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Food & Beverage: 

The King Cake is a traditional and iconic dessert associated with the annual Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana, particularly in the city of New Orleans. Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is a festive season that culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the Christian season of Lent.

The King Cake is a symbolic dessert that is closely tied to the Mardi Gras celebration. It represents the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night or Three Kings' Day, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus.

The traditional King Cake is usually a ring-shaped sweet bread or coffee cake, often adorned with colored sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. These colors are said to represent justice, faith, and power, respectively.

A small, plastic baby figurine is often hidden inside the cake before baking. The person who finds the baby in their slice is considered to have good luck and is sometimes expected to host the next Mardi Gras gathering or bring the King Cake to the next celebration.

Originally, the plastic baby was made of ceramic, but unwary consumers were known to chip or break a tooth, or worse, swallow the baby. Due to liability concerns, many bakeries will either place the baby underneath the cake or just in the box with the cake, in order to avoid accidents. And lawsuits.

The cake itself can vary in flavor and texture. It is often a sweet dough, similar to that used in cinnamon rolls, and may be filled with a variety of ingredients such as cinnamon, cream cheese, fruit fillings, or nuts.

Over the years, bakers have created various versions of the King Cake, including twists on flavors and fillings. Some may include chocolate, praline, or other regional variations. Bakeries frequently produce them around other holidays, decorated accordingly, such as a red and green sugar topping for Christmas.

The King Cake is meant to be cut into slices for serving, rather than being pulled apart as one might do with a pan of cinnamon rolls or monkey bread.

King Cakes are typically enjoyed throughout the Mardi Gras season, which begins on January 6th (Twelfth Night) and concludes on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. However, they are most commonly associated with the period between Twelfth Night and the official start of Carnival season.

Sharing a King Cake is a significant part of Mardi Gras traditions in New Orleans. Many locals and visitors alike enjoy the sense of community and celebration that comes with sharing this festive dessert.

While traditionally associated with Mardi Gras, King Cakes are often available in bakeries and grocery stores throughout the Carnival season, and their popularity has spread to other regions beyond Louisiana.

The New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake is not just a delicious treat; it's a symbol of the vibrant and lively culture that defines the Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana.

Restaurants: Where Locals Eat: 

Moe's is a barbecue chain, with 50+ locations in 13 states. Although we don't usually cover chain restaurants here, we make an exception for Moe's. Self-described as Alabama style barbecue, Moe's offers something for every barbecue lover, including pulled pork, spare ribs, smoked chicken and turkey, smoked sausage and fried catfish. Brisket is available Tuesdays and Saturdays.

A wide variety of scratch-made sides includes the traditional baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw and mac & cheese. A smoke-infused stewed cabbage and a hash brown casserole are regularly served. Additionally, other sides are offered on a rotating basis, including black beans and Brunswick stew.

Platters are served with a meat, two sides and a generous chunk of seasoned and grilled cornbread. Most meat entrees can also be had on a sandwich, served with sides.

Alabama style barbecue also means you can order the smoked chicken and enjoy it with tangy Alabama white sauce.

Opened in 2015, Moe's original New Orleans area location on Calhoun St. closed in 2021, but the Metairie outlet, opened on Causeway in the old Cafe Roma spot in 2019, keeps smoking away. Although a chain store, the Metairie Moe's has the look and feel of a local neighborhood barbecue joint, backed up by a quality product.

Moe’s Original Bar B Que: Barbecue, 1101 N Causeway Blvd, Metairie (Metairie Below Causeway) map - 407-3533

Food & Beverage: 

What's in a name? The poor boy sandwich, also known simply as a po' boy or po-boy, has its origins in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The sandwich has a rich history that dates back to the 1920s.

The term "poor boy" is said to have originated during a streetcar strike in 1929. Two brothers, Benny and Clovis Martin, who were former streetcar conductors, opened a sandwich shop in the French Market. To show support for the striking streetcar workers, they offered free sandwiches to the unemployed men. Legend has it that when one of the brothers saw a hungry striker coming, he would say, "Here comes another poor boy," and the name stuck. It ultimately caught on and became a staple of New Orleans casual dining fare.

By some accounts, Benny and Clovis Martin had already been selling such sandwiches for years prior, but the streetcar strike story appears stuck in the collective local consciousness.

In the years that followed, the local vernacular being what it is, the name morphed to a lazily-spoken "po' boy". Some restaurateurs even printed it (and still do) on menus and signage as "Po-Boy". The originally-coined name is barely seen in print, let alone spoken. While you may hear the long, French loaf used referred to as poor boy bread, a sandwich made with it is rarely called that.

In fact, it would almost seem the number of people insisting on the original "poor boy" being the sandwich's one, true name is confined to a single local food writer. Call it anything else within earshot of same at your peril.

The true po' boy sandwich is made with French bread, which is light and airy with a crispy crust. It is usually filled with a variety of ingredients, such as roast beef, fried seafood (shrimp, oysters, or catfish), ham and cheese, or sausage.

Ham po' boys can be served cold or grilled hot, and the best shops offer it both ways.

