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Aug 14, 2009 03:26 PM

Heat, Humidity, An Eating please

So I'm going next week, getting in Monday afternoon and leaving super early Thursday morning. First visit to the city. Other than oppressive heat and humidity I'm expecting to eat some good food.

-Cochon at the counter
-Cure for cocktails

Classic New Orleans Lunch
-Galatoire's or Commander's Palace. I know I asked this before, but if you had to pick one, which would it be?

Cheap, local food:
-Parkway for po'boys
-Willie Mae's Scotch House for fried chicken
-Central Grocery for muffuletta
-CdM for beignets and coffee
-Acme for raw oysters
-Bourbon House for baked oysters. Should I do both Acme (cheaper) and BH (more interesting) or will one suffice? These would be less meal stops than snack ones.
-Hansen's Sno-Blitz for shaved ice

Bars (besides Cure):
-Lobby Bar at Pere Marquette for Chris McMillan. I should note that finding out this guy's schedule has proven next to impossible. Apparently, it's a call the evening of kind of affair.)
-Swizzle Stick
-Arnaud's French 75
-Napoleon House. Is this place worth going to?
-Are there any non-cocktail bars that are cool/divey/cute/interesting that anyone can recommend?

Misc. questions:
-I can't make Kermit Ruffins's Thursday show but his Myspace page lists a weekly Tuesday 6:30 pm show at Bullet's Sports Bar. Not much written about this place. Anyone know anything?
-Are jackets seriously the norm even in the summer at Galatoire's and Commander's Palace?
-At the likes of August, MiLa, Herbsaint, how are they about diners just ordering a couple starters in the dining room? I'm not sure I want to commit to a full meal at any of these pricier spots and might want to visit a couple on a night. Is this frowned upon?
-Is Parkway better for po'boys than Liuzza's?
-Is the Southern Food and Beverage Museum worth going to?
-Any particularly good jazz or blues clubs that have solid tunes regardless of the night?
-Am I missing anything?

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  1. Wow! You are very ambitious. I love both Commanders and Galatoires, but at Galatoires, you may feel out of place without a jacket. My husband generally wears a jacket at Commanders as well, but at lunch you could get away with business casual. Unless you live in the South you may not have a lightweight suit, that is more weather friendly, so to speak. Cant go wrong either way. I would stick to Acme, or try Drago's for their chargrilled oysters. Napoleon House is a great spot for lunch. Their gumbo and muffalettas are great, but note that they are served hot. The Pimms Cup is wonderful as well. For casual bars that meet your criteria, try F & M Patio Bar, Miss Mae's Social Club, Snake and Jakes, Johnny Whites, and Molly's or the R Bar. If you plan on ordering appetizers, you may want to sit at the bar, rather than a table. I am not certain if it will be frowned upon per se, I simply have not done it in the past. Parkway is my favorite spot for po boys. Never had a bad one there. Be sure and check out Frenchmen Street for great live music any night of the week. Good luck and hope this helps!

    1. You should go see Kermit at Bullet's if you have a chance. Just hop in a cab. Get there before 6:30 if you want a seat, because it gets pretty packed. Great place to spot local big shots. I saw Bill Jefferson in there on a Tuesday night once, about 18 months ago.

      1. I had a feeling when Kermit was playing a show that happened to land on the one year anniversary of Katrina a few years ago it could be something special.

        I was in town on the tail end of a deep south road trip when I saw the listing in the Times-Picayune.Bullets Sports Bar on AP Tureaud was not on my radar even after years of drinking and eating my way across the city.

        I called a friend of mine,native New Orleanian and she commented that she'd heard of it but had never been.We loaded up on my bike and motored into the 7th Ward and proceeded to have the time of our lives.

        Kermits' show was the stuff of which legends are made.I don't think he left any stone unturned touching on everybody from Danny Barker to Bobby Mitchell as he led the crowd through a handful of booze and sweat soaked sets.

        Back then Bullets would put out a big kettle of free food in the tiny room in the back of the club[it's a converted house].Nowadays the scene on Tuesdays has grown quite a bit.

        Two big meat-filled sidewalk grills sit off to one side of the house;manned by a couple brothers who look like they're serious about their cooking.A soul food trailer sits directly in front of the house with a full menu and a nice line of folks waiting patiently to dine.

        Inside the small room it's a straight house party.Everybody's dancing and drinking.Hollering out of sheer joy is not uncommon.The between sets dj really gets the crowd going,mixing hip hop in with modern soul...then sounding off air raid sirens when he feels like folks aren't partying hard enough.

        Parking's tight in the neighborhood so everybody climbs their rides up on the curb and parks in AP Tureaud's grassy median.Another thing to love about New Orleans,if anybody even considered doing that here in Austin they'd be looking for a cab to the tow yard so they could pay a couple hundred bucks to retrieve their ride.

