Help! Overwhelmed by choices. Help us plan our weekend.
Ok... I'm pretty good at research so usually I can search the different Chowhound forums and come up with an eating itinerary when we travel to different cities. Not so on the NOLA board. There are too many choices and too many differing opinions (Bayona is wonderful... no don't eat there. Commander's Palace is a NOLA institution...... no it is an overrated tourist trap etc. etc. etc.) Plus, having not been to the city, I don't have a good sense of how difficult it is to travel across town.
So here are our specs:
Family of five (three teenagers). Seasoned travelers. Good eaters.
Coming in late Friday afternoon mid June. Leaving early Monday morning. Staying in FQ.
Feeding 5 people becomes expensive so we can only have 2 pricey meals.
We will have a car, but we prefer to walk or take public transportation. We are good walkers.
Husband and sons will only have collared shirts and pants.
We need a dinner spot for an early Friday dinner within walking distance of FQ.
Saturday we are taking a swamp tour and then going to the Bywater Art Market. Lunch?
Need Saturday dinner suggestions. Thoughts? This could be one of our upscale meals though Boucherie looks great and affordable. How hard is it to get from FQ to is it Uptown ( or is that Riversbend?). Can we take a streetcar? Hummmm...... the menu at Patois looks great too.
Sunday we need a place for brunch/lunch after Mass. Dante's Kitchen? I'd like to tour the Garden District on Sunday afternoon so maybe something in that neighborhood.
Finally, we need something quick and cheap Sunday night (since we will no doubt have spent too much money in your fair city) preferably in the FQ.
And...... after reading the thread on NOLA's top 5 dishes, I'd like to also try to eat the following:
Po' Boy (I'd like oyster, son #1 will want roast beef)
red beans & rice
snowballs with condensed milk
Thanks for any help you can toss my way.
For a very reasonable lunch or dinner, try Liuzza's in mid city at 3636 Bienville. Easy drive up and off of Canal or you could take a cab. They have GREAT red beans and rice, and I love their gumbo and oyster poboy. Very delicious! Enjoy!
Cochon is my new favorite place (for the pricy place). Easy to walk to French Quarter from there. I also love Mothers for po'boys. Wonderful debris po' boys as well as oyster. Central Grocery for muffulettas. I'll add beignets and cafe au lait at cafe du monde since you've never been to New Orleans before. I haven't been in a while but have always enjoyed The Columns Hotel for Sunday brunch (in the garden district). I'd say to also go to Angelo Brocato's for gelato - not sure if they have snowballs with condensed milk.
You can definitely take the St. Charles streetcar uptown from the French Quarter.
You CAN take streetcar to Riverbend for Boucherie (excellent choice, IMO) - it's on Jeanette St, 1/2 block uptown (i.e. upriver/upstream) of Carrolton (on which the st.car'll be running after the 'bend' off of St. Charles). Just ask driver to let you know when it's time for Jeanette. Be sure to make res. well in advance (1 wk. +/-). Dante's is in same 'hood ('nother fine choice). Running out of apostrophes - must sign off.
Thanks for the help so far. Here's were we are:
Saturday dinner at Boucherie
Sunday brunch at Dante's Kitchen
I think we will fill in Saturday lunch and Sunday dinner with Po Boys et al. Will we have trouble finding things open on Sunday night in the FQ?
Still looking for a dinner suggestion in the FQ for Friday night. Must be walking distance from Place D'Armes. Does anyone want to weigh in on Cochon?
A nice spot in the quarter for Sunday dinner would be The Green Goddess. Just opened, its not New Orleans food, but dont let that stop you as there are some NOLA influences.
Cochon is great highly recommend it, but you could have a Cochon-esque experience for a little cheaper at Boucherie (though IMO Cochon better). Then again you could go to Cochon Butcher, just behind Cochon, and eat sandwiches and small plates.
Po-Boys in quarter try Johnny's. Also you could take the streetcar pretty much to all the areas you want to go from quarter. May also want to try Parkway (easy drive from quarter, or decent walk from Canal/Jeff Davis Street Car stop).
I have not had a great experience with Dante's Kitchen, but others have so by all means ignore that. Where are you planning on going to mass? If in quarter, Dante's will be a long ride.
