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Deacon

New Orleans Trip Report

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A few observations, as quickly as possible, about my recent trip to New Orleans:

Galatoire's (dinner) -- One of the few places that still requires a jacket for men. Immediately to the left of the front entrance, two racks of "courtesy jackets" for tourists who stumble in unprepared. Could not get a table upstairs, so had to settle for the downstairs "walk-in" dining room. Waiters friendly and professional. Walls covered with mirrors to make the room look bigger, also coat hooks along the wall, unused. Old-line Creole menu. No pompano en papillote available tonight. Oysters Rockefeller had bright green sauce, mushy but delicious, and huge oysters--sopped up last traces of sauce with the excellent bread. Soft-shell crabs tasty but heavily breaded with crisp crust. Banana pie good. Cream for the coffee was curdled, but was swiftly replaced with a brand new cup after a brief interval. Around $100 for two, no wine.

Cafe Du Monde (late snack) -- Beignets hot and fresh, served in a mound of powdered sugar, three to an order. No view of river, very disappointed. Place was packed to capacity, no atmosphere. Crowd was noisy and unruly, experience was like stopping for a snack at Ellis Island in 1910. Did not get coffee--was much too tired and sweaty for hot coffee at this point.

Louis XVI, in the St. Louis Hotel (breakfast) -- Beautiful courtyard with banana trees and fountain, very restful. Rooms inside with air-conditioning for wimps and the faint-of-heart. Good coffee. Friendly waiter who called me "young man" and therefore got immense tip.

Acme Oyster House, Lakeshore Drive (lunch) -- No view of Lake Pontchartrain, very disappointed. Neighborhood is marina-esque. Sports-bar decor and ambience. Raw bar and cajun selection on menu. Moderately good marina view of residential boat slips and commercial docks. Red beans and rice good but not outstanding. Gumbo delicious and very spicy, no need for hot sauce! Jumbalaya was a bit dry but had lots of chicken, coated in some sort of dry spices, probably including a lot of paprika. Po'boys reputedly excellent.

Bayona (dinner) -- Entrance down short alley/courtyard. Subdued. Full of foodies, if any were tourists they were well-dressed. If this place were in New York, you'd want to wear all-black. Got subtle feeling we were being snubbed. Not nearly as friendly as the standard Creole place in town, but service was sharp and professional. Amuse bouche of marinated vegetables. Bread was fine. Hot quail salad on eccentric lettuces and pear slices, marinated with bourbon and molasses, unusual and excellent. Sweetbreads were rich and buttery little morsels, very tender. Wide-ranging wine-list. Good selection of after-dinner drinks.

Brennan's (brunch) -- I was the only one in the room, except for the waiters, who wore a jacket. Tourists in sandals and Bermuda shorts, mostly. Menus for breakfast printed on laminated stock, like you'd fine in a Denny's--an inexcusable gaucherie in a restaurant of this caliber. Excellent coffee. Wide variety of eggs, served in omelettes or stacked "Benedict" style with other ingredients. Breakfast here is priced like dinner elsewhere, take a lot of money. Three-course prix fixe meals are the way to go here. Nice view from inside of courtyard. Waiters friendly, joked often with patrons. Oyster stew: light green with herbs, hot with spices, brought to the table in its own metal tureen to keep it hot, and poured ceremoniously into your bowl at table. Eggs "Sardou," highly recommended, two soft-poached eggs on artichoke hearts balanced on a mound of cooked spinach. Key lime pie for dessert tart and creamy. $100 for two people without drinks.

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Hi, Kim from NJ here, was in New Orleans last month..enjoyed hearing about your experience.

A few comments: Brennans is more for the atmosphere, than anything else, I love those waiters. We usually go on a weekday breakfast, more business than tourist. Did you have the BForester? They have the best bullshots and BM's, IMHO.

Galatoires: I think there are better places that still have all the tradition, but better food. Arnauds for one.

Bayonna: went during my last visit, in 1999...one of my top ten meals of all time. We tried Peristyle for a change this time, and, well, its no Bayonna!

Acme: I didn't know there was another location besides the one off Canal. I've only had oysters there, never any other food!

Cafe du Monde- never my cup of tea, maybe becasue I don't drink coffee..a sacrilidge in that town! I enjoy the muffelattas and Central Grocery, an d thegrocery next door, which never has as long a line, but just as good olive salad!

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Hi Deacon,

I knew you were a man of taste when I saw your choice of Highland's carpaccio listed in another post.

