A life lived in chains is not a life worth living. This is one of the main reasons why Cristina and I don’t often eat at chain restaurants. Another reason is that we live practically ten minutes away from New Orleans. I can understand that if I lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota that I could be excited about an Olive Garden. However, I don’t. I live in New Orleans. I can get fresh made Italian food at numerous local places in the area. And most of the places are cheaper than chain restaurants.
Coming from a small town that doesn’t have a red light, I can understand how people think chains are good. I used to believe they were. New Orleans, unlike Metairie, has very few chain restaurants. When I taught in New Orleans, my school near the corner of Magazine and Louisiana. There were a restaurant row of some very good restaurants: Joey K’s, Byblos, and Rocky’s to name a few. That’s when I broke free from the chains. The food was better and cheaper than most of the chain restaurants I’ve been to. And yes there are some chains I do like, but most of those tend to be locally based.
The question we are asked all the time is where do we hear of these places. Easy, check out the Nola Food blogs on the left side of the page. The Gambit is a good place to look as well.
Those two places led us to High Hat Cafe on Freret Street.
I really liked the space at High Hat. It is open with a great looking bar. Large windows let you see all the activity on the street which was pretty crowded due to a boxing match across the street. The earthy look of the restaurant went well with the down home cooking. I ordered the smoked pork with sweet potato salad. The pork was very good, fork tender but a little too greasy which would actually make for a great po-boy. The sweet potato salad was creamy and cold and lovely. Cristina had the smoked chicken with pimento cheese fries. The chicken had a nice smokey flavor but was a little dry. The pimento cheese fries, however, were a perfect side dish.
The best part of the meal was the check. Both entrees clocked in at under thirteen dollars.