It has been decided that my mother and I are nappers. We do many other things, mind you, but we are AMAZING nappers. When on vacation, our skills really shine. All that breakfast eating, city touring, etc…made us sleepy and our hotel proved to be a perfect place to take a break.
I slept for like 3 hours. I do this often. As I said, I’m a napper. When we were both sufficiently awake, we decide to take a trip just outside of New Orleans to Drago’s We had both seen an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate where the charbroiled oysters served at Drago’s were mentioned. I was going to my mom’s house for dinner that night and at about the same time we mentioned we needed to try these things. Right before our trip a coworker of mine, who was also a NOLA native, told me I had to try them also. Even if I didn’t really love oysters….which, until this trip, I can’t say I did. After we finally found a parking space (really Metairie..parking sucks!) we sat down and immediately ordered a half dozen charbroiled oysters. Apparently 90% of the tables order the oysters upon being seated. The other 10% just don’t know what they are missing!
Mind you, this dish is not pretty. The platter comes with the huge oysters scattered about and virtually swimming in the butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese that is what makes these puppies sing! They came with a large hunk of French Bread. I had mentally told myself to avoid being lured into the bread that evening so I’d have more room for seafood…..but the bread was a vital part of the experience. I grabbed my little oyster fork (things that have special utensils are just cool!) and stabbed the biggest oyster on the plate. It wasn’t slimy like a raw oyster and not quite as firm as a fried oyster. It was PERFECT! Yummy and garlicy with the rich butter taste and a slight charcoal flavor. The first one I ate even had a little bit of sand in it…but that really only enhanced the experience…and proved how fresh these were. The family that owns the place used to be fishermen and as a result, they only buy local seafood. The thought of Croatian fishermen always makes me think of San Pedro, which makes me feel like I’m in a good place. I was definitely in a good place.
(ok–I came across a photo that looks damn good to me…but I know how good the damn things TASTE!)
Once we ate all the oysters, the reason for the french bread became abundantly clear! We looked at the plate and noticed that all the empty oyster shells were filled with buttery, garlicy goodness. I grabbed the bread and went to town sopping up all that wonderfulness. I do not have words to describe how good this whole experience was……
In addition to the oysters, we had ordered a friend shrimp platter and spinach dip to share. The spinach dip may seem an odd choice, but I tell ya, even the spinach dip is special in New Orleans. It was AMAZING! Possibly the best I’ve ever had.
Which brings us to the shrimp. OMG the shrimp. Huge, luscious gulf shrimp. Cooked to perfection. The batter was crispy without being greasy. I have eaten more then my fair share of fried shrimp in my time…but these were, hands down, the best. The cocktail sauce had the perfect horseradish kick. Each shrimp was both a delight to consume and one step closer to them being gone…..the comedy/tragedy of a good meal!
It should be noted that my mother decided to have a couple of vodka tonics this night. She doesn’t really drink, like at all, anymore. She was a tad toasted… this information is important in the next part of our story.
As I have said, I researched like a fiend in preparation for this trip. I knew we had to have beignets at Cafe Du Monde, but I had also heard of a place that locals swore by and it happened to be right down the street from Drago’s. Morning Call is in a strip mall behind a HUGE shopping mall. Unassuming both outside and in. We ordered one order of beignets ( my mom was full…and a bit drunk) to share. They came unadorned. There was a powdered sugar shaker on the table so we could regulate its inclusion in the snack. The beignets were tasty,but the real story from this stop is my tipsy mom. There was a man at the table next to us whose dentures didn’t seem to fit right as they had that lovely “whistle” action, particularly when he said anything with an “s” sound. This gave my mom the giggles. Big time! I think this fella was only using words that had an s in them. So she giggled. He whistled. She laughed powdered sugar all over the place. It was a great time!
We drove back to the hotel with full tummies and laughing the whole way.
Day Three: Parkway Po Boys and Pink Dumpsters!