A Taste of NOLA in Pensacola: The Ruby Slipper

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Like most of us, I try to live as honest of a life as I can. I communicate openly with my family and friends, and when something is bothering me, I’m not afraid to speak my mind. Don’t ask me if a pair of jeans makes you look fat, unless you want a brutally honest answer that is. This hyper-honesty of mine, I don’t only direct it outward; I also do my best to not lie to myself. There’s just something so liberating about acknowledging and accepting your strengths and weaknesses as opposed to living in a state of denial and insecurity! It’s healthy to love things, and it’s healthy to realize the things we love aren’t perfect, regardless of how close to the mark is being hit.

NWFL’s Emerald Coast is one of the closest nouns to my heart. Out of all the people, places and things I’ve meet or experienced, there are only a small few that surpass this love I have for the nearly indescribable beauty offered throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast. I’ve traveled to many places across God’s green Earth, but I just can’t find someplace I like more. But that doesn’t mean that certain areas don’t do some things better than we do in Northwest Florida.

Take, for example, Louisiana. Try as I might, I just can’t argue that the chefs in Florida, on average, can match the skill and passion of the chefs trained in the ways of Louisianian cuisine. Maybe because I know it’s not true, or maybe it just isn’t believable. From small towns like Alexandria to one of America’s finest cities, New Orleans, when it comes to cooking, the entire state of Louisiana excels the way Bob Ross reigns supreme at painting trees. Luckily for myself, you all reading, and anyone else with a passion for Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, you can take the Louisianian chef out of Louisiana, but you can’t the Louisianian out of the Louisianian chef. My evidence for making this statement: The Ruby Slipper Cafe in downtown Pensacola.

If you’ve never eaten at one of the Ruby Slipper locations throughout the South, there is no small possibility that you’ve never had a brunch this delicious. That isn’t to say that The Ruby Slipper is the greatest brunch restaurant in the world, but it honestly could be. Those used to the cream of the crop, The Brennan’s and the Commander’s Palace’s and the Ralph’s on the Park’s, will not find themselves missing their usual fare at this Oz inspired eatery. In fact, the demand for The Ruby Slipper is so great, there are six locations in New Orleans alone. We’re talking uptown, mid-city, the central business district, Marigny, and two locations in the French Quarter (Canal Street and Decatur Street). While Pensacola is the only city privileged enough in Florida to have a Ruby Slipper Cafe, Mobile and Orange Beach, Alabama also house locations, as do Baton Rouge and Old Metairie in Louisiana. It’s safe to say that the demand for Ruby Slipper’s delicacies is equal, or at least close to, how badly people want world peace.

While not exactly a cajun or a creole restaurant, The Ruby Slipper Cafe takes the best that classic Louisianian styles of cuisine have to offer, and creates its own spin. If I had to pick a favorite menu item, I wouldn’t be able to; I could see myself choosing everything and declaring theirs my favorite menu. I always recommend their signature dishes however, such as the Bananas Foster Pain Perdu (French bread-based French toast with rum-flambéed bananas & raisins), the BBQ Shrimp & Grits (Sauteed Gulf shrimp with beer & rosemary butter reduction, over creamy stone ground grits served with a buttermilk biscuit) or the gigantic Build It Yourself Omelette. If you’re a fan of eggs benedicts, I’ve had not just my favorite ever here, but my two favorites ever! The Chicken St. Charles features Fried chicken breast served over a buttermilk biscuit, topped with two poached eggs and finished with a pork tasso cream sauce while the Eggs Cochon whets appetites with its slow-cooked, apple-braised pork debris served over a buttermilk biscuit, topped with two poached eggs and finished with a perfect hollandaise sauce. Writing about this makes me so hungry, that if this was my cheat day, I’d be on my way to The Ruby Slipper Cafe right now.

Being a brunch restaurant means a variety of traditional breakfast and lunch choices, such as pancakes and burgers. While it took my visiting several times before I could venture away from the items which initially captured my heart, the more I try at The Ruby Slipper Cafe, the more I’m convinced that it is one of the tastiest restaurants ever conceived. If I haven’t convinced you to go by now, I wonder if mentioning their full bar (and delicious house margaritas, mimosas and more) or their excellent baristas serving up cups of joe equally as delicious as the delights concocted in their kitchen will do the job.

I really have to end this article, because with every word I write, I get hungrier and hungrier. If you live in Louisiana, Alabama or Northwest Florida, you really have no excuse to not go to The Ruby Slipper Cafe. Unless you’re dieting. Dieting is a perfectly legitimate excuse to not dine at The Ruby Slipper. If that is your excuse/reason, jot down the name Ruby Slipper and on the next day you’re rewarding yourself, go eat food unlike anything you’ve ever consumed.