One of the best parts of traveling to a new city is discovering a food item that you didn’t know existed before. Like when I traveled to Barcelona and discovered pa amb tomàquet. Same thing in New Orleans, only it wasn’t bread smeared with tomato that I discovered; in New Orleans, I discovered the snowball.
This is the line at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, one of the city’s most famous snowball purveyors. What’s a snowball?
A snowball is essentially shredded ice flavored with syrup. “Wait a second,” you’re probably thinking. “That’s just a snow cone.”
No, no, no. Two things make it not a snow cone: (1) the texture of the ice, which is extra fine (not coarse like it is with a snow cone); and (2) the exotic array of syrups you can choose to flavor your snowball.
Some of Hansen’s flavors include: banana, cardamom, root beer, pineapple, grape, bubble gum, wild cherry, and vanilla bean.
When it was my turn to order, I chose: satsuma.
On a muggy, hot New Orleans day, this totally hit the spot (and believe it or not, we went here after brunching at Commander’s Palace.) The part that surprised me the most was how thoroughly the syrup infused the ice. Sometimes with snow cones you get a watery, icy patch; with snow balls, everything tastes like your chosen flavor.
You can have your snowball stuffed with ice cream or, like Gaby’s, topped with whipped cream:
You can also accidentally drop your whipped cream on the floor (I share that because this is a cool photo):
Heed my advice then. When you go to Barcelona, eat pa amb tomàquet. And when you go to New Orleans, eat a snow ball.
Again, on a boiling hot New Orleans day, we craved some respit. We found it at the charming (and air-conditioned) Napoleon House in the French Quarter.
This place is New Orleans through-and-through. It was built, believe it or not, when a group of New Orleanians plotted to rescue the exiled emperor from Elba. They planned to house him here. That didn’t work out (sorry Nap):
What you drink at Napoleon House is the Pimm’s cup (oddly, a very British drink.)
That would be Pimm’s (a gin-like liqueur) mixed with lemonade and other fruity bits. It’s beyond refreshing, especially when you’re schvitzing.
Now some of you will be mad that in my time in New Orleans, I never made it over to Central Grocery for the muffuletta. (Craig did and raved.) Will you forgive me if I tell you that we all shared a muffuletta here at Napoleon house?
Dang, that was good! For those who don’t know what a muffuletta is: that’s meat, cheese and–the key ingredient–garlicky olive salad on good bread. It totally hit the spot and made me happy to be at Napoleon House.
So there you have it: two unique destinations for your next New Orleans vacation.
Nostalgia Tastes Like a Pink Sno-Bliz (One Fork, One Spoon)
A Snowball by Any Other Name is Not From Hansen’s (Small Time Explorer)
A Chill on Tchoupitoulas (eGullet)
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe (Chu on This)
Eating Lunch at Napoleon’s (Will Jog For Food)
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More Amateur Gourmet:
Favorite Food Sites:
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- Serious Eats
- Simply Recipes
- Slice NY
- The Food Section