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Dec 4, 2013 04:46 PM

Nov 29 & Nov 30 Trip Report

Nov 29, Friday ~ Lunch Booty’s. I had shrimp tacos, others had the banh mi and the Asian salad bowl (?); the guys shared Fish 'n' Chips. Decent but nothing was a standout, and it was a bit too cutesy, hipster-y for me. Spacy waitress. Montouri, in retrospect I know what you mean by hit n miss service. The two cocktails that I tasted (daiquiri and whiskey/ginger variation) were sort of weak and small, although the espresso liqueur milkshake number with a pecan on top was pretty and creative. I thought it was going to be more of a dive, not a pretend dive?

I would choose Maurepas over Booty’s, as I mentioned in kevin's earlier posting about the NYT article.

Post Booty’s, we took the C of C Creole tour and it was great. Stopped at Marie’s bar for some nice strong drinks and met Guitar Lightnin' Lee. One of the trip highlights since Lighnin' was singing along with the jukebox version of his own song. Good strong drinks, and nice vibe at Marie's.

Dinner: Rio Mar was a rather weird but interesting experience. Both the restaurant and the separate bar were nearly empty. Before we could even get to our seat in the sparsely decorated, almost grim, bar (we specifically told in the reservations that we wanted the $5 tapas and half price beer/wine HH special), the hostess made it very clear that we would not have “service.” I was not offended that we would have to get up to order, BUT it was very unwelcoming of the staff to “call that out” as soon as we walked in the door. As it turned out, we had very nice service from the bartender and the waitress. It was later explained to me (by someone smart with a very sharp hat) that RM caters to convention center crowd so they purposely separate the bar and restaurant to control noise.

So, although the ambiance was odd, our re-united family of five craved some privacy after such a busy few days; the awkward "aloneness" of the bar was actually refreshing and much needed. We ended up in giggle fits about mispronouncing ‘ceviche’ – lovingly invoking a New Orleans method of botching up foreign words, even “dates” got a different accent. Also, we discussed karaoke strategies. We are weird in that way.

The ceviche was wonderful (two orders), we loved the grilled octopus and fried oysters as well as those stuffed dates. The wines and beers were excellent although sort of a shame that there were ZERO Louisiana beers on tap? Very very reasonable for our party of 5 and we were nourished after a long bike ride. (Our hotel had free cookies so that always helps!)

Kajun’s was our final destination of the night and it was great fun. We are told the hamburgers are great (thank you, montouri) but did not try them this visit. Our drinks were strong and delightful and we all did at least one karaoke number before midnight. The grilled cheese scarfed down by a friend looked more than passable. Super smoky bar, Bob did not like the acoustics, but I loved the diversity and verve of the crowd.

Nov. 30, Saturday ~ Lunch La Petite Grocery. Warning: La Petite only serves brunch menu on SUNDAY. Saturday is a traditional lunch with a couple of single egg dishes but no waffles or multi-egg dishes. I did not do my research well and a couple of us were very disappointed. The young visitors found it quite tasty, but I must say it was *not* the “out of the park” experience I had envisioned. The trademark savory beignets – that lovely waitress Nicky extolled -- were a bit too sticky and cheesy for my taste. Might go back for dinner, but given ALL the great Magazine St. choices I would probably go elsewhere.

We walked up Magazine to La Divina Gelateria, the Bourbon/Pecan gelato was decadent – buttery, huge portion with enough pecans to keep me guessing.

For dinner, we ditched the young adults and went just the two of us to Herbsaint --and it was the best of my three experiences @ this spot. We got some special treats from Miss Rebecca sitting at the bar! Sanglier, thank you once again for the introduction @ Peche. Honored.

Bob had the fricassee rabbit pasta which was a standout; I was clearly needing some veggies because I had the spicy greens salad, a cauliflower delight (w/pancetta, cheese?)-- and then she sent out a snappy little broccoli dish topped with fried catfish. Top notch, everything had a hint of heat but not overpowering.... and you will note a nicely done rye old fashioned in the accompanying photo. They really do it right, and all three of our wait staff at the bar were super friendly and helpful.

