Chicken biryani in Pakistan
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What: A simple, hearty, and delicious Creole classic, red beans and rice is traditionally served on Mondays here. Why Mondays? We were given a two-part answer: Back in the day, ham was usually eaten on Sundays, and so what remained of it (and any other leftover pork in the fridge) was thrown into this dish on Monday—which also happened to be laundry day, so women could let the beans cook unattended all day while they washed clothes. Despite its vegetarian-sounding name, there’s always some ham and/or sausage involved here.
Where: Many restaurants still serve red beans and rice as a special on Monday, including the renovated St. Charles Tavern (1433 St. Charles Ave., map), near the Garden District. This friendly 24-hour diner-like bar offers it with fried catfish; we requested andouille sausage (pictured). After an evening in the music clubs Uptown, it makes a tasty late-night meal.
When: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Order: Red beans and rice ($12.95); any of the all-day breakfasts are quite good, too (be sure to get the creamy grits). Next time, we’ll also try the fried (housemade) boudin balls and spicy chicken-and-andouille hash breakfast.
Alternatively: Mandina’s (3800 Canal St., map) in Mid-City does a popular red beans and rice special on Mondays only; also in Mid-City, historic Creole eatery Dooky Chase’s (2301 Orleans Ave., map) is a great bet (during its Tues-Fri lunch buffet). In the Quarter, you’ll find this dish daily at Creole cafes like Remoulade (309 Bourbon St., map) and dive bar Coop’s Place (504-525-9053; 1109 Decatur St., map), where you can have it with pork chop, sausage, or Cajun fried chicken—which we call making a good thing better.
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