Going out to eat is always an experience, be it good or bad, delicious or terrible, atmospheric or just plain strip-mall-esque. Although every restaurant is its own little world, most follow a basic formula: creating an establishment that is clearly marked as a restaurant where guests order, sit, eat and pay. That’s what people seem to have been doing for quite some time, and to this day we continue to eat our dinners away from home in roughly the same manner.
Sometimes though, even in the ever-increasing restaurant scenes of just about everywhere, you want to mix it up a little bit. Maybe you’d like to go to an unusual venue and try something that the chef just created that very day, just for you. Or maybe you’d prefer to track down a wandering vendor by their tweets, sitting wherever you can find a spot on the curb. Maybe you’re more interested in a progressive meal, trying the best dishes of a few different restaurants in the same night, just moving from one table to the next. For anyone curious about trying something new, these sort of dining experiences are becoming more popular and more available as our communities continue to obsess about food.
New Orleans, where I live, is definitely in the middle of a culinary supernova. When I first moved to New Orleans in 2006 in the wake of Katrina, the city was just finding its feet again– restaurants struggled to reopen and staff their kitchens, everyone had trouble finding fresh food in the grocery stores, and I was a broke college kid just starting to find my palate for good food. Since then, the food scene of New Orleans has exploded. Not only are old New Orleans dining establishments reopening and refreshing their menus, but new ethnic restaurants, food trucks, and pop-ups are opening up every day. I’ve been in dive bars at midnight when I start to feel a little hungry, and bam–there’s a Thai food pop-up appearing like a mirage at the end of the bar. I’ve tracked down falafel and empanadas and tacos at all hours of the day, not only because they’re awesome, but because sometimes I’d rather perch on a park bench and enjoy the non-restaurant experience. There are also upscale adventures taking place, like Dinner Lab, where a relatively unknown chef cooks the food they’ve always wanted to, with very few restrictions, in a decidedly non-restaurant location, be it (as they say) “the floor of a paper mill, or inside a motorcycle dealership.”
As a very indecisive person, especially when it comes to eating, I’m pretty excited about these new options. I love to eat, and I want to try all of the new places and revisit my favorites and enjoy everything, but instead I’ve often found myself far too many times trying to decide on dinner options with my boyfriend at 10:00 PM. So honestly, sometimes I would love for someone to take a little bit of the choice out of the affair. That’s why I was really intrigued when I found out about Dishcrawl, a service all over the country that’s getting bigger New Orleans. Basically, the Dishcrawl team picks a few restaurants, has them create a sampling menu of three items, and takes you to them without letting you know exactly where you’ll be going or what you’ll be eating. In the end, you try at least three different places, eat a lot of food that represents the restaurant’s best, and meet new people who also signed up for the tour. I don’t know if adventuresome eating can get much better for a food lover without decisive tendencies.
Curious about this ideal eating adventure? The next Dishcrawl in New Orleans is tackling three fairly new restaurants on Freret street, offering up a delicious variety of cuisines and dishes to introduce you to one of the more exciting culinary scenes in the city. If you can guess which restaurant served me this delicious plate of food, go to www.dishcrawl.com/dinearoundfreret and enter the restaurant name followed by “discount” into the Discount Code box & get 10% off your ticket for April 9th!