Trip Report May 24-30, 2010 (better late than never :))
This is a run-down of our time spent in New Orleans May 24-30, 2010. It was a great hot time and we loved every minute of it, despite the heat.
Buffa’s: chilled cream of broccoli soup and tossed salad, and seared sashimi grade tuna sandwich on Kaiser roll. We met Jeff, the owner, who plays tuba in brass bands and moved down to NO from Chicago for that very reason, and also Bonnie, who moved to NO with her husband after Katrina from St. Louis, so we had some St. Louis “stuff” to talk about…
Reservations at Dante’s Kitchen: lagniappe of spoonbread and appetizer of grilled spicy shrimp and creamy grits. Entrees: seared diver scallops and beet greens; stuffed flounder and roasted artichoke with kalamata olive tapenade. Drinks: 1 sazerac, 1 margarita made with lemon-infused tequila, 1 Abita Light (my husband’s new-found favorite light beer), 1 Noah’s Mill bourbon, and 2 raspberry gins. Whew! Definitely catching a buzz when we left Dante’s. Love the food and the vibe of that place.
Stanley: Eggs Benedict Poorboy and Fried Oyster Benedict, one blood orange Italian soda, and one bloody mary. Very solid, very good food at Stanley.
Stopped at Louisiana Cigar Factory on Decatur so hubby could buy variety of hand-rolled ones.
Acme: one dozen raw and ½ dozen chargrilled; one bloody mary and 2 Abita Lights. Acme, very solid, very good grub, great oysters. We were lucky and got seated immediately.
Molly’s on the Market:
1 frozen coffee drink with brandy and coffee liqueur (so yummy), 2 rum punches made with 2 counts Malibu and 2 counts Myer’s , and 3 margaritas made with Cuervo Gold. Buzzy-buzzy time. Great jukebox and great bartenders at Molly’s.
Jacques-Imo’s: Right off the bat, I have to say this was by far our LEAST favorite restaurant of our whole time in NO. Not only for the 2 ½-hour wait, but for the less-than-stellar food. We nursed one bloody mary and one margarita the whole time we were there and saw 2 or 3 couples seated ahead of us who had definitely arrived afterward. Not cool. Anyway, the food: lagniappe of cornbread (not as good as Dante’s spoonbread), and shrimp and alligator cheesecake. Was looking forward to this dish, but it was very underwhelming. Just meh. Entrees were blackened lamb sirloin with butter beans and smothered cabbage, and BBQ shrimp and corn maque choux and shoestring taters. Hubby liked his BBQ shrimp, but I did not. Think they felt a little guilty about our LONG wait because we got another lagniappe: complimentary dessert of coconut bread pudding with strawberry jam. OK, but nothing to shout about.
Royal Blend coffee on Royal Street. Yummy yummy coffee. I had the iced café au lait and hubby had regular. Good good stuff.
Canal streetcar to Mandina’s: shrimp-stuffed green pepper with lima beans and mac ‘n’ cheese, and ½ shrimp and oyster poor boy and cup of turtle soup. Drinks: one bloody mary, one sazerac, and one Bombay gin and tonic. Loved the vibe at Mandina’s. Hubby called it Creole comfort soul food.
Reservations at Upperline: JoAnn was not there, but Robert, the maitre d’, chatted us up quite nicely on our way out the door as we were leaving. Appetizers of fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, and fried oysters with remoulade and celery root sauces. Entrees of Cane River country shrimp and grits (loved the grit cake), and veal grillades and grits (very hearty homey comfort food). Desserts of Thomas Jefferson crème brulee and Brandy Alexander, and a pinot gris, sazerac, and a Dewar’s and soda for drinks. Upperline was good, but seems a little dated or down-at-the-heels or something. The best part was its proximity to the next place we went right across the street:
Creole Creamery: hubby suffered me to go across Prytania after dinner at Upperline and have some unusual ice cream (I hate to think how many fat and calories I consumed in those two scoops). My choices: creole cream cheese and cayenne lime butter. Yum, yum, yum, I loved it. Don’t know how DH declined eating any (guess he was too full and grumpy after Upperline), but I sat there and ate the whole thing by myself, oink-oink.
Honey Island Swamp Tour by Cajun Encounters. Tour guide’s name was Claude. I wanted to do this because I wasn’t sure what the status of the swamps would be next time around. We saw gators, wild pigs, osprey, barred owl, and egret. Really makes me sick inside at what British Petroleum has done.
Canal streetcar to Liuzza’s on Bienville: had one Frenchuletta and one meatball poorboy, dressed, and one tossed green salad. Drinks: 2 Abita Amber fishbowls, and 1 Bushwhacker which is another really yummy frozen coffee drink with lots of booze in it (cream of coconut, Kahlua, Bacardi black rum, dark crème de cacao, and milk). I love iced coffee and I love booze, so it’s a win-win for me.
