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Nov 15, 2010 11:26 AM

Playing tourist in your home town

I hosted a meeting in New Orleans Saturday so as payment for my labors I got to run around and try some restaurants I hadn't tried before.

Friday night we checked into the hotel and gathered two couples from away (Detroit and San Antonio) and walked to an oasis at the Sazerac (they loved the Roosevelt) then on to another cocktail at Bar Uncommon. We then continued on and met my partner and his wife at Cuvee. The eight of us had a very good meal hitting most of the main dishes and cross sampling. Cuvee has great surroundings and the service was as good as the food. One thing I was impressed with is that I had wanted reservations earlier but they were having a 12 top at 7 and didn't want to push the kitchen and the staff with a 12 and an 8 at the same time.

Saturday some wives went out to help the local economy and ended up at the Gumbo Shop and gave good reviews to chicken/andouille and seafood gumbo and crabcakes. A bunch of the guys wanted oysters. There was the big Saturday line at Acme so they went across the street to Felix's and got oysters in just about every way they come. While they thought the oysters were good since they were from away, my partner was with them and he thought they oysters at Felix's were very good. He is a good friend of the owner of Drago's and knows oysters. I w didn't join them as I wanted to buy some music at N.O. Music Factory and ended up at NOLA for the bahn mi. I had heard about it being good so gave it a try. It is not 100% authentic but very good with smoked duck with a side of mild kim chee.

Saturday evening I took about 20 to the tour at the Old New Orleans Rum plant. It is an excellent tour and was very educational and given at a techical level, not just a marketing ploy. Although you can buy the product there at a discount. (the tour is $10 but you get $5 off each bottle you buy and you can drink the other $5) I never thought I would say this but spiced rum is very, very good, at least their spiced rum.

Saturday evening we started with cocktail s at the Davenport Lounge in the Ritz Carleton. That is a beautiful and comfortable place to sit, but is not cheap. Then on to MiLa. I was unsure but am so glad a few of you here pushed me to try it. Our meal (5 of us) was in the top 3-4 meals I've had in N.O. Since all of the apps looked so good we ended up ordering nothing but apps. As others have said, the deconstructed oyster were great. They were so good we ordered an encore to share. We also went through squash soup with crab meat, bbq lobster, two types of pates, scallops and sweetbreads. The sweet potato bread was loved. I finished with a salad that in any other place would have been perfect (it was so fresh with a perfect amount of a compatible dressing) but after everything else it just seemed "normal"

Sunday morning was brunch for 4 at Atchafalaya. It was very good. They have a bloody mary bar where they provide you with a glass with ice and vodka and you build your own. Great idea. But they also have most of the other N.O. breakfast drinks on the menu. We had two poached eggs over crab cakes that were well received. My wife tries crab cakes wherever we travel and pronounced these good. I had a special which was poached eggs over two fried (and crusty) boudin pattys topped with fried crawfish. The boudin pattys were very good. In lieu of desert we split an order of Bananas Foster French toast which is the only sweet on the main menu. And they have a 3 piece combo playing in the front by the bar so that it is enjoyable while you can still carry on conversation. I certainly recommend this for a brunch choice

Even though we had stuffed 15,000+ calories into ourselves over the weekend, Sunday evening when we got home we finished off with burgers and onion rings from N.O. Hamburger & Seafood.

Pityful. But maybe fitting for chowhounds?

Cuvee Restaurant
322 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

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    1. Nice, very nice. I'd be willing to play tourist if I lived there.
      If I have to go to the "Grassy Knoll" on more time, I'm going to hang myself!

      9 Replies
      1. re: FoodChic

        I can see how that would get old but I love to do it myself...on the other hand, I find (sometimes) that seeing The City, as a guide, thru the tourists' eyes is fun...reminds me not to take things for granted.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          New Orleans has amazing food, architecture, history, and culture. I've been there at least 60 times and it never gets old to me...never. I look forward to each trip just as much as I did my first.

          1. re: FoodChic

            Well said, I feel the same way. I never get tired of NO. Will be there in 4 weeks :-)

            1. re: texasredtop

              That zoo is off limits. Don't let me catch you around the zoo. Those bears are tame and the kids love them. Just eat and go back home peacefully. LOL. Good luck.

              1. re: Littleman

                lol - we don't hunt in the zoo. Freezer will be overflowing by the time we hit the road anyway :-)

                My mouth is watering thinking about getting the boudin balls at Boucherie!! I love that place.

                8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                1. re: FoodChic

                  I hope we have some good weather. I love to walk all over the quarter.

                2. re: texasredtop

                  Great write up. I agree with texasredtop, I feel the same way, this well be my thrid trip to NOLA this year, I can't wait to be NOLA, I will be in NOLA in two weeks for Christmas.

              2. re: hazelhurst

                Yes, that can be great fun. We met with some old friends from Denver, on our last trip - our schedules just happened to coincide. We had great fun doing some of the things that we always did in NOLA, plus some that we had not done in 3 decades.

                Though Thomas Wolfe made a great point with the line "you can never go home again," one might well see something old in a new light, or with a new palate.

                Heck, I still find myself photographing some of the same signs, facades and doorways, that I have photographed for almost 50 years. Same for restaurants.

                We've played "tourist" when we lived in NOLA, and Denver, but do not seem to do it so much in Phoenix, but then we never seem to be home anymore.


            2. Nice review, and sounds like great fun!

              Now, we "play tourist" on ever visit to NOLA, but now... we ARE tourists.

              Thank you,


              1. It's nice for me when out of town people come to visit my job in the Warehouse District so I can show them things they never would have noticed. So much fun to see the discovery in their eyes. Too bad for me I only get an hour for lunch.