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First Five Days in New Orleans

d
davneet Oct 17, 2011 01:21 PM

My fiancee and I will be visiting New Orleans for the first time this November, for five days the week before Thanksgiving. Our trip is purely recreational -- we hope to learn much about the city's past and present, to meet interesting people, to sip Sazeracs while listening to jazz, to walk hand-in-hand along the Mississippi as the sun sets. But most of all, we hope to eat lots of amazing food.

We like all food and we want to try everything New Orleans has to offer. Cajun or Creole, modern or traditional, casual or formal -- none of that matters. Our only requirement is variety; with so many potential meals, we don't want one to blend into another. And so, after poring over these forums, after reading every article on New Orleans in every newspaper and magazine, I've come up with a tentative eating schedule, a list of places on which I need your input. Here it is:

Wednesday
Dinner: Cochon

Thursday
Breakfast: Cafe du Monde
Lunch: Parkway Bakery
Dinner: August

Friday
Breakfast: The Old Coffee Pot
Lunch: Willie Mae's
Dinner: Coquette

Saturday
Breakfast: Stanley
Lunch: Drago's (Hilton)
Dinner: Dominique's

Sunday
Brunch: Commander's Palace
Dinner: Hush Supper Club

Monday
Breakfast: Cafe du Monde
Lunch: Mr. B's

What do you think? Which establishments should we skip? What should I add? Am I being too much of a tourist? Please, tell me. There are so many other places that sound amazing: Galatoire's, Upperline, Brigtsen's, Casamento's, Patois. I need you to decide for us. If you had only five more days in New Orleans, where would you eat?

This will be our first time in the city, the first time in the South for me (Disney World doesn't count), and years may pass before we return. I'd like to leave feeling as if I know New Orleans -- if such a thing is possible. If it is, it's probably not possible over five days in November. But I must try. And I must admit I feel a little mischievous sticking Pete Vazquez's pop-up in there, as if I'm planning to infiltrate some secret society for gluttony and decadence. How can I resist?

Other pertinent information: We'll be staying downtown on St. Charles, midway between the Quarter and the Garden District. We won't have a car, but we'll be happy to walk or take a streetcar to wherever you direct us. We plan on walking as much as possible.

  1. p
    pairswellwithwine Oct 17, 2011 02:01 PM

    I am not a resident of New Orleans but have visited twice. two places I would add to your list are Herbsaint which is another Donald Link restaurant but is completely different from Cochon. I have a soft spot for this restaurant and go every time I visit. It may be because it is where I was introduced to Duck Confit and it changed my life. The second place I recommend is getting a Muffaletta at Central Grocery in the French Quarter.

    Also you may not want to go to Cafe du Monde more than once especially not early in the morning. Being an early riser as I am walking through the French Quarter first thing in the morning is quite and experience.

    I will say that New Orleans in my opinion has the best food in the U.S. it is hard to find a bad meal there.

    For non food related I highly recommend the D-Day museum it is pretty spectacular and if you have any interest in World War II it is a must see.

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

    Herbsaint
    701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

    7 Replies
    1. re: pairswellwithwine
      d
      davneet Oct 17, 2011 07:52 PM

      I don't doubt that New Orleans has some of the best food in the country. On practically every menu I see my favorites: pates and terrines, foie gras and duck confit. Animal fat is the best. Oh, and the seafood! Yes, I am excited for oysters, cooked and raw.

      I think we'll definitely have to visit Central Grocery for a Muffaletta, and even Galatoire's on Friday, as stevuchan suggests. I think we'll definitely have multiple lunches each day. No matter. We will split a po'boy at Parkway instead of having two, so there's room for a bite of that olive-stuffed sandwich.

      But dinner is a different matter. Do you recommend Herbsaint over Cochon? Or even August? I left it out because 1) Cochon seems to be the more popular Donald Link establishment right now; 2) I'm afraid it will overlap with the other dinners listed, and variety is the key to sustained indulgence; and 3) we're only in New Orleans for five days! I wish I could go to all the restaurants! Compromise: we'll skip Mr. B's on our last day for an Herbsaint lunch, yes? No? I don't know. I am simultaneously excited and distraught -- excited that we're going to New Orleans and distraught over the choices I must make.

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

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

      Herbsaint
      701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

      Muffaletta's
      69305 Highway 21, Covington, LA 70433

      1. re: davneet
        edible complex Oct 17, 2011 07:59 PM

        I'd do Napoleon House for the muff.

        you could graze on Friday and do Mr. B's for bbq shrimp and gumbo ya ya at the bar, then head to Galatorie's for oyster rock, crabmeat lorenzo and/or au gratin, sweetbreads, and/or seafood stuffed eggplant, then head to Hermes Bar at Antoine's for oysters foch. and in btwn, take a spin at the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone.

        then you could still do both Cochon and Herbsaint.