As for New Orleans...next time you venture there try the Acme in the Quarter (it is the only REAL Acme)...sit at the bar with the shuckers...ask them to show you their Mardi Gras pictures!

For a great dinner try Victor's in the Ritz Carlton.

If you want to go back to Bayona...ask for the Lizard Room...(tiny lizard on wall mural) they seem to treat you more as a local that way.

For a great sandwich...try Mother's

The best thing to do at Brennan's is take advantage of their great wine list...go in the late afternoon or early evening...stake out a table on the patio and enjoy a great bottle of wine and the atmosphere! Or, as an alternative...go in the morning, hit the patio and have a brandy milk punch or a bloody mary and then go dine elsewhere.

Try COmmander's Palace...although Jamie Shannon died last year they have not lost a step. they took the chef from their branch here in Las Vegas and he is very accomplished. It is a bit touristy...but, locals love it too...have the crab cakes...all crab...no discernable filler.

And...Emeril's (I know, I know)...sit at the Chef's bar and introduce yourself to chef Chris (Wilson)...if you dine early you have a good shot at getting him to cook something not on the menu.

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You didn't go to Rue de la Course? Great coffee.

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Thanks to all for the comments and suggestions.

Kim: We didn't get the Bananas Foster this time. We both passed it up in favor of the Key lime pie, a dessert I find difficult to refuse. Perhaps next time.

southern_girl: I think your comments especially show that there is definitely an art to eating as well as cooking. To eat in restaurants at a better than average level, you have to know the little code words and phrases for every single place you want to go. Without them, you run the risk of being viewed, for better or worse, as a "tourist" who may know his way around a restaurant, but not THIS PARTICULAR restaurant.

I may be returning to N.O. this fall, so I might get another try at the various places in town. I feel I could beat Antoine's, now that I know a few tips I didn't know the first time. OTOH, there are so many other restaurants I haven't been to. I'd prefer to go to each of them once before ever going back to Antoine's.

Does anybody know the name of a good waiter at Antoine's? Or just ANY waiter at Antoine's? It's part of their code that you only get a good table if you make the reservation with a specific waiter.

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Deacon -

First: May I say it's so nice to see a religious man here.

Second: Where do you stay when you visit New Orleans?

Third: When you get ready to go again, look me up. I may have some good names for you....waiters, etc.

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:biggrin: Our all-time favorite is K-Pauls' on Charters. The food is always the best and staff is friendly. Chef Paul was there once and was also very personable. Doesn't matter is you're hot and sweaty for downstairs seating. Have an Abita and let the good times roll!!!!

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(Jaymes) May I say it's so nice to see a religious man here.

Thank you. I worship at the Church of St. John Coltrane. :biggrin:

Where do you stay when you visit New Orleans?

We were at the St. Louis last time in NO, but I've also tried the Royal O and the Monteleone. I haven't really found a hotel worth devoting my total loyalty toward yet--still experimenting. If I had unlimited funds, I still don't think I'd stay at the Windsor Court or the Ritz-Carlton, since they're not in the FQ.

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May I say it's so nice to see a religious man here.

Thank you. I worship at the Church of St. John Coltrane. :biggrin:

We were at the St. Louis last time in NO, but I've also tried the Royal O and the Monteleone. I haven't really found a hotel worth devoting my total loyalty toward yet--still experimenting. If I had unlimited funds, I still don't think I'd stay at the Windsor Court or the Ritz-Carlton, since they're not in the FQ.

Your church sounds interesting. Probably a hell of a choir as well.

I'm serious about the next time you head to New Orleans... There's an excellent chance I can set you up with some good contacts.

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Deacon,

you got the Real Galatoire's experience. For almost 100 years the downstairs was it, and that's how it was. It's what the locals have come to love. (I've only been there once, and I was a kid; I am dying to return.)

Acme Oyster house--get the oysters, then go somewhere else. The food there is barely edible other than raw or fried oysters. The Lakeshore Drive location is almost worthless. The only restaurants with views of the lake are an average Andrew Jaeger's and Brunings if you sit in the right place. I'd go to Bruning's in any case, it's one of the best in town, and has been there since 1859. They can't, however, get their original digs rebuilt due to insurance squabbles after Hurricane Georges in 1998. Both of these are located at West End.

