Former resident back in New Orleans - Feedback on itinerary, etc
So, I lived in New Orleans for two years just prior to Hurricane Katrina and planning a trip back with a foodie friend at the end of February. This will only be my second time back since the storm. I know it's a little early but have already been busy putting together a food itinerary. Some of the restaurants listed are places I frequented during my years as a resident so I'm curious to hear if these places have changed much; others are places I've never been to but dying to try.
Just for the record my friend and I are in our early 30's. We're not necessarily on a budget but don't wish to break the bank either. We don't particularly like to dress up and prefer places we can go in a t-shirt and jeans (exceptions listed below). We are very adventurous eaters (bring on the heart, sweet breads, etc.). We especially love great dives (and don't mind traveling to transitional neighborhoods) but want to mix it up with some slightly more upscale places as well. With all that in mind, if you can think of a place better than the ones listed, please let me know. Also, ordering suggestions are very welcome.
Saturday dinner: Cochon
I've never been but their menu looks like it's exactly what we are looking for. Plus, I am a huge fan of Herbsaint (see below) so figured I have to try.
Sunday lunch: Coop's Place
This was one of my former hangouts when I lived in New Orleans. It wasn't always perfect but I've had some great meals there. The tasso and crawfish pasta was always one of my favorites.
Sunday dinner: Dante's Kitchen
This place wasn't even on my radar when I lived there. As I narrowed down my choices, though, Dante's Kitchen seemed to fit the bill as a slightly more upscale place that's still pretty casual with a very eclectic menu. Any dissenters?
Monday lunch: Herbsaint
So, this place is a little fancier than we usually go for but I used to work down the street and ate lunch at the bar quite a bit so it wouldn't really be a visit to NOLA without it. Very disappointed they took shrimp and grits off the menu, though. It was the absolute best preparation of this dish I've ever had (and I've had quite a few). Does anyone know what prompted its removal? I know it was very popular.
Monday dinner: Jacques-imo's
Okay, so this is probably the one choice I'm not 100% sold on but it just feels wrong to not go here. It's definitely touristy and even back in the day the food could be uneven . . . and yet . . . and yet . . . it's also a lot of fun, and just oh so very New Orleans. Unfortunately, it's also the priciest of my picks . . . do you guys feel it's worth the price?? I should also add that I have great memories of the New York outpost. Used to go there all the time when I lived in NY, so there's a nostalgia factor attached even if (strangely enough) it's for NY and not New Orleans.
Tuesday lunch: Parasol's
Never been but we want 'po-boys and the consensus seems to be that Parasol's has the best.
Tuesday dinner: Port of Call
It is what it is. I used to live up the street on Esplanande and ate here all the time. To me, just wouldn't be New Orleans without it.
A couple of other questions:
Is Dick & Jenny's still any good? This was my favorite restaurant (next to Gabrielle) back in 2004, but didn’t think it was nearly as good on a visit back in 2007. Seemed off somehow. I've noticed it's fallen off the radar here on the boards so I sense it wasn't just an off night.
Other places I'm interested in but never tried: Cassamento's, Pascal's Manale, Liuzza's (on or off the track). Would you recommend any of these over my other choices?
Can someone recommend a great non-touristy jazz club? Very sad to see Donna's is gone.
I guess that's it. I look forward to hearing your comments/suggestions.
Depending on what sort of jazz you're looking for, keep the Hi-Ho Lounge and Sweet Loraine's in mind (both on St. Claude). I've always been hit with a cover at SL and sometimes at the Hi-Ho but both do what they do well and tend towards a local crowd. Note that All Ways Lounge and Siberia are in throwing distance of the Hi-Ho.
I like your restaurant picks. That said, I'm not a huge Jacques-Imo's fan (waiting in line always seems wrong). I'd be more tempted to visit Maurapas Foods for eats, and Booty's (yeah, yeah, it's stupid name but they have very drinkable drinks ... the food is okay but not yet solid), Bud Rips, Markey's, and the Saturn Bar for drinking. Vaughn's is close by as well.
Also maybe give some thought to Boucherie. Great food and relatively cheap. I prefer it to Dante's Kitchen but a reasonable argument can be made either way.
Thanks for your response. The bars you listed seem to be exactly what I'm looking for -- basically non-touristy, eclectic, divey type places with live music. I know I've been to Sweet Lorraine's before though I can't quite put my finger on what it looks like. And I've always heard Hi-Lo Lounge is fun.
I've heard great things about Boucherie but crossed it off my list because they're closed Sun/Mon. I already have a reservation for Cochon on Sat night (I know it's a little early but heard it could be tough to get a primetime spot) and going to Port of Call on my last night is sort of a non-official tradition of mine.
Still can't commit to Jacque-Imo's though. So if you can think of any other fun Monday night spots let me know.