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NOLA the last full week of September

Phaedrus Sep 2, 2007 08:22 PM

I asked in the thread about Alton Brown's show on New Orleans, but I am asking again.

I have the main tourist attractions: Brennan's, Emeril's, Commander's Palace, Dooky Chase. Some one else recommended Cochon.

Any gems that have opened up that I need to go to? I am staying at the Sheraton on Canal street and chances are I will cab it or hoof it. Not really looking for haute cuisine or expense account stuffer, I am looking for good authentic cajun, creole, or traditional southern cuisine.

Also, which jazz joints are open?

Thanks.

  1. j
    JGrey Sep 3, 2007 07:54 AM

    By "I have", do you mean you've already eaten there? And do you mean things that have opened since Katrina, or just reopened?

    Casamento's uptown for all things oyster, try Coop's place in the quarter for gumbo and jambalaya, head to Frenchman St. for Adolfo's (italian) and jazz. For music, it's best to pick up a free Offbeat magazine when you get to town, and figure out what you want to hear.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JGrey
      Phaedrus Sep 3, 2007 11:12 AM

      I mean, I have them on my list as potential places to eat. I'll be in town until Thursday so I want a lot of backups just in case. Don't want to miss anything.

      1. re: Phaedrus
        h
        Hungry Celeste Sep 3, 2007 02:07 PM

        Skip Brennan's. Definitely try Cochon. Within easy walk of your location is Bon Ton (an old-fashioned cajuny place, friendly service, unpretentious, homey) and Palace Cafe (owned by a branch of the Brennan family, crabmeat cheesecake appetizer, delicious white choc bread pudding). For soul food, try Lil Dizzy's buffet (also downtown). You can take the Canal St. streetcar to Mandina's, then walk a few blocks to Brocato's for gelato/cannoli for dessert. Or take the Magazine St. bus uptown to Casamentos for raw/fried oysters.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste
          m
          ml.drake Sep 4, 2007 03:40 PM

          I would have to agree with Celeste on the whole plan.

    2. ChefJune Sep 3, 2007 08:18 AM

      You should be in luck for dinner at Dooky Chase. The restaurant is supposed to be opening -- FINALLY! -- next week.

      It remains my all-time favorite place to eat in New Orleans.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune
        d
        diobahn Sep 26, 2007 03:29 PM

        You're right......... last Sunday, had occasion to share a backyard BBQ with one of the long time cooks there. She said it will be open for biznezz first week of October. (best gumbo in town) Mama Leah will be cracking her whip and her oysters and chopping her onions.

      2. j
        JazzyB Sep 3, 2007 10:57 AM

        IMO Brigtsen's is not to be missed and I'd opt for K-Paul's over both Brennans and Emeril's. Check Cafegiovanni.com...4courses/4wines/$45 "feed me" and it's always great.(on Decatur 1/2 block off Canal)

        1. Phaedrus Sep 22, 2007 02:01 PM

          Well, here I am sitting in my hotel room on Canal Street, I have been in town about three hours.

          I have mapped out the locations that Celeste gave me but chances are I will need to stay around the French Quarter because of my meeting schedule.

          First off, I went to Coop's for lunch, Bonton Cafe wasn't open.

          I started off with a fried oyster appetizer. It came with cocktail sauce but I only dipped one in. I got a dish of a dozen medium to smallish oysters. Thetaste was very subtle, so subtle that I didn't really appreciate the taste until after about 3 or 4, but then the taste was excellent and was nicely complemented by the corn meal crust. It was lovely.

          I ordered the Coop's sample plate because I wanted to try everything. it came with a cup of gumbo. The gumbo has become so ubiquitous in the repetoire of the chains that I almost didn't order it. Coops version really set me straight on what it should taste like. The gumbo packed a lot of eat, but it wasn't a hot sauce, vinegary heat, it was a deeper, more potent heat that crawled down my throat and hit me in the solar plexus. The taste was awesome and another thing that is different is in the ingriedients. More substantial and much fresher.

          The smapler had cajun fried chicken, a skimpy wing, shrimp creole, rabbit and sausage jambalaya, and red beans and rice. The down side to this approach is that the dishes end to blend together, and I tried mightily to sample each on their own. The upside is that you can compare the flavors. They were all spicy hot but in different ways. The creole was kind of a fruity hot, kind of a sweet/spicy mix. The red beans and rice was smoky and in-depth hot, a warming heat as it were. The jambalaya was mouth numbingly hot but mellowed by the meats.

