Waking up with a hangover is part of the New Orleans experience. An experience that is easily remedied by a long, booze-riddled affair known as brunch. In this city brunch is practically an institution. Typical brunches can last upwards of three hours and sometimes even stretch into dinner time. During this meal that brilliantly combines both breakfast and lunch, it is perfectly acceptable to drink. Popular New Orleans brunch cocktails include the Bloody Mary, Brandy Milk Punch, and Pimm’s Cup. Keep in mind however, that while this is the norm here you might not be accustomed to consuming large quantities of liquor so early. Always take it slow, at least at first. Another popular brunch tradition is the jazz brunch where a three-piece jazz band plays in the dining room while you eat. So enjoy in good health, and may the excesses of the previous night be repaired by the sultry culture of this much-loved New Orleans tradition.
Oysters Sardou at Arnaud’s
Brunch at Arnaud’s is already a memorable experience. But when you eat the Oysters Sardou it transcends good and becomes great. If you really want to crank up the dish, order the Crab Cakes Sardou and they’ll put the whole thing on top of two jumbo crab cakes. A fair warning: you’ll get charged for the extra entrée, but it’s worth it.
Black-eyed Pea Cakes at Sylvain
Paired with a delicious kale salad and mushroom vinaigrette, this brunch dish is one of my absolute favorites. In a city full of exceedingly heavy brunch food, this one takes the intensity down a notch while still giving you the feeling that you are eating in New Orleans.
The Sam at Stein’s Deli
This riff on the New York style hot pastrami sandwich is hard to beat. Stein’s is only a short cab ride away from downtown, but if you want to hit a Jewish Deli for brunch then there is no better place. Seating is limited and first-come first-serve so try to go during slightly off-peak times.
Barbecue Shrimp at Mr. B’s Bistro
This is not the barbecue shrimp you are expecting. In New Orleans this means sautéing the shrimp in a Worcestershire seasoned butter sauce that will wreak havoc on your shirt, so make sure to tuck that napkin in your collar. It’s a NOLA staple, and here they do it best.
Knuckle Sandwich at Wayfare
At Wayfare, it’s easy to find something you like: just close your eyes and put your finger on the menu. I especially recommend Chef Kevin White’s knuckle sandwich with thinly cut beef that has been tossed in a delicious horseradish aioli. It’s topped with shoestring potatoes and arugula, then served it on a beautiful pretzel bun.