Berkeley Chowhound has tentative food agenda for NOLA
Any feedback would be great for the few days I have in NOLA mid-November...anything critical I am missing? Looking for more casual and hole-in-the-wall than high-end...
Casamento's - Po' Boys & Oysters
Cafe du Monde - Coffee and beignets
Central Grocery - Muffuletta Sandwich
Cochon - Cajun
Old Coffee Pot - Lost Bread, callas, and grits
TBD - depending on what we do during the day
K-Paul's - Paul Prudhomme Southern Louisiana restaurant
4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
NO stay in New Orleans would be complete without a trip uptown to Jacques-Imo's. It's funky, it's fabulous, and the food is quintessentially New Orleans. It also gets you out of the quarter and into the more residential areas, which are beautiful! Have your cab driver take you there via St. Charles Ave. The most stately homes in the city flank oak-lined St. Charles. NOT the New Orleans people expect.
Here's a link to the restaurant's website: http://www.jacquesimoscafe.com/
I recommend getting there at the stroke of 5:30 (if not earlier). They don't take reservations and there's almost always a (long) line. If you do end up waiting, though, try one of their watermelon Mojitos. They are outta this world!
Jacque-Imo's has their devotees, but the risk reward factor is probably to high. That being said there are great restaurants in the River bend. Best thing to do is to take street car or cab from where you are staying, to the end of the line, and just start walking. Sample a little bit from each spot and move on.
Cafe Grenada, Basil Leaf, One, Dante's Kitchen... If you are lucky the old Iris will be reopened by then.
I second Dante's Kitchen--fantastic, locally sourced, yum! Or, you could go to Brightsen's if you're willing to fancy it up a little or even Camelia Grill if you want a hamburger-waffle-chili fry-orange freeze night of excess...
One non-chow related benefit to the River Bend idea is that you can go to the Maple Leaf afterwards for the best possible New Orleans music experience.
I strongly disagree with Jacgues-Imo's. Funky yes , but the food is not fabulous and the service is less than fabulous. If you get there early your chances of having okay service are better, but the food is overly rich and highly caloric and that experience can be had at far better restaursants.
for casual eats, I go to J'Anita's, Cafe Atchafalaya, Cochon, Arabesque, Il Posto, Ruby Slipper. Coco Hut, Boswell's, Rivershack, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, St. James Cheese Company (wine shop next door), Cafe Degas (near New Orleans Museum of Art and nice for Sunday brunch), Mat & Naddie's, Liuzza's by the Track, Bywater BBQ, Parasol's, Domilisie's.
Switch Friday lunch to Napoleon House for your muff. Just as good and nicer service.
Sunday brunch has to be at EAT in the FQ on Dauphine and Dumaine. Great prices and byob. Stop off at any bar on the way over for a bloody mary or get a bottle of champagne at a liquor store for mimosas. Eat will provide the OJ.
You're very French Quarter and downtown-centric, which is OK, but ideally you'd get out and visit some of the charming neighborhoods and restaurants that tourists rarely go to. Casamento's is the farthest afield you're going, but I love Parkway Bakery and Tavern for delicious poboys (fried shrimp, fried oyster, and roast beef are my favs.
The FQ is lovely during the day, but you probably want to steer clear of Bourbon at night (and during the daytime, for that matter, except to go to Galatoire's.) Locals go to Frenchman St. in the Marigny for funky jazz clubs and divey bars. Tipitina's Uptown and the Maple Leaf are great music clubs, too.
New Orleans architecture outside of the FQ actually reminds me a lot of San Francisco. Lots of wooden Victorian houses. Take a Garden District tour. Take the St. Charles streetcar up to Riverbend and then back.