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Late-May trip with a toddler (!?) and healthy-eating hubby

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I'm planning a trip with my husband and young daughter and could use some advice on places that would be hospitable to a squirmy toddler at lunch and a few early dinners. We're also planning to get a babysitter for one or two nights, so any recommendations of excellent places for dinner and cocktails (don't have to be the same places) would be much appreciated.

Garden District is where we'll probably stay, so I was already thinking Casamento's and Camellia Grill for lunches. Any lunch spots that are casual and serve food on the healthier side?

For our evenings out, I was thinking of Commander's Palace or Delachaise and August (which I tried for the first time in 2007 and loved).

Can you suggest any bars with good atmosphere where we could linger over drinks one of those nights out? I was thinking Vaughn's Lounge might be fun, if Kermit is playing, but is it too far to go?

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Cafe Rani in the Garden District has salads and sandwiches that are pretty good. Nothing terribly local about them, but they're reasonably healthy.

    As for cocktails, I would recommend hitting Frenchmen Street one night. The Apple Barrel and R Bar are pretty hip places to have a drink. If you're into swank, the bars at the Ritz Carlton are good.

    For live music, go in the other direction and hit Tipitina's on Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas, or the Maple Leaf on Oak St. Both are New Orleans institutions that have great music pretty much every night of the week. Some acts are better than others of course. Rebirth at the Maple Leaf on a Tuesday is a sure bet.

    Vaughn's is a bit far away from the Garden District, but you would probably take a cab to and from anyway.

    1. Commander's is far better for lunch than dinner. Not a fan of Emeril, but his flagship has been terrific. We dine there several times a month. Possibly Mat and Naddies in the Riverbend (m-f ) for their $10 lunch buffet. Usually mixed greens, a citrusy chicken salad, shrimp salad, soups, cold meats, cheeses, hot entree. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the price points in our fine dining rest. compared to NY.

      1. fyi, the chef at Delachaise left not too long ago.

        1. For breakfast I'd recommend Surrey's

          1. We too are going to NO in May with our 4 year old child and I've done mounds of research to find places with kid's menus or at least something my kid will eat (grilled cheese!!) Here's our list of stuff in the upper and lower garden district, riverbend, carrollton etc.:
            Breakfast/lunch: Gott Gourmet (Kids Menu), Surrey's (some healthy options and juices), Slim Goodies Diner, Oak Street Cafe, Camellia Grill.
            Also try Cafe Atchafalaya and Dick & Jennys for a casual-slash-fancy dinner that has kid's menus!!
            Most of these places have semi-healthy or vegetarian options (except for Camellia Grill!)
            My vote for fancy pants dinner goes to Commander's Palace.
            Kermit Ruffins plays other places that aren't quite as far - the Rock n' Bowl which is in Mid City on Carrollton. If I were you i'd try to catch the Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf Bar, which is just outside the garden district in the riverbend area. That show just might change your life!

            1. Mat and Naddies Uptown has a fabulous menu and wine list as well as a childrens menu! Mandinas on Canal is also a very family friendly selection. Jacques Imos is a very high energy and loud enviroment and would be appropriate for children. I really like Bar Uncommon and Miss Mae's (total opposite Bar Uncommon classy and Miss Mae's an awesome dive)

              1 Reply
              1. re: ScarlettNola

                Thank you, everyone, for such thoughtful and ample responses to my post! I can't wait and will report back to you. If you want any NYC eating tips, just let me know!

              2. Thanks again, everyone, for your helpful recommendations. We ended up cooking more than we ate out, but we made note of many places we want to try on our next visit.

                Here's a brief report:

                - We had an enjoyable late-afternoon lunch at Tout de Suite in Algiers Point. It was a perfect spot to rest a spell on a hot and humid day. The staff were great, the place was sleepy, and our meals were really good.
                - Cochon was also a hit. It felt a lot like a NYC restaurant in style and quality of service. Everything was delicious, especially my Lane Cake doused with the perfect amount of bourbon. My only beef is that the otherwise-wonderful wait staff were so clearly pushing alcohol to get up the tab. It seemd a little desperate for an otherwise classy place. Anyone else have that experience?
                - We had another pleasant lunch at Stanley! I particularly liked my burger and the staff were fantastic with our daughter.
                - Sadly, I took our hotelier's recommendation and opted for Upperline on our only other night with babysitting coverage. It was....OK. I can see why the place would appeal to regulars and everyone there was warm and welcoming. I wish we'd have gone to August, though, or someplace similarly spectacular.

                I wish we'd have tried Green Goddess. We walked by and it looked like people were having a lot of fun there.

                Any recommendations of places to fit that 'spectacular' goal I mentioned above? I can't wait to come back....

                2 Replies
                1. re: Brooklyn Hound

                  Thank you for the report. If you get a chance when you come back, try the crab sandwich at Green Goddess. My hubby only let me have one bite of his but it was fantastic, as is the Cuban. I have not had a chance to have dinner there yet, only lunch. The blood orange mimosa is very refreshing.

                  1. re: Brooklyn Hound

                    Only comment - the staff at Cochon likely wasn't pushing alcohol to increase the tab. Skipping out on alcohol in New Orleans restaurants, especially Cochon, is pretty rare - the staff was probably surprised that you weren't drinking, that's all.