        Since 06 Kermit's Tuesday night Bullet's gig has figured large in my twice yearly New Orleans visits.It's the essence of the city;good food,a boisterous crowd and one of New Orleans finest musicians at the peak of his powers-making joyful noise in the historic 7th Ward.

        1 Reply
        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          Thanks for the helpful posts everyone. scrumptiouschef, you've definitely sold me on Bullet's. Should be an interesting time.

        2. BryanZ,A few more words about the places you bring up:

          Cure makes good cocktails and is a beautiful space but the soundtrack is beyond bad. I can't remember the last time I was driven from a good bar by the music but that was the case a few weeks back there.

          It was especially egregious given New Orleans rich musical history.I'd rather sit at Evelyn's Place listening to Louis Prima on Frank's juke and drinking a stiff,plain jane cocktail,than hang at Cure drinking an artisan libation listening to some bad House.

          Tonique across from Louis Armstrong Park[in the old King Bolden room] is as good as Cure in the craft cocktail department and plays much better music.Try a Dark and Stormy with their housemade ginger beer.

          Coquette on Magazine has good food,great cocktails[their bartender was taught by Cure's Danny Valdez]and is a great place to sit at the bar,have a couple appetizers and listen to some Manu Chao.They also put out the best plate of bread I've ever eaten in New Orleans.Whoever their baker is is worth his weight in gold.

          While the scene and the service are both better at Galatoire's than Commanders.Commander's has the better "deal".

          Cheap martinis and good[not great] food.Make a reservation for the garden room,it's a nice place to spend an afternoon eating and drinking.

          I like Cochon.I'm in the camp that prefers Herbsaint but doubling up and hitting them both on one visit is something I'm familiar with.At either place you can sit at the bar and have a couple starters and cocktails and soak in some good ambience.Herbsaint used to have the finest shrimp and grits in town but they changed the recipe and are now middle of the pack.

          I get amazing fried chicken at Galloways' here in Austin so Willie Mae's,in spite of the glowing reviews,is not one of my spots.I love Jack Dempsey's,another locals joint on Poland Ave in the Bywater.

          Best mac and cheese I ever ate in a restaurant and a steady hand on the fried seafood[great softshell crabs] make this little house restaurant in the Bywater on my always visit list.

          Central Grocery has a fine muff.I like to buy one the minute I hit town and set it on the bureau at the Inn.It just gets better and better the longer it sits.I reckon the olives,meat and cheese must start fermenting.There's nothing finer than coming home at 4 in the morning,turning on WWOZ,and tearing into a Central Grocery Muffaletta.Also for the room,run the table on the Zapp's potato chips at a quick mart,there will usually be a Louisiana-only seasonal.

          Zapp's and Grippos are the two best regional chips in the US.

          For a delicious mini muff try Rio Mar,800 S. Peters Street.It's tiny and served warm but is really nourishing.They can make you a nice cocktail there as well.It's close enough to Cochon to pull off a double lunch, not that I would ever do that.

          On your upscale cocktail bar list you leave out Hotel Monteleone.

          I drank many delicious cocktails there on my July visit.It's a really old,really cool[the entire bar sloooowly rotates while you imbibe]lounge and the bartenders know what they're doing.Lot's of cougars,wildcats,faded golf pros,youngsters,tourists and what have you.They use Fentiman's Ginger Beer in their Dark and Stormys This bar is one of my New Orleans favorites.

          "Are there any non-cocktail bars that are cool/divey/cute/interesting".

          Only about a million.You could spend a year trekking through the bars of New Orleans and not scratch the surface.There are over 2000.That being said,here are a few of my favorites from a tourist's perspective.

          Bud Rips on Piety.An old neighborhood joint.Cold beer,friendly bartenders,worth a visit,to put it mildly.

          Markey's Bar on Louisa.Good jukebox,strong drinks, a neighborhood bar that just feels good.

          Mimi's in the Marigny.My late night bar of choice.

          I'll limit myself to these 3 but your options are limitless.

          Po Boys:

          I prefer Parkway's poboys to Liuzza's by the tracks.But Liuzza's would be number 1 in any city in the US except New Orleans.

          I really want to try Mena's on Chartre next visit.It's been on my list for awhile and I've got a good feeling about that place.I also love Domilise's on Annunciation[seafood only].

          Here's a couple old trip reports I posted in year's past.

          Make sure you report back.

          4 Replies
          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            Scrumptiouschef, that is a sensationally GREAT post.

            1. re: BrooksNYC

              I second that! Eloquent and detailed!

            2. re: scrumptiouschef

              Nailed it! That'd make a perfect itinerary.

              1. re: BayouTeche

                I know it's a longshot but I'd love to read a report from the original poster on his trip.