The online posts about finding gluten free food in New Orleans led me to expect that this vacation would be the Battle of New Orleans. Instead, I was so well fed; it was the Battle of the Bulge.
Now, it’s true that gumbo and those famous muffuletta are off the menu to me forever, as are beignets and anything that’s made with a roux; but I still found it easy to be Gluten Free in the Big Easy.
It was Veteran’s Day, and so it only made sense to go to the World War II museum, followed by lunch at the museum’s restaurant The American Sector, which features gourmet versions of the American “make-do” cuisine of WWII, such as Sloppy Joes, beef tongue, and potato-chip crusted trout.
I was there on a whim, so I was shocked that the waitress not only knew what gluten-intolerance was, but everything on the menu that was safe for me to eat. I was doubtful, at first, of her claim that the Spicy Garlic Glazed Fried Chicken was GF, but she assured me they were made with rice flour! I couldn’t pass that up. They were basically what I would call “buffalo wings” – crispy and spicy and delicious, served with an assortment of pickles. My favorite was the pickled watermelon rinds, as they were both tasty and unique. My husband ordered the Shrimp Creole, also gluten free, which was good; and we shared a chocolate milkshake, quite possibly the best milkshake I’ve ever had. My meal was fantastic and I highly recommend the American Sector to anyone visiting New Orleans.
Our dinner reservations were made for us, as we were traveling with my husband’s business associates; but we were in good hands. Thursday’s dinner was at the Feelings Café on Chartres Street. I called them ahead of time to let them know I was coming and ensure that there would be something I could eat. They assured me that there were several things on their menu that would be safe and that they would be careful to avoid cross-contamination.
When we arrived, I went over the menu with the waiter, and had a bit of discomfort as he dismissed my explanations as unnecessary. It was one of those “don’t disrespect me by suggesting we don’t know what we are doing” kind of things, which I do understand; but unfortunately, most restaurants DON’T know what GF means and it’s in my best interest to over-explain. Fortunately, he was right and the kitchen was on top of things. In fact, because I called ahead of time, the manager had gone out and bought some gluten free cookies to serve with my crème brulee for dessert!
The restaurant is located in what used to be the D'Aunoy Plantation, so it is dripping with New Orleans charm. We were seated in the restaurant’s beautiful, romantic courtyard. We were outdoors, but sheltered by the high walls and trees, making it feel very secluded – fantastic atmosphere! I ordered the Chicken Clemenceau, tender pieces of chicken with mushrooms, peas, and potatoes, pan sautéed with garlic butter. It was very good. My only complaint would be that it was a very plain flavor and could have used a bit more oomph, but if you are looking for something mild, this would be perfect. Everyone at the table enjoyed their meal and I definitely recommend the Feelings Café.