30 Restaurants: Munch Factory & Coco Hut

January was eating at black-owned restaurants.

Munch Factory

The Munch Factory recently moved from Gentilly to the Lower Garden District, which made my visit that much more likely. I decided to take myself on a date and dine alone while reading the Audre Lorde I reported on in a past post. This place is (sadly) one of fewer and

fewer restaurants run and owned by New Orleans natives; particularly by young Black locals. It’s been called ‘contemporary Creole’ food, but I just call it damn delicious! I didn’t get to try much during this visit, because I was alone and couldn’t take bites from my husband’s plate if he had come, but everything I ate was lick-the-plate good. The gumbo is hands down my favorite in the city. I’ve gone back again, had the gumbo again, and my feelings are the same. Then I had blackened redfish served on grit cakes, topped with jumbo lump crab meat. Perfection. My mouth is watering thinking about it. On that second visit with a group of people, in addition to re-tasting the gumbo, I tried the buffalo oysters and had a bowl of shrimp and grits. Same deal, everything I put in my mouth was amazing.

The only area I would say I was less than impressed with was dessert. We ordered all the desserts–tres leches cake, bread pudding, and key lime pie–and we tasted all, but mostly ate our own. Nothing really stood out too much for me; the key lime was probably my favorite, although I ordered the tres leches cake. No matter though. I will definitely be back to try as many items on the menu as I can!

Coco Hut

Sugar Cane Juice

Jamaican food in the 7th ward! It’s a small place situated near the community bookstore, a bakery, and an incense/soap place that also sometimes holds events. There are only a few tables and there’s really no sit-down service, so don’t expect that. You order at the counter and they bring you your food in a to-go container, which is great, because it’s usually too much food to eat in one sitting anyway. They have your standard jerk chicken–which is grilled right behind the counter and may have your eyes burning from the spices aerosolized in the smoke–and then a BUNCH of other everyday items and specials. It was pretty cold outside when we went so we had to keep the door to the outside closed, making for a pretty smokey lunch. The upside was enjoying some hot coconut, turmeric, black bean soup, which didn’t look like much but was something I could have eaten two or three more bowls of. I seriously wish I had that recipe, and had the skills to make black beans from dried beans that aren’t either undercooked or exploded.

For my entree I went with the jerk chicken, which came with beans and rice, cabbage, salad, and plantain patties. I also had a big cup of sugar cane juice. Everything was delicious, and I’d particularly go back for the sugar cane juice as a nice switch up from ice coffee; although I’m sure that sugar crash might not be as productive. I’ve also revisited this place since then, and had curry shrimp the second time. That wasn’t as appetizing for me. A lot of spice with less flavor. But I will be back to try something else!