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Thanksiving in NOLA

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Heading to the Crescent City for the holiday (five nights total). Have a T-Day reservation at Cafe Adelaide (Commander's Palace was booked already!). Any other restaurants I should consider for Thanksgiving Day?

Also have a list of restaurants for the other days:

Mr. B's Bistro
Clancy's
Jacques-Imo's
GW Fins
Brigtsen's
Herbsaint
Maurepas Foods

...and let's not leave out bars:

Bellocq
Tamarind
Cure

Is there anyplace crucial I'm leaving out? (I'm thinking of K-Paul's and Galatoire's--are they worth it?) Are there restaurants you'd remove from this list?

Thanks for your advice!

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  1. I'd check with R'evolution for Thanksgiving or Domenica. In any case, I'd add both to the list and drop Jacques. No to KPaul's. Galatoire's for th experience. The food is old Creole and not great although it can be expensive. While Brigtsen's and Clancy's are nola institutions, that does not necessarily equate to the best dining. It all depends upon your palate and preferences.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JazzyB

      This is where I would disagree, but then, it IS all about taste. Galatoire's does "old New Orleans cuisine" better than any other restaurant, IMHO. In the decades, I think that I have had only one dish, that was less than very good, and most are excellent, for that culinary genre.

      Yes, there IS a "show," but I have done that so many times, that I only go for the food, and do reservations upstairs, as I do not need to be part of the tableau any longer.

      If one wants to sample the full range of New Orleans cuisine, I would not recommend missing Galatoire's, at any cost - but again, that is just me.

      "Best dining" is such a highly personal thing, as you note, that it is totally impossible to be 100% specific. I have had serious problems with some of the most vaunted locations, recommended many times on this board. They have let me down, and are just NOT to MY tastes. Also, I have had outstanding meals at restaurants, that get zero love on this board. It happens, and with some regularity - different strokes for different folk.

      Hunt

    2. FYI, I had an exceptional 3-course meal Thanksgiving meal starring Turducken (plus .50 oysters) at Luke a few years ago and recommend it highly if they're doing something similar this year. The food and service were impeccable and such an exceptional value that we felt obligated to order one of their special reserve wines in thanks. Just another option for you..

      Also, it was very busy the time I tried it so it must have plenty of fans (my 70ish parents who recommended it included), but I don't think GW Fins belongs on the hit list of someone who wants to go to the good neighborhood places like Clancy's and Brightsen's and the smart newcomers like Maurepas Foods and Bellocq. They've got an ok wine list depending on what you like, but to me it feels like a non-chain version of McCormick and Scmick's, with their lobsters from New England, snappers from New Zealand, and other versions of all the same stuff you can eat in any other city in the New World with an airport.

      Speaking of my parents, they also like Galatoire's (as do most people, I think) but no matter how many times I've tried for both lunches and dinners, it always feels like eating at someone else's country club on a Saturday night - where the food is competent/inoffensive but sort of beside the point to both the clientele and the establishment. If I lived in New Orleans and had friends sitting at the next table or got a kick out of having the same waiter who'd served me since birth (or had any interest in the gimmickry of needing that waiter to tell me what's edible on a given night), I'd probably feel differently...but as a frequent visitor I think its kind of an expensive and dull spectacle which is best endured only if you're burdened by a boss or father-in-law who insists on going AND insists on paying. Just my opinion based on your other choices and in response to your question: is it worth it?

      Also, Tamarind is a good restaurant with good drinks, but I'd nonetheless recommend sampling two different cocktails at the excellent Bellocq next door rather than one there and one at Tamarind (unless you're eating at Tamarind or staying at the Modern). Lastly, in the spirt of not leaving out bars, try to work in drinks at Bacchanal and/or Elizabeth's while you're in the Bywater to dine at Maurepas. Have fun!

      1. If I were anywhere other than The Fair Grounds for Opening Day (Nov 22 a/k/a Thanksgiving) I'd feel cheated. The food is better than racetracks elsewhere although not something you'd fly across the world to try, but watching your money fly away on a day of Olive Green and Sky Blue in Mid City is one of the delights of life.

