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Fydeaux's New Orleans trip, or How I learned to stop worrying and love Redfish Meuniere

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Fydeaux May 1, 2007 10:02 AM

I have more trouble writing about food in New Orleans than any other place on earth. Nowhere more than on the N.O. board is the phrase, “For every opinion, there is an equal and opposite opinion” better demonstrated. Or to put it a little less politely, “In all matters of opinion, my adversaries are insane.”

I spent 5 days in N.O. the week between French Quarter Fest and Jazz & Heritage Fest. First let me say that if you have not visited since the ‘event’, start planning a visit now. Everyone. They still need us. If you can plan some volunteer work while you are there, great. But even if you cant do that, stay in their hotels, eat in their restaurants, listen to their music, buy a t-shirt. You will be helping more than you can imagine. And they will be grateful. Even the people who work 12 hours straight in those daiquiri windows on Bourbon St and the Lucky Dog vendors will take an opportunity to say “Thanks you for coming to New Orleans.”

And I cant say enough nice things about The Biscuit Palace as a place to stay.

We had no bad meals. We didn’t even have any mediocre or pretty good meals. Everything was wonderful. I’m certain that many will have had similar dishes at other places that they feel are much superior. But I live in Milwaukee, and this was only my fifth visit to New Orleans. It will take many more visits before I decide which was best. Vive la difference!

Most of the places we ate have been well discussed here. They include Coop’s, K-Paul’s, Port Of Call, Adolfo’s (possibly my favorite restaurant in New Orleans), Petunia’s, Clover Grill, Fiorello’s, and Marigny Brasserie (which was the high-end find of the trip—really outstanding!) Plus, on three different occasions, I went over to Acme for some charcoal grilled oysters while my wife was napping.

But here were a couple of places that I have not seen mentioned too much anywhere, and are more than worthy of a visit by hounds.

Kelly’s Diner. I was looking for a place I had had breakfast at a few years ago, and I’m pretty sure this was it. It is a couple of doors up from the Esplanade end of French Market Place. This place is barely mentioned anywhere, much less on this board. It seems to be mostly area workers drifting in for carry-out. There is a menu that can be viewed on menuorleans.com. I had a seafood omelet and grits for breakfast with a Bloody Maria. The omelet was fluffy and stuffed with shrimp, scallops and crawfish. Delicious and cheap, an unbeatable combination.

Nawlins Flava. We took the cemetery tour on Sunday and it ended at a Voodoo temple on Rampart Street, and this place was right next door. I broke a lot of personal rules going in this place. For me, any place with ‘Nawlins’ in the name is about as enticing as a place with a guy dressed as a hand grenade out front. ‘Flava’? Who could this place possibly be trying to attract with a name like this other than tourists who (incorrectly) consider themselves to be hip and trendy. But I was on Rampart Street, not Bourbon Street, and this place was obviously neither a tourist destination nor trendy. We looked at the menu, decided to take a chance, and am I ever glad we did! The place is sure nothing to look at, but the food was absolutely fantastic, and very inexpensive for its quality. My wife had a simple breakfast of pancakes and eggs and bacon; she said they were perfectly made, and there was no scrimping on the portions. I had Eggs St <somebody> which consisted of two crabcakes topped by two poached eggs, and all this topped by a crawfish hollandaise. It was incredibly delicious. With coffee, this meal was well less than $20.00, and it was budget find of the trip!

I’ve been home a week. My packages of pralines, remoulade, popcorn rice, and other food items that we shipped home (along with all the books and local artwork that we bought have arrived. They will have to tide us over until we can return, but I am already itchy to get back.

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    JGrey RE: Fydeaux May 1, 2007 11:23 AM

    Thanks for the great report, and thanks for coming! Someone asked about Nawlins Flavor recently, and I'd never heard of it. Glad to hear it's not a tourist trap, as the "Nawlins" threw me as well. I love Adolfo's, too, and I'm glad you had a good experience at Marigny Brasserie. It's been through many chef changes, and that'll be good for Frenchman St. if it's stabilized.

    1. Bill Hunt RE: Fydeaux May 1, 2007 06:23 PM

      Very well written report. Thanks for posting it, especially in light of some of the "off-the-beaten-path," spots that you highlighted

      Glad you enjoyed and then took the time to write about it.

      Hunt

      1. b
        bbares81 RE: Fydeaux May 1, 2007 09:50 PM

        Thanks so much...and we look forward to having you back as much as I am sure you are looking forward to your next charbroiled oyster. We definitely need people like you to come back and enjoy our city.

        1. s
          scrumptiouschef RE: Fydeaux May 1, 2007 11:40 PM

          Thanks for the report on Nawlins Flava....I posted an inquiry awhile back and received zero responses from the New Orleans hounds.I drove past the joint a couple times last August and it looked great[shabby and authentic]but never wedged in a visit...I'm coming back and it's on the list of must visits.Great report on your trip.

          3 Replies
          1. re: scrumptiouschef
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            theglutton RE: scrumptiouschef May 22, 2007 06:28 AM

            After reading the review of Nawlins Flava, I ended up trying it. I liked the casualness of the place, and the employees were really nice. The cook had talent, you could tell, but everything had the taste of fake butter/oil. It's really too bad, b/c without that flavor, it would have been an amazing meal. (I've noticed that lots of places use this fake butter/oil: camelia grill, Parasol's, Johnny's...)

            1. re: theglutton
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              Fydeaux RE: theglutton May 22, 2007 07:18 AM

              Just wondering: What did you have there? This was not an issue with the dish I had.

              1. re: Fydeaux
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                theglutton RE: Fydeaux May 22, 2007 12:43 PM

                I had the Eggs St.Phillip, too : the crabcakes with poached eggs and crawfish hollandaise. And, my friend had the creole combo which had gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice. The red beans and rice did not have this fake butter taste, but everything else did. Admittingly, I am a butter-phile, and would rather eat dry toast than use margarine. Maybe the cooks don't always use that stuff...

          2. s
            steveds RE: Fydeaux May 11, 2007 07:23 AM

            The Marigny Brasserie is indeed a terrific place. Post-K, they landed the chef formerly down the street at Santa Fe. He's been a real difference-maker for them. Great food, great atmosphere, and the best wine list in the Marigny!

            2 Replies
            1. re: steveds
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              JGrey RE: steveds May 11, 2007 09:09 AM

              The german guy? That's good to hear. I wonder if he'll continue his fall German menu tradition.

              1. re: steveds
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                Fydeaux RE: steveds May 11, 2007 09:30 AM

                I knew that there hot and cold opinions of the place, but everything was excellent. The wine list was fairly impressive, the fois gras appitizer was truly memorable, and the soft shell crab in brown butter sauce was superb. My wife had the lamb and loved it. The service was spot on, and the setting was sophisticated yet relaxed. Whatever problems they may have had, I hope this all signals that they are over.

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                NolaRola RE: Fydeaux May 15, 2007 12:19 PM

                Just wondering where you bought your popcorn rice from? Love it but not easy to find.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NolaRola
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                  Hungry Celeste RE: NolaRola May 15, 2007 12:40 PM

                  It is available at the German Coast Farmer's market....a local farmer's son-in-law grows popcorn rice in Gueydan, and he sells it for him on Saturday mornings at the market next door to Ormond plantation in Destrehan.

                  1. re: NolaRola
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                    Fydeaux RE: NolaRola May 15, 2007 07:35 PM

                    What Celeste said.

                    It's also available through cajungrocer.com

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