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Outrageous, Iconic, Uber-Delicious, So Decadent You want to Scream, Can *NOT *be Missed...Your "This Defines NOLA " Short List, S'il vous plait....?

ZenFoodist Sep 14, 2011 08:21 AM

So, this October I am returning to my beloved NOLA after almost a decade. I've visited a bunch of times and can't possibly express how much I love being there. And I dont even drink or spend ANY time on Bourbon Street ;) It's all about wandering the city, checking out the holes in walls, interacting with the warm, spirited locals, listening to music, peeking into hidden courtyards and....eating! Other than here in Gotham, there is nowhere on earth I like the food more. So suffice it to say, I am VERY EXCITED about returning.

This time I am extra-excited because our 7 year old chowpup with be with us, and I think he's even more excited about the food than we are. And that's tough! Between my own experiences in NOLA and the last ten years I've kept up with these boards, I have solid ideas of what I'd like to cover. I'm looking for some strong opinions about what I can part with and what new places I might like to add. We only have three dinners. Saturday through Monday, two lunches, and tons, and I mean TONS of snacks ;)

For dinners I've eaten at Emeril's, Emeril's NOLA, Antoine's, Brennan's, Galatoire's, K-Paul's and as far as "repeats" would would want to take my son to Emeril's for a meal I always enjoy- the pecan/andouille redfish, jumbo pork chop and banana cream pie. I've eaten at Emeril's places all over the country, and IMHO, this is his best place. I don't care for any of the others. I also feel I have to keep Galatoire's in my mix b/c it defines, just oozes New Orleans' charm. That's two dinners right there. For the third, I am thinking Bayona, Brigsten's, or Herbsaint. Never been to any. I know Susan Spicer is a NOLA gem, a Wizard, the Grand Dame, however I am thinking Bayona might be too "formal" for us. Not that we have any qualms about bringing our son to a "finer" place, however living in NYC we have a plethora of fancy places and we prefer more "hearty" and "local" fare, not interpretations etc. Not sure though....I'm sure I'll be villified for this one...i could be convinced....

I recall loving Mother's, thinking the Central Grocery's muffeletta was good but not earth-shattering ( we're Italian-American, so it's not such a unique thing for us....) loving the Po' boys at Johnny's/Parkway/Parsol, the beignets at Cafe Du Monde, the Pimm's Cups at Napoleon House, the char-grilled oysters at Acme etc. How are these places these days? Do they continue to shine? Resting on their laurels?

Places I've wanted to explore include the ice cream at Angelo Brocato's, Jacque-IMOs, the Camellia Grill. Thoughts?

Also, I've never been to Commander's Palace for the Jazz Brunch. I always feel embarassed to admit this to locals who seem to revere the place. Is this a sin? ;) It seems so, so, so touristy. I was once suckered into going to a Jazz Brunch at the Court of the Two Sisters and thought it was super disappointing.

We will be spending most of our time exploring the shops on Royal/Magazine Streets and just enjoying the French Quarter. In the past we've ventured out to Treme, Metairie and Lakeview etc, but we are a bit less inclined to do this with our little guy. We will take a streetcar to the Garden District to drool over mansions, do a Bayou tour ( little guy is very interested), go to Preservation Hall, check out the cemeteries and visit the WWII Museum to see the 4D film "Beyond All Boundaries". Knowing this, if there are any little places we have to check out close by, please do tell.

Many, Many Thanks in Advance and of course...All Things Delish,
lisa

-----
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

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

Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Preservation Hall
726 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA

  1. j
    JazzyB Sep 14, 2011 12:20 PM

    Dragos hs an outpost in the Hilton Riverside for chargrilled oysters. I am not a brunch person, preferring lunch in Commander's garden room m-f. Brigtsen's will give you local flavor. While nearly everything I've cooked from Spicer's cookbook has been very good, I find the food at Bayona sort of bla (I am in the minority here). Jacques Imos is funky and very loud. The food will leave you wishing you had gone elsewhere. Herbsaint is good. Try Cochon Butcher for sandwiches. You can always go to Galatoire's for lunch. Same menu all day. Coquette is in the garden district. Dinner everyday, lunch w-sat. IMO, Brocato still makes the best gelato in town.