        1. Timely thread - I am going to be in NOLA over Thanksgiving as well. Haven't been in a few years but I do make a point of going to Cochon.

          Any other options for the Thanksgiving meal? Preferably not a hotel restaurant - unless the dining room doesn't feel like a hotel restaurant...

          From 2011 I've seen this: http://nola.eater.com/archives/2011/1...
          From 2010 I've seen this: http://www.nola.com/dining-guide/inde...

          1. Thanks for the great tips, everyone! Will definitely check out Cochon and R'Evolution--and cross GW Fins off my list.

            12 Replies
            1. re: slandau6

              Of those three, Cochon, R'evolution and G W Fins, I would opt for G W Fins.

              Cochon is great, but is very "down-scale," with a somewhat limited menu. At the end of July, R'evolution was still sorting out the kinks (maybe they have got things in order by now), but G W Fins has always come through with local seafood done with mostly local recipes.

              Enjoy,

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Unless you consider Cajun cuisine (or restaurants without a dress code) inherently "down-scale", there's nothing downscale about Cochon in my opinion (although I agree that it's great). Its a stylishly-designed and dimly lit contemporary space with an open kitchen and attractive and friendly young servers clad in black. The menu is one full page of well-curated and uniquely prepared dishes specific to the region (plus their excellent house-made charcuterie) - representing, to me, a New Orleans example of the inspired brand of localized, chef-driven cooking that a discerning foodie/traveler seeks in any city. However, someone who is vegan or kosher (or desires a perfectly nice air-mailed Pacific tuna steak or New England lobster risotto when vacationing in New Orleans) may indeed find a restaurant whose name means "pork" to be somewhat limited. Assuming none of those apply to slandau6, check it out and report back so it gets some more love on Chowhound...although presumably the two owners (one of whom cooks in the kitchen most every night) take some solace in their respective (and un-downscale) James Beard Foundation Best Chef awards.

                Also, I didn't find any kinks at R'evolution last month, although there was a sociable alt-looking couple at the bar who seemed like they might be a little kinky.

                1. re: Omniverous

                  Cochon has always seemed to me to fill a niche for visitors--or locals for that matter--who don't get out to Acadiana. I am curious to know if his Lafayette shop is any different since theoretically, he is serving to people who ought to know what this food is all about. They seem to be dressing up food that is essentially country cooking (or smoking). Since everyone wants to stand out, I wonder that they do not feature brain or ponce on the menu. As "daring" as they seem to get is tongue.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Yes, that's exactly what it is - a thoughtfully upscale and perfectly executed (at least in my experience) version of country cooking for locals and visitors alike who don't get out to Acadiana for dinner on a given night and appreciate the distinctions between a James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurant/chef and a country meat market or gas station (both good, both different, and the fact that you choose the former doesn't mean you're ignorant of the latter - although I personally am ignorant of what ponce tastes like, so please tell me if I can try it someplace locally). Dining at Cochon is comparable to enjoying places like the superb Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York, a Michelin-starred destination despite the fact that its menu is an elevation of the same food my Italian-American grandmother cooked with considerably less fanfare, or The Walrus & The Carpenter in Seattle, which serves up perfect platters of the same oysters that local beachcombers armed with a trowel, a pair of wading boots, and an oyster knife can slurp on their own a few miles up the Washington coast.

                    And I don't think there's much demand for pig's brains since there was a mad cow-like disease contracted by inhaling their mist making the rounds a few years ago...although the presumably non-brain homemade head cheese at Cochon is the best version of that less-lethal delicacy that I've ever had on this side of the Atlantic.

                    1. re: Omniverous

                      I have never seen ponce for sale in New Orleans although I have often brought it back with me from my forays. You see chaudin sometimes across the river en route to Terrebonne and that area and you can also buy it at The Best Stop. I bet Hungry Celeste can tell you somewhere not too far away that has it.

                      Scrambled eggs and brains was once a popular breakfast.