You also got the real Cafe du Monde atmosphere. It's been there since the 1870's the only difference is that it's expanded outward a couple of times. The Morning Call Coffee Stand out in suburban Metairie is better, it used to be in the quarter but moved 25 years ago. They still make the coffee and heat the milk in their old brass/copper kettles and not coffee machines like CdM does. In addition, they let you put your own powdered sugar. However it's smaller and more noisy.

I've only been to Brennan's once, and enjoyed it, but it was for supper. I must reserve judgement on the rest as I have not been. Hope that you enjoyed yourself, and good luck on Antoine's. It's an experience unto itself and will be worth it if you order properly.

Go to InsideNewOrleans.com and find the local restaurant critic's page. Get on the message boards there as well, and you can find almost anything you need.

Enjoy.

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Bella Luna on the water....the chef is Horst Pfeiffer,. who is the youngest German ever to receive their master chef designation. Apart from that, he is really hot....cute as a button.

Very romantic location. He has an herb garden in the walled garden of the nunnery ( or is it a monastery?) across the street, by the way.

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Brennan's (brunch) -- . . . . Key lime pie for dessert tart and creamy.

I have not yet visited New Orleans. However, I have thought about sampling Bananas Foster at its origination point -- Brennan's. The online menu for that restaurant describes the dish as follows: "A Brennan Creation and now World-Famous. Bananas sautéed in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and banana liqueur, then flamed in rum. Served over vanilla ice cream. Scandalously Delicious!" :wink:

http://www.brennansneworleans.com/breakfastmenu.html

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Very romantic location. He has an herb garden in the walled garden of the nunnery ( or is it a monastery?) across the street, by the way.

Actually, it's about three or four blocks from the river, in the courtyard of the old Ursulines' Convent which also happens to be the oldest building in the entire Mississippi River valley having been built in 1727. It now houses the Archives of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

I had a friend work at Bella Luna for a few years, but never got to go there. The location and view are one of the best in the entire city, and yes, is quite romantic. Being a local, I don't get to near enough of these places as I like. Being on a teacher's salary is hell.

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Hi everyone

New Orleans is such a difficult city to comment upon because the myths and the realities are so difficult to separate.

Let's start with Bella Luna:

This is a very ordinary restaurant masquerading as an Italian up-market venue. I have eaten there four times and each occasion has been disappointing. One of the problems in NO is that Italian restaurants can't separate their cuisine from Creole and Cajun.

As an Italian restaurant it fails dismally - as an NO venue it also fails.

Brennans:

The quintessential tourist venue. People who like food wouldn't bother entering. I agree, however, that the wine list is wonderful!

Galatoires:

Have been there on a number of occasions. The service is good. The food is just terrible. How can anyone claim that this is a decent restaurant???

Acme Oyster House---This is a dreadful tourist trap. No self respecting foodie could even contemplate entering its portals.

Cafe du Monde:

Disgusting.

K-Pauls

I can remember a time in 1975 when I enjoyed his food when he moved his restaurant to New York. The food I have eaten in his NO restaurant has been so bad that I have only eaten a couple of forkfuls!!

And the same goes for the awful Emerils restaurants.

A year in NO was lovely but the food was very variable. I preferred the food at the lovely Horinoya, a Japanese restaurant in the city which was just wonderful.

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Awfully harsh, Roger.

I'm in some agreement with your substance but not your tone. I think Bella Luna is ok, that Brennan's is pretty darn nice as touristy experiences go, and that Galatoire's gives you a true feel of old NO, even though the food is not great. Nor am I a big fan of Acme or K-Pauls. I don't love beignets , but can't possibly see how you can call them disgusting.

I completely disagree about Emerils. I haven't been there in a couple of years but have been a few times before and found it to be very good (regardless of one's opinions of the proprietor). My rule of thumb for NO is Susan Spicer. If she's connected with the restaurant, eat there.

Haven't been to Horinoya but I don't go to NO looking for Japanese food. If I'd been there for a year, ok.

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I have just returned from a dining trip to New Orleans, and the food was

great. I did not eat at any of the places in the other posts to this column.

I started with dinner at Restaurant August. It was busy, the service was

flawless, the food was exquisite. The Corn soup with poached oysters

and a float of truffle oil tasted of fresh cut from the ears vibrancy.

For my entree, I had a roasted red snapper over beet and onion salad with

jumbo lump crab. My dining partner had the tomato and fresh mozzarella

salad, they used local heirloom tomatos instead of the bland ones from

a produce company.

It was expensive, but I was aware of this before I went there. I thought

that for the value, my dollars were well spent. To have a dining experience

where everything tastes so wonderful far exceeds having a platter piled

high with mediocre food.

