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Dec 10, 2011 06:08 AM

I love Christmas time in New Orleans

So here we come again for 5 days.

I'm thinking of trying Café Atchafalaya, I don't know what happened last trip. I think we were too overloaded on delicious food and had to skip something and that is what got cut. But I will try it this trip.

I'm also thinking of going back to Deanie's in Bucktown and trying the bbq shrimp. I was not crazy about their fried seafood platter. It was good and huge but I would rather small and amazing. It's been 5-6 years since we went.

Mr. B's bbq shrimp are ALWAYS a MUST plus Drago's in Metairie, Galatoire's and Casamento's for my favorite dishes there. After trying hubby's etouffee at Galatoire's last year, I know that is what I'll have. It was so good.

I am also thinking Red Fish Grill and Mahoney's. We haven't tried either yet. I loved Johnny's shrimp poboy but I think I'll give Mahoney's a shot. I don't mind waiting. I'm thinking the shrimp and fried green tomato poboy. I wasn't wild about Crabby Jack's version.

I don't mind dressing for a meal but I'm not going to dress EVERY meal so I mix some casual in there. I hate changing clothes 3 times a day and will not go to the casino/mall/museum in dressy clothes.

What is the dress at Cafe Atchafalaya? Their website is under construction or reconstruction so I can't really check it out online.

Hubby prefers shrimp. I prefer oysters and soft shell crab but I already had my sscs there in August. We both love all seafood and plan on most meals being that.

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  1. cafe atchafalaya is not a dressy place, casual chic is how i see it. red fish grill is fun, you'll like it. i recommend the bbq shrimp po-boy at liuzza's by the track. since you were wondering about the track, it's in the same place, hasn't moved. have some appetizers at the bar of the pelican club. i loved the oysters, the seafood cocktail, and the quail.

    17 Replies
    1. re: califkatie

      I had a bbq shrimp poboy at Boucherie a long time ago and was not impressed. It just doesn't translate to a poboy. Honestly, they could just keep the shrimp :-) It's the broth I'm wild about and on a poboy it just doesn't work for me.

      Tell me about Red Fish Grill. What's good there. What is the dress code for lunch and for dinner?

      I don't know why it was in my head that the Fairgrounds moved. Did it used to be closer to Lake Pontchartrain at one time? Like maybe around Kenner? Maybe it was longer ago than I thought. Memory fades with age :-) I need to get back over there and go to the Fairgrounds when the horses are running. We have been stuck on Oaklawn for too long, time for a change in 2012 :-)

      1. re: texasredtop

        You are probably thinking of Jefferson Downs

        1. re: hazelhurst

          Or maybe it was the airport that moved? lol Who knows. I'm old, birthday tomorrow, I have legit excuses.

          1. re: hazelhurst

            You know, I think I remember now. Did they tear the old Fairgrounds down and rebuild? Maybe that is what I'm thinking? I don't remember ever going to Jefferson Downs.

          2. re: texasredtop

            No dress code for Red Fish Grill. Fun place.I have eaten there a few times, liked everything, but can't think of one thing that sticks out. i know what you mean about the BBq Shrimp. i just love the broth, so i wasn't sure what it was going to be like at LBTT, but it was a completely different sauce , i ended up eating the shrimp with a fork and then eating the soaked bread. Anyway, it haunts me, will be back in January for it. Are you involved in the horse industry? We are in L.A..

            1. re: califkatie

              L A as in California? Husband was involved many years ago, owned Mal Placier and Master Robbery at Delta Downs. Or was it Lost Robbery? There I go again. Too long ago to keep it straight. I told him what he would be up against in Vinton with his horses but he took a chance and sure 'nuff, totally by accident caught them running his horses under the table at The Fairgrounds. He didn't do bad while he owned them but we wonder how much they really won. It left a bad taste in his mouth and he never bought another horse. Put those two up for sale on the way home from NO that trip. We do still go to some of the horse races at Oaklawn and some others. He hasn't been to the Derby in 17 years. But he's been to every major horse track in the country over the years. It's a hobby I guess, not in the business.