                      Sometime take a run to Ville Platte and try the headcheese there. It is lighter colored that the stuff you usually see and is great. Also, Armonds in Slidell has superb headcheese

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        Sweet - thanks for the tip.

                        1. re: Omniverous

                          Thanks, everyone. Cochon is for sure on my list, and I'll report back on my impressions. Now I have another dilemma, thanks to Omniverous. :-) Do I stick with my Cafe Adelaide reservation for Thanskigiving dinner, or do I switch to Luke's, because they'll serve turducken, which I've never had before?

                          1. re: slandau6

                            They're both good choices - either way, you're fishing in the right pond. I'd decide based on whichever of their actual Thanksgiving menus most floats your boat. If there's Turducken, I'd go for Luke as discussed. If you need a non-food tie-breaker, I'd say if you'll be drinking wine, choose Luke because they have a wine list full of reasonably-priced French and German choices that'll pair nicely with turkey (or turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken). If you'll be drinking cocktails, which isn't such a bad idea either for a Thanksgiving in New Orleans, then lean towards Cafe Adelaide for its superior cocktail program (although the A-team may not be behind the bar on a holiday...but you'll likely be too drunk to care after a few drinks). Have fun.

                            1. re: Omniverous

                              Thanks, Omniverous. Good advice. Tempted by the turducken, but I think I'll stick with my Adelaide reservation. I do enjoy my cocktails. Might try Luke's for lunch or breakfast one of the days, though.

                      2. re: Omniverous

                        "Dining at Cochon is comparable to enjoying places like the superb Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York, a Michelin-starred destination despite the fact that its menu is an elevation of the same food my Italian-American grandmother cooked with considerably less fanfare, or The Walrus & The Carpenter in Seattle, which serves up perfect platters of the same oysters that local beachcombers armed with a trowel, a pair of wading boots, and an oyster knife can slurp on their own a few miles up the Washington coast."

                        Cochon represents an indigenous cusine from Acadiana? Check!

                        Torrisi Italian in NYC represents your grandmother? I'll take your word for it.

                        But the oysters at Walrus and the Carpenter represent some indigenous tradition of "beachcombers" on the Washington Coast? Mmm.....Not so much.

                        Oysters in Washington have always been a commercial enterprise. Seattle is on the inland Puget Sound, not the Pacific coast. Oysters are not harvested "up the coast" from Seattle. Washington's oyster beds are on tended tidal bays and inlets, well south and east of the city. Beachcombers can't access the same beds that fill the (agreeably) "perfect platters" at Walrus & the Carpenter. Most beachcombers in Washington are rightly more than happy to harvest a bucket of razor clams.

                        Most importantly with respect to your analogy, Washington oysters as served at Walrus & the Carpenter are not part and parcel of a traditional non-commercial cuisine (gathered by beachcombers in wading boots), ala the great traditions of the Cajun populations of Louisiana. Northwest oysters have always been a commercial enterprise.

                        That tangent aside, I love Donald Link's work (at every location) and I'd agree that anyone who can't enjoy the freedom to explore Acadiana would benefit from an evening at Cochon.

                        1. re: Omniverous

                          I think that you and I have totally different views of what "up-scale," and "down-scale" are. Just a difference in "frames of reference."

                          Hunt

                      3. re: Omniverous

                        I consider any restaurant with "lawn chairs" down-scale.

                        Now, we have had great meals there, and have enjoyed their limited, but well-paired wine list, to go with the menu.

                        Just not sure what your "real" point is, but then maybe I do not wish to know.

                        As for Restaurant R'evolution, it could well be that they have been working on the "kinks" that we found at the end of July. As I stated, we found them to be a "work in progress." As we are now several months beyond the end of July, much work might well have been done, and perhaps you benefited from the "maturity?" I reported on what we found, and did give them "the benefit of the doubt."

                        Hunt

                  2. We were there for Thanksgiving last year and had a wonderful meal at August. I would add Victory to your bar list and the bar at the Roosevelt.

