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Recent trip report - Bwyater, CP., and misc. fun

Bob MacAdoo Apr 10, 2012 02:31 PM

A trip back to New Orleans for a few days could only mean one thing ... chowhound adventure.

Here's the skinny:

COMMANDER'S PALACE

This was the first stop, dinner for four on a Friday evening. Mmmm, glad we began here, there's no place better.

Our fun started in the kitchen as we arrived 30 minutes before the reservation. Graciously, we were swept to the back bar for a front row seat on the line, complete with libations. I ordered a French 75 (gin.) Lovely, even though I caught a raised eyebrow when I asked for it on the rocks.

Seated promptly in the upstairs room (first room at top of stairs), we were delighted to enjoy an evening of impeccable service, stellar cuisine, and excellent company (including a foodie writer type in our party who was familiar to Ti Adelaide Martin. After stopping by to thank us for visiting, she brought out a round of amazing mid-course shots. Unknown variety that blended hot, sweet and savory, with a definite hint of peach.)

Dining highlights included Shrimp and Tasso Hennican app, which was defined by a simply unparalleled pepper jelly sauce; the Pecan Crusted Redfish main (two of us enjoyed this indulgence .. oh my, this was simply southern greatness on a plate) and the surprise hit, a mushroom-based veggie dish that caught the foodie writer by complete surprise.) Even though we passed on Chef Tory's 7-course feast, there we so many great things about this meal, from perfect pace to great bottle of pinot noir, but I think the standout was the reaction of our host. This gentleman has lived in N.O. for the better part of 10 years and had never visited C.P. (on principle, too touristy, he said.) Naturally, he walked out with a vastly different opinion, agreeing that C.P. stands among the culinary heavyweights in a city of food contenders.

Verti's Marte

This little surprise happened after night of live blues with Bryan Lee, on our way back to the Bywater, courtesy of the foodie writer (not only is she great people, but this gal knows her stuff!) She bought us an All That Jazz po boy for enjoyment at the local watering hole near our host's abode. This was super sloppy yummy, featuring a fully dressed grilled ham and grilled turkey sandwich on trademark crusty Leidenheimer French bread that was defined by 1) gooey cheese (American/Swiss combo), 2) grilled veggies (mushrooms for sure, tomatoes I think), and 3) shrimp, like 20 shrimp, so damned good. Verti's, what a great find for an out-of-towner like me, though apparently very well known to the locals.

Parasol's

I made the RB Po Boy pilgrimage to the Irish Channel and was not disappointed (thank you $50 rental car!) This was really delicious. Even though I ordered a small, it was just right; great gravy, great bread, perfect finger licking lunch. My only mistake was ordering the "small" onion rings. Tasty as hell, but totally unnecessary and wayyyy too big.

Elizabeth's

When in the Bywater, eat breakfast at Elizabeth's and live forever. This go-around, I tried the salmon brie grilled cheese concoction on rye, topped with two fried sunny side up and grits. Oh yeah, this was delicious. The salty salmon and sweet cream brie made for a perfect combo.

Liuzza's by the Track

Was only in mood for a quick bite at this meal. There was a crawfish etoufee on the special menu, so I had a small bowl. Nothing to scream about, but then again, I can't get an etoufee this good anywhere in my neck of the woods (Boston) so yeah, it was pretty darned good.

Surrey's Cafe

I was really torn about what to order here as everything that went by looked stellar. Especially the shrimp n' grits, the biscuits with gravy, and the Bananas Foster Pain Perdu (lordy, that looked rich.) I opted for the Boudin Breakfast Biscuit and was not disappointed. Very tasty meal. I wish I had selected grits however, as the hash browns featured some kickin' cajun spice that jumpstarted my forehead sweat glands!

Frady's

This is a great little dive corner store on Piety. We snacked on 'tamales' with a hint of cajun spice, meat unknown, and a small dirty rice. Nice find. For the locals, there was huge demand for the fried shrimp po boys, which looked damned good on the cutting board.

Felix's

Two dozen grilled oysters for me and my pal, plus a 1/2 dozen fresh for me (he won't eat them raw), standing at the bar while 20 people waited outside in line. We slammed down a couple of Amstel's too. Best afternoon ever.

Kajun's Pub

This is a drinking bar for drinking people on St. Claude. The stumbling fellas next to us said, cheapest beer at any bar within 20 blocks. Not a sober person in the damned place, or so it seemed. So wasn't it interesting to find some of the best char grilled oysters you'd ever eat in New Orleans at this, ahem, establishment? And how about them BBQ shrimp, seriously U10-sized, 1/2 dozen per order ... not as good as Mr. B's, but at this price ($10!!!!), who cares? Gritty food done right.

The Joint

The food cognoscenti say New Orleans is not a "cue town. Perhaps. But this cute little Bywater shack does make some tasty ribs. A 1/2 rack had 8 ribs. Perfect with the frost brew on an 80-degree April day.

  1. kukubura Apr 14, 2012 02:55 PM

    Sounds like a great trip. Verti Marte is definitely a great place to know about!

    1. b
      BackBite Apr 15, 2012 06:33 AM

      Thanks for the report! Have hit all your places except Frady's, which is actually high on my list of places to hit when I'm in town for Fest!

      1. r
        rabeezbabee Apr 15, 2012 08:31 AM

        Thank you very much for reviewing Frady's and Kajun's. I thought I was the only person in the world who loved those places and the people who own them. Please send more tourists like you.

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