to it than just that. Shortly after the most recent winter holidays, $1.25 and I were headed out to a late night dinner. The first place we tried is in the Warehouse District and parking that night was impossible. After I don’t even remember how many trips around the block, we finally bailed on the Warehouse District and headed Uptown, figuring we were bound to find something open and edible. We did find something open, but our meal was completely unremarkable and I found my entree to be inedible. And that never happens to me! So, we’re sitting there, totally disappointed with our dinner, and the check comes. That’s when I realized that we had spent far too much money that weekend on too many not-so-great meals just because we “needed” food. So, I posed the challenge to $1.25: do you think we can go one month without eating another meal out? To my complete surprise, although I’m not sure why I was surprised, $1.25 one-upped me and declared we could do it for two months, no problem. So we hammered out our rules: we would cook all of our meals, take our lunches to work whenever possible, and we would not eat in a restaurant unless someone else was paying. Yep, mooching was allowed.
Well, we made it through our two months. And I personally think we did extremely well with the whole thing. If you had asked me in the thick of things, I probably would have told you that it was frustrating having to come home and cook every single night. But looking back on it, we had some really delicious meals at home. We tried things like stuffed peppers, pad thai, every kind of pasta dish imaginable, meatloaf, (really) spicy turkey burgers, and a whole bunch of other dishes throughout the two months. We had a few misses, but we also had a lot of awesome meals. And there were all sorts of perks to eating at home. $1.25 and I both felt healthier almost immediately, it seemed like we spent more time together because we were in the kitchen together almost every night, and we probably saved a considerable amount of money. As we made our way through the two months, I kept thinking to myself, I should be keeping track of what we’re making, or I should take a picture of this because it looks so fantastic. So, this site it the perfect opportunity to do just that. While we’re definitely not going to be eating every meal at home any more, we are committed to making more of our food every week. So, we’ll keep you posted on that part of our culinary journey too. Because like any good New Orleanians, we love our food, and if we’re not planning one meal, we’re eating it, and we’re probably already talking about what we’re going to have for the next one.