Although it might sound crass, folks down here in New Orleans really love to stuff delicious things with other delicious things. Case in point: the Turducken. A turkey is stuffed with a duck that’s stuffed with a chicken that’s then stuffed with…well…stuffing. We stuff crab, shrimp, mirliton, bell peppers, pork chops and all kinds of fish. We love to over-stuff po-boys and, without a doubt, love to stuff ourselves with all this mouth-watering, stuffed stuff.
Among all this rich, stuffed goodness, there is one dish that tends to get overlooked, a stuffed baked potato. Truth be told, the Crescent City is more of a rice kind of town and potatoes (red ones) tend to only appear in crawfish boils or Idahos that are found sliced up for French fries. But, with a little perseverance and a lot of local recommendations, there are a few spots in this city where some of the finest of these stuffed beauties can be found.
When visiting Cochon on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Warehouse District, a stuffed potato is likely the last dish you’d dream of ordering. After all, people expect to try something a bit more dazzling from James Beard Award-winning Chef Stephen Stryjewski, something like Cane Syrup Glazed Pork Cheeks with mushrooms and roasted corn grits or Smoked Cobia with apple calas. But, until you’ve tried it, definitely don’t knock their twice-stuffed baked potato that made from a mammoth spud featuring a creamy interior smothered in cheddar cheese. Plus, this tasty tuber is only $6! Add a bowl of Pork & Black Eyed Pea Gumbo to your order and you’ll waddle out of the restaurant under budget and thoroughly satisfied.
Best known for it’s juicy burgers and wicked Monsoons (a deceivingly sweet, fruity cocktail that can knock you on your ass faster than two Bourbon St. Hurricanes), the ever-popular Port of Call is also a great source for spuds. This burger joint is always packed and there are no such thing as reservations, so be prepared to line up and wait your turn with the rest of the crowd cued up on Esplanade Avenue. Huge baked potatoes are served as a regular side with their burgers, but you can order one “a la carte” and load it with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and sauteed mushrooms. It’s a hearty and much needed ballast for any buccaneer braving the drunken, turbulent waters of the French Quarter.
In the French Quarter, across the street from Preservation Hall, there’s another great spot that features a terribly tasty stuffed tater. Yo Mama’s Bar & Grill on St. Peter Street serves everything from filet mignon to gumbo, but scoot up to the bar and order a baked potato only to find yourself burdened with choices. You see, at Yo Mama’s anything they put on their burgers can also top their taters! We’re talking ingredients like cheddar, bleu, American, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses, grilled mushrooms, pickled jalapenos, chili, ham, BBQ sauce, avocado, bacon and (of course) sour cream. How much can you stuff into your baked potato?
Last, but not least, head into Metaire and seek out a small stretch of service road at the end Harvard Avenue that’s snug up against the I-10. There you’ll find Spudly’s Super Spuds, a restaurant located inside a tiny, blue building with a strange, slanted roof that reaches all the way to the ground. Seemingly set in the past, this cute little eatery’s main dishes are anything but small. Spudly’s offers ginormous baked potatoes with all kinds of toppings, making a mammoth meal out of a single spud. Try their “Nab-A-Crab” topped with fresh crab meat, original cheese sauce, shredded cheddar and chives or “Beef it Up” with diced roast beef smothered in sauteed onion, mushrooms and bell peppers, slathered in cheese sauce and finished with shredded mozzarella and chives…and those are only the beginning with up to twenty different types of stuffed spuds to choose from.
*Article originally published in the January 2013 issue of Where Y’at Magazine