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My proposed itinerary with a few questions

s
sixteenbiticon Jan 14, 2011 03:48 AM

Yes, I'm sorry to say this is another "Rate my itinerary" post, but I do have some questions that have been gnawing at me as well. First off, my wife and I will be in New Orleans for the first weekend of Jazz Fest (I wish they would announce the lineup already!). I run my own food blog and have never been to your fine city and wanted to experience the best it has to offer (at all price points mind you) while in town. I'm more interested in cajun/creole cooking than anything else. Here's what I have so far:

Thursday: Afternoon flight arrival. Staying near N. Galvez St. and Orleans Ave about a mile NW from the French Quarter. Check-in and clean ourselves up. Dinner will be August's Degustation Menu.

We will be attending the Fest either Friday or Saturday depending on what bands are announced for which day. I've done my research and will be seeking out Prejean's Gumbo, Crawfish Monica, Cochon de lait Po Boys, among many many other things to feast on. No non-fest meals planned for that day.

Non-Fest Day: Lunch at Mr. B's Bistro (BBQ Shrimp and Gumbo Ya-Ya). Dinner will be at Emeril's New Orleans.

Sunday: Commander's Palace Jazz Brunch. Snack at Creole Creamery (we both love ice cream and try to taste the best in every city we travel to). A late dinner will be the Jambalaya Supreme at Coop's Place.

Monday: A few quick snacks before our flight out in the evening. Po Boys at Parkway and a nice lunch of Red Beans and Rice at Cafe Reconcile.

Now for my questions. Since we'll be staying in a lesser trafficked area of town and have no car, how much should the location of a restaurant factor in to our choice of dining there? There are many places I've ruled out because they've been out of the way (Brigtsen's, Boucherie, Elizabeth's, Dick & Jenny's, etc.), but is it relatively easy to get around in the city? I've looked at the bus/street car maps and think we could swing it, but I wanted to get some firsthand opinions on the matter.

And one other simple question I had that: Is Brennan's the type of place that we could go to and only order Banana's Foster? Bananas are probably my favorite food, and I would love to try the dish that made them famous.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/opinions.

-----
Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Coop's Place
1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

Emeril's Restaurant
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

Dick & Jenny's
4501 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Creole Creamery
4924 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Cafe Reconcile
1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

Boucherie
8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

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  1. j
    JazzyB Jan 14, 2011 05:37 AM

    Just my 2 cents: I wouldn't stay in that area much less stand around waiting for public transportation. Try Brocato or La Divina instead of Creole Creamery. Not fan of Coop's jambalaya (tomatoey goop). You'll do better to seek some out at JF or check K-Paul's deli menu. Good JF selections. Also very good; meaty white beans, softshell poboy, fried eggplant w crawfish sauce, mango freeze.

    -----
    Creole Creamery
    4924 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115

    3 Replies
    1. re: JazzyB
      edible complex Jan 14, 2011 05:48 AM

      my JF list:
      Pecan Catfish Meunière, Seafood Mirliton Casserole, Fried Crab Cake w/ Smoked Tomato & Jalapeño Tartar

      Spinach Artichoke Casserole, Seafood Au Gratin, Sweet Potato Pone

      Alligator Sauce Piquante, Shrimp & Okra Gumbo, Shrimp Etouffée

      Cochon de Lait Po-Boy, Fried Eggplant w/ Crawfish Sauce, Fried Eggplant w/ Marinara Sauce

      Crawfish Sack, Oyster Patties, Crawfish Beignets

      Ya Ka Mein (great for hangovers)

      Fried Soft-Shell Crab Po-Boy from Galley Seafood

      Pheasant, Quail & Andouille Gumbo from Prejean's

      Tagine of Lamb (Lamb Stew w/ Basmati Rice), Merguez (Grilled Lamb Sausage),
      Crawfish, Spinach & Zucchini Bisque from Jamila's

      Oyster Rockefeller Bisque

      Crawfish Strudel (better than the crawfish bread, but get a go crawfish bread at the end of the day to eat on the way out as traffic can make you hungry)

      Jamaican Chicken, Curry Chicken Pattie from Palmer's

      Jama-Jama (Sautéed Spinach), *Fried Plaintains, Poulet Fricassee (Chicken on a Stick)
      from Bennachin

      Trout Baquet from Li'l Dizzy's

      Shrimp Macque Choux, Shrimp & Sausage Macque Choux, Fry Bread, Indian Tacos in the Folk Area from the Houma Indians

      -----
      Cochon
      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

      Galley Seafood Restaurant
      2535 Metairie Rd, Metairie, LA 70001

      Bennachin Restaurant
      1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

      1. re: edible complex
        h
        hazelhurst Jan 14, 2011 06:11 AM

        Have you had the Crawfish Monica in recent years? I gave up on it awhile back. In the 1970's it was great, though

        1. re: hazelhurst
          edible complex Jan 14, 2011 05:43 PM

          I don't do monica. lost its appeal yrs ago, and really too rich and creamy for fest.