    -----
    Bayona
    430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

    Galatoire's Restaurant
    209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    Brigtsen's Restaurant
    723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

    Herbsaint
    701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

    Cochon Butcher
    930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

    1. Monch Sep 14, 2011 01:32 PM

      Time-constrained, but have to say it: "Big ups to the Chowpup."

      Good parenting will out!

      1. texasredtop Sep 14, 2011 05:55 PM

        Drago's in Metairie for chargrilled oysters. There are a couple of bad reports in threads here about the ones at the Hilton Riverside. I've only been to the one in Metairie and I wouldn't miss those for the world. They are the best oysters I've ever eaten.

        I'd skip Central Grocery. Brigsten's is wonderful. Johnny's had a great fried shrimp po-boy when we were there about a month ago. Parkway is good but Johnny's was better for the shrimp poboy. Angelo Bracato's has wonderful gelato, in fact, the only gelato I'll eat. They also have very good pastries. I had a tiramisu and it was delicious. We ate at Emeril's and I was not impressed. There was some bisque my husband got that was really good there and everything else was ok but it's not a keeper for us. I haven't been to Commander's in a few years but haven't seen any bad reviews on it. On Magazine, I'm going to try Mahoney's poboys next visit.

        If you haven't considered Mr. B's - you should ..... bbq shrimp - oh yum. Galatoire's is always fun and always good food. My husband got the etouffee last visit and that's what I'm getting next time. It was very good. Also, Casamento's is a must for us when we make our trek there during the colder months.

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

        Galatoire's Restaurant
        209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

        1. t
          travelbuff Sep 14, 2011 07:22 PM

          Susan Spicer has opened a casual delicious place called Mondo that is kid friendly. I would skip the Emerils empire and go local--Brigtsen's. Cochon (not Butcher) is fantastic and casual, you really want to lick your plate it's so good. Commander's might be fun just to have the experience, but the food will not blow you away. IMHO, Creole Creamery has the best frozen dairy in town. I dream about the chocolate malt chip sometimes. Very creative Nola themed flavors abound. The restaurants at the WWII museum are good and would be fun with the pup. They are owned by John Besh. Domenica is very good and has fantastic pizza, which might go over well. Camelia Grill is fun (there's a new one in the quarter but it's great to take the ride on the streetcar) classic diner fare. Jacques Imos is not worth the wait and is indeed loud. Herbsaint's food is good but I find it a little snooty as far as service goes. Don't miss Southern Candymakers in the quarter. Also Stanley is a fun diner in the quarter. Ruby Slipper is a great breakfast lunch place that just opened a second location just a couple blocks outside the quarter. Love that place (the Mid-city one anyway). Another great casual place is Crescent Pie and Sausage in Mid-city for dinner. Their black jambalaya is quite tasty. Ignatius on Magazine also has good jambalaya and other classics in a casual atmosphere.

          -----
          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

          Creole Creamery
          4924 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115

          Ruby Slipper Cafe
          139 S Cortez St, New Orleans, LA 70119

          Domenica
          123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

          Mondo
          900 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

          1. s
            shanefink Sep 15, 2011 01:48 PM

            I have three kids- 8,6,3 years old. For some reason, I would never think to bring them to Galatoire’s. Just doesn’t seem to be the place for a kid. Jacques Imos is worth the wait if you’ve never been there. Oak Street is getting nicer and you can walk around the block for an hour or so. If you get there before 5:30, there should be no wait at all. Would have to be Saturday night, though, because I believe they are closed on Sunday and Monday. Commander’s brunch is not too touristy and should be a must-stop. The kid will be impressed. It’s very regal. Bayona is a great place in October because you can dine on their outdoor courtyard.

            -----
            Bayona
            430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

            Galatoire's Restaurant
            209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

            5 Replies
            1. re: shanefink
              h
              hazelhurst Sep 15, 2011 04:21 PM

              If the kid is well-behaved I don't think anything is off the table(so to speak). I was familiar with Antoine's, Galatoire's etc by the time I was 7. But my parents had us dressed well, prepared us for the Event, and did not let us run amok. Other parents did the same. I've gone out to the old places with friends and their 7,8,9 year old kids many times. It has the huge advantage that, by the time the child is 14 or 15, he/she is comfortable.