          I hung out at Coops for a little while, watched a little Bayou Bengals football and then walked back to the hotel through the French Quarter. A perfect afternoon.

          Tonight: Reservations at 6 at Cochon. Looking forward to the Boudin appetizer.

          1. Phaedrus Sep 23, 2007 09:19 PM

            Cochon was excellent, not sublime but excellent. We arrived very early so the restaurant was empty. We had beers and order the boudin balls appetizer as wellas the boucherie plate. The boudin balls were incredible, nice contrast of taste, texture, taste, color, etc. Loved it. The boucherie was also excellent. It had a mix of different ways of dealing with pork and all were very successful. Four of us split it. All four of us ordered the pork special where they had two roast piglets on the kitchen heat table. The roast pork had cracklings, and the reoast pork itself. The sides were german potato salad and sauteed spinich. The crackling was excellent, there really is no way to go wrong with cracklings. The German potato salad was pretty so-so, and the sauteed spinich was tasty and a nice accompaniment. The pork itself was a tad salty kind of overpowering the pork taste and the spicing. I orered the eggplant and shrimp dressing, which was kind of a mess because it was pretty mushy and bland. Overall it was a worthy experiment and I enjoyed a large part of the experience. The service was amateurish but enthousiastic.

            _________________________________________________________________________

            Went to Cafe Giovanni tonight. the food was above average. The experience was less successful. The food took a very long time and my Duje's filet was tasty and well cooked but the mashed potatoes were less than inspiring. Other dishes were the grouper and the swordfish, not a complaint was heard but it was less than what we would expect for the price we paid. The raspberry italian ice and tiramisu were excellent however.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Phaedrus
              j
              JazzyB Sep 27, 2007 07:48 AM

              Sorry about your your dining experience at Giovanni. We've gone many times, never had a service problem. We always have one of the feed-me dinners.

            2. Phaedrus Sep 24, 2007 03:51 PM

              Went to BonTon Cafe today for lunch. it was as advertised, friendly, homey great cajun food. I had the gumbo and the crawfish etouffee. Tremendous etoufee, the gumbo left a little to be desired heat wise. I think the best gumbo so far has been the one I had at the Sheraton for lunch during one of my meetings. It was excellent. Coop's comes second. The etoufee at Bonton was excellent, tasty, full of crawfish. I loved it. The MNF game is on tonight, don't know where I'll end up.

              1. sheriffblalock Sep 25, 2007 04:18 PM

                Phaedrus,

                I'm really interested to hear all of your opinions, as I will be staying in the same hotel at the end of October.

                Is Cochon a good place to dine alone? Do they have a bar where I could sit and eat?

                4 Replies
                1. re: sheriffblalock
                  Phaedrus Sep 25, 2007 08:34 PM

                  Cochon is a very good place to dine alone. The tables are small and there is a bar although if you go early enough you can get a table for your self. Early being 6 or 7.

                  The Palace Cafe is right acrss the street and Dickie brennan's steak place is righ on Iberville, just behind the Marriott. I also went to Fire of Brazil, just a change from the New Orleans experience. It was OK churrascaria, the Picnha was exquisite, everything else was mediocre. We went to Crescent City Brewery tonight. It was fair to middling. Had a sample appetizer of baked oyters and the duck. Very tasty although the duck was a little tough. great beer though. I have a meeting for lunch tomorrow and banquet tomorrow night, so no chance for more food until Thursday when I leave.

                  1. re: Phaedrus
                    Phaedrus Sep 26, 2007 04:21 AM

                    By the way, be aware that the hotel tries to nickel and dime you to death. The internet is not free, they charge $19 for 24 hours, $5 for four hours, and $3 for a half hour. You can get on at the Starbucks in the lobby for free but they have limited hours.

                    They have a great fitness center but they charge you $10 a day. Its free if you are a Stawoods Preferred person. Breakfast buffet is actually very good at the hotel, but its $17 a pop.

                    All those lessons came while I assumed something else so, save your money!

                    1. re: Phaedrus
                      k
                      kevin Sep 26, 2007 03:22 PM

                      does the starbucks in the hotel have free wi-fi?

                      That's good to know.

                      speaking of hotels does anyone have a copy of the menu of chris mcmillian's drinks menu at the library lounge at the ritz? thanks.

                      1. re: kevin
                        Phaedrus Sep 26, 2007 09:43 PM

                        Yep, starbucks does.

                2. Phaedrus Sep 28, 2007 05:27 PM

                  Back home now. I thank all of you for giving me the tips on where to go. Still ticked I couldn't get to all the places, especially Dooky Chase, bit it gives me a great list for next time.

