A Taste of New Orleans – NBC Chicago

Mardi Gras is underway in New Orleans, leading up to Fat Tuesday next week.

NBC 5’s Food Guy Steve Dolinsky says there’s a legendary restaurant in Homewood, where they’ve been partying the last 50 years.

The Maple Tree Inn opened in 1974, moving from Beverly to Blue Island, then more recently, to larger digs in Homewood. But the mission has always been the same: bringing a taste of New Orleans to the Midwest.

Erich Wennberg loves sharing his passion for all things New Orleans with his customers. The Maple Tree Inn has been an institution for South Siders, going on 50 years. Even though this week is big, due to Fat Tuesday, the restaurant’s mission is year round.

“We want to bring a little bit of New Orleans up to Chicago. So my first trip to New Orleans I was amazed, fascinated, I fell in love, because my soul was filled because of everything in New Orleans,” said Wennberg.

An absinthe rinse and a skilled bartender indicate your Sazerac will be expertly made – appropriate garnish and all. The food, meanwhile, is a direct result of Wennberg’s relationship with his suppliers.

“Most of them are in Louisiana,” he said.

Several dishes, like the jambalaya, begin with the Holy Trinity.

“Celery, onions, peppers then we add garlic,” said Wennberg.

In this case, there’s also chicken, shrimp, crawfish and andouille sausage.

“Our andouille sausage we actually make in-house,” said Wennberg.

A scoop of dirty rice adds subtle heat, and the dish is as filling as it is colorful.

“Old School New Orleans dishes: jambalaya, blackened redfish etouffee…”

Crowned with vinegary greens, it’s as good as anything you’ll find in the Big Easy. They do take a slightly different approach with their barbecued shrimp.

“Shrimp and grits – ours is called hickory buttered barbecue shrimp, over jalapeno cheddar cheese grits – we do a lot of our own smoked meats, we do hickory smoked barbecued ribs, we have a double-cut pork chop on now,” he said.

Dessert is a good idea, especially if you want to share.

“Banana custard crème brulee, and then there’s a banana bread pudding on top of that, and then we have a caramelized praline sauce that goes on top that, it’s really, really nice. Helps me maintain my girlish figure,” said Wennberg.

Reservations are recommended, and you can bet they’ll be busy leading up to Fat Tuesday, but every day at the Maple Tree Inn is a little bit of Mardi Gras.

Here’s where you can go:

Maple Tree Inn

18849 Dixie Hwy., Homewood


Soruce : https://www.nbcchicago.com/the-food-guy/the-food-guy-a-taste-of-new-orleans/3074959/

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