There were two main reasons for why I wanted to go to New Orleans: the food and the music, and man, there was plenty of both. Every third store in the French Quarter was a restaurant, and music could be found on every street corner, from a jazz trio busking on Bourbon Street, to a string quintet on Royal Street, and even the New Orleans Navy Band at the French Markets:
House of Blues is also a famous music destination. A chain of live music halls and restaurants, the first House of Blues was opened in Massachusetts by James Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, River Phoenix and Aerosmith, amongst other backers. The branch in New Orleans is well known for their Gospel brunches every Sunday, as well as hosting well known bands like Machine Head and Flogging Molly. House of Blues also supports local comedy of a Thursday, and a Thursday was when we had come to visit.
We walked down the little alley-way to the Crossroads restaurant, where we were expediently seated. Menus were given, specials were recited and then we were left to decide. We were particularly excited to find that the menu had been designed by Aaron Sanchez, Executive Chef of Centrico, whom I knew of from Iron Chef America.
Our waitress came back to ask for our drink orders. I found it funny that even though I'm barely of legal drinking age over there, I didn't get asked for ID (although this was the case everywhere we went in New Orleans). I went with her recommendation, while Stephen ordered a white Zinfandel, a type of blush wine particular to California.
This drink was a sweet and fruity concoction which I ordered on the waitress' recommendation. Light and dark rums were combined with various fruit juices and liquers and served in a hurricane glass over ice.
Stephen's white Zinfandel was sweet and had subtle notes of pepper and anise. It went wonderfully with what we ordered.
These sliders were simple, but executed brilliantly. The pork was slow cooked in a sweet, tomato based sauce until fall-apart soft, and the potato-based buns were lovely and cushiony, perfect for wiping up any stray sauce.
A massive portion of fried chicken made its way over to Stephen, and he was a very happy camper. At least half a bird was on his plate, fried in a buttermilk batter until the coating was deliciously crunchy and the flesh was succulent and tender. Four ice-cream scoops of mashed potato divided the plate, with bits of crispy bacon, chives and cheese sprinkled over them, and a small dish of coleslaw provided a little refreshment from all of the cholesterol-raising goodness - except it was covered in mayo.
Although there was an option to build our own burger, I went for the Juicy Lucy. The bun was lightly toasted and still a bit squishy in the middle, and the beef patty was accurately named - it was so tasty and juicy. Jack cheese was melted on top, and battered and fried jalapenos spiced things up a bit. The chips ("fries") were crunchy and crispy and sent me to my happy place, and three different types of sauce were provided for a bit of flavour.
I tried to remain at least partially virtuous by ordering the seasonal vegetables, which came out in a small dish - smothered in butter. Still, the beans and the asparagus were perfectly cooked, and I happily crunched away on them.
This here was the bread pudding to rule all bread puddings. It was sweet, it was a perfect consistency, not too heavy, and the bourbon lifted the flavour to greater heights. The squirt of whipped cream was a bit sad, but all in all we were very happy to share this dessert.
We finished our night with the free local stand-up comedy show they had on, then retired to our hotel. All in all our trip to Crossroads at House of Blues was a success, and I would definitely recommend a visit to anyone checking out the French Quarter.
Crossroads at House of Blues
225 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA
United States, 70130
Phone: (504) 310-4999