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Sep 3, 2013 10:10 PM

Filling in blanks for October visit. Thanks

My wife and I will be visiting your beautiful city for the first time in late October. We live in Philadelphia, are in our early 30's and would like to try places that are 'emblematic' of the region... things that we can't find up here or wouldn't think to. We particularly love whiskey/bourbon/rye and craft beer. Been saving and overdue for a vacation for a while.. fully intend to go whole hog here.

We will be spending 5 nights, hotel in the CBD. Here is the rough plan so far, all comments welcome and appreciated.

Arrive around 1pm, cab to hotel.
Walk to Cochon butcher to split a muffaletta sandwich
Walk to Sazerac bar for a few drinks.
Walk into FQ, explore the neighborhood. Stop at Felix's for oysters, drinks and seafood. After, wander around FQ.

Head up to Cafe du Monde for cafe/beignets
Domilises for a fried shrimp po boy, beer
Walk it off... rest a little at hotel
Cochon for dinner

Willie Mae's scotch house for lunch
Explore Fauberg/Marigny in the late afternoon, evening.
Recs for dinner out that way? Three muses?
Music venue/bar hopping

Was considering Commanders Palace for brunch... but reading some less than favorable things.
Casamentos? Can never get enough shellfish
Was also considering a Besh place, but also not so great reviews.
------ Anything missing so far that you would highly recommend for a first time visitor? - --


Galatoire's. Intend to spend quite a bit of time there. Best time to arrive on a Sunday? Would rather see the downstairs.

Anything missing/misguided? Of course one can't try everything in a single visit... just want to get off to a good start.

Thanks so much for your time,

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  1. Monday - Butcher is a good idea. While the muffaletta there is truly great, make sure you consider some other options. Their menu is pretty much all around great.

    I'd get oysters and drinks at Felix's, but I'd probably go somewhere else for dinner (maybe GW Fins?).

    Thursday - You just did Butcher, why not consider Peche for dinner (Link's seafood place), though nothing wrong with Cochon.

    Friday - I'd skip Willie Mae's, personally (but that's me). This would really be the day to do Galatoire's lunch.

    Lots of options in the Marigny (it's Faubourg Marigny, btw) for dinner - Mariza, Maurepas Foods, and several others. Lots of options on Frenchman, too.

    Saturday - I think Commander's brunch is well worth it, IMO.

    Which Besh are you looking at? I think they are all good for different reasons. I really like Borgne - his more casual place in the Hyatt. Note, too, that Luke (CBD) has a 25 cent oyster happy hour (not sure what days).

    Just some initial thoughts on your plan...

    3 Replies
    1. re: buzd504

      Thanks for the quick reply.

      Re: Galatoires... I have read a bit about the Friday lunch, and assumed that this would be a challenging affair, requiring hours of waiting in line. While this sounds pretty cool, I thought Sunday may be a more 'guaranteed' option. Do you think that in October this may be incorrect? Im willing to wait if you think it's really worth it. What time should we arrive in line?

      I misspelled your neighborhood, how embarrassing. I will look into these recommendations.

      Peche looks great... we love seafood, particularly shellfish and I could eat my weight in them. Will definitely consider.

      Re: Mae's... bear in mind that fried chicken in Philadelphia is an abomination, and I've never truly eaten anything comparable (save for Keller-California variations. My wife is from Jacksonville, but even their iterations were less than memorable)

      So excited for all of this. Thanks for all of your input

      1. re: wynnemat

        I had no idea that fried chicken in Philadelphia was so execrable. There is an enormous swing of opinion as to what makes "the best," and sometimes a crispy skin is anathema to someone whose aunt made the greasiest stuff outside a roller coaster track. Opinions vary more than a ship's magnetic field on the North Atlantic. Just a couple of weeks ago I was taken to a secret (kind of) place in the Bermuda Triangle of HWY 90/Thibodeaux/Napoleonville, where I was assured they had The Best Fried Chicken Ever. And it was good: only salt, pepper and flour, shaken off with the lightest dusting you have ever seen, and uniformly cut up. Well, I think the old Popeye's by the Pumping Station at Broad Street (in the 1970s) was better but it had a thicker coating on it (and, therefore, met a personal criterion for excellent fried chicken, to wit, that it is good COLD.) All that said, Willie Mae's is perfectly fine stuff. But you might get something equally swell from some roadside joint. (Austin Leslie played the role of Genius Chicken Fryer and he was good but he said he never understood what the flap was about. It was not rocket science.)

