NOLA the last full week of September
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?
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.