Jewels in the NOLA days

I went to school in New Orleans, and fell in love with the jazz at Preservation Hall, Mardi Gras, and most of all the food! My mouth is salivating just thinking of how my taste buds would snap to life as I bit down into the crunchy exterior, then soft pillowy center of a beignet at Morning Call, huge Po’ Boy sandwiches I could barely wrap my mouth around, rich spicy Cajun gumbo, and Popeye’s Fried Chicken (my guilty pleasure still to this day). I seriously hope our guest blogger, New Orleans restaurant spy Kathleen Newsom, grows a mighty big appetite! There is so much to experience with the melting pot of cultures and flavor in the Big Easy, and she knows how to make your mouth water over it.
“A Finer Diner Experience”

Fat Hen Grill

1821 Hickory Avenue

Harahan, LA

by Kathleen Newsom

About ten miles from the heart of New Orleans, Fat Hen Grill has earned a healthy reputation for great comfort food.In 2010, Chef Shane Pritchett’s restaurant earned the highest mark for GambitWeekly’s reader poll as the place for “the best breakfast in New Orleans”.Quite an achievement since it beat out long standing established eateries in the area. Chef Shane has expanded into the realm of smoked meats and bottling his own barbecue sauces and homemade preserves (the lemon-blueberry is my favorite).

It’s a neat place with “hen” décor and interesting paintings and sculpture.My initial visits centered around the unique offerings on the menu.Once I sampled some of the items not to be found in most local restaurants, I was hooked into becoming a Fat Hen Grill regular.

The ultimate small comfort meal is the “Fat Hen Crawfish Biscuit”.It begins with a “Shanemade” biscuit, buttered and grilled, and ladled with a spicy cream sauce filled with crawfish meat, onions, peppers, and grape tomatoes.Pervading the sauce is parmigiana Reggiano cheese which accents the top.To say it’s my favorite dish would be an understatement.It’s considered an appetizer, but I usually order this as my entrée and it never disappoints.

Red Velvet Pancakes

When the restaurant first opened, one of the staples on its special’s menu was “Red Velvet Pancakes”.It’s now on the breakfast menu as a seasonal pancake.I ordered it for lunch one day and was presented with two gigantic red velvet pancakes garnished with sweet mascarpone butter, candied pecans, powdered sugar, and hot maple syrup.It tastes like a cupcake, but it’s lighter in texture and not too sweet.The butter and other condiments enhance, but do not overpower the dish.I made two additional meals out of the initial order.

Chicken Pot Pie

Another entrée that earns favorite comfort food status in my book is the “Chicken Pot Pie”, which should not be confused with the stiff, pre-packaged frozen dinner variety you see in the supermarket.The topping is a biscuit crust with a thick, bubbly stew of chicken meat, English peas, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions in chicken gravy.Eating it I felt I was being treated to rich homemade chicken soup.

S’mores Quesadillas

With the recent addition of pastry chef LeeAnn Willingham, the dessert menu has been upgraded.A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to an intriguing dessert – “S’mores Quesadillas”.It was a crispy tortilla (which tasted more of a pastry crust than the traditional tortilla texture) with layers of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.Accented with homemade whipped cream and mint, it made my stomach smile.It has an incredible mouth-feel and is a dessert that I will undoubtedly crave in the middle of the night in the not-too-distant future.

Chef Shane and his wife Juliet have done a remarkable job with establishing the Fat HenGrill.It’s a neighborhood restaurant, a fine diner, and a place that should not be missed by locals or tourists looking for a great comfort food experience.

Jewels still eating…

Thanks a million for taking us on a mouthwatering quest Kathleen (be sure to check out her fab blog) – I’ll never tire of the distinct flavors of New Orleans, or your scintillating descriptions of them. What hidden gems are you dining at in your town? Would you like to be a Restaurant Spy on Jewels from The Roving Stove?

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