Parasol’s holds a special place in my foodie heart.
Located on a corner in the Irish Channel neighborhood, it’s where I ate my very first po’boy in New Orleans. Hailing from the Midwest, my po’boy knowledge is limited but I’ve tried to make up for lost time at Mother’s, Johnny’s and Stanley. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any of them but Parasol’s might be the best.
Part dive bar, part hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Parasol’s restaurant is small and one could say cramped. If a passion for food will teach you anything, it’s that looks can be deceiving. At least that’s what I told my mom when she suspiciously eyed the building. Charging forth we went in for po’boys and a quintessential New Orleans experience on our annual trip.
Passing the ground level bar littered with remnants of St. Patrick’s day decorations, we made a beeline for the stairs to the second floor dining area. You walk up to the window to place your order, grab a table, and can order drinks from the bar below through a tiny cutout window in the adjoining wall.
When it comes to po’boys, my husband and I share an unspoken agreement. One of us orders a fried shrimp, the other a roast beef, both fully dressed and then we split them along with an order of french fries. Hoisting this policy on my mom, we followed suit.
Even while dining at an odd hour in the afternoon, there was a slight wait but it was oh so worth it. The beef was tender and gravy soaked, the shrimp were plump and golden brown. The French bread had a sturdy crust and cushiony interior, and manages to stand up to the mess created by a fully dressed po’boy (a layer of mayonnaise, topped with tomato slices, lettuce and pickles).
We polished off our two regular sized po’boys, french fries, tea and the crazy mix of escaped drippings in the bottom of our baskets. It’s unsightly, sloppy, grubby. This is what people come to New Orleans to eat.
According to the Cynical Cook, Parasol’s switched hands over a year ago and the previous owners now operate Tracey’s a stones throw away. Both restaurants are a short distance off Magazine street in the Garden District. Either way you probably can’t go wrong, but the hearts wants what is wants – which for me is Parasol’s.
If you liked this post, read more of my Restaurant Stories.
Parasol’s Bar and Restaurant
2533 Constance Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
As previously mentioned, down here in the South spring is in full force.
To take advantage of the season and warm weather, friends from church hosted a crawfish boil the first weekend in April.
I had high expectations for a number of reasons:
And like Babe Ruth calling his shot, they hit one out of the ballpark. We could taste their superior crawfish boil skills.
In addition to the usual crawfish, potatoes and corn, they also added mushrooms, lemons and garlic cloves to the pots. The mash was super spicy and everything thrown in the boil was incredibly hot, but we couldn’t stop eating. By the end of the night no one suffered from any sinus issues.
It was entertaining to observe the full process and then dive into a fresh pot poured out onto the communal serving table. Besides digging into the bounty, we enjoyed sharing beautiful day with friends while waiting for the next round.
Southerners know how to throw a party, and if a crawfish boil is involved, I’m game to celebrate spring as long as possible.
Comeback or Kumbak, no matter how you spell it, it’s still only in the South.
One of the highlights at my work Thanksgiving brunch was two gigantic salads from Walker’s Drive In. A large vat of thick, tangy Comeback dressing accompanied these gorgeous bowls of leafy mixed greens, tomato wedges, bell peppers, purple onions and feta cheese.
Comeback is a salad dressing found only in places where y’all is used with abandon. It’s indigenous to the South and possibly originated in Jackson, Mississippi. It’s also referred to and used as a sauce.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but it’s widely popular. It’s like a creamy version of French dressing with a slight orange tint, probably due to the mayonnaise base and sweet chili sauce. Comeback dressing isn’t bottled for mass production, but you can find it at small businesses, restaurants, and online.
Learn more about it and view a couple recipes:
I still don’t own a flat iron, use the word “kin”, or like pimento cheese. On the other hand… sandal season is longer, “y’all” slips out regularly, and I love a craw fish boil, even sucking the spicy juices out of the head. Yuuuum.
Being in a new world, it was inevitable the differences in culinary pleasures would eventually come to light as well. This means, I have had to come to terms with a Southern breakfast staple – grits.
I previously remember vaguely seeing or tasting grits. But as you can tell, those instances didn’t leave a very impressionable mark. Grits… even the sound of the word sounds rough, much like the texture. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of them. To get them to an edible state people add large amounts of butter, salt, and/or (mostly and) cheese.
My husband, a true Southerner, loves him some grits for breakfast. In fact, he chooses them over hash browns (strange!). And because I love people through food, I picked up a bag of grits at the store to try my hand at cooking them.
The photos above are evidence of my first grit cooking experience. Actually, it was much simpler than anticipated. It’s similar to cooking rice, which makes sense I suppose…you bring water or milk to a boil, add salt, stir in the grits, cover the pot and wait 15-20 minutes. In that time they fluff up and become creamy. And if you’re me, then you stir in a generous amount of cheddar cheese, because you can and it’s delicious.
If you want the best grits in Jackson, MS they can be found at Primos Cafe. They have the ability to convert any wary Yankee Northerner into a full blown grits fan.
On Sunday we split our Super Bowl celebration between two locations.
Friends from work had a party and I looked forward to seeing them outside of carpeted walls. When sharing this invitation with my husband, his first immediate question was 1. how big is their t.v. and 2. do they have HD. The next day I sheepishly inquired about the television status, and was hesitant to report back that they were proud owners of a t.v. complete with tubes and rabbit ears.
It took a fair amount of convincing my husband, but being accommodating and fair, we compromised on one half at each location, a television watching experience both pre and post the analog era. We had a fine time, even if the host did have to stand directly to the right of the t.v. for a clear picture.
For the second stop I brought along a King cake from Broad Street Bakery.
We had eaten lunch at Broad Street after church a couple weeks ago, and happily accepted a sample of their King cake. The colors kind of put me off, artificial coloring tends to make baked goods look unappealing and fake, but don’t be fooled, their version is delicious. Buttery, sweet and faintly scented with almond paste, I was won over and reserved a cake for Super Bowl Sunday. My husband warned me that all King cakes are not created equally, but this one was worth every bit of the $18.95.
This was my first King cake ever! We don’t generally have these in the Midwest, or at least it’s not traditionally an item conveniently found in the grocery store, unlike down here, only in the South during Mardi Gras season.
Learn about the King cake: