Report from "Baby's First Fest"
Hello CHers! Thanks to all for your recommendations and tips for our latest trip to New Orleans. As I mentioned earlier this was the first trip we were taking with our son who turned one the week prior to our Jazz Fest vacation. Naturally our annual pilgrimage to NOLA and JF has evolved and is just as enjoyable with our little boy by our side. With that I'll note that a few meals were eaten in haste and few beverages were placed in to-go cups.
Early flight and still had to do some shopping; food, diapers, beer, the essentials. We also had to get the baby to nap before we made a decision about the fairgrounds and The Boss. Verti Marte - all that Jazz sandwich to eat back at the hotel. Cafe DuMonde - iced coffees and beignet to go after nap Mojitos - since we're staying on Frenchmen this place made sense and was perfect for a snack and cocktail in their patio..
Biscuit sammies and coffee from Cafe Rose Nicaud - very nice. Streetcar uptown to shop and stroll on Magazine. Lunch at Joey K's - red beans and rice with sausage - very good. My wife had the fried oyster Caesar salad and enjoyed it. Pimms cups for both. Domenica for early dinner. We loved this place. The food was great - soft buffalo cheese platter, margherita pizza, squid ink tagliatelli with crab, cavatelli, and a side of broccollini. The service was excellent - friendly and attentive and sensitive to the needs of baby boy.
Breakfast at the Old Coffee Pot - really good experience, will definitely return. Great coffee, bloodys, grits, biscuits, eggs, callas cakes, and the service was wonderful. Miss Shirley sang beautifully for Danny...very sweet. Streetcar uptown to Audubon Zoo - we've put this off for years but finally got there and loved it even though the white tigers were too cool to show themselves...be that way, there are other animals here you know. Domenica left overs back at the hotel and nap time. Since we're on Frenchmen we decided to try the Prailine Connection. This was a very good experience - BBQ Oysters were tasty (even though different from what I expected) and file gumbo to start. I had the fried chicken, collards, and crowder peas and was very happy. My wife had the fried catfish, mac and cheese, red beans and rice and was very happy with it. Great, friendly service and very tasty cornbread.
Breakfast at Cafe Envie - decent breakfast food, good coffee, cool cafe. Food took too long....should have opted for their "breakfast in a to-go cup" - overall good vibe and friendly atmosphere. Louisiana Children's Museum - then back for a nap. Oysters, fries and cocktails at the Bourbon House after nap...very enjoyable and our favorite oyster bar in the FQ. Also years ago I joined their Bourbon Society and have been able to enjoy a free bourbon tasting every year we go back. Since this was our anniversary we sprung for a babysitter at night, got dressed up and hit Galatoire's - AKA - our favorite restaurant in the world. Since John was at The Derby we had a new server - Gabby - who was extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. We started with the Oysters Rockefeller which were fantastic as always, then the garlic salad and crabmeat avacodo salad, duck/andouille gumbo and turtle soups next. I had the sauteed soft shell crabs - which I had been craving for months - with a crawfish caper beurre blanc sauce...they were amazing (great reco by our server) and my wife had the Crabmeat Yvonne. We were too stuffed for desert - off to the Carousel Bar for music and cocktails. Great night.
Breakfast at Brennan's - its been a tradition since our first trip, always a good dining experience. This was another example of great service and plenty of attention paid to the child. The staff brought a high chair and a bowl of strawberries and bananas for the baby immediately. Very typically, I had a bourbon milk punch and coffee - seafood gumbo, Eggs Owen, Bananas Foster. My wife had turtle soup, Eggs Benedict, Crepe Fitzgerald. Danny had eggs and grits and loved it...for dessert they brought him a bowl of ice cream...happy boy. After nap we went up to City Park, we were told the amusement park was closed during the week and it was too late to get into the sculpture garden so we strolled around for awhile, hit the playground and left enough time to walk to Mandina's to meet a friend for dinner. I can see why people love this place - it's very welcoming and family friendly. I had a Sazerac, turtle soup (fantastic) and trout amandine - my wife split some meatballs with the baby...I think every woman who worked there held him at some point. Everyone was so friendly, I look forward to coming back here in future visits.
Breakfast was forgetable - Daisy Dukes - nice folks, bland food, big bloody mary most likely without much alcohol. Moving on with bloody in hand we head to the aquarium. Fun for all - great exhibits - back for a nap and rest for fairgrounds. At the fairgrounds we had crawfish bread, mac and cheese, red beans and rice and mango freeze. We left enough time to get back and get the baby ready for bed, get dressed in time for babysitter to get there and get a cab to MiLa. For those of you (especially Mr Hunt) who made this recommendation I thank you. This was a delightful dining experience. Sazerac, deconstructed oysters rockefeller, fried crab and creme fraiche stuffed squash blossoms to start. I had the crispy chicken and my wife had the redfish, we finished with french press coffee and the chocolate peanut butter tart. Absolutely wonderful experience. One more drink at the Sazerac Bar before we head back...great bar, great drinks, very nice and knowledgable bartender.
Breakfast was serviecable - we opted for the buffet at The Market Cafe. It had what we needed to get us going; coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, pancakes, fresh fruit and bloodys and mimosas. It was nice to eat in the outside patio and our server was friendly. We went to the fairgrounds again after the afternoon nap and had fried green tomatoes, alligator pie, mac and cheese and mango freeze while watching Steve Earle perform. We then had some nice cold oysters in the shaded concourse coutyard area. After we left we decided to eat in and get some take out since we were leaving New Orleans the next morning. I went Coop's and sat at the bar to have a beer and place our order. While sipping on my Abita I enjoyed a cup of their seafood gumbo. I ended up bringing home an order of their crab stuffed jalapenos, fried chicken with jambalaya, and chicken tchoupitoulas. It was all very good and a nice way to end a wonderful week in a wonderful city.
Leaving is always a bummer but we were really glad we made the trip and introduced our boy to the city we love so much. This will continue to be a very special family tradition for years to come. Thanks again to everyone for the recos!
Thanks, collardman. Yes despite its touristy appeal we really enjoy ourselves at Brennan's. We like having one semi-formal breakfast during our stays but find that most of the restaurants we would like to try are limited to Sunday and maybe Saturday breakfast/brunch only. Am I missing any other upscale breakfast spots we could try on any day other than Sunday?
MiLa was great and I believe you may have recommended it for lunch. We'd like to go back and take advantage of the lunch special on our next trip.