        I can give a vote for Borgne but have not anything on Peche other than I don't like the name. Luke has been fine but the charcuterie service arrangement is a little "precieuses" for me.

        For Galatoire's you'll need a jacket all day Sunday, you'll want one on Friday. Sunday arrival time is pretty easy. Beat the post-church crowd and be there just before 11:00AM. For Friday, whothehell knows? Depends on what is going on. Friday has become almost a spoof of itself, a combination of Old Regulars and some arrivistes, plus people who are there to see What It Is All About. In your shoes I'd choose Sunday: it will calm down faster. SAturday might be even better because of the lovely little lull in the afternoon.

      2. re: buzd504

        Luke hasn't had 25 cent oysters since Katrina. Now they are a whopping 50 cents! Order your dozens all at once, they are slow.
        Yes, it is Faubourg Marigny but, I don't know of anyone referring to it as anything other than "the Marigny". Same for Faubourg (neighborhood) Treme etc.

        I am a big fan of Besh's August and Domenica ( apples/oranges), lunch in Commander's garden room, Galatoire's, Willie Mae's fried chicken, 1/2 shell only at Felix's, Butcher's sandwiches. Peche is a nice, airy space but the food is merely ok. Ditto the menu at Cochon. It just doesn't wow. Herbsaint is by far Link's best. Three Muses is fun but quite small.

        Mariza and Maurepas are in Bywater, not the Marigny.
        Definitely not walking distance from anywhere.

        I'd get my fried shrimp po boy at Parkway. K-Paul's has great oyster poboys on their deli self serve lunch menu Thur- Sat. Their gumbo is really good. .Killer Poboys (in the back of the Erin Rose on Conti) has well....killer po boys. Grab a frozen Irish coffee while you wait.

        You can't beat Brigtsen's for local flavor. Have a tasting of the apps. They are terrific. Reserve early.

        Can't get enough fish.....go to GW fins (window table). Their cold smoked sizzling oysters are the gold standard. Great crabcakes, and softshells. Order a slew of apps to split as well as the Scalibut. They will serve you in courses and split them in the kitchen.

        Try Emeril's. Loud and fun. Stick to his originals and you will be happy. Fresh angel hair with smoked mushrooms, Andouille crusted drum(sometimes redfish) or the monster pork chop. End with a shared piece of banana cream pie. Portions here are generous. That's my 2 cents.
        Bon Appetit!

      3. We are from Philly (well Bucks County) so hope you love NOLA like we do. I would throw out a rec to try and fit in Domenica's Happy Hour after 3 on Thursday or Friday. John Besh's' amazing pizza served in a beautiful venue in the Roosevelt Hotel. You can slide over to the Sazerac bar after lunch. You cannot go wrong at Commander's. Ignore any negative review as a reason to avoid. It is New Orleans at it's best. The Jazz Brunch is wonderful. Instead of Willie Mae's on Friday, you could sip 25 cent martinis while dining on Chef Tory's lunch specials at Commander's. Would highly recommend you go to Acme instead of Felix's. Sit at Acme's fresh bar, order a pitcher of Abita and char broiled oysters - ask for a shooter while you are waiting-an oyster in a vodka shot and enjoy the scene which beats Samsom Street Oyster House by a mile. Frenchman Street restaurants have not wowed us but Praline Connection is pretty good-try the fried chicken. On Friday, at the edge of the FQ before crossing Espalande, Coops is a classic dive bar with really good jambalaya (as long as you don't mind rabbit). Afterwards, try BMC for late drinks and music- no food but you can catch killer music with
        Dana Abbott almost every Friday. If walking late night in the Quarter, give in to being total tourist and hit Pat O'Brien's for a Hurricane or two in the dueling piano bar. Fun is fun even if it's a tourist trap.

        1. There are many differing opinions on Willie Mae's, but mine is squarely in the "I just died and went to heaven eating this fried chicken" camp. And I have eaten some fried chicken in my life. We try to eat at Willie Mae's every time we are in town. If you don't get good fried chicken where you live, I do not think you will be disappointed. The sides are definitely just approaching average, though, so don't worry too much about that. You will be busy stuffing your face with chicken anyway.

          But you can't go wrong listening to any of the regulars on this board. They have never steered me wrong, and I think are some of the most knowledgeable posters on Chowhound period.

          1. Don't forget to try Napoleon House in the quarter try a pimms cup and they have a good muffuletta also. Don't miss the Carousel bar In the Montleone hotel on royal street.