November 7-12 Trip Report . . . the Readers Digest version.
My wife, Lynn, and I returned to New Orleans for our second visit of the year, but this time -- for the first time -- we brought our 16- and 18-year old girls to the Crescent City.
United Airlines sucks! They changed their flight schedule three times AFTER we purchased our tickets, the result being that -- instead of arriving in New Orleans at 3:30 pm CST -- we didn't take off from San Francisco until after 5:00 and didn't land at MSY until 11:15pm! Cost us half-a-day and a dinner . . . I mean, room service at the Roosevelt from the late night menu satisfied our girls on their first visit, but as for Lynn and I . . . even the Sazerac Bar was closed by the time we arrived!
Thursday, November 8th was the celebratory day. We had lunch at Bayona. Unfortunately we missed Susan Spicer, as she was in Italy (note: we spent some two weeks with Susan in Spain this summer, so no "family reunion" this trip), but the food was as delicious as ever. As I told our waiter, I'm in something of a personal rut . . . but the sweetbreads, the garlic soup, and the Duck PB&J never fail to satisfy!
Dinner was at Restaurant Patois, and we were joined by two friends whom we met on the trip this summer. The housemade charcuterie plate was excellent (as always), and the rabbit was superb. Chef Aaron Burgau came by, asking why we "snuck into town" without letting him know ;^) and he -- along with everyone else at our table of 8 -- loved the Red Velvet birthday cake from Sucre that our friends brought along . . .
Friday Lunch was -- well, Friday Lunch! Galatoire's lived up to the tales our girls had heard over the years, as the eight of us ate our way through such classics as Oysters en Brochette, Crabmeat Maison, Soufflé Potatoes, Black Drum, Soft Shells and more . . . an appearance by one of the town's many brass bans to play "Happy Birthday" (among others) helped round out the experience . . . and a great time was had by all!
Dinner on Fridays is always somewhat problematic after "Friday Lunch," so we ended up at Deanie's in the FQ. In a word: NO!
Saturday was an early (and easy, as we were staying at The Roosevelt) lunch at Domenica -- I'd heard some reports that it had slipped, but saw no evidence of this. What we ate was delicious and satisfying. Then, it was off to the Bayou for a swamp tour, and back for dinner.
Apparently, we were on a bit of a "Besh-bent," as dinner that night was at Borgne. The food was excellent. The atmosphere, however, is the illegitimate offspring between a sports bar and a cafeteria. So it's an unqualified "yes" for the food, but I can think of much better places for dinner on a Saturday night.
Sunday was a trip out the plantations, and lunch at a funky dive in Convent -- right on LA 44 -- Hymel's. Great crab (blue and Dungeness), and a great place to watch the Saints beat the Falcons.
Dinner Sunday was at Lüke -- great food; better atmosphere (than Borgne).
I completely understand. As we lived in Denver for 20 years, we became locked into UAL. From PHX, UAL hates travelers, and makes sure that everyone of us, knows how they feel.
We now fly the old Continental PHX - IAH - MSY trip, We have never been able to do the flights, that we booked, as many get canceled, and the rest are very late, due to mist. Such is life in the "hinterlands."
Now, the Roosevelt let us down, even more than UAL does, but such is life - a jab in the eye with a sharp stick. Fortunately, John Besh and Dominica came through, and with flying colors.
The only "late-night dining," that has ever impressed me was at the NOLA Ritz-Carlton, and it beat their "signature restaurant" by so much, that I cannot even comment - just excellent for a hotel, even in NOLA.
Now, and speaking of real food, glad that some restaurants came through for you. Though I designed their building in Bucktown, I have never really warmed to Deanie's. Not sure what the deal is, but I am less than a fan.
The rest of the list sounds great, though you DID miss Chef Spicer. We had similar recently, with Chef Alan Wong on O`ahu, for the Hawaii Wine & Food Event. Sometimes, things just do not work out.
Glad that there was much to enjoy,
Glad you liked Borgne. I think I've been the only other one to post about eating there and am pleased that someone else agreed the food was good. I'll give the decor a little more credit than you did (but just a little). It is not a place I'd recommend for a special occasion for two, but would probably work great for a big family occasion.
Somehow I missed that you got to Hymel's, which is an old favorite that I hit on my foraging trips. Their turtle soup can be really quite good, if different from, say, Commander's. In teh spring they sometimes have river crawfish. The bar is a classic. I do have a hard time not feeling a little wistful in there because so many of the plantation homes in those photos on the wall are now gone,
I trust, at your birthday celebration, that Billy was in good form (not that he ever isn't)