My final 6 days in NOLA
I'm back home now, fighting though the Restaurant/alcohol withdrawal, but reliving the memories helps a lot. So here goes:
Tuesday we had breakfast at Surrey's (another CH recommendation). It was delicious. I had a South American breakfast: two eggs atop rice with fresh avocado and pico de gallo. I added a pair of fried boudin cakes (which was an excellent decision) and poured on the hot sauce. Awesome. The rice was almost like risotto-- I have no idea what kind it was, but I loved it. Fresh, fast, cheap, and tasty.
I can't remember lunch, but that night we ate at La Petite Grocery (Thank you CH). This was another delightful and impressive meal. We were greeted by name at the door, which I like, and the service throughout was friendly and professional. The food, start to finish, was beautiful. We had an amazing beet (and crab, of course) salad, a braised short-rid with a luscious wine sauce, hanger steak for her and another fish special for me. Her steak was perfect, as was my fish. The details are getting fuzzy (I should have posted sooner!) but nothing in this meal disappointed. We had an amazing desert too, and I ordered a Blood and Sand cocktail that was great.
We skipped breakfast the next day and went for lunch at Coquette (CH!). I had the 3-plate lunch special (for $20, it's a great deal on great food). My wife and another friend ordered ala carte. My friend wasn't so sure about the gumbo. I tried it and thought it was very tasty, but definitely untraditional: it was tangy and thin, with "the good stuff" sort of piled in the center. A deconstructed gumbo? I liked it. I also liked the rabbit ravioli, the duck confit, and the blackened fish that I got. The chocolate tart was a great closer too. It was busy, but the service was excellent. Between all that and the $5/glass Wednesday wine specials, I'd say this might be the best place in NOLA for a Wednesday lunch.
That night was my bachelor party, which... is a whole other story. There were some good late-night eats at Alibi. Or so I'm told ;-)
On Thursday we needed a quick bite in the Garden District for lunch and impulsively popped in to Juan's Flying Burrito. What a great place! We had nacho's and split an order of blackened redfish tacos (the portions are very, very generous). It was super fast, quite cheep, friendly, and they made me a pretty decent mojito. That was a win.
At this point, tons of friends and family were in town for our wedding, and the focus of the trip shifted away from food. We still had some great meals, but group-considerations dominated, and we strayed from the CH-beaten path, with predictable results. Bad news first: We had an awful meal at Tujaque's. As much as I love having cocktails at the cool, old bar downstairs, I won't ever eat there again, and I'll encourage anyone who asks to steer clear. We took a huge group to Jaques Imo's too, and here the review is much better, but still mixed. Some things were delicious: the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake (Wow!), the Fried grits with shrimp, and the fried chicken (add a leg to any meal for $3? Why not!). Other things were just OK, and most of the sides were disappointing. I was also pretty hung over, though, so take that into consideration.
Our wedding was Friday, and it was beautiful, especially because we chose Mandina's to do the food. I'm so glad we did. We had red beans and rice (which were much better than Jaques-Imo's), shrimp-salad po'boys, roast beef po'boys, and muffalettas (which were delicious, even on the wrong bread- they made them on French, to make them "party-sized"). We also had lots and lots of Zapps chips, which everyone loved.
That night we ate with friends at Felix's Oyster bar, which was pretty good. The raw oysters were fresh and tasted great. The chargrilled ones were nice too, though I found that the smothering of grated parmesan cheese got old after the 2nd dozen. On Sunday we went to Drago's in the Hilton near Riverwalk, and their chargrilled oysters were much better.
On Saturday we made it out to Parkway Bakery & Tavern in Mid City for Po'boys, and I'm really glad we did. I ordered the fried shrimp, but I also sampled the Caprese, the Surf & Turf (probably the best, because of the gravy), and the corned beef, and all were delicious.
I also tried po'boys from Johnny's (good) and Verti Mart (great!) before we left, and Monday morning on our way out of town we grabbed beignet's from Cafe Beignet, which my foodie friend swears are superior to Cafe Du Monde. I'm on the fence on that: they are softer, and lighter inside, but then that makes them seem a little doughier, and Cafe Du Monde's are crispier outside. We'll just have to go back and keep sampling until we're sure. Our final NOLA treat was a muffaletta from Verti Mart that we ate in the car, halfway home- so good it almost made me cry, because I know it will be about a year before I can go back for more.
Thanks again to all the Hounds who take the time to report their experiences. We found many of these great places thanks to you!
3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
La Petite Grocery
4238 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Juan's Flying Burrito
2018 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130