For breakfast the next morning, I went to Riccobono's. It is in uptown

on Panola street in the Loyola and Tulane University neighborhood. The

customers are all locals. I had eggs scrambled with mushrooms and

crawfish tails, and they serve a choice of either white or yellow grits. If

the tables are full, there are a couple of seats at a counter and if you

forget to bring a paper, chances are you can pick up one someone else

left behind. That is what I did. I would go here before waiting in line at

the Camilla Grill or the Bluebird Cafe.

I joined some friends for lunch at Cafe Beriut out on Magazine Street.

The Hummus with spicy meat was very good. The service was slow. The

Lebanese Iced Tea was the highlight. Apparently they make iced tea,

add a hint of rosewater and float toasted pine nuts on top. It is suprisingly

refreshing, especially as hot as it was, and the pine nuts are almost a

flash back to my childhood when we would float peanuts in a bottle of

RC cola.

Dinner was a shrimp po'boy at Mandin's up Canal Street in Mid-City. You

just can not do any better when it comes to po'boys than this place. It

has been around forever, I think some of the waiters have been there

that long, but they are efficient, and the food is great old New Orleans.

After dinner, we did "White Linen Night" in the warehouse district. It was

hot, crowded and so much fun, I even saw some artwork that I liked.

The New Orleans School of Glassworks had a very interesting mix, some

of the local pastry chefs had created showpieces to display.

Breakfast the next morning was at Rene Bistro in the Renassiance Hotel.

Now I have to go back to the city to eat there for lunch and for dinner.

The service was very good, Angel was very sweet when my waffle got

delayed. And they serve the applewood smoked bacon, you just can't

beat that bacon, it comes from a place in Wisconsin called Nueske's.

Dinner was at Liuzza's on Bienville. New Orleans Italian all the way. This

is not the same Italian one might find in say New Jersey. Beer is served

in frosted mugs, the stuffed merliton and the veal parm, that is good

food, comforts the soul.

For breakfast the next morning, while we were making our morning walk

through the French Quarter, we stopped at Croissant d'Or. Hint, go there

instead of Cafe Du Monde. It is on Ursalines off of Decatur. And you will not leave without a sweet pastry to take with you for later.

Those moring walks in the Quarter, what a great way to learn about a

neighborhood. I do not go anywhere near Bourbon Street at nite. It is

all drunk college kids throwing beads to other drunk college kids. It is

not appealing. And when you see people flashing, it is other tourists, not

locals your looking at. But back to walking in the quarter in the morning,

the street cleaners do an admirable job of making the place new. And

here I was, with Tropical Storm Bertha sitting in the Gulf, walking about

watching life go on, deliveries being made, the Ledenhimer bread man,

the produce people, the last of last nites drunks.

Dinner this evening was at GWFinns. The room is beautiful, the food was

fresh but something was missing. Like an excitement or something. The

fish, and when you go there, get the fish whatever it is, probably the

freshest in the city. The service was mediocre. Our little waiter seemed

more interested in being cute than knowing anything about what was

on the menu. My biggest dissappointment about this place was there

were people in shorts and t-shirts dining. I felt like I was in a place at

Disney World. I don't care where you are, it is dinner, at least put on

some slacks and a collared shirt. Desserts were nothing. The bread they

served was petit biscuits. They were served hot but I had wished for

a choice. Apparently this is some sort of signature item for them. Be

careful or you will down a bunch of these and spoil your dinner.

For dessert we decided to go to the Ritz-Carlton. What a treat. We were

shown to the lobby lounge and to the dessert station being manned by

Ann. They had some special desserts for this station plus Bananas Foster.

I managed to get some of the desserts they serve in Victor's. Killer stuff,

a milk chocolate daquoiuse and the other one was eaten before I could get

a bite. They serve their coffee with a french press. I like that touch. To

me that signifies that it has not been sitting on a hot plate anywhere. And

it was strong and full of flavor. What a treat, I will definitely do this again.

The next day, before leaving town, we had lunch at a new place on

Magazine street called Sugar Magnolias. It was pretty good. The

fried green tomatos with blackened shrimp and remoulade sauce was

fresh and excellent. The soft shell crab sandwich was very good, it was

served on thick slices of homemade bread. I had expected to see french

bread, it is nice to see some originality. A word of caution here, if you

order a flavored tea, it will come in a bottle with no refills and they will

charge you $4.00 for that bottle of tea. When the tea was ordered, there

was no mention of this. So be careful, I guess a lot of restaurants are

starting to do this and disagree with the practice, it seems a little deceptive

to me.