              Over my head in the study is a commissioned painting of Alysheba at Santa Anita. I think it's Santa Anita anyway. Like I said, it isn't my thing. I just tag along for the fun of it. He is/was the expert.

              1. re: texasredtop

                good story. i'll relate it to my husband. he works for the Form.I think Fairgrounds burned down, then they rebuilt it.We always go to the Track when we are in New Orleans. That's how we found Luizza's by the Track. It's a great place. Next trip i am going to go to Buttermilk Drop Bakery at 1718 n. Dorgenois, it's near the Track and supposed to be great.

                1. re: califkatie

                  Yes, that's right about it burning down. Hubby just got home from hunting and I asked him. Like I say, I just go along for the ride, it's not my passion. I like tracks where there are slots so I can occupy my time while he's betting the horses.

                  I was going to a great bakery in Metairie (Maurice's ) but the last visit it wasn't very good and they were downright rude. I'll have to check out Buttermilk Drop. We tried Angelo Brocato's again in August and I think that's the one we'll continue to visit. It was amazing!

                  Every trip we make to a horse track, the first thing hubby does is find a racing form so he can study it - lol. He marks it all up the day before then he buys a fresh one at the track to continue to make notes. He lets me off at the door and tells me to buy him a racing form and wait there until he parks and gets inside.

                  1. re: texasredtop

                    Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe was on the cover of the Edible New Orleans Winter 2011 issue. it was a great story about the baker/owner recreating a beloved buttermilk drop donut. he also serves breakfast and lunch soul food. It is open from 6 a.m. to 6p.m. everyday except sunday, only open till 1 p.m.. I can't wait to go and try the Drops but also sample his gumbo. Husband does those charts in the Form that your husband loves to read. :-).

                    1. re: califkatie

                      Told hubby and he said "that's a h*** of a lot of work". lol So you can tell him that he is appreciated by the readers.

                2. re: texasredtop

                  If he was running at Vinton then he must know of the immortal Sylvester Carmouche and the horse Landing Officer. A classic. And yes, the Fair Grounds burned, taking with it a wonderful clubhouse, wonderful grandstands, a good kitchen and the racing silks of Black Gold, plus a terrific painting of Opening Day in reconstruction Louisiana. The world has not be right ever since.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    He knew him well. We worked with one of his relatives in the Houston area too. Remember how he came to be known as the fog jockey? lol

                    Hubby had been going to the horse races all over the country long before he bought those two thoroughbreds.

                    1. re: texasredtop

                      That was "Landing Officer" he was on that night in the fog.

                        1. re: texasredtop

                          Sylvester is back riding, hubs chimes in.

                          1. re: califkatie

                            Hubby said he's seen him on the card that comes on the cable channel for horse racing. He watches that channel a lot. I think they threw him out after the "fog" incident and he had to go through some legal mumbojumbo to get back in. That story cracks me up but does not surprise me at all.

                            1. re: texasredtop

                              He was out for ten years. He came back and then sued some contractor at Delta Downs alleging a truck had spooked the horse which then fell on Carmouche. Lost that in Summary Judgement as I recall. He's always good for a story. I even won some money on him.

          3. My amended list with a question........

            Drago's lunch
            Café Atchafalaya dinner
            Bon Ton lunch
            Mahoney's dinner
            The Buttermilk Drop breakfast
            Galatoire's late lunch
            Mr. B's lunch
            Casamento's dinner
            Deanie's Bucktown lunch

            We usually opt for lunch at the nicer places due to the richer food. I can't have it so much at night or I won't sleep so I try and get the richer meals at lunch. Plus no coats required for men and while that isn't a problem, it's sometimes just too hot and muggy to have him wear a coat jacket. I try to work in one heavy meal and one lighter meal when I can. It doesn't always work out but I'd rather hit all the places I love or the places I've wanted to try.

            Questions -
            Cafe Atchafalaya and Bon Ton are both new for us. Any suggestions on what are the best dishes there. I know BT's reputation for etouffee and we will definately try that but what else? What to avoid at either place?