Sausage usually means one of three: smoked, Italian or hot. Hot sausage can be had in either link or patty form; better shops offer both.

Almost anything can be made into a po' boy, hamburger patties, chicken fried steak and Italian meatballs come to mind, the latter served with a copious amount of red gravy (local-speak for marinara) and topped with Provolone cheese.

Sometimes seen offered is a budget version made with french fries and roast beef gravy.

One popular variation of the po' boy is the "debris" sandwich, which features shredded roast beef and the flavorful drippings from the cooking process. Another well-known version is the "peacemaker," a po' boy with both fried oysters and shrimp.

Most po' boy shops will have a "special" with a unique name on the menu, however, it is most often observed to be just a combination of ham, roast beef and Swiss cheese, perhaps with the addition of some Creole mustard.

The roast beef po' boy is the standard by which all are judged. The meat must be slow-cooked to fall-apart tender, the gravy rich and garlicky. The sloppier, the better. The best are rated by how many napkins are needed to completely finish the sandwich.

The standard po' boy is twelve inches long. Some shops have reduced that length over time, but anything less than nine or ten inches offered as a full-size po' boy is frowned upon.

For the lighter appetite, half po' boys are also typically offered, and better shops make them an inch or more longer than half of a full-size.

Not often seen these days is the "whole loaf" po' boy, made on an entire, almost three-foot long loaf. Koz's in Harahan still does them, as did its predecessor Po-boy Bakery.

Some shops offer their po' boys on a version of the bread encrusted with sesame seeds. Those that do will usually offer the traditional, un-seeded bread on request.

Pro-tip: When ordering a po' boy, you will typically be asked if you want it "dressed". That simply means do you want shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and sometimes dill pickle chips added. Some would also consider mayonnaise as part of "dressed". Although most shops don't charge extra for it, some do, usually to the tune of an extra 50 cents.

Trivia: Mother's, on Poydras Avenue in the Central Business District, uses shredded cabbage instead of lettuce to dress its po' boys.

Restaurants: Where Locals Eat: 

Koz's Restaurant has been operating in Harahan since 2005, and is primarily known for its po-boy sandwiches and other casual neighborhood diner fare. Menu staples include red beans and rice, country fried steak, and meatballs and spaghetti. Grilled and fried seafoods, fried chicken, salads, soups and wraps round out the offerings, all reasonably priced. Whole loaf po-boys are available in addition to traditional smaller sizes. Most sandwiches are available on bun or sandwich bread.

Koz's Restaurant's roots are in a Gentilly institution called the Bakery, aka "Po-boy Bakery", which operated on Franklin Avenue from the early 1960s, and where Gary "Koz" Gruenig worked ever since the day in 1965 when owner Jerry Seely gave then-12-year-old Gary an after-school job there. A regular at the Bakery likened the youngster's wild zooming around on his bicycle to "a kamikaze pilot without the plane." Kamikaze was shortened to just "Koz".

The nickname stuck, as did Koz, who worked at the Bakery for the next 40 years, until levee failures after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the building and Seely moved away to Eunice, LA. A regular patron of the Bakery offered a lease on restaurant space just off Hickory Ave. in Harahan, and Koz took the leap. Koz's Restaurant opened its doors just three months after Katrina. A few years later, in 2009, a second Koz's was opened in Lakeview by Gary's son, Max, in the old Charlie's Deli location on Harrison Avenue, but it has since closed in 2018. A third location existed briefly in 2015, in what was formerly Caffe Fresca on West Metairie Ave.

Koz's is a quintessential neighborhood eatery, sustained by and popular for lunch with the working class crowd from the nearby Elmwood industrial park, as well as patrons who remember the iconic Po-boy Bakery. Koz is the type of guy who never met a stranger, and his gregarious nature makes first time diners feel like they've been eating there for years.

Koz's: Sandwiches/Deli, 6215 Wilson, Harahan (Harahan) map - 737-3933

Restaurants: Where Locals Eat: 

Come Back Inn has been serving up delicious food in Metairie since 1966. Along with New Orleans neighborhood diner staples like red beans and rice, pasta dishes, po-boys and pizza, Come Back features fried seafood including shrimp, catfish and oysters. Another specialty is their cooked-to-order fried chicken.

Come Back Inn does a brisk dine-in lunch and dinner business as well as take-out. The daily specials and house-made soups are popular.

Seafood platters include generous portions and a mountain of french fries. Dinner entrees include vegetable, bread and salad. Beverages include bottled beer, fountain and bottled soft drinks, and iced tea.

Be sure to try the house-made onion rings; the small order is big enough for two.

Come Back Inn: Sandwiches/Deli, 8016 West Metairie Ave, Metairie (Metairie Above Causeway) map - 467-9316

Restaurants: Where Locals Eat: 

Mano's is a popular restaurant located in Metairie. The restaurant is known for serving traditional New Orleans-style po'boy sandwiches, as well as other classic Louisiana and Italian dishes.

