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Oct 2, 2008 11:27 AM

SF Hound Needs Advice/Critique of Food Itin

I am coming to New Orleans the second weekend in Oct for a wedding. We will arrive Thur evening and leave Sunday afternoon. We are staying at he Marriott near the FQ. This is the first time in New Orleans for my traveling companion and my first time in 10 years (so I'm sure lots of have changed). We are both very food obsessed people and are very adventurous palate wise. Price isn't really an issue but we do want to mix it up a bit with upscale places and down-home spots. As we are coming from San Francisco, we want to concentrate on things that are unique to New Orleans and not necessarily have another restaurant that does an interpretation of the Alice Waters-thing. So right now we are thinking Creole and Cajun. My traveling companion in particular has not really experienced these cuisines and I want to show him the best. We are also very fond of cocktail culture and would be grateful if this board can point us to the best cocktail-centric places.

Our itin so far:

Thur Evening - ? (need quick, takeout, portable food option between getting in from the airport and meeting the bride and groom at MiLA in the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel for drinks)

Fri Breakfast - ?

Fri Lunch - Antoine's or Acme (or some other casual seafood place - too bad it's not crawfish season)

Fri Dinner - Herbsaint

Sat Breakfast - ?

Sat Lunch - Galatoire's (is being downstairs much better? we do need to control the time on this day as it's the day of the wedding and we can only make res upstairs)

Sat Dinner - Mothers (fixed as this is where their reception is)

Sun Brunch - Brennan's

Any advice would be much appreciated. Also, is Antoine's and Galatoire's too much repeat of the same thing? What are Central Grocery's hours for muffletas? And where in FC or surrounding area can I get good boudain?

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  1. Thurs evening--why not just have appetizers at MiLa before you have drinks? Or pop over to Cafe Adelaide in the Loew's hotel for an app or two.

    NOLA isn't a super breakfast town, IMHO. Take the streetcar to Camellia Grill for atmosphere, or just skip breakfast and save your calories for lunch at Casamento's (fills your Fri lunch needs for casual seafood). Or head over to Lil Dizzy's on Poydras.

    Brunch at Brennan's is the most sorely overrated thing in the entire city. Skip it, and skip Antoine's, too--go funky and have brunch at Elizabeth's or upscale at Commander's or grab some beignets at Cafe du Monde.

    If you are really interested in cajun food, Cochon is missing from your list, and K-Paul's is worthy, too.

    930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    Camellia Grill
    626 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

    Casamento's Restaurant
    4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

    Commander's Palace Restaurant
    1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

    K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
    416 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA

    Elizabeth's Restaurant
    601 Gallier St, New Orleans, LA 70117

    Cafe Adelaide
    300 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      Okay, I should clarify...
      We heard good things about Cochon but cannot go there on Fri for dinner as the wedding couple is having there family dinner there and would be awkward.
      The wedding starts at Cafe Du Monde so we will have that also already.
      We don't need to have breakfast. It's jsut open in case there's somewhere we HAVE TO go to.

      1. re: vliang

        I agree with skipping Brennan's. Reserve the garden room at CP. Perhaps August or Cuvee for Fri. lunch. Definitely downstairs at Galatoire's. Shouldn't be a problem getting seated early on Sat.

    2. I definitely think you should eat at MiLa. I think they are doing quite progressive things with southern food. Everything is a twist on a southern classic. I was blown away by their tasting menu.

      Cafe Adelaide is the sister restaurant to Commander's Palace. If you can't make the trip Uptown on Friday for lunch, this would be a good subsititue on Thursday evening.

      I am a fan of Herbsaint, but I believe Cuvee is much better. Herbsaint is a little more casual though if you want to keep things low key.

      You can't miss with Galatoire's. It's a classic and the service is impeccable. Downstairs is usually walk in, and reservations are for upstairs (I think). Maybe that's changed.

      1. I would skip Antoine's and Brennan's, but I would do Galatoire's. I would also try to get Commander's for brunch. MiLA is one of the best new restaurants in town. I would definitely eat there your first night.

        Do Blue Plate Cafe for breakfast.

        Try to do Mandina's for a casual spot. It's cash-only, but they have an atm on site.

        I have yet to find good boudin in New Orleans. If you locate some, let me know.

        1. Not sure if you meant to equate Antoine's with Acme, but they're very different, and only one is a casual seafood place (Acme). Neither is the best you can do if you want great seafood. Casamento's is a good suggestion. I'm a big fan of Bozo's in Metairie, but I doubt you'll make it out there. Parkway Bakery in Mid-City has delicious poboys. The best in the city.

          I agree that you should skip Brennan's and go funky for breakfast one day. You should look at the Marigny and Bywater. Elizabeth's gets high marks.

          And yes, Galatoire's is best when you sit downstairs. The food is solid, I think it's delicious, but it's not really innovative. (Fish here is usually excellent. Ask your waiter what's good that day. Get it sauteed with crabmeat, and split a Goutee platter. It will probably be swimming in butter, fair warning) The real draw is the raucous atmosphere, and that only exists downstairs. You'll be holding it together for the wedding, but Galatoire's cannot be enjoyed without a cocktail, and they make a strong one. Avoid a Sazerac if you don't like licorice, but if you like it, get one -- it's a historic New Orleans drink.

          1. I agree with MiLa but my experience with people visiting from San Francisco is that they try our food and then post reviews trashing their dining experiences. It does seem dis proportionate and I don't know the reason why.
            You will not get anything you are used to and maybe you will not like what you have, but keep in mind this is a cuisine that is indigenous to our unique cross culture and is incomparable any where in the nation. We don't pretend to be trendy or ground breaking, but we do have dozens of chefs in the city that keep it interesting and new, with a strong emphasis on local seafood and local ingredients .

            Skip Brennans,hugely over priced but a cliche New Orleans experience. Venture over to Frenchman st. and try Marigny Brasserie

            I hope your are the exception to the rule and have a truly memorable dining experience.

            Thanks for visiting.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Tonto

              As I was trying to state in my original post.... we are not trying to duplicate the SF/ California/ slow food cuisine a la Chez Panisse and its off-springs in New Orleans. We want old school Creole and down home Cajun. We can do with one meal of re-interpreted New Orleans, but we don't want to see yet another plate of artisnal salumi, heirloom tomato salad, or wood oven grilled Niman Ranch whatever. We can get that in SF. It's a pity that it seems a high number of our SF brethren have come in expecting differently.

              We want the pool of butter, the original Sazerac, the local raw bar...

              Unfortunately, we are a bit confined to the wedding schedule constraints and can't really trek all over town. Lookign forward to the good eating!

              1. re: vliang

                Bon Ton - excellent representation of N.O. food - my faves there are the crabmeat au gratin, house salad with house vinaigrette and bread pudding with rum sauce

                Parasol - poboys & sometimes gumbo

                Parkway - poboys

                Napoleon House - a nice mix of food & have a pimm's cup while sitting in the courtyard

                1. re: vliang

                  Based on these comments alone, you should look into Restaurant August. Chef Besh does some wonderful things with tomatoes and I am NOT a real tomato fan.

                  For "pool of butter" (a great description, by the way), Galetoire's is going to be your best bet, and it's also a NOLA tradition.

                  Thank you for the above clarification, as both cities offer some great food, albeit totally different cuisines. I appreciate knowing what you are looking for. We end up spending as much time in SF, as NOLA, and greatly enjoy the different dining experiences.

                  I still stick with my other recs., even with this clarification - especially the "lost bread" at The Coffee Pot, nee Maxie's Coffee Pot (butter fetish WILL be fulfilled!)


                  Restaurant August
                  301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130