Crazy food is a thing. The burgeoning trend for wild food mash-ups is sometimes disturbing, but more and more, intriguing enough to be hunger-inducing and definitely “Instagrammable.” Picture these decadent, over-the-top dishes on local restaurant menus:
Bagels, biscuits and cornbread have become vehicles for all manner of ingredients and toppings. The stuffed bagel at New Orleans Cake Café is a fist-sized bun filled with the obvious (salmon, cream cheese and capers) and the off-center (eggs, vegetables and cheese). Biscuits served with crab fat butter at Toups South are delectable, but it’s the “Upside-Down Cornbread” with pineapple and bacon marmalade at Meril that is the stuff of dreams.
At breakfast or brunch, dig into Canal Street Bistro’s “Bayou St. John” stack of potato latke, crab cake, wilted spinach almandine, sunny-side up quail eggs and poblano cream sauce or go sweet with chicken and waffles—fried chicken strips sandwiched between two waffles, with strawberries, honey and powdered sugar.
Sandwiches have also gone down the wild road at places like District, where the Croquenut makes “bread” out of a griddled donut that can be filled in several ways, including muffuletta-style, with Black Forest ham, salami, aged provolone and olive salad. Hit up Turkey and the Wolf for the sublimely ridiculous Grand Slam McMuffin—bulk sausage patties, fried hash browns, grilled onions, American cheese and ketchup.
At Fat Harry’s, the “secret menu” has Korean pork mac-and-cheese in addition to peanut butter, bacon and pepper-jelly sliders. Not to be outdone, St. Roch Market vendor Fete au Fete’s Trash Grits combines smoked pulled pork, grilled onions, smoked gouda and sriracha sauce with a poached egg.
The array of burgers at Bayou Burger is impressive, but the standouts are The Bayou (a deep-fried burger), The Ultimate Cure (a double cheeseburger with a grilled cheese-and-bacon sandwich between the two patties) and The Croque (a Croque Madame burger complete with ham, Swiss and a runny fried egg).
Starter and happy hour menus offer creative combos such as The Country Club’s Foie Gras Ice Cream Sandwich on house brioche with black-raspberry ice cream, sweet-and-sour onions and whiskey-pecan butter. Or how about some Chicken Skin Cracklins at Cellar Door?
To finish things off, why not put bread pudding on French bread and fry it like they do at Ye Olde College Inn?