Thursday evening libations:
Since our lunch at Liuzza’s was late in the afternoon (3:00-ish), we ventured out in the evening to a great mixology haven on Rampart called Bar Tonique right down the street from our Courtyard Hotel (shout-out to mixologist extraordinaire Murf Reeves, who also has a Monday show on WWOZ). I hate to tell you how many drinks we had, but what the hell…To clarify, my husband drinks about 2 per my one. Anyway, I had a caipirinha, a Tru Kick, a Grand Gimlet, and a Southside (lots o’ gin consumed by me that night). Hubby had a drink called a Rampart, one old-fashioned, 2 martinis, one German pilsner, a Sazerac, a Vieux Carre’ and a Whiskey Smash. Yeah, crazy, I know. On top of that, Murf gave us “lagniappe tastings” of elderflower water and clear chartreuse for me, and Rittenhaus rye whiskey for hubby. Needless to say, we forgot about anything else after that except stumbling home. Being the seasoned pro he is, DH went next door to Key’s Fuel Mart to get something he’d been eyeing since we arrived in town: a catfish poorboy. I ate the rest of the Frenchuletta from Liuzza’s about 11:30 p.m. that was left in the fridge, and suffice it to say, that was a bad idea later in the early morning around 3:30 a.m. DH’s encounter with the catfish poorboy turned out well for him, fortunately.
Due to my early-morning wake-up call from the Porcelain God, I was not in shape to eat breakfast later, so hubby went off to Buffa’s and had sausage links, 2 perfect eggs over easy, and biscuits and gravy. He said the breakfast was excellent at Buffa’s. I really lay around the room all day while DH went off exploring. I wanted to be in good shape for reservations at Pelican Club that night.
On our walk over to Pelican Club, we stopped at Molly’s on the Market again for a couple drinks before dinner. I had another of their frozen coffee concoction and DH had a bloody mary. At Pelican Club, we easily had one of the best meals of the trip, and our server, Daniel (pronounced Don-Yell), was excellent. I had the seafood martini, seared rare sashimi tuna with Chinois salad with crispy fried wontons, and berries and berry sorbet. Hubby had chicken, shrimp and andouille gumbo, the special of 1 ½ lbs. of steamed and butterflied lobster with corn and asparagus succotash, and bourbon pecan pie with ice cream. Delectable! We had our usual drinks of bloody maries and sazerac, and I tried my first French 75. With meal, I had a glass of Chardonnay and he a glass of merlot, I believe, and we both had coffee with our desserts that tasted divine. I think he said the chef, Richard Hughes, owned the roastery the coffee was from, maybe in Baton Rouge?
Saturday: Brunch at Elizabeth’s! I use an exclamation point, because I’m still thinking about the food at this place. The praline bacon is, indeed, like crack…I just wanted to rub it all over myself and then eat it. So yummy! We had an order of the bacon, one order of the fried oysters in blue cheese sauce (I thought this one of the best dishes of the trip, the cheese was tangy and tasty, but not overpoweringly so), 1 cochon de lait poor boy (I can still taste the smokiness of the pork), and one order of the strawberry cream cheese-stuffed French toast. This last dish was good, but a little too overwhelming. Drinks included bloody mary, one Corpse Reviver, one margarita, and one Singapore Sling (their version). Whew! Another tipsy cab ride back to the Quarter.
Dinner on Saturday night was at Meauxbar Bistro on Rampart, a hop, skip, and jump away from our hotel. We were still really full from Elizabeth’s, so we ate light: one moules frites (mussels with fries), one steak (strip?) salad with beets, and one sashimi grade tuna seared rare. Drinks included the ubiquitous Sazerac, one house red wine of merlot, and one house white, a French Cote. We must add that they were very gracious to us at Meauxbar for squeezing us in when we didn’t have a reservation. We saw two other couples turned away later in the evening, so we felt fortunate.
All-in-all, our trip to New Orleans was fantastic as usual and we hope to go again in February. Our hopes, thoughts, and dreams are with the city and all the people of the Gulf Coast. I don’t have words to describe what we think of the area and what’s happening to it. Five years ago, Katrina, and now this. All we can think is can New Orleans ever catch a break? No matter what, we’ll still be avid supporters and cheerers-on from afar in Missouri and can hardly wait till our next trip already in the planning. Laizzez les bon temps rouler.
Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119
3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119
8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118
Pelican Club Restaurant & Bar
312 Exchange Alley, New Orleans, LA 70130
1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA
3154 Pontchartrain Dr, Slidell, LA 70458
Gulf Coast Restaurants
1200 S Clearview Pkwy, New Orleans, LA 70123
4924 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Vieux Carre Restaurant
201 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130
820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Wow, you guys DID! IT! UP!
Glad to see you had such a great time at Pelican Club. For how long it's been around I feel that it's almost a secret gem. We had a very memorable meal there as well, from food to service, all around impeccable.
Pelican Club Restaurant & Bar
312 Exchange Alley, New Orleans, LA 70130
I appreciate the way you spaced your trip report. Sounds like you had a great time. And you hit some spots I always suggest, glad to hear the positive words. I am a nola native and have never been on a swamp tour, but always wanted too, you reminded me of that. Thanks..
You're brave to mix so many different cocktails! (I guess on the upside it's agood way to taste more)...
re: Suzy Wong
Some would say "brave", Suzy, some would say "stupid", or at the very least "not recommended". HA! I like to think of myself as adventurous in both the tasting of different kinds of food, as well as different types of drinks (except for any kind of whiskey in general: I've tried them numerous times, but it just doesn't treat me well, unless you can count Southern Comfort - I like it). Thanks for your kind words, Suzy.
2209 Gause Blvd E, Slidell, LA 70461