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Help with Thanksgiving plans.

I have been researching restaurants and things to do in NOLA for days and my head is spinning!! My husband and I are flying down from Buffalo, my eldest son (22) from DC and my youngest son (20) from Johnson and Wales Culinary School in RI on the 20th of November for a week. Obviously, we will be there for Thanksgiving and that is my biggest dilemma. Should we do the Fair grounds? I hear it is a tradition to watch the race on Thanksgiving. If not, what is the best place for holiday dinners? Do we attempt Turducken? I doubt if my sons will be packing a jacket or anything but jeans, and I understand that maybe a limitation for some restaurants. The list we have going so far for the rest of the week is:

Herbsaint ……dinner
Galatoire’s… dinner
Luke…………dinner
Stanley!.......breakfast
Banyon……lunch
Acme……..oysters

Whaddya think?

Also we were all looking forward to taking a cooking class, what classes are recommended? Then there is all the tours……..any recommendations there? Swamp tours, ghost tours, post Katrina tours, plantation tours……..phew!!
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Ask them to at least pack some khakis, a tie, and a basic jacket/blazer for dinners out.

    Do a google search for New Orleans Cooking School for classes and prices.

    Bloody Mary tours seem to get talked up the best, so you might try hers. They looked pretty interesting to me anyway.

    Grey Line will have numerous tours listed on their website, specifically the Katrina tour.

    1. I'll admit that I can't help you very much with dining out on Thanksgiving Day, as we are always at home for the traditional turkey fest, so I'll leave that for others.

      Regarding your other suggestions: will you have a car? If so, or if you are wiling to cab, streetcar, etc to wherever, you have many options.

      Breakfast: while I love Scott Boswell's dinner place, Stanley just does not get it done for me. There are some other very cool, very local breakfast joints in town. For example:

      Cake Cafe in the Marigny
      Refuel in Riverbend
      Huevos in Mid City
      Blue Plate Diner on Prytania
      Gott Gourmet in the Garden District
      Sunday Brunch at either Eat in the FQ (bring your own champagne and make mimosas) or Dante's in Riverbend)

      I would choose Casamentos on Magazine for oysters

      Bayona is a great lunch choice, and Luke would be as well.

      I would always choose lunch over dinner at Galatoire's for the experience.

      You might also want to consider Brigsten's in Riverbend and Coquette on Magazine (no website unfortunately) for dinner...or Lilette on Magazine...or Patois uptown...decisions, decisions...

      3 Replies
      1. re: hesaid_nola

        We will have a car........so no problem getting around. Thanks for the suggestions!

        1. re: hesaid_nola

          http://coquette-nola.com/ Their menu changes weekly. Creative cocktails. Fun to order a variety to pass aound the table.

          1. re: JazzyB

            Ah...this site must be pretty new. I stand corrected!

        2. Since one of your sons is in culinary school, Cochon should be on your list. Frank Bruni included it in his list of ten restauants that count outisde of New York. Some people don't really get what Donald Link is doing there, but you should investigate for yourself. Also, Mila is probably our most modern restaurant and is worth a visit just to see how our food culture is changing with the times. August, John Besh's flagship restaurant does excellent fine dining multi course meals as does Stanley, recently lauded as New Orleans best restaurant. The chefs table at Comamnders is a wonderful experience, unforgettable really. Lillette, Cuvee and Rio Mar are also worthy of top ten consideration. I would think a trip to the newly renovated Roosevelt Hotel would be worth the effort. John Besh's regional Italian restaurant, Domenica recently opened there and you could stop into the Sazerac room for a cocktail. Much history at the Rossevelt, really. Galatoire's is really a must for anyone wanting to see and do it all. Remember jackets are required for dinner and highly recommended for lunch. Try to sit downstairs, get the Goute appetizer, have some drinks, trust your waiter, and enjoy yourself. I have always enjoyed Sunday lunch there myself. The Fairgrounds is the perfect idea for Thanksgiving, if you haven't reserved, I wouldn't wait as it is very well attended event. Other places worthy of note would be Bistro Daisy, Patois, Coquette, Clancy's. Two recent Beard award winners are working at Iris and Gautreau's. For PoBoys Parkway Bakery is highly recommended. Keep in mind that that wekeend is the Bayou Classic, which means advance reservations are highly recommended. Other choices for oysters include the Bourbon House, fresh and baked, Royal House, and if you aren't staying the quarter, Pascal's Manale, which also serves wonderful barbequed shrimp, and of course, Casamentos, which is just one of kind. There are a number of very interesting bars to investgate as well, just check the main board for reccommendations, and stop in at the Hermes Bar just to take a look at the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country. The Carousel Bar at the Monteleone is worth a visit as well. Enjoy your trip.

          6 Replies
          1. re: CharlieH

            WOW! thank you SO much! I think Thanksgiving at the Fairgrounds is perfect and I have read there is a PoBoy festival on the 22nd.........that sounds like fun!

            1. re: sawrshom

              You have to bid for a table at the Fairgrounds.

                1. re: sawrshom

                  Yes. Not positive, but I think 4 top bids start around $350-$400.

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    If you are interested, bidding usually opens the first week of November on Ebay.

          2. Go to August for lunch m-f. 3 courses $20.09 Emeril's lunch m-f, 3 courses $19.50. Two of the best values in NOLA. Both would be excellent for dinner as well. Commander's for lunch in the garden room. Jacket required for Galatoire's at dinner. Khakis are a much better choice for dinner everywhere but Acme. I prefer Felix's for oysters 1/2 shhell. Stand at the bar and wash them down with an Abita Amber. Not a fan of Stanley.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JazzyB

              GREAT suggestions.......thanx ,really..........and BTW my eldest is a jazz drummer, any suggestions about Jazz Clubs??

              1. re: sawrshom

                Snug Harbor. Try to catch Astral Project w/ the great Johnny Vidocovich on drums.

            2. First, I agree on the khakis, a tie and a blazer, but I'm an old traditionalist.

              Next, re: your list. I'd substitute Luke for Restaurant August. Make contact (phone call should do) and do the chef's tasting menu. I'll bet that some "stops" are pulled out for your family.

              The rest looks great to me. Now, it's been tons of time, since we did Herbsaint, but with the recs. of the locals, I cannot think of any reason to not do it - great recs. from almost all. I also enjoy Bayona, as chef Spicer does some great dishes. My side of the family is more into Felix's (across the street), but Acme is an institution, and half of my family thought it the better of the two.

              Besides Stanley! for breakfast, if you have the time, look into The Coffee Pot, next to Pat O's on St. Peter St.

              Save room after one dinner and head to the Cafe du Monde for a late night treat, especially if the fog has rolled in. You'll miss the aromas of the old Jax brewery, just up River, but it's worth the effort.

              Most of all, ENJOY!

              Hunt

              BTW, one of my favorite nephews is a teacher at Johnson & Wales. I won't mention names, so as to not get him in trouble, but your student probably has done pastry classes with him. Just a guess. He was also a pastry chef and also a sous chef at several NOLA restaurants, before moving to RI.