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1st Time in NO--only 3 days--What can't I miss?

Hi there:

I've wanted to go to New Orleans for the past 15 years, and finally have the chance to go to JazzFest. Unfortunetly, there is so much I want to see/do (and eat:-) that I'm having a hard time figuring out what to eliminate. Any help that you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

1. Go both Saturday and Sunday to JazzFest, or take Saturday to do Jamy's Canal tour and stop at the New Orleans Museum of Art?

2. Napoleon House, Cafe Du Monde, Central Grocery for a muffallata and Cochon for a "splurge" meal are all must goes--but if (because of time restraints) I can only go to one of the iconic restaurants--K-Paul's, Commander's Palace, Antoine's, Arnaud's, Brennan's--would you suggest?

Any other suggestions? Thanks again--this board has been a great resource in planning this trip.

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  1. I'm jealous and I was just there a month ago!!

    I've been to Commander's and K-Paul's and would heartily recommend both. Commander's for lunch is a great value if you can make it monday through friday..

    For what it's worth, Commander's felt 'more special'...we were treated very, very well and we had a 1 year old in tow and were wearing jeans!! (we were in the area and hadn't planned on going, but we walked right by it and I simply asked if the jeans would be a problem----I'd understand if they would----but they were very accomodating and gracious).

    Both vistis were pre-Katrina...

    1. Go to JazzFest both Saturday and Sunday. Jazzfest is very unique and it is very much worth going as much as you can. Eat all the food you can there; you won't be disappointed. If you are here on Friday, I'd do the muffaletta then. I cannot make a suggestion as for as an iconic meal goes since I really don't care for many of those places anymore. Good Luck and have a great time...I know I'll be.

      1. I love all the iconic restaurants you listed but I've always had a soft spot for Antoines, which has the most elegant French atmosphere. I'd go there!

        1. Better get your muff on Saturday as Central Grocery is closed Sunday and Monday.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Concetta

            But if she is at Jazzfest she can't... well, depending on what time she goes... they close early.

          2. treat yourself to a Pimm's Cup from Napoleon House.....atmosphere is unbeatable

            1. Gotta do both days at the Fest. And if you do, you will find like we did that your extracurricular dining plans will be curtailed/altered considerably. There is so much food and it is all pretty much totally fabulous. Of the 5 icons you listed I say screw them and head to Brigtsen's. The food blows all of them away, as does the warm and most importantly, unpretentious service. If you insist on one from your list I would begrudgingly recommend K-Paul's, and then restate my initial rec. Frank Brigtsen was Paul Prudhomme's executive chef when K-Paul's went to dinner service. K and Paul backed him to get started in his own place. The student has far surpassed the master IMNSHO.

              1. If you have the time and find yourself in the Quarter near Cafe du Monde on Decatur Fiorella's, which is a little hole in the wall, bare bones establishment right across from the Market. They serve some of the best fried chicken I have ever ever ever experienced. Spicy, crispy, juicy and unbelievable. I don't think they serve it everyday, though. Stroll over to Cafe du Monde after for beignets and coffee.


                2 Replies
                1. re: ballulah

                  If, and this is a big if, you are not to stuffed after a day at the Fest, you might want to check out Mandina's on Canal for a little dinner before you crash (crashing is important, so that you can rally for the late night events). It is that mix of fried seafood and Italian that is unique to so many of NOLA's great neighborhood joints. Casual, family atmosphere. Completely flooded by the storm, but it actually looks better now than it did Pre-K. You can go in your fest clothes. Its not fancy, and its not among the "bigs" you mentioned, but it is every bit as much of an institution in this town. Be aware, though, it might be a bit crowded. But, grab a beer and pass the time talking about all of the great stuff you just saw at JF.

                  1. re: ballulah

                    last time I was in new orleans I LIVED off of fiorella's chicken and jazzfest food. definately recommend =) (hoping when I go this time I branch out a bit more though!)

                  2. I highly recommend Brennan's - it's a great restaurant!

                    1. Did a quick college trip this week and can give you some 2-cents.

                      Commanders was fantastic. Service was perfect and food was outstanding. The lady on the phone is a little nasty, but once you are in the newly $6MM renovated resto, it's fantastic. If you go, you MUST order the bread pudding souffle. Without a doubt top-10 desserts of all time. The shrimp entree with grits and BBQ sauce is also a winner.

                      Cafe du Monde is still special. Best coffee in the world (i know, i know everyone has a favorite) and wearing some of the powdered sugar is a badge of honor.

                      Central is closed on Mondays, those are my tears evaporating in front of the door.

                      If you are Uptown, we had lunch in a place off magazine called Flaming Torch. Very good respite from the hustle of the FQ.

                      Enjoy the Festival, the entertainers looke 10+.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jfood

                        Thank you all so much for your recs--I can't wait for Friday. Thanks for the "heads up" on Central Grocery being closed Sun & Mon--worst case scenario, I'll have to grab one on the way to the airport Tuesday.

                      2. If you can sneak in the recently opened Camelia Grill, do so. Grilled pecan pie a must.

                        It's worth it just for the show Marvin puts on.



                        1 Reply
                        1. re: KOK

                          Avoid Antoine's. There is much better food to be had in NOLA.

                        2. MMMM, I'm remembering the crawfish bread at the fest. This is the first time in year's that we are missing Jazzfest. Enjoy the food at Jazzfest, such a great venue for food and music. Although I am biased to Milwaukee's Summerfest. There is a little restaurant off of Bourbon on Conti that we found last time we were there called Oceania's. It was very good and the service was outstanding. The menu is huge and reasonable.