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Hotel/Dinner Recommendation 1 nite NO

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Next Monday my husband is heading from Los Angeles to N.O. for business the next day in Marangouin (sp?). He was urged to stay in Baton Rouge but that seemed like a missed opportunity -- my husband has never been to NO so what could you recommend. He needs a good dinner and hotel recommendation. Next day, early, he can drive on the I-10 and get to Maringouin (sp?). It's been too many years since I've been to NO to know what to recommend. Should he stay in the French Quarter? on Canal Street? or ?????? And, then ideally, just walk out the hotel a block or so to a restaurant. TIA.

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  1. Staying in NO vs. BR will add 72 miles (one way) to his drive, and depending on his timing, it will add anywhere from 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs to his one-way travel time (traffic thru BR is awful at rush hour...compounding all this is the annual return of ~34,000 students to LSU, starting next week). Personally, I'd stay in BR and have a really nice dinner at Juban's, Mansur's on the Boulevard, Galatoire's Bistro, Brandt's Maisonette, etc.

    BTW, un maringouin is a mosquito.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      The Loews Hotel/Cafe Adelaide (www.cafeadelaide.com - Rest is Brennan owned and a sleeper hit
      )Because it's on the buisness side of town it would be easy to jump on I-10 from here. The W is across the st. - i love there beds (caution - do not eat in the W)
      If he's willing to drop $$$$ August is right there...Cuvee is around the corner. Mother's(Po-Boys, fried catfish, red beans & rice) is across the St. Le Bon Ton (for some trad creole cuisine) is in that area as well.

      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        <<BTW, un maringouin is a mosquito>>

        Oh, dear.

        I didn't ask about restaurants in Maringouin because the folks that he's meeting with are planning to take him out for lunch......

      2. Have him stay at the Windsor Court Hotel (one of the finest, if not the finest, in New Orleans) and eat at Restaurant August directly behind it. Alternatively, he could stay at the Ritz Carlton (the beds are more comfortable than the Windsor Court, but the service is not as good), making the walk to August just a little bit longer.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Blumie

          jfood reporting from the lobby of the W hotel on Poydras. The RC hotel is located in an are that jfood would recommend against for one night. W and Windsor Court are the choices.

          Great restos in the area as well. the food in the W is difficult to order as it took them 20 minutes to figure out they did not have English Muffins and three sour tries at milk for coffee.

          1. re: jfood

            Thanks for the on-site report!

          2. re: Blumie

            I stayed at the Windsor Court abaout 20 years ago though I have no recollection of where in NO it is located!! What type of food is August? Whalt are your favorite dishes there?

            1. re: Bite Me

              I'd typify it as nouvelle New Orleans. Chef Besh is very driven to use fresh, local ingredients. While the menu is quite comprehensive, we opted for the “tasting menu,” which was very good and creative. My review from last week is #3 on: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433877

              Based on a rec. further down, it seems that their Roasted Chicken might well be the dish. A sample menu is available at: http://www.rest-august.com/sample_men...

              Even though the sommelier’s wine pairings were a bit uneven, I would not hesitate to dine there again.

              Hunt

          3. Folks - pardon the interruption - but please keep your responses limited to places where Bite Me might eat. Hotel recommendations are beyond the scope of Chowhound's focus on finding great chow!

            Thanks.

            13 Replies
            1. re: The Chowhound Team

              My husband cannot walk very far at all, so the restaurant / hotel recommendation really need to go hand-in-hand. Thanks.

              1. re: Bite Me

                Considering the location of Restaurant August, or several others, for that matter, you should be able to find both food and lodging in the immediate area, and I do mean "immediate."

                The CBD/Warehouse District (including the Convention Center and its various iterations) hold great lodging and excellent dining. In eight nights of dining, I think we were within 3 blocks (NO "blocks" are often quite small) of nearly every other restaurant, that we dined at. It almost got incestuous with the proximity. From, say the W, or Windsor Court, you have a dozen great dining spots within 4 blocks, more than most cities on Earth.

                You'll not have a problem. Also, many of our dining excursions included my 87 year old mother-in-law in a wheelchair, and everyone accommodated her well.

                Enjoy,
                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Very helpful. Thank you!!

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    My hubby wants to try creole food. Any suggestions for that?

                    1. re: Bite Me

                      Couchon & Le Bon Ton are the first two, that I would recommend. Both are in the CBD, or what I used to refer to as the CBD (Central Business District), and an easy walk, or very short cab ride from the afore mentioned hotels. Couchon is great, and Bon Ton used to be - unfortuantely, I have not dined there post-K, but reviewers still rank it highly. Do a search for both to get an idea of what they have to offer.

