my "slightly off the beaten path" meal report
My husband and I visited some friends who have temporarily relocated to new Orleans for work and they gave me some great restaurant recommendations. We never made it to galatoires or Commander's palace but we still ate wonderful things.
Brunch at Eats- I wanted to order half the menu because everything seemed so good but I settled for Eggs cochon which was poached eggs with hollandaise over mustard greens and a pulled pork. We also got banana fritters which were fried to perfection. Friends had red velvet pancakes, husband had a pepper jack and avocado omelet.
I spied Meldown's menu as we were walking home from the Quarter and we had to stop and have a Popsicle. Pineapple and cilantro? Yes please!
Dinner- I turned my friends onto the Green Goddess because I've been reading Chef Chris's blog off and on for years. They were excited to try someplace new! I ordered the wild mushroom bread pudding with the addictive blue cheese sauce. Husband had oyster absinthe soup with a wedge salad. My friend's freaky tabouli salad was a highlight as well as the post dinner prosciutto wrapped figs. We all had to order our own bacon sundaes. DAMN....
Drinks- We randomly ran into Glenn David Andrews and he invited us to Mayfeilds to watch him play. I foolishly ordered just a rum and coke because I was worried about feeling tired (as if I could fall asleep watching that man play) My husband had an uptown Collins that was very very good.
Gazebo Cafe Slept in and decided on skipping brunch in favor of eating lunch since I wanted to try po boys. I had a moment of buyer's remorse in ordering a sausage poy boy since I don't really like eating sea food (textural issues...except that apparently fried seafood doesn't freak me out as much) the poor sandwich was just sausage and bread, with some lonely mayo packets but once I dressed it up with tomatoes and mayo it was very good, the sausages were very flavorful. I heard that a better place would have offered creole mustard. hMph. Husband had a fried shrimp/oyster po boy. I had the a famed ice cream daiquiri called the nutty Irishman, and it was dangerously delicious drink since you can't really taste the alcohol.
We had to try Meltdown again and this time husband got a grapefruit and lavender Popsicle which he loved, and I got a chili mango which was okay but not great. I regret not getting a chocolate sea salt one.
Since the Joint was closed and we had to drive a friend uptown for a catholic seder we ended up at Juan's flying burrito. This is the kind of thing I probably would not have gone to without my friend vouching for it but the burritos were excellent. I got one with pulled pork and pineapple salsa, delicious. Their chorizo queso dip grows on you. My friend got a luau quesadilla with shrimp, bacon and pineapple and my husband got the flying burrito.
We finally tried Cafe DuMonde. it was a 15 minute wait to get in, a 10 minute wait to get a waitress over to serve us and about a 5 minute wait for our food and it was worth every second. Perfectly brewed coffee with perfectly cooked beignet.
After several non-starters we finally make it over to the Joint. The meats were very good, smoked perfectly and the sauces complimented the meal perfectly. The sides were a little disapointing, the potato salad tasted unbalanced (too eggy) and the coleslaw needed more dressing. The mac and cheese was okay and the baked beans were very good and clearly not from a can.
Strawberry lemon zest popsicles from Meltdown because they were out of the strawberry basil. Yum!
It was raining buckets but we braved the storm to walk over to the Marigny brasserie. I had the best cocktail of the trip, a Pimms Cup that was so refreshing. Since it was my last night in NOLA and I still hadn't had red beans and rice I ordered their fried chicken My dinner was slightly disappointing, the beans and rice were very boring and I've probably cooked better at home. The fried chicken was very good and portions were huge. My friend will be enjoying the leftovers. They ordered pizzas and my husband ordered Blackened Redfish with a Creole Crawfish Cream Sauce.
We went to the Muse for deserts. Their strawberry icebox pie was excellent as was the Muse drink (a martini type drink with strawberry and cucumber.) husband loved his dirty martini with house made brine.
I made breakfast for our hosts as a final thank you.
We went to Mia's Balcony. My last drink was a gin fizz which I wasn't crazy about so my friend traded me his St. Charleston. I wouldn't normally drink a whiskys but it was a perfect drink for the last meal. and I had this amazing roast beef po boy with debris and blue cheese. It was so filling I couldn't eat another bite that day as we bid farewell to new Orleans and flew back home.
Good call on the Joint. It routinely gets snubbed on CH and I'm not sure why, their BBQ is first rate. Though as you found out, their sides--except for the beans--are second fiddle. It's one of the few places that not only survived a move but improved in the process.
Regarding mac & cheese: the best I've had in the city is at (unlikely as this sounds) the Ugly Dog Saloon, across the street from Cochon. I think the absolute lack of pretension helps them a lot ... the lobster, truffle oil, secret eight cheese blend, &c. are all gloriously absent. (Oh c'mon, don't look at me like that. You can only sit at the Cochon bar so many times without being a little curious about the Ugly Dog.)
Glad you enjoyed your trip!