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Apr 8, 2011 10:29 PM

First-timer, end of May -- can't decide!

Hi everyone,

I'm lucky enough to have three nights in New Orleans with the express purpose of experiencing as much great food as my credit card will allow (which isn't really all THAT much.)

I'm a female in my 20's and I'll probably be there by myself; tentatively scheduled for May 26-29, and I'll be attending Cochon 555 (SO EXCITED.) on the Saturday.
Will be staying in the FQ, but I love to walk and I have no problem with public transit.

I'm a cook by education and trade, and a lover of food in general, so I'm dying to experience local flavour as well as hopefully get a taste of fine dining, though one taste may be all I can afford.
In the same vein, I'm quite adventurous in terms of what I'll order, and I tend to seek out menus that are a little on the innovative side. That said, with casual eats I definitely want to dive into some classic local flavour.

I've got a list going, mostly based on all the other similar threads that are kicking around right now, but it's a pretty unwieldy list, and I was hoping to have a little help narrowing it down.

As I'll be alone, and I'd love to watch the goings-on in the kitchen, places with bar seating/open kitchens, or at least places where a single diner wouldn't feel weird, would be perfect.

Casual places I'd like to hit:
-I know I want a good po'boy, and I'm leaning towards Johnny's.
-Good jambalaya -- Coop's Place?
-BBQ shrimp at Mr. B's?
-I'd love a good beignet, but I'm hearing that Cafe du Monde isn't all it's cracked up to be. Where can I find great beignets?

-Looking at NOLA (bar seating looks good), Herbsaint, MiLa, Coquette, August, Bayona...?
-I hear there are lunch specials at a couple places (August, for instance) that might be a better option for me than dinner.

I'll have several midday-type meals and probably two dinners -- one of which I'll splurge on.

My other question is regarding any interesting markets or even grocery stores that I might be able to visit? Next to eating food and cooking food, shopping for food is possibly my next favourite thing. I recall reading somewhere that there's a farmer's market on Saturdays?

Thanks in advance for any help!

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

430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. We're a lot older than you, but we're always on a budget. For our trip later this month, I've booked lunches at Coquette and Bayona (lunches being less expensive than dinners), with a dinner reservation at Cochon. I'm also tempted to go to Boucherie, but I'm not sure if we can fit it in. I'm really looking forward to our trip.

    930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

    8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

    1. You should get a reservation at Emeril's at the bar by the kitchen and watch them make magic. Go to August for their lunch special. Take the streetcar to Washington and walk 5 blocks to Coquette for lunch. Walk W after lunch and visit the neat shops in the area. The French Market is open daily and has a farmer's market. Jackson Brewery has some shops with food items for sale. The New Orleans Cooking School in the FQ has food items for sale too. I like Muriel's for dinner in the FQ.

      I like Coop's and Mr. B's for lunch. Po Boy's are popular all over NOLA but Johnny's is excellent. Go to Napoleon House for drinks and appetizers. The setting is nice. Crescent City Farmers Market has markets on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays in different locations. The one on Thursday is just a few blocks N of Parkway Bakery if you want to take the Canal streetcar to Jefferson Parkway and walk there.


      Ernst Cafe and Lucy's are two great bars near the Saturday market on Magazine at Girod. Ernsst is smoke free.

      Ernst Cafe @ 600 South Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 8544.
      Lucy's Bar @ 701 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 8995.

      1. As a first-timer-- last year-- I was underwhelmed by Coops's Jumbalaya.

        Never did Cafe Du Monde, but had a good vibe at Cafe Beignet, on Royal. Also, loved bar at Hotel Monteleone for my first (of many) Sazeracs. Great service and I never felt like a tourist.

        Bayona was our one splurge last year and it did not disappoint, although the service was a bit "fussy."

        I would recommend taking the St. Charles streetcar to Camellia Grill for the amazing atmosphere/service/greasy food, but more of a snack and good excuse to take the streetcar down near Riverbend. Lots of college kids there in the late afternoon, as I recall.

