PHOTO GALLERY: Eating Our Way Through Jazz Fest

 

My Top 4 Bites at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
(described in 3 words)!

We let the good times roll at our first New Orleans Jazz Fest experience in May 2017. Live tunes, authentic Nola eats, festive parades — we loved it all!

 

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#4 — Crawfish Bread: Crispy. Cheesy. Carbs.

 

 

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#3 — Muffuletta: Meaty. Tangy. Fresh.

 

 

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#2 — Red Beans & Rice: Spicy. Tender. Filling.

 

 

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#1 — Crawfish Monica: Quintessential. Creamy. Pasta.

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Bayou Classics: Shuck N Dive Cajun Café

 

It’s officially Mardi Gras season, and so I felt it was only appropriate to finally share with you about my love affair with Shuck N Dive. Situated in a nondescript shopping plaza off Federal Highway near downtown Fort Lauderdale, this lively Cajun café is one of our favorite restaurants in all of South Florida. The interior is decked out in LSU and New Orleans-style knick-knacks — and there’s always either zydeco music blasting through the speakers or a sports event shown on the bar’s TVs. My husband has also noted the “flashy”, shall we say, Bourbon Street photos that adorn the men’s bathroom walls.

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Boiled Crawfish

This has to be the restaurant we’ve visited the most since moving to Miami. And we can’t get enough of their food. We have our standards, like the 3-Way Oyster Platter (Black n’ Blues, Oyster Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville) and the pork boudin, which is flown in from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a small town across the way from where I was born. There are also a few items we’ve tried only once, but overall enjoyed — fried pickles, naked chicken wings, red beans and rice. The “Larry” Cobb salad delivers a huge portion topped with chicken and Gulf shrimp, and during season they typically have boiled crawfish, most of which have been decent size.

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Crawfish Etouffee

I enjoy their hearty portion of crawfish etouffee, albeit it’s a creamier version than those you’ll find in Louisiana — and nearly every time I go to Shuck N Dive I have a cup (or bowl) of either their Country Gumbo (pulled chicken with andouille and okra) or their seafood gumbo (shrimp and sausage), which is probably my favorite dish they serve. Nine times out of ten my husband orders the fried gulf shrimp po’boy — he also asks for it to be tossed in buffalo sauce, which adds some nice heat to an already overstuffed sandwich.

A couple Abita or Nola Brewing beers and some Zapp’s chips, and you feel as though you’re in any old roadside dive in Louisiana. But here you won’t find a drive-thru daiquiri stand or snowballs for dessert. When we can’t make it to my hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana, or I’m not up for cooking my Cajun family’s recipes, Shuck N Dive certainly delivers that taste of home, no matter how far away.

Family Traditions: Mamon Babineaux’s Shrimp Creole

This recipe is a super special one because not only is it one of the first dishes I ever made when I started teaching myself how to cook, but it also spans four generations in my family. It has been passed down from Mamon Babineaux (my late great-grandmother) to her daughter, Harriet Shea (my grandmother) to her son, Steve Shea (my late father), who sent it to me many years ago while I was in college. It’s a simple recipe packed with bold Cajun flavors. From my family to yours — enjoy!

Mamon Babineaux’s Shrimp Creole
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
White rice

 

Directions
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the veggies and garlic to the pot and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Mix in tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer 15 minutes. Then add shrimp and cook 5-10 minutes.

Serve over cooked rice.