                    25 Replies
                    1. re: daffodilly

                      I second the addition of the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel. It is beautiful and historic, and their Ramos Gin Fizz is something special.

                      On the way in and/or out check out the beautiful and unique 19th century French clock standing in the hotel lobby (by the University Place doors).

                      1. re: Gizmo56

                        I agree with the Sazerac recommendation with the reservations that (A) it can be pricey but then you'd expect that going in, and (B) on more than one occasion I have been subjected to live "music." It was always brief exposure because I left as soon as possible but they really are too goddamn loud. Other than that I love the place.

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          +1 on all of that. Although I've found it to be alternately uncomfortably loud or uncomfortably empty on various evening visits. I prefer to stick to the recommended Ramos Gin Fizz, which they shake longer than anyone else I've seen and is best consumed early anyway (like, say, on the way to a Thanksgiving dinner if they're open that day).

                          Since you're into boozing and it looks like you're from Seattle slandau6, you should also check out three great bars that your city's cocktail icon Murray Stenson recommended to me in a leisurely chat about New Orleans a few years ago over one of his perfect drinks (and unlike Gizmo56, I'm assuming you'll get the reference :)

                          Arnaud's French 75 for a definitive sazerac (but beware the cigar smoke...unless you like it), BarUncommon for their tricked out version of a mint julep (their maestro founder is gone, but his wife was keeping the cocktail program solid on my last visit), and Bar Tonique for a Pimm's Cup or just about anything else - but probably one of their daily drink specials since you'll be spending so much money on all these good meals. Murray also likes Cure, but that's already on your list as it should be. Cheers.

                          And if hazelhurst or any other locals have a recommendation for a New Orleans version of the mythical "dive bar" that's colorful but not particularly dangerous, I'd love to hear it and maybe slandau6 would too.

                          1. re: Omniverous

                            Indeed, Omniverous. A Seattle resident I am. And if Murray recommends a place, who am I to quibble? Although I must admit that I'm a bit more curious about Bellocq and its cobblers and crustas than I am about Cure. Still, a Ramos Gin Fizz at a classic bar is too good to pass up. As for a Sazerac, I'm not a whiskey (or Bourbon or rye) drinker, a casualty of too much of the stuff when I attended college in the South. But in the interest of cocktail anthropology, I might have a sip if my wife orders one.

                            Appreciate everyone's continues recommendations! I have an embarrassment of NOLA culinary riches.

                            1. re: slandau6

                              Murray was still at the Zig Zag when I last saw him, but I'd bet Bellocq (from the owners of Cure) would be at the top of his list now too. And its seriously "inside baseball", but in the spirit of sharing otherwise useless information with fellow foodie travellers who can benefit from it (my purpose in occasionally chiming in on these boards):

                              At the French 75, have Hadi make you a Tiki Sazerac...which is an off-menu rum-based creation of his that is exceptionally good even to a purist like myself.

                              1. re: Omniverous

                                Good tip--I'll try the Tiki Sazerac. And as for Murray, he's now at Canon, another exceptional bar. (We're a bit spoiled in the cocktail department here.)

                                1. re: slandau6

                                  I first met Murray at Il Bistro. I think Canon was a great spot for him to land, but I will forever associate him with that cozy bar under the Market.

                                  Have a great time in the Crescent City.

                                  1. re: Gizmo56

                                    Thanks! And, yes, Canon is a good match for Murray. I read a rumor that he was on the hunt for a place of his own, but I haven't seen any follow-up on that.

                                    1. re: slandau6

                                      I can certainly imagine Murray wanting to be his own boss, but he's at the age when I worry he might not enjoy the added headaches of ownership. In any event, he's an icon, and I hope he'll be happy wherever he is.

                                      At the Sazerac Bar, getting there before the end of the business day is a good idea. It will be quiet, the bartenders will take their time with the ritual of the Fizz, and you can more easily chat and enjoy the beauty of the decor. Plus you can watch the early crowd arrive, and then bail when it starts to get too crowded for your taste. If there is a big business conference in the hotel, the place can fill up in a hurry at the end of the day.

                                      Final thought...if you like craft cocktails and good small plates, the happy hour at Three Muses is fun. They will have good solo acoustic musicians during happy hour with no cover charge, and it is a fun place to stop before dinner just across Esplanade from the FQ, before the whole night-time club scene heats up.

                                      1. re: Gizmo56

                                        Appreciate the tips. My dance card's getting full, but I'll see if I can get to Three Muses.

                                        1. re: Gizmo56

                                          Just a quick note: Murry isn't anywhere at the moment; he's been diagnosed with an ailment keeping him from working. There's a webpage setup explaining some of this and linking off to benefits for him (see below). I'm sure there'll be something going on in town soon. My apologies for the off-NOLA nature of the post, it seemed relevant to this conversation though.

                                          http://murrayaid.org/

                                          1. re: montuori

                                            Thanks. This is sad news.

                              2. re: Omniverous

                                As to "dive bars" that is dicey becuase so many of them are just local hang-outs like anywhere else in the world. Snake and Jake's Uptown is the classic one in that area although my gang's kids go there now..but it is "safe" in the sense that, like many another place, you can go there in white tie and tails at midnight or two in the morning. Same is true of Ms Mae's which is also a neighborhood bar but I only go there nowadays during a Carnival parade although I was a regular at the old one years ago.

                                When I was a boy, my father (a very cagey drinker and not one to revel for long times in just-a-bar) took me to the Sazerac to see the Ramos Fizz made. It was a theatrical production. One ordered at the end with the Italian Festival mural. The barkeep whipped it up and then handed it to one a a series of back barmen, all in white jacket and black tie, running the length of the bar. The first man shook hell out of the shaker then flipped it to the next, for whom ditto. Thence to number three and so on to the other end, where the patron ws now waiting. The final guy gave it a flourishing shake with some pyrotechincs of hand motions and stopped dramatically, popped the edge against a barmat on the edge, and poured it. It was quite a show. My father wanted me to see it before it went extinct, as it did.

                                The craft movement is of great interest to me, growing up as I did with cocktail books around the house which I read with great interest as a child. My "Gentleman's Companion" has been a constant reference (a great fun to read) for years and years.

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Thanks for that - between one of your bar suggestions and your recommended ponce road trip, my dance card is filling up too (although I'll try to avoid doing them in that sequence). And ditto on the proper preparation of the gin fizz being a thing of beauty. My at-home ritual involves a timer set to 7 minutes and an unwitting guest drafted into sharing the shaking duties before enjoying the alcohol-infused fruits of our labor. And FYI, another member of the celebrity bartender club once taught me that a secret to success lies in shaking it without the ice for all but the last 30 seconds, which creates a nice velvet-y consistency. Cheers.

                                  PS: Searching for a copy of your "Gentleman's Companion" on Ebay leads to an interesting set of results. :)

                                  1. re: Omniverous

                                    It should not be hard to find in the post-war Crown publication but the 1939 first edition is harder to get. I paid a couple of hundred for mine about twelve years ago. It gets read away from the kitchen. I also have my parents kitchen-stained Crown edition that I grew up with and another I bought(1946) to keep in reserve.

                            2. re: Gizmo56

                              We found the Sazerac Bar to be an excellent reproduction of the original, and very enjoyable.

                              However, we also dined at the Sazerac Restaurant, and wish that we had not. Dominica's was the restaurant, that did come through, but that was for food, and not just beverages.

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Agreed. The Sazerac Restaurant is nothing more than a typically ordinary hotel restaurant.

                                But the Roosevelt's Sazerac Bar and John Besh's Domenica are both true gems.

                                I don't think of the Sazerac Bar as a reproduction, it still features the original art, wood, and even the famed bullet hole over the rear door that is believed to be a remnant of an attempt on Huey P. Long's life. It is a beautifully kept step back in time.

                                A tip of the hat to you, Bill. Always a pleasure to read your commentary.

                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                  "Reproduction" is probably the wrong word. As you point out, it is a look into the past, and they did a great job at presenting that.

                                  The entire Roosevelt held much, in the way of nostalgia, for all of us. My wife and I knew many things from the '60s, and then my M-I-L knew many things from the '40s and '50s. In our own ways, we were all impressed, happy, but then, in some other ways, disappointed. Hey, as Thomas Wolff stated, "you can never go home again... " For us (the younger folk), the Blue Room was great, but for M-I-L, there was much to be desired. Such is life.

                                  Still, the Sazerac Bar was what we "thought" that we remembered, and even M-I-L felt the same way.

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    So much history with the Blue Room...I hope the Waldorf-Astoria people will eventually find a way to bring that space back to life as well. The current Sunday brunch and private gathering use is anemic for such a magic space.

                                    Glad the MIL feels good about the 21st Century Sazerac Bar operation.

                                    Cheers to you, Bill.

                                    1. re: Gizmo56

                                      We really, really wanted to love the Astoria Roosevelt, due to many memories. On the first trip, they were two weeks out from the grand opening, and then we were gladdened that they WERE open for the next trip. Well, our happiness faded all too quickly, and I am at the highest level in Hilton.

                                      Had it not been for great service and wonderful food at Dominica's, I think that I would have counted that trip as a total bust. At least the Windsor Court stepped up, and hosted one of my wife's parties that trip, so we have stayed there, on our following trips - we go with the folk, who work well with us.

                                      Still, there ARE so very many memories, and such great potential at the Astoria Roosevelt, that I hope they DO get their act together, and realize what they have there. The potential with that property is limitless, and it could be a stellar property in NOLA. In a scathing letter to Hilton, I urged them to go and talk to the Besh crew at Dominica's on how to do it correctly. Some have cided their service, but for us, they were 100%, and never missed a beat, even when many other things went wrong. They saved a trip for us (along with the Windsor Court).

                                      It was like Antoine's, just pre-K. We were horribly disappointed, but because of decades of history, I always wished them well. Sounds like things HAVE greatly improved, along the lines of "the good old days."

                                      Hunt

                                  2. re: Gizmo56

                                    The Huey bullet hole is a canard as is the "deduct box" on the hallway--although to be trictly fair they don't claim that the item _is- THE deduct box. It is all cute marketing. Some of us have been around in the Quarter when a new place (restaurant or not) gathers folks to come up with whatever Legend or Ghost Story will be told. Good, clean, dishonest fun.

                                    The Sazerac Bar looks no different to me that it did before Katrina only it has been cleaned up. I wonder what the future of the Blue Room could be...peope don;t go out to such places anymore and its incarnation as The Hawiian Blue Room (where it rained along the wall every fifteen minutes) would only be a passing fancy. Look at that awful Day & Night nonsense the so-called Plaza Hotel in NYC had to do to keep the Oak Room going. Now teh Oak Room and, worse, the Oak Bar, are closed although supposedly rescue is on the way in the person of Tommy Hilfiger. Whatever occupies either the New York or New Orleans space, there is almost certain to be a television or twelve involved.

                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                      Oh please tell me that your reference to "televisions" are but a joke - please.

                                      Hunt

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        My thought was that the Blue Room could become an upscale live music venue again, in the same vein as Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta, or the Jeremy Davenport Lounge at the Ritz Carlton. Both of those rooms seem to be quite successful, and the legacy of the Blue Room seems like a perfect fit to launch a similarly swanky spot to enjoy cocktails and live music.

                                        I am sorry to hear that Bill had a bad experience staying at the Roosevelt. Our week-long stay several weeks ago in one of their huge "Waldorf Suites" in August was perfect in every respect,and I would not hesitate to return.

                                        1. re: Gizmo56

                                          Y'know, that is a great idea..they'd need to work out some sort of discount or free parking across the street aand they might get Domenica to offer a limited snack menu (it would be fun to watch it shuttled from one end of the building to the other although not for the servers I suppose). Maybe they could get Michael White to be a regular..can't do any better than that, although I am biased on that count.