Another note, if you go, the Hotel Monaco is great. They gave me a

goldfish to keep me company for my time there. They are pet friendly

and will even give your poochie a turndown of dog biscuit with a bowl

of evian water. Try to get a corner room. They are larger. Johnny at

the front door, Winston at the concierge desk and Virginia at the front

desk were all very nice, they went beyond my expectations to make

my visit comfortable. And the neck rub in the lobby in the afternoon was

very welcomed.

I love New Orleans, there are so many new restaurants to eat at. I

Stella! and Cuvee and Nirvana. I can't wait to go back. Le bon temps

rollez!

Get out of the quarter, in fact on my next trip, i intend to spend a

day eating on the Northshore. I hear good things about it.

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I will be visiting New Orleans with friends in October. It is the first time for all of us.

Our plan is to have one dinner at a nice restaurant, other meals at less expensive places. For the big meal I am thinking about Commander's Palace, as it is such a classic New Orleans restaurant. Any advice on which part of the restaurant to request when making a reservation?

We are also thinking about going to either Bayona or Herbsaint for lunch. Both sound great from the menus. If anyone has comments on lunch experiences at either restaurant, I will be glad to hear them.

I've picked up some good suggestions for other, less expensive places here, and will be glad to have more. The friends I will be with do not eat meat or poultry, but do eat seafood, thank heavens.

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Both are good. Another somewhat touristy but good spot for an inexpensive meal is Uglesiches (sp?). I also like Frankie and Johnny's. Avoid the emerils.

Commander's Palace is not the best restaurant in New Orleans, but it does give a great N.O. experience and authentic food, so your logic of going there is good.

October is nice there although still quite warm. Have fun.

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Deacon,

Sounds like a good trip. Did you go on any musical adventures? I'd recommend Snug Harbor. I'd also opt for the Cafe Brulot at Galatoires. The cab ride to Brigtsen's is well worth it. As for places to stay, Soniat House is a funky but very civilized B&B in the Quarter. Not cheap but the biscuits and homemade jam in the morning are a treat. The staff also seems to have the line on where and when. Roll on.

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hollywood: It was a great trip. I'm still paying for it. :laugh: We tried to go to Preservation Hall, but I was feeling a bit ill that evening. That place is like the Black Hole of Calcutta even when you're feeling at your best; I couldn't take it. Would've passed out. I also considered Brigtsen's, as long as we could've gone on the St. Charles Ave Streetcar. Much more ambient than a cab. Roll tide.

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These posts really remind me of my recent trip where I had meals at

Bayona

Galatoires

Clancy's

Bon temp Cafe

but the highlight was without doubt Jaques-imo's in the garden district. I would urge anyone going for the first time not to miss this place

I stayed at the international House hotel which I loved. great service, modern, no attitude.

S

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These posts really remind me of my recent trip where I had meals at Bayona/Galatoire's/Clancy's/Bon Temp Cafe--but the highlight was without doubt Jacques-Imo's. . . .

Well? Tell us about it, Simon.

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hollywood: It was a great trip. I'm still paying for it.  :laugh:  We tried to go to Preservation Hall, but I was feeling a bit ill that evening. That place is like the Black Hole of Calcutta even when you're feeling at your best; I couldn't take it. Would've passed out. I also considered Brigtsen's, as long as we could've gone on the St. Charles Ave Streetcar. Much more ambient than a cab. Roll tide.

However you have to get to Brigtsen's is worth it. I hear you about Pres Hall. Great vibe there standing on the dirt floor. And when they launch into The Saints........ Snug Harbor is more polished though not too. And more contemporary jazz--one or more of the Marsalis clan is frequently in the house.

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These posts really remind me of my recent trip where I had meals at Bayona/Galatoire's/Clancy's/Bon Temp Cafe--but the highlight was without doubt Jacques-Imo's. . . .

Well? Tell us about it, Simon.

I did

Search out a thread called "the Majumdar Bros do Dallas"

S

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Hello - If your looking for a great local restaurant. Try the Bon-Ton, on Magazine street (I think), in the old coffee section. A great place for lunch. I do not think they are open for dinner. I go to the Bon-Ton for luch every time I am in New Orleans. It is an old, traditional restaurant.

Cheers!

Coffeetaster

Spence

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