            Also we were going to try Deanie's again on our way out of town. Is the one by Couchon better than the one in Bucktown? My husband liked the gigantic fried seafood platter. I wasn't impressed except with the size. It was good but nothing special. I'm thinking of trying their bbq shrimp. Has anyone had them? What else is good at Deanie's?

            6 Replies
            1. re: texasredtop

              Deanie's by Cochon is unrelated to Deanie's in Bucktown/French Quarter.

              1. re: uptownlibrarian

                Ahhhh, I guess I got it confused with the other Deanie's location in the FQ. The Deanie's by Cochon was jam packed when we went to Cochon so I just assumed it was the other Deanie's location.

              2. re: texasredtop

                let us know how the Buttermilk Drop is. I'm going in January. Went to Cafe Atchafalya, i liked it alot, but remember not liking my fried green tomatoes. Hope it was just a fluke that day, cause i love freid green tomatoes.

                1. re: califkatie

                  I will certainly let you know about Buttermilk Drop. We don't eat breakfast but are having a late lunch at Galatoire's that day so we'll go have quick breakfast that morning. After Galatoire's, I'm done for the day and cannot possibly eat another bite.

                  1. re: texasredtop

                    Did you see the address i posted for the Buttermilk Drop? It is out of the way. Off the intersection of Broad and St. Bernard. you might need a car to get there. We are going to take the bus, then walk over about the 7 blocks to go to the Track that day.Then plan to hit the Rendon Inn for drinks, then over to Banks Street. Lots of new restaurants and bars these days poping up over there. Might hit Katies for a meal. Nothing to do with our names being the same. :-). Only a month away for me now, so, i'm getting excited.

                    1. re: califkatie

                      We drive so it will be no problem. It's only about 5.5 hours from my house to NO. It's an hour to get to our airport so we can drive it as fast as fly it. We always stop at the Cabela's in Gonzales and sometimes the casinos in Kinder and Lake Charles too.

              3. Monday lunch – Drago’s in Metairie
                Ordered one dozen charbroiled, hubby ordered large crab salad. They were really good but my oysters were so tiny it was crazy. I’d had some at home in the Houston area in September and they were very tiny but I assumed it was just too early for them then. They gave me 15 on the one dozen order but if you put them all together, it would make about 3 decent sized oysters maybe. About 12 of them were the size of my pinky fingernail, the other 3 smaller than a quarter. I scratched Casamento’s off the list for that trip knowing it would probably be similar. Hubby loved his crab salad as always and I had no problem finishing off my oysters and saving room for dinner.

                Stopped at Sucre on the way out of Metairie and had some gelato which was wonderful. I picked up several different macaroons but only liked the almond one and even that one wasn’t worth the price. I liked their gelato as much as I like Angelo Brocato’s gelato.

                Monday dinner – Café Atchafalaya
                I was still full from all the gelato and cookies so we decided to split their dinner special. It was an 8 oz filet, shrimp, and some kind of crawfish, bacon, spinach rice. It was amazing. We loved this place and it goes on the list for next trip. I am definitely going to try and duplicate that crawfish rice dish. It was so good. Their bread was the only thing lacking. It tasted like it had been sitting out on the counter all day. The little cornbread mini muffins were real good though.

                Tuesday lunch – Bon Ton
                Hubby had the shrimp etouffee and I had a crawfish dinner which was etouffee, newburg, jambalaya, and I subbed fried tails for the omelet. Hubby didn’t like his. I tried it and it tasted like shrimp cooked in butter with no seasoning and served over rice. I was puzzled to say the least. My etouffee was very similar with the difference being mine was crawfish and had a tiny bit of seasoning. Hubby liked mine and he loved the jambalaya. In fact, all I ate were the crawfish tails and a taste of the other dishes and he finished mine. I will have to return because hubby said he wants more of their jambalaya. Maybe I’ll find something I like better next trip.

