I first ate at Mother‘s in New Orleans about 20 years ago. My ex and I were on a weekend trip with another couple, looking for some lunch, and were directed to this place for some good local food. The place is very casual: you order at the food line from an extensive menu, choose a table, and wait for your food. On this first, a gentleman sitting at the adjacent table regaled us with stories about how authentic the food was, how the roux was made from scratch each day rather than from canned, that the turtle soup was in the best in Louisiana, how everything in the restaurant was made fresh daily. It was after he left that our waitress informed us that the helpful man was the owner. Typical with well-prepared Cajun food, everything was long-cooked and deeply flavored.
The next time I went to Mother’s was in early 2005, during a business trip, which if you recall was the year of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A friend and I went to Mother’s at night. Because New Orleans can be a rather unsavory place at night, there were policemen on the sidewalks and at the entry. The place is popular enough, and small enough, that you must stand in line outdoors to get a seat. One of my favorite dishes is the ‘debris’ sandwiches. Debris gravy is the result of long-cooking roasts, and then using on the little bits of meat that fall off and the pan juices to create something rich, brown, and wonderful.
This week, I am in New Orleans again, for the first time post-hurricanes. I’m chairing a session for some technical papers, and have a bit of time between gigs to look around. My friend Jeff Wagg is also in town, so we wandered over to Mother’s to have a light snack. Although their specialty is the baked ham, we opted to share a bowl of seafood gumbo and a bottle of cold Abita Beer.
For such a tiny place, they have an extensive menu of southern and Cajun foods, with the day’s specials written on a chalkboard above the hot food line. After you decide what you want, you go to the register and order. The woman at the register didn’t have much patience with us out-of-towners who didn’t have the menu memorized and wanted a description of the beers (She just pointed to the taps, so like being around the Soup Nazi, you just order fast). You can have iced tea or soft drinks. They have both kinds of wine (red AND white), and they have both domestic and imported beer: Abita and Bud Light. I guess the Bud Light must be the imported beer. You find a table, give your ticket to the waitress, and wait for your bowl of delicious to appear.
I found out later that they are also open for breakfast, which would be a great time to try the famous ham, but I’ll have to save that for a future trip.
- Cajun Food Truck Brings ‘Big Easy’ To ‘Big D’ (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- Pho Tai and Chicken Fried Steak (twodifferentgirls.com)
- Jambalaya (theobamacrat.com)
- The Dish does New Orleans: Mother’s (dishranawaywiththespoon.com)
- Red beans and rice & Wash Day (edibletimes.com)