Mass is at 9:00 at St. Louis. I'm assuming Mass runs an hour (or is it like the midwest where they are in and out in 45 minutes?). I'd entertain the idea of going to another church since the St. Louis Cathedral is described as being the oldest yet ugliest Cathedral in America. Suggestions from other Catholics?
Afterwards we are going to drive to Dante's for brunch which opens at 10:30.
Saturday night we will ride the street car to Boucherie..... 8:30 dinner reservations and they said that it would take a full hour to ride there from the FQ but they described parking as "grim".
Cbrand, I'm interested in the source of that "oldest but ugliest" description of St. Louis. Do you have it handy? I think St. Louis is beautiful inside and out. However, if for some reason it's not to your tastes, there are several interesting Catholic churches near the French Quarter: St. Patrick's at 724 Camp St., Our Lady of Guadalupe at 411 S. Rampart, and Immaculate Conception at 130 Baronne, to name a few.
Regarding parking at Boucherie, I've been there three times for dinner and not had a problem. The late streetcar ride back might not be much fun, but the ride there will be nice. Maybe you could get a cab back?
I second N.O. Food's suggestion of Sunday dinner at Mandina's. It's right on the Canal St. streetcar line, or they have a parking lot. They serve very good versions of many of the items on your list - turtle soup, poboys, red beans (but maybe not on Sunday, I'm not sure), and many other "classic" dishes.
Re: parking at boucherie. Last time I was in that neck, they had constructed a fence across the opening to the lot from the Jeannette Street side. Not sure what that is about. But I dont think you can park back there anymore.
St. Louis Cathedral certainly isnt as opulent and decorative as say, the basilica in St. Louis, but it sure is a great place to catch a mass. Timing wise, the Jesuit church on Baronne (Immaculate Conception) will get you out fast.
Go to Mandina's. While it ain't perfect, it will give you a great glimpse at a New Orleans neighborhood spot. The bread rounds with butter are worth the trip alone.
I believe the comment about the St Louis Cathedral was in the Eyewitness Travel Guide Series on NOLA. There was also a story about the fact that the Cathedral (and the whole French Quarter) burned down in 1788 on Good Friday partially due the fact that the church refused to ring its bells to warn people about the fire (Got to love us Catholics.... dogma above all else <grin>)
Turtle Soup: Commanders or for a budget option Mandina's
Muffaletta: Central Grocery
PoBoy: Parkway(Oyster) Parasol's (RB)
Sno Ball: Hansen's
Bananas Foster: Brennan's or Petunia's (Brunch and pretty cheap but have not been there in a while)
BBQ Shrimp: Mr. B's
I would recommend Commander's as one of your expensive meals especially after Mass.
In the Bywater, I would suggest Elizabeth's. Try the praline bacon. Yummy!
For quick and cheap, I would try Coops Place, although it is always crowded. Ditto on Port of Call. Mandina's is a budget friendly restaurant and since it is large, you should not have much of a wait Sunday, although they close at 9.
I know everyone (or at least most people) raves about Central Grocery's muffalettas, and I have really enjoyed them on past visits. But I must say that I preferred the muffaletta I recently enjoyed at Stein's Market and Deli, especially the crispy, warm toasted bread and the perfect ratio of olive salad to meats to cheese. It really was outstanding.
IMO, Commanders has the best turtle soup. If you go, reserve the garden room. Mandinas(turtle soup) not so good. K-Pauls has a self serve lunch Thr, Fri., Sat. His oyster and shrimp poboys and gumbo are very good. The small menu usually has other local fare as well. Another lunch option: Mr. B's, excellent bbq shrimp and gumbo ya-ya. I wouldn't bother with Green Goddess. You can dine far better for the same $$. Without alcohol, a few dollars more will get you an outstanding dinner at Emeril's. Perhaps Rambla for Fri. dinner.
I'd second Mandina's, with, if they're open, a walk over to Angelo Brocatto (about three blocks, IIRC) for Italian Ice (fresh strawberry's in season!) before you ride the Canal streetcar back to the FQ.
I'd include Brigtsen's or Upperline as one of your pricey meals; both accessible from the St. Charles Street streetcar line.