Recs for 4 days
I'm new to this board. Let me start out by saying that I know that we are all VERY opinionated, but I respect that greatly. I tried getting recommendations on Trip Adivsor, but I found that people were not helpful and just pointed to previous topics- lazy IMO. My bf and I will be in NO in March for a Saturday thru Wednesday. I think I'm gonna have to eat 4 times a day to fit in all I want to try! I'm not particularly a person with an "advanced" palatte so I really do enjoy so-called "regular" food (chicken, steak) that is done right or fabulously. Sadly, I am allergic to fish so I'd like to hear some ideas about non-fish related dishes. I do however LOVE crawfish (suprisingly not allergic) and I believe they should be in season by March. Correct me if I'm wrong. For a starting point, we are staying at the Astor Crowne Plaza. Would love some places within walking distance, but not necessary. Also, I'm not into tourist traps and would like to go places that the locals love. After all, they really know best! Please help with recs for the following-
One special, nice dinner on Saturday (price not an object, but no jackets for men is a must)
A place for Sunday Jazz brunch
One place for a heavy lunch on Tuesday at a nice place that people would typically go for dinner (we have plans for that evening and must skip dinner)
Somewhere I can have great fried crawfish, crawfish etoufee, or a pasta of sorts with crawfish
Best muffaleta (I like them hot)
Best bloody mary
Thank you so much for your help!
Oh yeah, again, that is a near-perfect shrimp po'boy at Johnny's. See the above photo - I hope it's large enough for ya'll to see - perfect light french roll with some of the center scooped out, light garlicky butter on one side of the bread, delicately battered crispy shrimp, light mayo with lettuce, pickle, and tomato - not overwrought.
Here is another photo of the excellent Bloody Mary we had during brunch at Commander's Palace - this one with my husband in it is the best shot (I asked his permission). The Bloody Mary was so obviously freshly ground up from tomato, celery, onion, garlic, etc. - and I love how they're garnished with pickled okra here! My husband had the eggs benedict on cornbread muffin with the usual hollandaise (done properly, not too much lemon) with a spicy tomato-y sauce as well. I had the grilled gulf fish perched atop poached whole cloves of garlic and other light vegetables.
I've seen mixed reviews of the restauraunt, though we loved Commander's Palace for its excellent, personable service, the truly delicious food (their garlic bread is soft, drenched in butter and dried herbs and a sprinkle - I thought - of parmesan - there you can see a sliver of it near the Bloody Mary). Everything about our experience was lovely, maybe because we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, nothing could go wrong.
I have heard good things about La Boca (http://www.labocasteaks.com/) if you like beef.
I never went to a Jazz Brunch while I lived in New Orleans (crazy, huh?)
Cochon looks to be a great place for all things pig-related....my friends who live there really like it. (http://www.cochonrestaurant.com/)
For crawfish dishes I recommend Bon Ton Cafe on Magazine Street - its the best.
I have heard good things about the po-boys at Johnny's Po-boys on St. Louis in the FQ. I personally liked Parasol's and honestly can say I never really had a 'bad' po-boy while living in New Orleans.
I really enjoy the cold muffaletta at Central Grocery, so I am not of any help there...but I have heard Napolean House has good warm muffalettas. There was a thread about these sandwiches some time ago, and lots of opinions on that one will vary.
My favorite bloody mary is at The Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone on Royal St. The bar itself is worth the trip, but those bloody mary's are excellent - as is the people- watching. (www.hotelmonteleone.com)
I grew up in Texas, so I am not a fan of the margaritas there in New Orleans. However with the post-K influx of Mexican restaurants, there may be someone else who can help you out there.
Have a great trip!
On Bon Ton: My husband and I are currently on a mostly culinary vacation in fabulous New Orleans. One thing I am disinclined to do is criticize too heavily, accounting for personal tastes among other reservations. Still I've got to report that, while we were gleefully looking forward to the crawfish dishes at Bon Ton Cafe, we were especially terribly disappointed in the crawfish etoufee. The spice mix was super heavy on the onion salt; each bite just more of the same (that is, no variegated explosions in the mouth). The crawfish bisque was just okay - a dark roux and scattered with rice. Our best dish at Bon Ton was my soft shell crab Alvin, but I probably would not return to Bon Ton unless I could be sold on another dish. Or maybe I just don't care for crawfish?
On Johnny's: The shrimp po-boy was truly divine (see photo attached!). Although I haven't tried the po-boy at Mother's on Poydras Street, I did have breakfast there (scrambled eggs, grits, and their tender baked ham which feels more boiled to me) yet prefer the interior atmosphere and lesser crowd at Johnny's.