                Tuesday dinner – Mahoney’s
                Hubby got a large shrimp poboy made with the large shrimp and I got a small chicken liver and cole slaw poboy. We got fries and onion rings. It was all very good. I loved mine and couldn’t finish it even though I was hungry from not having much at lunch. It was packed full of livers. I didn’t try his but he said he liked it better than Johnny’s. The onion rings were great. They were so thin it was like they were shaved and lightly battered. They remained crisp the entire time we were there. The fries were good too but next time I’m just getting the onion rings. Service was slow for the amount of people that were in there. I can’t imagine how slow it is at lunch when the place is packed. We’ll go back.

                Wednesday lunch – Galatoire’s/Mr. B’s
                Tried to get into Galatoire’s at 11:40. Next seating was at about 1:00 so we decided to try back the next day and walked around to Mr. B’s. We both had the bbq shrimp. The two bigger of my shrimp were perfect but the smaller four were way overcooked. The tail was rubbery. But like I’ve said before, the shrimp are the sideshow to the sauce. We had good service as always.

                Thursday breakfast – Buttermilk Drop (by the track)
                Ok, first of all if you’re going to eat in, there are only two small booths that look like they haven’t been wiped down in 2 weeks. The breakfast is premade and sitting under lights. Not appetizing at all. We got donuts. Glazed, twists, and buttermilk drops. The twists were the best.

                Thursday lunch – Galatoire’s
                Got there at 1:20. We were the only ones waiting on a table and were seated at 2:25. No one wants to leave that place. While we were waiting we saw 3 groups turned away because they weren’t properly dressed. By the time we sat down everyone else was plastered. One guy got up and led the entire dining room in a song – The Twelve Days of Cajun Christmas. It was too funny. I got a little of it on video. And Dorris was there, I was shocked. I thought someone told me he’d passed away. The girl that waited on us (she usually works at night) said he was very sick earlier in the year and was off several months. I had their etouffee which is very good. I like my own better but theirs is good. Hubby had the Shrimp Remoulade and Shrimp Marguery and they were both delicious. He says Galatoire’s has the best shrimp remoulade he’s ever tasted.

                We changed our plans and left NO early Friday instead of hanging around for lunch.

                6 Replies
                1. re: texasredtop

                  Bummer about the oysters. They've been nice and big at Casamentos; it's not a city-wide problem.

                  1. re: texasredtop

                    In defense of Bon Ton's shrimp etouffee, that's a hard trick to pull off. I rarely have it because I think how much better it would be with crawfish..and when the waiters used to make for you at Galatoire's they used lots of crawfish fat which is hard to get(for me, anyway) b/c supposedly the health people worry about bacteria or something, But the best shrimp etouffee I ever had was home cooked..we had to get rid of a huge amount we'd been given and we made everything in sight or that we could dream up. A friend had several pounds of crabmeat and he cut that up for the etouffee and it enriched it beautfifully.

                    One Xmas Eve..or Xmas Eve eve..I was in Galatoire's when the whole room was singing Christmas Carols. The table that started it all was the lawfirm of Stone,Pigman. That was hilarious.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      My shrimp or crawfish etouffee always taste the same just with different bugs. I never though about using crab - yum.

                      We were at Galatoire's on Thursday, the eve of the eve of Christmas eve :-) Can't believe you were there at the same time we were. It WAS hilarious. I got a little of it on video but Dorris kept walking in front of my phone - lol. We were up against the east wall towards the back, maybe the 4th table from the entrance leading to the restrooms. For the last 3 years, we've sat at that same table 4 times.

                    2. re: texasredtop

                      Thanks for the great trip report. Wow, you did some good eating. I, too, like Cafe Atchafalaya. And am a lover of chicken livers, so Mahoneys may have to go on my list. Thanks for the heads up on Buttermilk Drop. Will go by for donuts but may have to keep travlin' on for breakfast/lunch, maybe my old fav, Liuzza's. I have never gone to Bon Ton, crazy, cause i've been going to New Orleans since 1989. I am not a fan of those little macarons, eaten them in Paris,San Fran, NYC and Los angeles, they just don't do it for me. For sure i will be at Galatoires in three weeks, never go to N.O. without a visit.

                      1. re: califkatie

                        I'm looking forward to your trip report!!