              So if the child is "good" I'd say go for it.

              -----
              Galatoire's Restaurant
              209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

              1. re: hazelhurst
                s
                shanefink Sep 15, 2011 06:27 PM

                Times have changed. Back then, you weren’t allowed to bring your Commodore 64 to the dinner table, were you???

                1. re: shanefink
                  ZenFoodist Sep 16, 2011 05:38 AM

                  Thanks, 'hounds. Our son has been raised in restaurants. He is perfectly behaved and looks forward to the finer experiences. Galatoire's will be no problem for him. It's Sacred NOLA for me and I can't take it off the Short List ;)

                  -----
                  Galatoire's Restaurant
                  209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                  1. re: shanefink
                    h
                    hazelhurst Sep 16, 2011 07:10 AM

                    Well, we brought ourselves. In those days people knew how to entertain themselves. Never had coloring book either. As an adult (if alone) I'll take a book or newspaper but I usually end up jawing with the waiters or folks at the next table.

                    A freind of mine, with an early version of portable TV, was upbraided for trying to watch a SAints game some years ago. The right way to do it is get updates from the kitchen.

                    1. re: hazelhurst
                      Bill Hunt Sep 21, 2011 08:55 PM

                      While I think that you are my junior by some years, when I was first a diner at Galatoire's, UNIVAC was about he only computer on Earth, and it filled a very large room. Just being at Galatoire's, and observing the "dance" of the watistaff, the other diners, and my parents, was all that I could have asked for. I would guess that my first experience was at about 7, but could have been 6. It was Winter, and I had a hat, that the hostess took, until we finished, and then had it ready, as we departed. Though it was my favorite hat (gray fedora w/ a small pheasant feather), I would have forgotten it, as I was still dizzy from the dining experience.

                      Hunt

                      -----
                      Galatoire's Restaurant
                      209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

              2. edible complex Sep 17, 2011 06:29 PM

                Katie's on Iberville and Mandina's are both accessible by the Canal St. streetcar.

                -----
                Mandina's Restaurant
                3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                4 Replies
                1. re: edible complex
                  mrsfury Sep 18, 2011 05:21 PM

                  Edible has two very good recs. I'd go to Mandina's for the shrimp creole or something Italian, and Katie's for the pizza. The streetcar is a fun, relaxing way to get there. We've been to so many "must go" places that were just meh I hesitate to recommend anywhere anymore. I tell my friends to go to Bon Ton for the best N.O. style lunch (I've never been for dinner) based on the menu, the atmosphere, the location and the building itself. I'm not a big fan of the Bourbon St./Quarter experience so I like the location of Bon Ton. It's a block from Mother's. My faves: the house salad & house dressing (a simple and delicious creole mustard vinaigrette), any entree but crab au gratin is what I always order, and bread pudding for dessert. I go every chance I get to take a long lunch. Work only allows me an hour. Boo hoo.

                  -----
                  Mandina's Restaurant
                  3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

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

                  1. re: mrsfury
                    texasredtop Sep 18, 2011 05:30 PM

                    Why not the crab au gratin at Bon Ton?

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

                    1. re: texasredtop
                      mrsfury Sep 18, 2011 05:36 PM

                      OOps I meant, any entree is good but crab is always what I order. I've had a few Abitas, I should have been more clear.

                      1. re: mrsfury
                        texasredtop Sep 18, 2011 07:11 PM

                        I just read it again and I took it the wrong way the first time. Just wanted to be clear because that is something I would order there. We were supposed to go last trip but had a lunch that made us kind of sick so skipped Bon Ton that night. I plan on trying it next trip.

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

                2. a
                  asuzc Sep 25, 2011 06:45 AM

                  Angelo Brocato's---Love it. Ever since we found this place, we make a return every time in New Orleans.
                  It has the best desserts---Tiramisu, Canoli's, and others
                  Cookies in every flavor, and italian ice (oh my). In June we went my husband and I shared Tiramisu and lemon ice. Then, we took a box of cookies and biscotti's bake to the hotel for later.

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