Overall, for this trip Sylvain and Herbsaint and Peche were the standouts -- alongside a wonderful home made Thanksgiving feast. [Did I say that two Bayona cooks were at our T-day meal?]

A real estate discussion will begin soon -- but hopefully I will not bore the CH boards with that issue, gauntlet or no. Thanks Chowhounders. Sending best wishes from freezing California; it was a wonderful trip, particularly for two NOLA newbies and my Bob who had only been once before.


P.S. Still need to report on: Satsuma on Maple, Domenica, and Mother's. Merchant and MiLA were covered on my 12/2 post. I really wish Marti's had been open on Monday -- that is my one big regret of this trip. Oh well..

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  1. So funny, we were there the same weekend and circled around you - doing Maurepas, Bootys, Petite Grocery and Peche on different days. I think we had the same spacey waitress at Booty's. :)

    1 Reply
    1. the coconut ceviche at Rio Mar was excellent last i had it. was before chef adolfo sold his stake

      one note -- Booty's is neither a dive nor a pretend dive. Coop's and the sort are dives...Booty's is a very nice, very new, space. but on our three visits we feel the food is pretty bland and boring, unfortunatley.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kibbles

        I understand what you are saying, kibbles. It was my expectations of Booty's street food (which often can be in or near a dive?) that may have led me to that conclusion. Whatever it was trying to be I felt it missed the mark, and it sounds like you have been let down too. For a new spot I thought it was heavy on the something in the decor that felt off to me - new kitschy maybe? And my DD really likes the place so I just did not get it. Oh, well. Loved the art in the bathrooms and it is a great location.

      2. This is WAY late, but I've been off the board for a while! So glad you had a nice visit, it was great that we were able to meet, fellow 'Hounder! A wonderful new year to you and Bob.

        3 Replies
        1. re: sanglier

          So glad to hear from you Sanglier! No worries....I have missed your posts, though I did see saw you had a great meal at Coquette that same week.

          Thank you again, for the amazing appetizers. Treat to meet you at the fabulous Peche. Once again, cheers for introducing me to Miss Rebecca who treated us so well at Herbsaint.

          DD is here for the holidays, heading back to NOLA on 1/2, and she has become very fussy about a) wait service and b) her bourbon. Ah, New Orleans!

          I am getting ready for 2 - 3 2014 trips: May for JF, October for my b-day AND I am thinking hard about TOTC in the summer.

          I will post a new years NOLA "wish list" in another post. Hope your holidays are merry and bright!

          1. re: karendor

            Come for totc in the summer but must warn you it's consist mostly if people from aged 21-40 and there can be long lines for drinks but if you have an easygoing attitude and don't mind hanging with the younger crowd it's fun. A lot of the 50+ crowd enjoy it for the rare bourbon, rums and scotch they get to try and all the free food and goodies in the tasting rooms. Some of those tasting rooms you are shoulder to shoulder with people I would stick to the events at night or the luncheons. I don't understand why you thought Bootysnola was a dive maybe cuz of the name? Killer poboys and stuff those are more like dives and pop up restaurants. I think they have the best fresh handmade ingredients daiquiri in the city. Herbsaint is nice but too tight of a space for me unless is wanna eat outside which I don't. Bootysnola is soo popular that it's best to get there early around 7-8 it's a madhouse and during Brunch.

            1. re: hltran

              Thanks for the feedback, hitran.

              Good info about TOTC and perhaps I will give Bootsysnola a second try, but I am not the only one on these boards who was/is disappointed in the food. Drinks were OK. With new Oxalis in the Bywater and my love of Maurepas, and needing to try Bacchanal I think it is a low priority for me. So glad it is doing well, and contributing to the great vibe of the neighborhood.

              Yes, this would be me:
              >>A lot of the 50+ crowd enjoy it for the rare bourbon, rums and scotch they get to try and all the free food and goodies in the tasting rooms. Some of those tasting rooms you are shoulder to shoulder with people I would stick to the events at night or the luncheons. <<