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Thanksgiving Weekend Eating

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So the Girl & I made our way around town a little bit over the T-Day weekend and tried a few new-to-us places with mostly positive results. A few standouts:

Galatoire's 33 -- We sat at the bar and had a couple of cocktails -- of which the retro Sazarac was the highlight -- along with their deviled eggs and cracklins (it wasn't our first stop of the night...). The bar they built for the space is really fabulous; in fact, my only real quibble is with the gigantic televisions. I'm not sure why bars need TVs.

Jung's Golden Dragon -- I take back what I've said in the past about New Orleans not having good Chinese food. They came through (on Thanksgiving day no less) with their "Chinese menu" selections: the dumplings and Szechuan offerings were on par with Chinatown joints in other cities.

Marti's -- As I mentioned in another post we stopped info for a late lunch/early dinner here on Friday and were impressed with the food (especially the bone marrow which was delicious!) and amiable service at the bar. Deciding what to have was difficult, their tight menu really didn't seem to have any throwaway dishes.

Peche -- The food was good but gosh, the service at the bar was really lacking. Three (!) bartenders at an almost empty bar and we had a difficult time engaging with any of them. They did have an unusual French/Basque dry cider that was absolutely top notch. Worth another try, for sure, but didn't live up to the service expectations set by Cochon.

And something of a sleeper:

The Warehouse Grille [sic] -- We arrived at the CAC[*] a little early and figured we'd grab a quick breakfast while we waited for the doors to open. This place (that I've driven by a gazillion times) was right there so we figured why not. I ended up with a spicy Bloody Mary and an excellent steak & eggs breakfast. The steak was a respectable (read: not gristly) ribeye, cooked to the correct temp, and seasoned. For a quickie $12 breakfast I'm really impressed.

[*] The Edward Burtynsky Water exhibit is amazing. http://cacno.org/

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  1. im just a little sad you did not mention karoake..thanks for buying me a yummy beer. what was it, btw? Please give The Girl my best.

    17 Replies
    1. re: karendor

      Oh hey now, no slight intended! I was opting for discretion: after all, what happens at Kajun's should sometimes stay at Kajun's. (Insert emoticon here.) Plus now I have to worry that Hazelhurst is going to want me to buy him beers too...

      I can report that you have a voice well suited to 80s classics!

      Straying back on topic some, the beer was an Abita Andygator. It's one of my favorites but not available everywhere on draft. Now if they'd only get some real pint glasses and ditch the plastic.

      1. re: montuori

        I don't think you have to worry about my hitting you up for beer. I tend to avoid karaoke for the same reason I avoid the televisions..too goddamn loud. Artificial noise. Last night I was run out of a pizza place when a six-foot-four walking copy of the Pillsbury Doughboy entered just as a Saints' player dropped a pass. His scream (he'd not even seen the play develop) rattled ears in even Seattle and he continued to howl loudly at everything. Without a television he'd have been lost but I'd have been happier. Of course I left at once...beer unfinished.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          Damn, I would have shitt'd myself.

          1. re: hazelhurst

            hzel,

            have you also been to G33, what are your thoughts ?

            1. re: kevin

              I have not been and I am probably not ever going. I leave the outside chance for (A) meeting someone and (B) seeing if they have a superior piece of meat but if the later is the case than I fully expect to be able to get the came thing at the Home Office (until they put in a television or allow people to watch football on their goddamn handheld devices).

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Would you go to a bar that has a TV in the bar though the sound is turned off ? Or is that still just as bad ???

                1. re: kevin

                  That is a dicey call. The short answer is that it is now impossible to find anywhere without a television and so with the sound off it is preferable. But someone always wants the sound turned up and, even if there are rules that prohibit it, there is nothing to prevent people from yelling at the screen..and they will. Furthermore, no matter how dead-set one is against the things, the human eye naturally roves towards the movement. If the TV is behind me and I am looking at you, you will not be able to prevent glancing at it. It is an interruption to conversation (or, if alone, to reading).

                  It is the camel's nose in the tent. A country club I know had a serviceable television in the 19th hole for years. Recent younger members...who have grown up with the damn things in every facet of their lives (and now, God help us, in the backseats of automobiles) are just not comfortable without them. So what was a pleasant and occasionally lively room is now a basketball whooping section. I was in a men's club some years ago and my host's cellphone rang and he answered. I was stunned. Soon thereafter the Directors banned the things but it won't be long before the younger members insist, as they have already asked for the club's one television to be made easier to view (it's prior use for years was to track the Mardi Gras parades progress..it was never on at lunch).

                  Once you let the damn things in the rot becomes pervasive. As Don MArquis remarked in his little classic "Her Foot is on the Brass Rail" (decrying the death of the men only bar), there was a loss of company and the bar had become just like home...and it was home you went there to get AWAY from.

                  Howl at sports all you wish at the game...or at your own home..or at a bar that is dedicated to that proposition. But otherwise, go out to dinner, relax, converse, read or just think.

                  A free example not in NOLA is MAnsur's in Baton ROuge which thinks itself the acme of local fine dining. There are four or five televisions in the bar. The howling at LSU games (which MUST be on) pours into the dining rooms and is invasive. Locally I could point to others. And Clancy's, which I love, has always had one in the bar .but we didn't use to holler at it. (It was, memorably, of use one afternoon when WWL's Bill Elder reported (low volume) an offshore fire. A plaintiff attorney and the outside counsel for the oil company were together at the bar and bought drinks for everyone.)

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    I completely agree with you.

                    Sometimes though I myself do glance at the TVs, and when the sound is off it helps.