                                          As to Bill's query on televisions, I was half-joking but I am afraid that if I live to be 80, televisions will be everywhere. Hell, people carry them in pockets now. At dinner I want to have dinner and not listen to the Saints at the next table. Anyone remember that wonderful bad movie "Hotel?" Kevin McCarthy goes through the staid old St Gregory talking about ripping out the quaint billiard parlor and putting in revenue generating shops. He is right, in the business sense, and wrong in the aesthetic and traditional sense. (And New Orleans is nothing if not traditional.) I see the waldorf people doing something similar in the Roosevelt but your idea mighit save us that horror.

                                          1. re: hazelhurst

                                            As it turns out, I've seen Dr. Michael White eating at Domenica! I'm with you on tv's.

                              2. So let me raise another question for the gathered NOLA culinary sages: What do I do about coffee during my trip? I'm an espresso drinker, and by that I don't mean lattes, americanos, macchiatos, or any other variation thereof. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not expecting to find anything close to what I have access to here in Seattle. If you tell me I should just give up and go to the Starbucks near my hotel, I can live with that. But if there are one or two places that I should go out of my way to try, I'm all ears. (And, yes, I suppose I'll try the chickory coffee at Cafe du Monde, even though I don't care for drip at all.) Thanks!

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: slandau6

                                  You'll need teh beret-weearing, Gitanes-smoking, Poem-carrying crowd to fill you in on the full picture but I've had decent stuff at Fair Grinds on Ponce de Leon. Restaurant coffee is more problematic. Commanders coffee has been burnt on my last five or six visits..maybe they think that's right, I never bothered to ask. I still think Galatoire's has the best restaurant coffee in town and that is not just becuase it is my favorite place. Antoine's has alwasy been pretty damn good, too. But this comes from a man who drips coffee a tablespoon at a time, the way we all used to do it. It takes me ten or fifteen minutes to make a two-cup pot. Considering that New Orleans was America's first really knowledgable coffee city, it is depressing to me that so much stuff is thin nowadays. To quote Murray Kempton about a different beverage "For a man with a taste for both beer and politics, it is hard to say which has gone flatter in my lifetime."

                                  You should buy a pound of French Market Pure Coffee. it is in any grocery. It is NOT the Cafe du monde (CDM) brand. I have a Lebanese friend who orders it by the case.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    Ah, but have hope! It wasn't too long ago that you'd be hard pressed to find a decent Sazarac or Ramos Fizz without knowing exactly where to go and who to order it from. With any luck the coffee situation will improve too.

                                    In the Marigny(-ish) both St. Coffee and the Orange Couch have a decent cup. Jim's Sandwich on Royal makes an excellent cold brew iced coffee too (as well as a decent sandwich on house baked bread).

                                    My feeling generally is that if Starbucks is your basis for comparison, you'll be fine pretty much anywhere--it might still be mediocre but it'll at least be locally mediocre.

                                    1. re: montuori

                                      "locally mediocre"...I like that. I'm always amused when someone applies an outside standard to the City. (A friend's visiting mother went down St Charles on Ash Wednesday on her only visit to New Orleans..."this place is a trash heap! How can people live like this!")

                                      I used to make Ramos Gin Fizzes at Tulane in the 1970s..I was the only game in town then. I learned it from my old cocktail books. I also made Singapore Slings, REAL Mint Juleps, the occasional daiquiri from a recipe given to me by a friend who got it from the Bacardi factory in 1939 and a pile of other goodies. You are right, though. In the 1970s it was hard to get a real Sazerac most places. And I have remarked on other occasions that the French 75 and the Chablis Cassis (kir) and Champagne Cockatil with the Pechaud-soaked sugar cube almost fell out of the running (The French 75, New Orleans version with gin, used to be made in iced tea glasses at Antoine's). What happened was the young chefs needing to make a name got to reading the old books to find things that "no one ever heard of" and brought it back. I predict that when the Modern Inventive Places have run the old traditional places off, we'll have a doldrum of a few years before someone re-discovers our food and we get trout meuniere back. (not that we don't have it now..I am just crystal-balling). It is an odd inverse between traditional drinks coming back and Inventive, Imaginative Food With A Twist assuming a prominent place

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        Yes, but where can you find a great, totally authentic Philly Cheesesteak????