                      To be purely technical, I would rate Bon Ton as being more "Creole," while Couchon is a bit more of an combination of New Orleans and South Louisiana with strong Creole attributes. Food historians might well differ with me on that - believe them. And, since Creole is a blend of African, Carribean and French with a bit of Spanish thrown in, I'd be hard pressed to say that one is likely to find "official" Creole food. Much is more New Orleans cuisine which includes some other influences as well - much like the City, itself.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Bill, your posts are always great, but...Cochon is unapologetically cajun, with both feet firmly planted in the southwest Louisiana pork tradition. It's prettified a little, but altogether true to the flavors of the "real deal". The Bon Ton is cajun in its roots, too--the family of proprietors is originally from Bayou Lafourche and their dishes owe plenty to a seafood-heavy, rich, bayou cajun aesthetic. I wouldn't call either place creole, but I freely admit that creole is such a layered, complicated term that someone else might have a valid counterargument!

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          Hungry Celeste,

                          Thanks for the correction. And, it's spelled Cochon, as you typed it, not with the "u," as I typed it. Don't know why I try to make it more difficult.

                          For edification, which restaurant(s) would you typify as being closest to "Creole?"

                          Appreciated,
                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Not trying to be smart-a**, but the answer depends on your definition of creole. "Haute" creole, restaurant-style? That's easy: the old guard places like Galatoire's, Antoine's, etc that combine local ingredients with traditional french technique. 7th-ward, african-american creole? Dooky Chase. Creole-italian? Places like Mandina's. And then you can split hairs about nouvelle creole, or extend the conversation/argument outside of NOLA and find african-americans culturally similar to cajuns who call themselves creole (but eat just like their cajun neighbors), and head up to the Cane River region to the Creole National Historical Park, where an old community of free people of color have yet another take on what it means to be creole.

                            It's an old word, coming to LA from the Spanish, who got it from the Portuguese...fascinating etymology with an incredible variation of meaning in the New World, touching on everything from language to foodways to ethnic identity to the very process of cultural recombination.

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                              Hungry Celeste makes great distinctions above on the stratification of Creole cuisine as it's evolved in New Orleans proper. She is dead-on.

                              Le Bon-Ton is definitely a Cajun place, perhaps the "truest" representation in the city outside of K-Paul's. Have yet to try Cochon, as I'm way Up East now and not in town as much as I'd like to be, but I've been told it is South Louisiana country food, maybe not quite 100% Cajun, but excellent. Was the only place I didn't get to on a whirlwind jaunt last October that included meals at Brigsten's, Alberta, and August (3 excellent meals there).

                              One important rule of thumb to discern Creole from Cajun is that Creole is an urban "grande cuisine" practiced at it's highest form in New Orleans, and Cajun is a simpler, country food from Acadiana.

                              In layman's terms, and one way old-timers describe it, is that a Creole uses 4 chickens to make one meal, while a Cajun makes 4 meals from one chicken.

                              1. re: funkjester

                                I love the last part...so true!

                              2. re: Hungry Celeste

                                Oh no, do not worry in the least. Though growing up near-by, I had formed opinions, that you have helped correct - now if we can just work on some other aspects of my nature...

                                I thank you for the info. Though I thought that I knew the definition of Creole, as applied in an ethno-anthropological manner, I see that I was very far off, relative to cuisine and appreciate your taking the time to educate me.

                                Now, to a specific question: I had also always thought of Tujague's Restaurant as Creole. How would you typify their cuisine?

                                Thanks for the short course - do I get credits towards my PhD? [insert big grin here].

                                As always, I appreciate your replies,
                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Maybe you could sign up for next semester's class....

                            2. re: Hungry Celeste

                              Thank you so much, Celeste! I was going to suggest the same. Cajun is the down-to-earth type of food popular at both places, an outgrowth of the Acadian culture married to the land and "sea" (swamp, gulf, river) of the area. Hence, cochon de lait and crawfish etouffee.
                              Creole, on the other hand, is citified. Descendants of Parisian French (with the help of other N.O. cultures) were not of peasant stock, and their food reflects it. Think Oysters Rockefeller, Trout Menuiere, etc.

                  2. There are so many good restaurants in N.O that it really depends on exactly what your idea of a perfect restaurant is to recommend only one. That said, some of MY favorites are Nola, Herbsaint, Perestyle, Emmeril's, Stella!, Bayonna and Brightsen's.

                    Have not been back since Katrina, but hopefully all are still there.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Rocket88

                      An impressive thread of reviews here:

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43387...

                      My husband has had a slew of negative experiences at Stella! post-Katrina, sadly.

                      1. re: Rocket88

                        Bayona is right around the corner from Olivier House, where I stayed. (Google will pull up the hotel's website.)

                        PS Petunia's is quite close as well (breakfast).

                      2. I've got the answer! Dinner at Cuvee ( www.restaurantcuvee.com ), for terrific contemporary creole cuisine, and stay right next door at the St. James Hotel ( www.neworleansfinehotels.com/saintjam... ) (I have no first hand experience with the hotel, but it looks lovely from the outside; I also believe I've been in the lobby.)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Blumie

                          Cuvee is actually connects to the St. James Hotel (they share bathrooms)
                          Again, I suggest Adelaide (brennan owned - chef danny trace - a local boy) in the Loews for the best restaurant in hotel combo