Wandering Chef: Justin Simoneaux in New Orleans

Wandering Chef: Justin Simoneaux in New Orleans

Justin Simoneaux of San Francisco’s Creole and Cajun-inspired Boxing Room restaurant recently took a trip back to his hometown of Raceland, near New Orleans. Here, he shares where to find the best roast beef po’boy, rabbit jambalaya, and of course, cocktails.

“I’m a huge fan of Cochon because, in my opinion, it’s the first restaurant in New Orleans that incorporated more Cajun roots into the food, not so much of the Creole as New Orleans is known for. So the food is a little more country, a little more rustic. It just feels more personal to me, and plain and simple: it’s Cajun food done really, really well. Cochon is where you can go to experience the countryside of Louisiana.” 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA, (504) 588-2123 cochonrestaurant.com

Willie Mae’s Scotch House
“There’s no one that does better fried chicken than Willie Mayes Scotch House. That’s all they do there, and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. Their recipe is untouchable and for good reason. It keeps me coming back every time I visit.” 2401 St Ann St., New Orleans, LA, (504) 822-9503

Coop’s Place
“I always find myself at Coop’s Place. It’s like the epitome of New Orleans. It’s kind of funky, always has good music on the radio, and there are always characters at the bar and restaurant. However, if you’re looking for real characters, look no further than the employees. There are signs that say be nice or leave – so if you’re not cooperating, they’ll kick you out. I’ve never actually seen anybody get kicked out, but it would be interesting to watch. They also serve an out-of-this world rabbit jambalaya dish.” 1109 Decatur St. New Orleans, LA, (504) 525-9053, coopsplace.net

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
“This old, dark bar is a little bit creepy, but in all the best ways. It’s off the beaten path, so it’s usually not super crowded with tourists and the serve the best drinks. I usually order whiskey neat with a small beer on the side.” 941 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA (504) 593-9761, lafittesblacksmithshop.com

The Verti Marte
“For the late night snacks, this is the best spot. It’s a small convenience store that has the largest sandwich board you’ve ever seen in your life, and every single sandwich I’ve tried has been amazing. The best part about this spot is that they are open 24 hours. They call it the best kept secret in the French Quarter.” 1201 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, (504) 525-4767, vertimarte.com

Goal Post Drive-In
“Located in my hometown of Raceland, Goal Post Drive-In’s roast beef po’boy is the absolute best. It’s a tiny little place and they just have a couple of picnic tables outside, so most of the food is taken to go, but you can grab a spot right on the Bayou and enjoy your meal. I have to get one of these sandwiches every time I go home and I highly recommend calling in your order ahead of time, because wait lines can be long. The flat piece of French bread is loaded with shaved roast beef, and I always order mine with extra gravy, ketchup and mayonnaise.” 4275 Highway 1 Raceland, LA, (985) 537-6351

Jen grew up in Pt. Pleasant, NJ (yes, the Shore), escaped to school in Boston, and fell in love with travel when she went abroad to study in Australia. After nearly ten years of eating and drinking herself silly in NYC, she finally reached the west coast. Things that makes her happy: the ocean, books, mountains, bikes, friends, good beer, ice cream, unplanned adventures, football, live music.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR