Thanks New Orleans!
Just back from a whirlwind weekend in New Orleans and all I can say is THANK YOU! My new friends on the New Orleans board steered me right for sure!! We started the weekend at Irene's, a delight. The Veal Marsala was beyond delicious. The appetizers were intoxicating. We had baked oyster's, cheese and spinach ravioli and a crab gratin, one better than the next. The duck was delicious, and the seafood ciapino was gone before my wife let me taste! Probably the best meal we had all weekend, but the rest were none too shabby. No time for breakfast on Saturday, damn! But we did lunch at the new Camilia grill in the quarter. I wouldn't recommend it if you have a good greasy spoon burger dive in your hometown (I'm from Austin, and Dirty's is better), but it was fun, fast and inexpensive. We had beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Mon and Oysters and shrimp at Acme before our dinner at Commander's Palace. Don't tell the Commander, but Irene's was far and away better, but again, our worst meal in NOLA was fantastic, so no complaints. The pork belly and peach appetizer, by the way, was the best of all the great food we had, unfortunately, the entre's were great, not GREAT, so... Finally, we had brunch Sunday at Atchafalaya's which was really fun, really delicious, no wait for our reservations, great service although the coffee could have been hotter. We ate till we popped from Friday night till noon on Sunday, then we piled in the car and drove home. Now its diet time again, but well worth it. Thanks New Orleans and thanks to all you great people on the New Orleans board for all the suggestions. It was a blast! (if you are ever in Austin I'll steer you right, just ask and I'll take you from Franklin's BBQ to Sun Flower, from Paco's Tacos to Vino...we have places too!)
Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Funny you should mention that! I'm off to Austin as a Houston side trip in about 3 weeks, and not to insult my host, but she isn't the biggest foodie. What are 3 or 4 must-trys, including food trucks? Maybe in the Tex Mex, Mex, barbecue or funky/down home realms? Thanks! Oh, any opinion on a place called Olivia's? I saw it on Food Network. Once a week the chef makes a special wild game chili that he ladles over a mountain of fries, looks decadent.
I happen to be a nut for a vietnamese restaurant in a shopping center at Ohlen and 183 called Sun Flower. Try the crepe (not what you envision a crepe to be), basil chicken or shrimp, fried shrimp over garlic noodles (I forget the name of the dish but it is superb, they will know what you are asking for) then anything else on the menu that catches your fancy, its all good. Franklin's BBQ on east 11th is just opening. It was a trailer venue but was so popular he had to go bricks and mortar to hold the crowd, some say its the best BBQ in Austin, hence the world. For fine dining Olivia's is excellent, but I would prefer Jeffrey's if you want to go with the best. It has consistently been Austin's fine dining option. For a taste of the real heart of austin try Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin Blvd. Its just a breakfast dive, but you'll see everyone there. I happen to love a new dump for breakfast called Paco's Tacos on 51st street just east of IH35. They have amazing breakfast tacos and delicious green and or red sauce to load on them. For lunch, if you are a Camilia grill fan try Dirty Martin's on Guadalupe around 26th street, its been there forever, and if your restaurant is called Dirty's it has to be doing something funky. If you want to venture out of downtown a little you might try hitting The Oasis for drinks just before sunset but please don't eat there. The view of Lake Travis is intoxicating but the food sucks. Drink there then try one of the new restaurants in the complex, or drive down the road just a little to Steiner's Steakhouse for a great Texas steak (I make better steaks on my grill than anyplace in town, but Steiner's is fun and has a view also.) Actually, if you are out on 2222 anyway one of the best restaurants in the area is just down the highway a tad, called Hudson's on the Bend. It is famous for exotic game and truly an excellent choice. That gives you a few options. I forgot to mention two of my favorites that are downtown or near the Arboretum, Z-Tejas or Eddie V's, can't go wrong with either one of those for a nice dinner. Finally, if you are looking for an Austin Tex-Mex experience go with Maude's but if you want an excellent interior mexican dinner go to Fonda San Miguel on Hancock around 49th street. It is really a nice place, great reviews, consistently top rate. Thats a few of my favorite recommendations, if I left anything out just ask. Ed in Austin