                                        No, I agree with you. When in Hawai`i, I am seldom looking for authentic NOLA cuisine. I know where to get that - NOLA. Same for San Francisco. I never look for Arizona Fry Bread there, as I know where to get that - Phoenix, AZ.

                                        What I love about NOLA (besides its history and architecture) is the cuisine. There are so many wonderful variations, and even with some innovations, that I never seek beyond the City's culinary spectrum.

                                        If I want great Cuban, in the US, I know the way to Ybor City, FL, and fly down there. Same for Stone Crabs (though I HAVE had some great ones at G W Fins), I just head to MIA.

                                        Hunt

                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Now there's an oxymoron, "great Philly cheesesteak". We lived in Philly for a few years and could never understand the popularity of well done "steak" covered with cheezwiz. Pat's Original, yuk.. I do love NYC dirty water Sabretts with kraut/ mustard. Ah well, to each his own.

                                          1. re: JazzyB

                                            Appreciate everyone's input. Time permitting, I'll check out the places mentioned. To be clear, I'm not expecting Seattle-quality coffee in NOLA, and I hope I didn't sound entitled to it when I wrote that post. (However, when at home in Seattle, I'm definitely entitled to better espresso than what they serve at Starbucks.)

                                            I was merely hoping to find some high-quality establishments with well-trained baristi. But--and maybe I should have made this clearer--my reasons for visiting NOLA have zero to do with coffee, and I won't be peeved if I can't order a doppio ristretto in the Crescent City.

                                            1. re: slandau6

                                              Da Track was mentioned to me last year and I am So glad I took the advice of C-hounders. A glorious fall day @ the Fairgounds and the best people-watching on the planet! The (non-sit-down) food looked great, although we were heading to a private T-giving meal so the food was not as important. Just a wonderful slice of life @ a wonderful and unique NOLA venue.

                                  2. re: slandau6

                                    ESPRESSO: Probably out of your way, unless you are already going to Oak St. neighborhood, or other spots around Riverbend/Carrollton area. (Which has some fine restaurants and fun shopping, IMHO!) Great coffee & a cool vibe: Rue De La Course, 1140 South Carrollton Avenue New Orleans, LA 70118‎. S. Carrollton & Oak. If you are staying in/near the Quarter you might try Croissant D'Or, I have not had their espressos but their Cafe Au Lait are very very tasty - European style. Also great vibe.

                                    1. re: karendor

                                      Thanks, karendor! Will add those to my list.

                                  3. slandau6,

                                    Your plans are probably "etched in stone" by now. But in case not, here is one more possibility.

                                    I noticed today that Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House will be serving on Thanksgiving Day. Their menu includes the traditional turkey plate, but also turducken and other New Orleans fare. Here's the menu:

                                    http://bourbonhouse.com/special-event...

                                    On my trip a couple of months ago, Bourbon House was the "sleeper" among many more highly touted restaurants we visited. The food was great, the atmosphere was comfortable yet with spot-on service, and everything we ate was excellent. Bourbon House's management was amazingly receptive to my advance notice of a special occasion, and they went truly beyond even "the extra mile" to give my wife and myself a great experience

                                    Their bourbon milk punch is outstanding, and it strikes me as a perfect before or after (or both) cocktail for turkey day. Their selection of rare bourbons and ryes is amazing, and they have a great oyster bar, with a specialty of caviar-topped oysters.

                                    Solid choice & often overlooked:

                                    http://www.bourbonhouse.com/

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Gizmo56

                                      Good to know, Gizmo56. I think we're going to stick with Cafe Adelaide for T-Day, but will add Bourbon House to my list as a possible dinner alternative one of the other nights. Damn, I'm getting hungry! :-)