                    But anyhow...

                    Which bars do you like in NOLA that have TVs banned ????

                    And have you been to the Saturn Bar or is it a complete, tourist/nouveau hipster trap ?

                    Thanks man.

                    1. re: kevin

                      Absolutely sound off helps in ignoring it--or trying to.

                      I don't go out to bars much these days. I will go to the Sazerac, Napoleon House, some of the Uptown neighborhood places (especially Mardi Gras). And I can live with the new Mandina's bar although I don't really like it because I loved the old one. Liuzzas never seems to bother me. Some of the foregoing have TVs but they are not obtrusive (but I wouldn't expect them quiet at a Saint's game.)

                      Saturn was a great place when I was young but it has become something of a parody of itself. And Markey's was discovered, too.

                      The closest I have come to the old style has been in the country..places between Vacherie and Thibodeaux,; there is a great one in the Atchafalaya near the levee, away from everything (but don't go without a local). And Lake Verret has some fun ones where although there is TV, most people talk. These won't last another generation though.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        Ok.

                        What's the name of the great one near the levee ? And do you mean don't go without a local because everyone will give me dirty looks, or do the old fashioned swivel once a new face pops into the joint ?

                        Thanks.

                        1. re: kevin

                          I maintain that the only places that can be trusted are the ones where they swivel and glare when you first go in. Gotta earn your place. Anything else isn't worth it.

                          Red's in Catahoula is a classic but it will never be on TV because too many people want to avoid publicity. You might want a deputy with you if you try it. Chilly's (among other names) on LAke Verret is another good one. These are hard enough to get to that they should be safe.

          2. re: montuori

            It was a lovely beer and I was just hunting for a CH compliment -- because I am sadly back at home in chilly CA. The Andygator was both nutty and smooth...and helped ease my aching throat. Thanks, again, and now I know better about "what stays in Kajuns".. but certainly not the smell of smoke!

            [Bought DD a six pack of Abita grapefruit for her home before I left. But I think the Andygator may be my favorite.]

            I am glad we got HH started on an interesting convo, above. Think I need a cold beer before I start reading it.

            I am sure ya'll have seen this, although it could be at the heart of many of the woes expressed in the ruination of the bars?

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/bus...

            P.S. Hazelhurst, we did not make it to Da Track on T-day and I am sort of sad about that -- but wondering if you made it and how was it?

            P. P.S. montouri, I think Garbage's "Stupid Girl" would also be good for my range. Next time!

            1. re: karendor

              I did not make the track this year for a variety of reasons. I had planned to initiate a friend's sons but the father had complications and then a colleague invited me to her small, cobbled-together-family affair which was fun and could be the genesis of a new Holiday Classic movie wherein a grandchild of a guest spoke to a Behavioral Counselor guest (in public) about personal matters of intimate relations of her own mother, who does not speak to the grandmother at all. In retrospect it was akin to the Special Dinner thrown for Peter O'Toole in "My Favorite Year."

              I plan to get out there over the holidays if I can find a few friends to play with. Just now I am trying to whip up a group to go to the Xmas Eve bonfires in Lutcher.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Sounds classic.

                Always good to have a child who will point out any family dysfuntion @ Thanksgiving.

                Our two best dishes were corn pudding and chess pie, neither of which we would have had in California. I found out more about chess pie:

                http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012...

                Hope to make Da Track next year. We did get to Celebration in the Oaks which was appropriately cheesy.

                1. re: karendor

                  I've lost it now but I grew up with a Williamsburg cookbook (reproduction) with Chess pie in it and my mother used to make it all the time. We called if "Cheff Pie" because of the old style of "s" in printing. I am surprised it went out of currency.

              2. re: karendor

                I meant also to say that the NYT article does not, to me, indicate new restaurants as the problem with the bars. The noise issue includes restaurants, too, many of which have televisions in dining rooms or visible in the bar from the dining room...the effect is a rolling barrage of artificially generated noise. Perhaps some bars believe they must generate "buzz" (as the saying is) to attract customers who would otherwise go to a restaurant...and Antoine's Hermes Bar is a good example of a restaurant trying to claim the reverse.(It used to be that one went to the restaurant and had a drink before dinner...at the table. But the profit in having the "waiting room" serving booze is enormous.)

                The amalgam of items on menus now is often in complete contravention of the notion of eating locally, which is not to say that the filet mignon or lamb chop on a old New Orleans menu was necessarily or even desirably raised locally. But Maine Lobster and Scallops seem to be odd choices on a local menu for someone who doesn't live here. And the "adjectivitis" scourge shows no signs of abatement.

                Marti's menu seems a good example of the above. I have not been--that location has a checkered past--and wonder about the advertised locus of the Chef. It seems to me a come-on to advertise him as from the "Honey Island Swamp" which is cute marketing but means nothing. And if he is going to claim that locus they should at least recognize the Church of the Honey Island Swamp Monster ("C.O.T.H.I.S.M.") for which entity I, in an anterior portion of my life, cooked a brisket that lives on in song and story.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  hh, thanks!

                  Chess Pie: the name has an interesting history although I like your family's the best;

                  http://old.post-gazette.com/food/1999...

                  Hermes Bar: I wasn't sure what you meant, above: "is a good example of a restaurant trying to claim the reverse." That people go to the bar first and then consider the restaurant secondarily?

                  Martis: I was wondering whey they added that Honey Island Swamp bit about the chef, too! Glanced only briefly at the menu but I am a sucker for anything brasserie-style, so it is definitely on my wish list for the May visit.