March 11, 2013

Hornets forward Ryan Anderson is providing periodic blog updates on Hornets.com, delving into many of his experiences as a new resident of New Orleans and other topics. In his third update, Anderson discusses some of his favorite places to eat in the Crescent City.

One of the things I knew I had to do when I came here last summer was to experience great New Orleans food. I’ve quickly realized that trying to visit all of the great spots to eat in this city is almost overwhelming. It’s like when I played in Orlando the last three years, I was overwhelmed by how many parks there were to visit and Disney things I wanted to see. Here, the food is the attraction. I haven’t even hit half of the places people are always telling me about, but I’ve already been to many of them and experienced some of the best food I’ve ever had and the best people I’ve been around. Here are a few of the places I’ve really enjoyed:

Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon Street)
An amazing place. I went there my first week here. You get great, homey New Orleans food. You wear a jacket and it’s sort of fancy, but it’s a place with delicious food. There’s nothing special about it per se, nothing extra – it’s just great food. And you can tell the food is made with great, old recipes.

Jacques-Imo’s (8324 Oak Street)
A lot of people know about this place; it’s a famous spot. Their fried chicken is very popular, and I had their quail dish the last time I was there. It was amazing. The alligator cheesecake is incredible, and you can’t get that anywhere else besides New Orleans.

Arnaud’s (813 Bienville Avenue)
I love this place. I had an amazing meal with my family there. They have live music and it was a really special experience. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it just felt like old-school New Orleans in that place. Just a lot of fun.

Along with those three spots, here are my other go-to restaurants. If I’m really hungry and ready for just an awesome meal, these are a couple of the places I visit:

Emeril’s (800 Tchoupitoulas Street)
It’s one of my favorites partly because it’s right down the street from where I live. My girlfriend Gia and I go in there a ton. We really enjoy the appetizers, and they always have a great fish special. I actually went there for my first New Orleans meal, with Monty Williams. He told me about the duck wings and told me I absolutely had to try them. So we got an extra-big order of them. I tasted them, and it changed my whole view of wings. They have this bleu cheese crème fraiche that they come with. Awesome.

I also enjoy Emeril’s because we know the managers and the waiters. It’s a fun experience that makes us feel like we’re at home.

Drago’s (2 Poydras Street)
I’ve had some of my favorite meals there, with their chargrilled oysters, which are amazing. Obviously you’re not going to get chargrilled oysters at a lot of restaurants – I love the creativity aspect of the restaurants here. Drago’s also has a great shrimp pasta dish.

One of the next steps for me is to keep looking around and find more great breakfast places. So far, this is probably my favorite breakfast place:

Surrey’s (4807 Magazine Street)
I go to the one on Magazine Street that is kind of deeper into Uptown. It’s a fun place. When my girlfriend and I went and got a reservation, we had to put in our favorite superhero name to place the reservation. As Hunger Games fans, we decided to go with Primrose Everdeen. Gia actually made me say “I volunteer as tribute!” People who’ve seen the movie thought it was funny. Everybody else there just thought I was crazy. So that was a memorable place. Everything is great there. I love breakfast there.

FAN INTERACTION
Editor’s note: Do you have a New Orleans restaurant recommendation for Ryan? Perhaps a movie you think he should see… or avoid? Want to ask him a question? Send in your thoughts on Twitter to @Jim_Eichenhofer using the hashtag of #rynoblog and we’ll help Ryan become even more acclimated to the Crescent City.