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Jul 21, 2012 01:36 PM

Three Days in NOLA Trip Report

I spent a lot of time browsing Chowhound before our trip, so I thought I'd post a little summary of our food tour.

We went to Cochon for our first dinner and loved it. I especially liked the fried alligator. The DH loved the brisket. Pineapple upside down cake is a must.

Breakfast the next morning at Camellia Grill was disappointing. I should have listened to my instincts that this was a tourist trap, but reviews were mixed. Everything (pecan waffles, sausage omelet) was just okay. We stopped at Sucre for a quick sweet in the middle of the day. Desserts look pretty much mass produced here, but the sea salt chocolates were good. Our dinner that night at Boucherie was the highlight of the whole trip. From the Parmesan fries to the shrimp and grit cake to the duck large plate--everything was so good. Service was delightful (great service everywhere but especially here). Of course, the Krispy Kreme bread pudding is not to be missed. We wished we had gotten two of them instead of the Thai chocolate pie which was good but not amazing.

Breakfast the next morning was Cafe du Monde because beignets are little pieces of heaven on earth. Waited about thirty minutes at about ten a.m. Lunch was Parkway Bakery. DH absolutely loved the surf and turf and was sad to only have one. My shrimp po'boy was also super yummy. We waited a very long time in line--probably about an hour. For dinner that night, we ate at August. We enjoyed everything about this dinner as well--some things more than others. The blue crab gnocchi app was nice,, but the oyster with Creole cream cheese and bacon dumpling hurt my feelings it was so good. My wahoo with figs was good (maybe a tad dry) and DH enjoyed his trout with hollandaise. Definitely get the goat's milk cheesecake for dessert. The honey cake was not as good.

Thanks again for your help. I'm currently making choices for our NYC trip based on the boards.

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  1. So how do you distinguish between touristy and good? Assuming you are in a city for the first time and have minimal help.

    8 Replies
    1. re: volvo99

      Sometimes touristy is also good, right? When it's more about the experience and less about the food is when it's a tourist trap, I think. I'm not sure how you'd know unless you did some research and consulted the locals.

      1. re: Spibrary

        Not necessarily true here in NOLA. Hospitality is the major industry. You will generally find a mix of locals/tourists everywhere( though some are tourist centric). Many llocals dine at CP, Galatoires, Emeril's, Parkway...all "tourist traps". Commander's and Galatoires are as much about the experience (arguably more so) than the food.

        1. re: JazzyB

          There are genuine tourist traps, though. Pere Antoine's, Oceana, the late Alpine. Anyplace with a barker. Any place that claims to offer "authentic" "cajun & creole" "N'awlins" food. etc... They will take your money, serve you crap, and not give a crap. It's sad.

          1. re: kukubura

            My thinking is in line with kukubura. There are fine restaurants that build a reputation that will attract out-of-town visitors, and then there are the "traps."

            1. re: kukubura

              So true. Though these places exist, they are completely off my radar. The only one I am familiar with is Oceana, having the dubiuos distinction of being featured on "Kitchen Nightmares".

              1. re: JazzyB


                The true traps often have certain things in common. They are located in areas where large crowds of tourists drift by, and they invest heavily in publications that visitors get in hotel rooms and visitor brochure racks. Seeing the name repeatedly in glossy print ads gives a tourist who has done no real homework the impression that it must be a top tier restaurant to have a memorable meal and a fair price, where out-of-towners are always welcome without the need to feel obligated to get too "dressy."

                The tourists with only a superficial understanding and appreciation of the local cuisine go there, and in fact come away with the impression that they enjoyed above-average local food, and then they go on to say good things about the trap to their friends back home.

                The traps build a self-reinforcing momentum of their own, based on pumping money into advertising that is directed at low information tourists, and the tourists then want to believe that they have had a spectacular experience, and then spread the word about how great the place is.

                The traps are in every city. NOLA, thankfully, probably has one of the lowest ratios of traps vs. worthwhile restaurants of any major American city.

                1. re: Gizmo56

                  Thanks for the report and a big ditto back to you on love for Boucherie and Parkway. I thought the thai chocolate pie @boucherie is to die for but then I love dark chocolate above all. Sounds like you had fun. My first Camellia experience was at the Riverbend site two years ago and it was wonderful, but certainly more for the vibe than the food. Have never been to the on in FQ and will likely avoid. Thanks, again...

                  1. re: Gizmo56

                    or worse, the tourists have the sub-par meal, register it as such, and then say "I don't get what the big fuss is, I didn't think the food was that good..." i have heard this before.