                  The selection and quality was immense. I especially loved the fact that I can find great foods in literally dumps. Some Indian friends wanted to get some Indian food so they looked online, found a place within walking distance and then dawdled outside since the place looked less than savory. They finally did go in and found the food incredible.

                  One thing though, it is pretty pricey, I assume that it is because food is trucked in from afar rather than locally. Y'all do know what to do with the food though.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Phaedrus
                    h
                    Hungry Celeste Oct 1, 2007 07:21 AM

                    You found dining in NOLA expensive? I think our fine dining is a bit cheaper when compared with other cities. And we certainly don't "truck" food in from afar in all cases....seafood, for example, is locally sourced, on both high and low ends.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste
                      a
                      anteeks Oct 1, 2007 07:32 AM

                      I would have to disagree with NOLA being pricey. I guess it depends on where you go... A steak at Morton's the chain place is $$$ (filet $45) although Crescent City Steak House the same filet is $26 and tastes fabulous.

                      1. re: anteeks
                        Phaedrus Oct 1, 2007 07:57 AM

                        I did find it pricier, but remember that I had a pretty small sampling of the prices, especially since it revolved around the Quarter since I chose to not have any wheels for the week.

                        1. re: Phaedrus
                          m
                          mikek Oct 1, 2007 09:52 AM

                          Going to have to disagree also. Only two, maybe three restaurants I have ever gone to in New Orleans come close to many of the expensive places in NYC (not even counting spots like Daniel, Le Bernadin, Per Se, etc.), Miami, LA, etc. Maybe August and Stella are close to as expensive as many other destinations.

                          1. re: mikek
                            k
                            kevin Oct 1, 2007 01:52 PM

                            galatoire;s can get very pricey. so can all the emeril restaurants and kpaul's (who i just saw at the food and wine fest).

                            also, brigtesn's too.

                            the difference between NO and NYC/SF is in new orleans you can have a main and be full with splitting a dessert. but in ny the portions are much smaller so it get pricier since you'll order an indivduloal app, entree, and dessert per person.

                            but a lot of entrees in NO are still in the high 20s (not cheap by any standard) and at kpaul's a lot of it is in the 30s0

                            1. re: kevin
                              Phaedrus Oct 1, 2007 01:58 PM

                              OK, two measly poiints of data:
                              I eat breakfast at the hotel, not a great choice, but I needed fast it costs me $20 not including tip. I eat at the similar restaurant in the same hotel chain in another city, its $15 with tip.

                              The conference pays the same amount for meals every year, incrementally adjusting for inflation every year. This year, the portions are paltry and the selection is painfully slim. Last year, we were in Florida and the selection was better and the servings were decent.

                              Trust me, I gladly paid what I did for the meals in NOLA, I wanted to pay for the authenticity and quality, but it is a tad expensive. Besides, you can't get the same stuff in NYC or Chicago that you can get in NOLA, I know that.

                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                h
                                Hungry Celeste Oct 1, 2007 02:08 PM

                                Not to beat a dead horse, but the price of oil/gas is significantly higher this year compared to last, and this has driven up prices of almost everything, nationwide. Basing your perceptions of relative food prices on NOLA on food services provided by a chain hotel doesn't strike me as the most accurate way to gauge the situation. Next time you visit NOLA, post re: "cheap eats" and we can show you how to do it on a shoestring. I still think NOLA has some of the tastiest low-to-midrange dining around.

                                1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                  k
                                  kevin Oct 1, 2007 03:21 PM

                                  yes, where else can you get a roasted duck sandwich for under 10 bucks.

                              2. re: kevin
                                uptownlibrarian Oct 3, 2007 08:51 AM

                                Galatoire's, like anywhere else, can get very pricey if you select expensive wines. We were a party of six on Saturday night after the game and had three courses each for a total of $471, $160 of which was wine. So, including tip, it was less than $100/person, which I think is reasonable. Obviously you're not going to do it every day, but I wouldn't say Galatoire's is any more expensive than anywhere of similar quality in NOLA.

                                1. re: uptownlibrarian
                                  k
                                  kevin Oct 3, 2007 04:53 PM

                                  100 bucks per person is a lot without alchohol, and tax, and tip.

                                  even fifty per is quite a lot for most people, except of course for special occasions or tourists, or what's left of the professional raking in high level incomes.

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    uptownlibrarian Oct 3, 2007 07:03 PM

                                    That was including alcohol, tax, and tip. I maintain that Galatoire's prices are reasonable for a special occasion.

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