        I am a newbie... but very excited to be returning in just one week (!) for: August (lunch), Coquette (dinner), Emeril's (maybe), Three Muses (bar food), Po Boys, and messy boiled crawfish -- not sure where. Johnny's did not disappoint and is so easy to get to if you are mostly walking.

        We also liked Green Goddess for a lovely outdoor lunch and strong cocktails, and Cafe Amelie for a Sunday brunch as it rained cats and dogs on their lovely patio.

        Have fun!

        Camellia Grill
        626 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

        430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

        Cafe Amelie
        912 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        Green Goddess
        307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Three Muses
        536 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        1. You have gotten some good recs. Here are mine:

          Restaurant August - when making your reservations, tell them of your background and interest. If Chef Besh is in the house, I feel certain that he will visit your table. Fine dining, and you will not be disappointed.

          Stella! - fine dining, though with less "local color" in the dishes.

          MiLa - a unique blend of Mississippi Deep South and Louisiana cuisine in a fetching interior.

          Emeril's - as mentioned, at the bar, and again, let 'em know your background and desire

          NOLA - never have done the bar there, but have been wowed by dinner. Food an service were great.

          Cafe du Monde, but not at the regular hours. Go early, or go late, when the tourists are elsewhere. we used to show up very late, when they were practically empty, and had many lovely fog-shrouded evenings. From about 9:30AM, until about 7:00PM, there might well be lines, and I'd rather walk in, find a table at the railing, and just enjoy. Lines are not my thing.

          BonTon - great Creole/NOLA cuisine,, and depending on the day, great for lunch.

          Bayona - Susan Spicer is still doing very nice things there, with a very strong NOLA bent.

          Unfortunately, NOLA restauranteurs have not really worked the "chef's table" concept, as some other areas have. We do a lot of these in our travels. Just did Alan Wong's on O`ahu, and then Gordon Ramsay's Petrus in London. Sometimes, the seating is a tad cramped (Alan Wong's Chef's Counter), but the show and dialog with the staff is not to be missed. Petrus was the opposite, with intimate elegance, right in the kitchen. The staff all passed by the table with wonderful displays and interaction, and then we were treated to a full tour of the kitchen - all stations. The sommelier stopped by for a half-hour dialog with my guests, that was not to be missed. I'd love to see more of this in NOLA, as there is so much great kitchen work, but too much of it is behind closed doors. I'd love to see them change things in this respect.

          There have been several threads of females dining solo in NOLA, and you might want to pull up a few of those. There might be some great ideas, that I, and older male, just might not know about. When I dine solo in NOLA, it is often at a restaurant that I have been going to for decades, and my perspective would certainly be different.

          Enjoy and travel safely,


          Restaurant August
          301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

          1. Thanks so much for all your helpful suggestions! I've got a lot of deciding to do. There just aren't enough meals in a day to cover all the bases...

            What's the difference between the two markets mentioned? The Crescent City market seems like more of a farmer's market while the French market is more of a... shopper's market? Just going by first impessions of their websites.

            Going to be a tough decision between Emeril's and NOLA, I doubt I can do both. And I've been eating all night but upon looking at August's sample menus I'm suddenly starving. Choices...

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

            3 Replies
            1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

              I'd eat at Emeril's over NOLA - without question.

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

              1. re: Pam in NJ

                I'd eat at either, depending on the experience I wanted that day. I think the service quality is the same. The atmosphere is different withEmerli's being "polished" and NOLA more the bare brick walls industrial casual. The food is similar in its base with some carry-over on a few dishes and some dishes that only each serve. Check out their menus. Also, Emeril's is a little more expensive but that can be offset by judicious ordering.

                While NOLA feeds at the bar you really want to ask to sit at the wood oven station where you can interact with the line cook, see the entire kitchen and are next to where the Chef or sous expedites.

                I like kitchen views when available when I'm traveling alone. It's great to watch a good team in action

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

              2. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                French Market is a shopper's market but there is a farmer's market there too. Crescent Market is a farmer's market. Good luck.