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

        Cochon
        930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

        Herbsaint
        701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

        1. re: edible complex
          d
          davneet Oct 18, 2011 05:25 AM

          I like the way you think. And the Carousel Bar?! Ha! It's a bar inside of an actual spinning carousel! Who knew? They apparently want you to get feel drunk before they hand you a drink. As amazing as that sounds, it also seems kinda kitschy. Are the cocktails good? It's really all about the cocktails.

          1. re: davneet
            l
            lsmutko Oct 18, 2011 08:00 AM

            Cocktails are good, and it IS kinda kitschy, but in a good way. I grew up in a tourist town and have a knee-jerk "no" reaction to bars or restaurants that spin, but loved the Carousel Bar. If it hadn't been in the hotel we stayed in, I might not have sought it out, but I'm glad it was there. It's just fun.

            1. re: davneet
              edible complex Oct 18, 2011 05:30 PM

              be sure to get a Pimm's Cup at the Napoleon House. Carousel is an institution, and you'll find some colorful locals there too. I never do B's w/o an after meal spin across the street.

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

              1. re: davneet
                noradeirdre Oct 24, 2011 08:12 AM

                The cocktails at Carousel are excellent, and I really like it there. I have only lived here for about a year and a half, so I am hesitant to call myself a local, but I run into very cool people (tourists and locals) whenever I go take a spin. Also, did I mention the cocktails are excellent? Because they are.

            2. re: davneet
              p
              pairswellwithwine Oct 18, 2011 10:00 AM

              Cochon and Herbsaint are very different experiences. I would not miss either. Cochon is new that could be why it is getting more press right now.

              Last time we went we stopped by Central Grocery the morning we left and took the muffaletta for the plane ride home.

              I am very envious of all the wonderful food you are going to have.

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

              Herbsaint
              701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

          2. stevuchan Oct 17, 2011 04:20 PM

            Fellow tourist here. That's a solid list, if it were me I would do Galatoire's for lunch on Friday.

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: stevuchan
              edible complex Oct 17, 2011 07:51 PM

              yep.

            2. c
              califkatie Oct 18, 2011 10:50 AM

              when we are in New Orleans, we eat lunch and dinner, and are usally too stuffed for breakfast, i'm slowing down in my "old" age. Cochon is Link's "country" cajun to his "city" Herbsaint. you can see the difference when you look at their menus online. i like both and always hit both, even if just for apps. if fact, we eat small meals at lots of restaurants so we can get in as many tastes as possible. i go to Galatoires every trip, or at least once a year. i have never been to Friday lunch, so i don't know how it differs from the rest of the time. everytime i go it's raucous. Central Grocery was closed last time i was there( a sun. or mon. can't remember), so we went next door to Frank's. the muffaletta was great there, and they were really friendly. you really need to have the BBQ Shrimp, so fit in a visit to Mr. B's somehow ( late night snack?) .

              1. d
                davneet Oct 25, 2011 07:09 AM

                First, thanks for your help everyone! Even though you've just encouraged me to attend even more restaurants and spend even more money. Nothing wrong with that of course.

                But now, a real decision. Coquette or La Petite Grocery? I had settled on Coquette earlier because it seemed to be the more highly regarded bistro, over Patois and Lilette. But Mr. Anderson of The Times-Picayune just released his new Top 10, which includes La Petite Grocery, a place that wasn't really on my radar but looks very intriguing. Coquette, however, is noticeably absent from the list, which is a travesty going by the article's comments.

                So, is Mr. Anderson correct? La Petite over Coquette? Or Coquette over La Petite?

                -----
                Lilette
                3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

                La Petite Grocery
                4238 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                2 Replies
                1. re: davneet
                  c
                  collardman Oct 25, 2011 11:16 AM

                  Go where the menu speaks to you. There are many cities where their top ten would come in below the N.O. top 30. I think it could be argued that in any locals top ten list, if they were combined there would be an acceptible top 25-30.

                  Remember, even a food critic can be subjective.

                  1. re: collardman
                    c
                    califkatie Oct 25, 2011 11:54 AM

                    i agree, how can it be whittled down to "Top 10" ?

                2. d
                  don515 Oct 26, 2011 10:58 AM

                  Good list you will probably not get it but request the Green/Garden room at Comanders its all glass and overlooks the courtyard. The bread pudding is also a must!

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