Weekend Itinerary - Please Help
need some help with my itinerary for a weekend trip to new orleans. i'll be going with 4-5 friends (early 30s), during the first weekend of jazz fest for a bachelor party. we're staying at the hilton riverside in the cbd, and we're actually not going to the festival. i realize its a bit strange, but that just happened to be the weekend that worked best for the group, and while we're interested in live music, we're not interested in the setting of a huge festival. i think it'll be most of the group's first time in NO, so our plan is to eat some great meals, explore the city during the day, and hit the town at night to see some music in the clubs.
we're from NY, so not interested in food we can get here (italian/steak), but instead looking for typical NO fare (creole, cajun, seafood, etc.). as far as price, looking to spend $10-20 on lunch mains, in the $20s for dinner mains. we'll be relying on our feet, streetcars and cabs to get around. here's what i was thinking, but would welcome any and all suggestions on the below:
friday day: for lunch, either muffaletta from cochon butcher or po boy from johnny's. afterwards, wander the quarter.
friday dinner: drinks at the swizzle stick bar, 9pm reservation at cafe adelaide (eating close to the hotel since people will be getting in at various times)
friday after dinner: drinks in the quarter including bourbon street, but likely to spend more time at one or more of the cocktail bars in the area (carousel bar, napoleon house, sazerac bar, etc.). any of these you would skip or others to suggest as must not miss?
saturday day: journey uptown to walk around the garden district. any good casual lunch suggestions off the st charles streetcar (again, po boy/muffaletta suggestions would be great)?
saturday dinner/night out: we're planning to hit up frenchmen st after dinner, so we were thinking of grabbing dinner closer to that area beforehand. i was thinking elizabeth's, but wanted to get the group's thoughts as it sounds like brunch is their forte. is this a good choice for dinner on saturday? do they take reservations? any good places to stop in for a drink on the walk from elizabeth's to frenchmen?
thanks very much for your help!
I'm not sure if Elizabeth's should be considered old school but they do a pretty tasty dinner (I'm a big fan of their fried chicken) and the place is always lively. That said, they're kind of a long walk from Frenchmen. There are places to get a drink in between but most of it is a not very interesting slog through the Bywater (at least in the evenings when everything's closed up--I don't mean to disparage the Bywater at all). Although it's not a terrible neighborhood, keep your wits about you out there.
The Three Muses is okay (I'm not a huge fan but many people are so I'm willing to believe that I'm somehow in the wrong on that) but will be crowded; a table for five or six won't come easy. Adolpho's (upstairs from the Apple Barrel) has good food and is pretty fun with a small crowd but again, Saturday evening during JF it'll be kind of busy. I know they'll put you on the list though and it's Frenchmen so you're not exactly hurting for ways to kill an hour or two. Note that Adolpho's is cash only.
If I were looking for local food, close(-ish) to Frenchmen, six people, not too expensive, and takes reservations, I'd consider EAT (eatnola.com). The food, atmosphere, and service are all very good. It's BYOB and there is a corkage fee after the first bottle but money wise that usually works out in your favor.
Be sure to check out Bar Tonique and Tujagues bar for cocktails. The former is kind of a dive but it's the sort of dive with Kold-Draft ice and home made mixers. Really excellent unless you're looking for upscale service. Tujagues will make you a very drinkable Sazarac or pretty much any other classic you're looking for.
If you're a beer guy, Yuki on Frenchmen has a full selection of the Hitachino Nest beers. It's non-obvious looking at the place (and online info is hard to come by) but they often have live music going on (e.g., Luke Winslow-King has [or had, I'm not sure] a regular Sunday night gig there) as well as a non-sushi Japanese menu.
I'd skip Adelaide. Jazz Fest is truly unique. You will be doing yourselves a great disservice if you don't go and you will surely regret it. It is as New Orleans as Mardi Gras and the Saints.
Be sure ride the St. Charles streetcar uptown to see more of our beautiful city. There is so much more to nola than the quarter. The Canal streetcar will take you through midcity to City Park /NOMA. The best time to ride will be early am to avoid cars packed with fest goers.
Thanks. Point taken on JF, especially given how essential the food seems to be to the festival. I'll try to persuade the group that that's what we should do. Re: skipping Adelaide, any suggestions within walking distance of CBD to substitute? Any thoughts on Elizabeth's for Saturday night dinner? Thanks again for your guidance.
For Friday Grand Isle is a good possibility, close to the hotel, informal, reasonable cost. Many other good choices such as Bon Ton but at a higher cost. When uptown get over to magazine street for a big choice in small restaurants. Casamentos, Guys PoBoys, Magazine PoBoys, Tracys (off Magazine).
While JF will cost some money to get in, if you are here you need to do it. Between the crowd the food and the markets, it is an day of entertainment and the music is lagniappe.