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Trip Report 3/6-8

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esyle Mar 11, 2009 02:28 PM

Thanks again to everyone for your sage advice. We had a great time in your city last weekend. We arrived at our hotel by 10AM and were able to check in, which was a pleasant surprise. We were starved but didn’t want to nosh on anything before lunch, so we took a walk around the FQ and decided we couldn’t take our hunger pains anymore. We did walk by Galatoire’s at 10:45 and the line was forming but unfortunately we didn’t think we could wait that long to eat, plus the line was right in the sun..not so much a problem for me but it was for my friend, so we decided to forgo the Galatoire’s experience for Luke. We were not disappointed. The service was extremely friendly and accommodating (it took a while for my friend to find a wine she like and when she finally did they gave me a glass (gratis) as well..) We started w/the P&J oysters and shrimp, which were amazing. The horseradish sauce was hotter than I’ve ever had but we loved it. I had the pressed cochon de lait (succulent. I couldn’t stop eating it even after I was sufficiently full) and my friend had the choucroute maison. Everything was perfectly cooked. We sat there until 1:30 and never felt rushed. Again, really superb service.

After rolling out of there we walked up to Café du Monde which really put me over the top. We planned on a lateish dinner at Mr. B’s Bistro but ended up going early (around 6:45) which was a big mistake since I was still stuffed form earlier and could barely finish my gumbo ya ya let alone the delicious barbeque shrimp. Again, the service was fantastic (I love how both places serve the warm bread, rolled up in a towel at Luke, and in a bag here. Very charming). Friend tried the soups 1-1-1, deciding the ya ya was the best, although the red bean soup, special of the day was quite nice too. I felt terrible forgoing dessert but we were both so exhausted it was all we could do to stay awake (7am flight from LGA left us both waking up at 4:45am. Not for me…)

After sleeping in a bit Sat morning decided to find a place for breakfast around St Charles so we wouldn’t be out of our way to catch the street car up to the Garden District for the 11AM walking tour. So, we just sort of meandered and ended up at Luke, again. We shared the Chiseli ham, grits and eggs w/biscuit which was just the perfect amount of food w/the pot of French pressed. After the walking tour we were in a rush to get to Casamento’s and luckily made it there by 1:45. We had to wait at least 45 minutes for a table and ended up the last ones to leave the place but I’m glad we made the effort and waited. We split some raw oysters and then shared a half oyster loaf and shrimp loaf, both w/lettuce and tomato. Just as advertised. Not at all heavy or greasy and just the right amount of food. All were so friendly in what must be a crazy environment 5 days a week for the staff. On the walk back down Magazine Street I stopped for a “piccolo” cup of gelato at La Divina Gelateria, really delicious cappuccino and chocolate azteca. Yum, can still taste it now.

After Preservation Hall (so happy we got to see the Jazz band here) we meandered up to Marigny, stopping for a couple of drinks at Lafitte’s (I put my beer down for 5 seconds to take a picture of the wedding party dancing in the street and someone cleared it away…), and then to the Praline Connection. I’m giving this place a “just ok” w/the caveat that we were the last ones in the place to order food and everything wasn’t piping hot. We decided on 2 apps, the barbeque oysters and the shrimp roulade. Not too excited by either. We then shared the “Taste of Soul” platter, and again, there was nothing that thrilled me. I liked the greens, if they were a bit too salty, the ribs were dry, the catfish was ok but needed a lot of hot sauce and the jambalaya was just a lump of dry rice w/a few veges that looked like frozen peas and carrots. I don’t even remember if there was any sausage, if so it was dry and tasteless. Red beans and rice were tasty. The best part of the whole meal was the bread pudding that came w/the platter. That was really delicious and really saved the entire meal.

After hotel check out on Sunday morning we shopped our way back up to Frenchmen Street and had brunch at Marigny Brasserie. The Psister Sisters were very entertaining and the atmosphere in the sunny restaurant was really so nice for a relaxing Sunday brunch. We got a nice booth by the opposite wall and enjoyed the crawfish beignets (delicious), the shrimp and grits and the grillades and grits. The latter was sort of boring, the meat tasted like meat from a stew, but the jalapeno biscuit was really nice and the shrimp were cooked perfectly. The service was a little off here, saw one service flop a poached egg on the floor and ½ hour later was still red from embarrassment. Saw a lot of other miscues, like spilling half a cosmopolitan on somebody’s plate, and our server forgot my bloody mary. I know these things happen everywhere but it was the first noticeable evidence of inexperienced staff we encountered the entire trip.
Decided against a muff from Frank’s on the way back since it was going to be way too long before my airport layover in Atlanta (but I did pick up 3 bags of chips) so will have to get one the next time I come.

In all it was a fantastic yet short visit and I do hope to come back soon (w/a spare stomach perhaps??!!) to try the many other places on my list. Everyone we met was extremely friendly and so grateful for our visit. Please let me know if you ever need help w/Manhattan or Queens restaurants.
Thanks again, Debby

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