Trip Report August 26-30 !
After being apart from my favorite city for a year and a half, it was a thrill to go back even for a few days. I had visited many times in summer, but never this late in August. This turned out to be a great thing; every bar, every restaurant was EMPTY. The usual places we sometimes wait were a breeze to get into. Being too absorbed in my own food, I didn't keep track of much of what my traveling companions were having, but here are some highlights.
Arrived in late afternoon and hit Molly's at the Market for a bloody mary to try and get in some vitamins right quick. I can't bear to pay the $$$ for crap food at the airport so I was starved. Luckily we headed over to Coop's for dinner shortly afterwards. I had a cup of Gumbo and the Red Beans and Rice. Both were OUTSTANDING.
I'm not much of a breakfast person and I consider it a real waste of time for the most part in NOLA. I'd rather have my coffee, a quick bite, and save room for a giant early lunch. That being said, we headed up to Mister Gregory's up on Rampart and St. Ann. It is absolutely delightful. Some baked goods, quiche, baguettes, all perfect for my tiny bite with coffee. The french press coffee was great, and my only regret was that I didn't get to try any of the sandwiches that sounded delicious. Next time for sure. It's a bright, beautiful spot with a sweet, friendly staff. LOVED IT.
Lunch was a bowl of gumbo at Herbsaint; smoky and delicious as always. But we still had room for happy hour pizza at Domenica. Rolled in at 3, no one at the bar, and had some 1/2 price wine and the mushroom pizza. They also had a list of other appetizers for $7 - $8 each so we got the blood sausage with arugula salad. HUGE portion, everything was great. That 1/2 price pizza is the deal of the century for sure.
Dinner; Coop's again. It's so hard to resist, and we had walked many many miles up and around and through the quarter so it was an easy pick. This time had the Pasta Jambalaya with roasted tomato sauce, andouille, tasso and shrimp. Divine.
Went to Cafe Beignet. What a letdown. I had switched to this spot after Du Monde becoming so chaotic and messy. 3 cold, crappy beignets. Too tired to argue. Never again.
Lunch: after an Aquarium visit to beat the heat we walked to Cochon Butcher. Been here before, but never had the Muffeletta. Will NEVER go to Central Grocery again. I never thought I was a fan of the warmed Muff, but I am a believer now. Remarkable. I only wish we had ordered 1 sandwich to split and gotten some sides. Took half of the sandwich back to the room for a later afternoon treat.
Dinner: Irene's Cuisine. A usual staple of ours, this is the first time I have ever walked in and gotten a table without waiting for at least an hour! Great service as always, and my usual order of the soft shell crab pasta. I don't know that I have ever ordered anything else. Such a special place.
Mister Gregory's again in the morning. Carrot muffin, giant coffee. Perfect.
Lunch: Cochon proper. I had gumbo, fried boudin and roasted eggplant with tomato. All delicious; VERY filling.
Dinner: Liuzza's. I love this place, love the atmosphere. Cup of gumbo, Red Beans and Rice. They have a new menu; prices are just a tweensy with higher, and my beloved spicy sausage was about 1/2 the size it used to be. This was kind of a drag, but I love it so, I'll never stop going.
Other activities: Spent a couple of evenings on Frenchman, great as always. D.B.A, Cafe Negril, Spotted Cat, etc.
Drinks: Various places throughout the day and evening for a sampling of the high and the low brow:
Good Friends Bar
Looked for Chris Mcmillan at Kingfish, but no luck, so we headed to Sylvain to sit on the beautiful patio for a drink.
Also stopped by Cane and Table one evening for a cocktail. Very gracious bartender, I had a gin based drink that had pineapple but was off set with some various concoctions of bitters so it turned out to be perfect for me. It's VERY loud in there, however. The music seemed way too loud for the amount of people. There is a great courtyard space but it is in desperate need of some urns, plants, flowers, ANYTHING to gussy it up a bit.
The pace of this trip and uncrowded stops was the BEST. It always hurts my heart when I see postings of 'we're taking our first trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras!!!' because I think you really miss out on the relaxed, leisurely dining and drinking that you can get at other times of the year. The week before Christmas is also our favored time for great weather and unhurried meals. This still leaves me plenty of things and places I missed; we didn't get to favorites out on Magazine, didn't get to try Peche, somehow neglected the Sazerac Bar, but there is always more for NEXT TIME !!!!!
Apples and oranges, comparing Verti Marte and Mr. Gregory's. I'm really pleased to have this new cafe in the quarter. Very generously sized sandwiches with high-quality ingredients on good baguette. Today for lunch I had ham and brie with slabs of french butter on baguette and a grapefruit San Pellegrino for $8.75. Excellent sandwich at a good price in the Quarter - who's complaining?
See the New York Times 8-25-13(I think) for an article about how Unnecessary Noise has become de rigeur. Owners think it makes "a vibe" and " happening place.' It is an annoyance and has a deleterious effect on health.
There are times in restaurants where I have wanted to climb on a chair and yell "SHUT UP! Now, start again, QUIETLY..." It wouldn't work though.
Thanks for the tip on Mister Gregory's. We are headed to NOLA at the end of the month and was looking for a good place for coffee and pastries, preferably French pastries.
We are also considering Croissant D'Or and Stanley's for breakfasts. Like you, we like to eat light in the AM to save our appetites for a bigger lunch.
Any other suggestions for really good strong European style coffee and/or good breakfast pastries in the French Quarter or CBD?