    2. c
      collardman Jan 14, 2011 11:30 AM

      I think your basic list is a very good sampler for a first time trip. Think about the other places when you return. I would think that you could go to any restaurant and just order dessert.

      My JF foods are the whire beans, Couchon po-boy and anything of Palmer's and Bennachin

      -----
      Bennachin Restaurant
      1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

      1. s
        swampsue Jan 14, 2011 04:09 PM

        I've gone with a group and just did desserts at Brennan's this year. We went later, and probably didn't get the best room, but we were seated, had a nice sampling and lots of brandy milk punches. That said, my dad made a much better Banana's Foster. (and they will no doubt be crazy busy during that weekend, so it might not be as feasible, or well received; when in doubt, just ask nicely)

        The city is, unfortunately, not that easy to navigate, we just don't have that great of public transportation. I'm not sure what hotel you are staying at, I honestly can't visualize it, and I've lived somewhat nearby, and please know, i'm definitely not one of those overly jumpy about our neighborhoods, or walking places, but that said, your location is a little on the rough side. You probably will have to cab it a lot, especially at night, which will, unfortunately, add up. You can work it out, but please, if you do stay at this spot, don't look or act like a tourist, or wear anything of overt value. Jazz Fest is one of our most populated times, so you might find you are fine, and feel comfortable, but this is definitely not your standard location.

        Lastly, just keep in mind that dining out during Jazz Fest does have the unfortunate result that sometimes service/quality can suffer simply because the industry gets soo over-run. So, being your first time, i hope you won't experience too much of the Jazz Fest effect, but if you do, don't judge us too harshly, because it is an out of the norm experience. That being said, it should be, (and usually is) an unforgettably good time. Enjoy!

        7 Replies
        1. re: swampsue
          s
          sixteenbiticon Jan 15, 2011 04:12 AM

          Wow, I certainly am glad I posted this thread! We were actually renting a room in a house using airbnb. I researched the area more and almost everything I read had warnings about safety issues. So I fixed that. We're now staying at Hotel Le Cirque in the Central Business District.

          Thanks for the JF eats list, I've read about a dozen of them. I'm definitely interested in a lot of items on there, and I'll keep in mind the comments about the Crawfish Monica.

          So Coop's Jambalaya isn't what it's cracked up to be? I guess I was looking for some hole-in-the-wall joints where I could experience some real deal cuisine. Any recommendations on that front would be greatly appreciated.

          I've been reading a lot about overrated this and overrated that so I'll put this out there: Are Emeril's and Commander's worth the money? From what I've read it seems Emeril's manages to defy the "tourist trap" label with consistently good food, but do you think our money could be better spent elsewhere? Same for Commander's.

          One last thing: Cafe Reconcile. I love the story behind the place, but the bottom line is I don't really care where I'm eating, for me it's all about the quality of the food. How does it stand up in your opinion?

          Thanks for all of your helpful comments.

          -----
          Emeril's Restaurant
          800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

          Cafe Reconcile
          1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

          1. re: sixteenbiticon
            j
            JazzyB Jan 15, 2011 04:41 AM

            A po-boy and most dives will cost the same at lunch/dinner. Fine dining rest. offer terrific deals at lunch. If you are looking to save, consider swapping. I prefer Commander's for lunch. Resv. the garden room. 25 cent martinis, prix fixe available, reasonable ala carte. August, 3 courses $20 (IMO, best deal in town). Emeril's is worth the money. Large portions. Although I prefer dinner, lunch M-F, 3 courses $19.50 is hard to beat.

            -----
            Emeril's Restaurant
            800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

            1. re: sixteenbiticon
              s
              SusanB Jan 15, 2011 08:10 AM

              Interesting to read this! We've got a trip booked around the Easter weekend, and I had looked into what I'm sure is the same place you had booked for accommodation through AirB&B. The price was great and the reviews were really positive. I honestly am not all that worried about safety issues but ended up looking elsewhere, and now we're booked at a place in the Faubourg Marigny area.

