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Dec 10, 2009 03:08 PM

Trip Report: NOLA December 4-8, 2009

Just wanted to give the rundown on my visit to New Orleans that ended on Tuesday. I was there for the big conference at the convention center and was basically alone.

I flew in on Friday in time for dinner. I stayed at the Sheraton and decided to walk into the Quarter and sit at the bar somewhere. I was thinking of trying Mr B's Bistro, so I gave it a shot. There was one seat at the counter when I arrived and I shimmied my way between two locals (as I later came to find out). I had the gumbo ya ya and the BBQ shrimp, along with an Abita amber followed by a glass of French white. I liked the gumbo and the French bread in a bag that it came with. It was a rich, meaty gumbo with a kick to it. Next came the BBQ shrimp. Again, I enjoyed dipping my French bread. But the garlic got to me after a while and I couldn't finish. I don't think I'm a a great lover of BBQ shrimp, I'm ashamed to admit.

After dinner I headed up to the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel and tried the Ramos Gin Fizz. A bit too rich for my blood. I changed to another Abita and was happy. The hotel lobby is beautiful and I liked the local crowd. It was cold that night and I stumbled home quite tipsy.

After working Saturday morning without eating breakfast, I headed over to Acme for an early lunch. This was perhaps the best meal of the trip. I had a half dozen broiled oysters with cheese on top and the 10-napkin roast beef po-boy. Fantastic. I sat at the bar and chatted with the shucker. The guy next to me put ketchup on his oyster po-boy and the shucker told me that was how the locals did it. Not me. I did have a bit of ketchup with my roast beef, though. Very satisfying. I had a coke to complete the hangover remedy.

For dinner, I went to yet another bar--the Hermes bar at Antoine's. I had a Pimm's Cup, some oysters rockefeller, and the kobe cheeseburger po-boy with that brown dipping gravy they make. I wasn't that hungry, but did enjoy the food and chatted with the staff and patrons.

After an early meeting Sunday morning, I walked to Stanley and had breakfast. The eggs Stanley--very tasty.

Watched the Saints game at Lucy's in the Warehouse District--fun place. I skipped lunch, though. Then for dinner I went with a friend to Restaurant August and again sat at the bar. The food and wine were very good. We had some kind of cooked oyster appetizer and I had a great salad with beets and egg, and then an appetizer-sized plate of blue crab gnocchi. Some kind of chocolate nouget thing for dessert was very good and the wine by the glass was excellent..

On Monday morning I went to Mother's for breakfast and had a biscuit with eggs and RB debris. Really enjoyed it. For lunch I went to the Butcher at Cochon and had the muffaletta. It was pretty good, but not as good as central grocery, which I had on the flight home.

On Monday evening I was so full I could eat nothing more than a bowl of gumbo at the gross Sheraton Lobby bar. But the food was from the restaurant upstairs and wasn't bad, actually.

Tuesday morning I went to Cafe Du Monde for the usual. It was good, but not as fresh as usual. Still, I enjoyed it.

Then, as I said, a mufalleta from Central Grocery for the plane. I ordered a half and ate half on the plane and half for dinner in New York.

What an eating orgy. Fantastic. Acme was the highlight, but I really liked August, Mother's Breakfast, and the Hermes bar. And finally got to the Sazerac Bar! Great time talking to the locals, as well.

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  1. nicely done! i havent eaten at hermes bar yet, definitely gonna check that out. i also remember on one of my first days after moving to the city i had a RB at acme w/ an amber, dreary rainy day. was a perfect intro..

    6 Replies
    1. re: kibbles

      And what do you know about ketchup on oyster po-boys? Is that actually a local custom?

      1. re: bmoskowitz

        We put ketchup on oyster and shrimp poboys and have since I can remember. I also like mayo and Tabasco. Is that supposed to be a "local custom" also? I've never heard of it referred to as just local. I also never put ketchup on roast beef, and have never seen it done.

        1. re: mrsfury

          To each his own. I'm not one for ketchup on shellfish, but I like it on beef. I like tobasco and mayo on my seafood po-boys. But, hey, I'm game. I'll try ketchup. I referred to it as local custom, since the po-boy itself is local and when you get a seafood sandwich anywhere I've lived (Florida/New York) they give you tartar sauce and/or mayo, but not ketchup. Some people don't like cheese on seafood either, but personally I love cheese on cooked oysters.

      2. re: kibbles

        i have never had or seen ketchup on a seafood poboy. i dont think its necessarily a locals custom, i think its just something some people do.

          1. re: kibbles

            I think that it's a personal taste. With a shrimp po-boy, I want my sandwich with ketchup, a bit of mayo, and shredded lettuce, on toasted bread. I also like a few thinly sliced dill pickles, but that's just me. Wife (the NOLA native) wants more mayo and less ketchup, and can do without the dill pickles. She also want tomato on hers, and that is not part of my "dressed po-boy."

            Just personal tastes. Maybe it's what one grows up with, or maybe how one did it first, when their parents took them to Felix's, or to Acme?

            B-I-L ships us fresh shrimp off the boat, along with French bread. My wife knows to get out her lettuce shredder, as that's the only way that either of us will want it. She keeps several boxes of Zatarain's in the cupboard, just ready for the deliveries.

            To me, ketchup is a good accompaniment to Southern fried seafood. Other preps - not so much, and to the joy of many chefs!

            Just differences,


        1. Holy crap! If your best meal was a po'boy at Acme, you did not do due diligence.

          4 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            I can only speak the truth. That po-boy and charbroilded oysters at Acme was very satisfying. Perhaps being hungover clouded my judgement, but I'd say I did pretty well in terms of where and what I ate. Next time I'm in New Orleans, I'll be trying other places for a RB po-boy. But I'd go back to Acme for the 10-napkin. I enjoyed it, due diligence or not.

            1. re: bmoskowitz

              Do not be ashamed of what you liked best. Now, Chef John Besh might want to have words with you - but that's for another time.

              Most of all, Enjoy!


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Thanks, Bill. Besh will have other chances to impress me soon enough. I'm going to Luke on Christmas Day.

                1. re: bmoskowitz

                  Good dining. We have not yet done Luke, so we'll be looking forward to the report.



          2. Nice report. I returned last night from visiting family in NJ. I've gotta say, as much as I enjoy oyster poboys, I'd gladly swap them for Jersey pizza and pastrami sandwiches.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JazzyB

              ah, jersey pizza...i miss it so. while nothing comes close, Cafe Nino over in riverbend isnt bad. and then..sbbarro's.

              1. re: kibbles

                There is a resurgence of good pizza in Manhattan and Brooklyn these days, too. Di Fara's in Brooklyn is my current favorite, but I haven't yet tried Motorino in the East Village. In general, the pizza in New Jersey seems better, though I rarely get out there.

                1. re: bmoskowitz

                  Good news about Manhattan..the alst goood/great Pizza I had was in Boston but that is a different animal. Had a terrific one a few years ago at Drexel Hill Pizza in Penna. What I really miss, though, is good soprasetta.

            2. Oh no. I,m staying at the sheraton starting on thursday. Don,t tell me I made a mistake.

              1 Reply
              1. re: srqmichael

                The Sheraton is fine. Just don't eat there.