The menu at Mano's features a variety of po'boy options, including roast beef, shrimp, oyster, catfish, and hot sausage. All of the sandwiches are served on fresh French bread and come dressed with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. The restaurant also offers a range of side dishes, such as French fries and onion rings

In addition to their po'boys, Mano's features daily lunch specials, and also serves a selection of classic New Orleans dishes, such as red beans and rice. They also have a variety of seafood dishes, including grilled or fried shrimp plates. Country fried steak and spaghetti with veal parmesan are other popular offerings. A full service bar is also available.

Mano's has a casual and laid-back atmosphere, and the staff is known for being friendly and welcoming. The restaurant is popular with locals for its consistency and generous portions, and it's a great place to stop for a quick and delicious meal.

Mano's Po-Boys: Sandwiches/Deli, 6943 Saints Dr, Metairie (Metairie Above Causeway) map - 734-0922

Restaurants: Where Locals Eat: 

Ye Olde College Inn is a historic New Orleans restaurant that has been serving customers since 1933. It is located in the Carrollton neighborhood, a stone's throw from Tulane and Loyola Universities. The restaurant is known for its classic Creole cuisine, featuring dishes such as turkey and andouille gumbo, BBQ shrimp, and fried green tomatoes.

The atmosphere at Ye Olde College Inn is cozy and comfortable, with a bar area that has a vintage feel. The menu features a variety of options, including seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes, as well as classic New Orleans cocktails.

In addition to its restaurant business, Ye Olde College Inn is also known for its catering services. The restaurant has provided catering for events such as weddings, corporate functions, and private parties.

Ye Olde College Inn is a beloved institution in New Orleans, offering delicious food, friendly service, and a unique atmosphere.

Ye Olde College Inn: Diner/Neighborhood Cafe, 3000 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans (Carrollton) map - 866-3683

Restaurants: 

Willie Mae's Scotch House is a historic restaurant located in New Orleans' Mid-City, that is famous for its fried chicken. The restaurant was founded in 1957 by Willie Mae Seaton, who started serving her signature dish of fried chicken out of her home before opening a restaurant in the Treme neighborhood.

Over the years, Willie Mae's Scotch House has become a beloved institution in New Orleans and has won numerous awards and accolades for its food, including being named America's Best Fried Chicken by the Food Network in 2005. The restaurant has also been featured in various media outlets, including the New York Times, Southern Living, and Travel + Leisure.

The menu at Willie Mae's Scotch House includes classic Southern dishes such as fried chicken, red beans and rice, and macaroni and cheese, as well as seafood options like shrimp and catfish. The restaurant also serves a variety of sides and desserts, including collard greens, cornbread, and sweet potato pie.

In addition to its delicious food, Willie Mae's Scotch House is also known for its welcoming atmosphere and friendly service. The restaurant has been family-owned and operated since it was founded, and it continues to be a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Willie Mae's Scotch House: Diner/Neighborhood Cafe, 2401 St Ann, New Orleans (Mid-City) map - 822-9503

Restaurants: 

Tic Toc Cafe is a popular diner located in Metairie. It has been serving customers since 1991 and is known for its classic Southern cuisine and casual, family-friendly atmosphere.

The restaurant is particularly famous for its breakfast menu, which features a range of dishes such as omelets, pancakes, waffles, and breakfast sandwiches. Some of their most popular dishes include biscuits and gravy, and the Tic Toc Trio, which is a breakfast platter with eggs, bacon, sausage, and grits.

In addition to breakfast, Tic Toc Cafe also serves lunch and dinner. Their menu includes a range of classic Southern dishes, such as chicken fried steak, po' boys, and burgers. They also offer daily specials, including seafood dishes and homemade desserts.

The restaurant has a casual, diner-like atmosphere, with booths and counter seating available. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and the prices are reasonable, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

Tic Toc Cafe is a great choice for anyone looking for classic Southern comfort food in a casual, friendly environment.

Tic Toc Cafe: Diner/Neighborhood Cafe, 3205 36th(I-10 Svc Rd South at Causeway Blvd), Metairie (Metairie Above Causeway) map - 834-6272

Restaurants: 

Tan Dinh is a popular Vietnamese restaurant located in Gretna, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. The restaurant has been serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine since 1982 and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

The menu at Tan Dinh features a wide range of Vietnamese dishes, including pho (the traditional Vietnamese soup), vermicelli bowls, banh mi sandwiches, spring rolls, and a variety of stir-fried dishes. The restaurant is also known for its crispy fried fish, which is a must-try for seafood lovers.

One of the standout dishes at Tan Dinh is the bun bo hue, a spicy beef noodle soup that is a specialty of central Vietnam. Another popular dish is the banh xeo, a crispy Vietnamese-style crepe filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts.

The atmosphere at Tan Dinh is casual and relaxed, with traditional Vietnamese decorations and comfortable seating. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and it's a popular spot for both dine-in and takeout.

Tan Dinh is a great choice for anyone looking to experience authentic Vietnamese cuisine in New Orleans. With its extensive menu and friendly atmosphere, it's no surprise that this restaurant has been a favorite among locals for over 40 years.

Tan Dinh: Vietnamese, 2004 Belle Chasse Hwy, Gretna (Westbank) map - 361-8008