              Now, on to food. New Orleans seems overwhelming in terms of the choices, and there are usually mixed reviews on most of the restaurants. So I'll definitely be interested in where you end up going.

              1. re: sixteenbiticon
                edible complex Jan 15, 2011 12:30 PM

                go to Emeril's. I just re-read your post. get their Banana Cream Pie for your banana fix.

                -----
                Emeril's Restaurant
                800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                1. re: sixteenbiticon
                  e
                  expatorleanian Jan 15, 2011 12:35 PM

                  What a relief! You will be 1000 times better off at Le Cirque. You can walk anywhere in the Warehouse District and CBD, and the street car passes right out front.
                  I agree about Cochon de Lait Poboy as my favorite thing at JF. Some of my other favorites "ain't dere no more," but there is a lot of good food - more than you will be able to sample if you only go one day. My suggestion is to skip breakfast, get there when gates open at 11:00, or 11:15 if you want to miss a line getting in, and go straight to the Cochon de Lait.

                  -----
                  Cochon
                  930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                  1. re: sixteenbiticon
                    c
                    collardman Jan 15, 2011 01:20 PM

                    New Orleans is a tourist town and many tourist come to eat. Therefore every good N.O. restaurant IS a tourist restaurant. Emeril's, like its competion, is a good restaurant that is favored by tourists, some for the name but many for the food. When you return to a place it is because of the food.

                    i am a Cafe Reconcile fan. The food is basic local grub and it is good. It matches many of the good local "mom and pops" that serve similar food. I think it is worth the visit.

                    -----
                    Emeril's Restaurant
                    800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Cafe Reconcile
                    1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

                    1. re: sixteenbiticon
                      mrsfury Jan 15, 2011 04:35 PM

                      I have been to Cafe Reconcile and thought it was ok. I could cook anything they had there just as well if not much better. It's just home style food, if that is what you are looking for you should be pleased.

                      -----
                      Cafe Reconcile
                      1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

                  2. k
                    kibbles Jan 15, 2011 05:56 AM

                    if you run a food blog and want good Cajun, I certainly wouldn't waste a meal at coops. I feel coops is popular with the twenty-somethings that really have little clue as to what good Cajun is, or that new orleans doesn't do much of it. it's bar slop. really. tho the duck quesadillas are good...but now that there is a line 30 people deep to get in I can't recommend it.

                    Bon Ton Cafe is a better choice, and Cochon is pretty interesting as well.

                    as for getting around -- cabs and streetcars should be all you need.

                    -----
                    Cochon
                    930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Bon Ton Cafe
                    401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    1. s
                      sixteenbiticon Jan 18, 2011 08:34 AM

                      Alright so I've swapped out Coop's for a po' boy at Parkway. Now I'm trying to decide whether to do Emeril's for dinner Friday or lunch Monday. Also need something to replace the open slot. Been considering Herbsaint, Cochon, or ... something.

                      So my main question: Emeril's for lunch or dinner? (That bacon salad at dinner looks amazing, but the chicken and waffles at lunch sound heavenly as well!)

                      -----
                      Cochon
                      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                      Emeril's Restaurant
                      800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                      Herbsaint
                      701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sixteenbiticon
                        c
                        CharlieH Jan 18, 2011 09:03 AM

                        Dinner.

                        1. re: CharlieH
                          s
                          sixteenbiticon Jan 19, 2011 10:15 AM

                          Thanks Charlie. That settles it then. I've got Emeril's for dinner on Friday and Cochon for lunch on Monday before returning to MD. Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I read a rumor that the JF lineup will be announced tomorrow so hopefully it's a good one!

                          Thanks again.

                          -----
                          Cochon
                          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                          Emeril's Restaurant
                          800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                      2. s
                        sixteenbiticon Jan 19, 2011 12:05 PM

                        Bah, now I'm really liking the look of Bon Ton Cafe too.

                        Alright so it comes down to this: I have Saturday dinner and Monday lunch. It's between Emeril's, Bon Ton Cafe, and Cochon.

                        Which for what and why?

                        -----
                        Cochon
                        930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Emeril's Restaurant
                        800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Bon Ton Cafe
                        401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sixteenbiticon
                          c
                          CharlieH Jan 19, 2011 12:25 PM

                          Bon Ton is all about butter and crabmeat.

                          -----
                          Bon Ton Cafe
                          401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

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