Short Trip - "Lazy Weekend" of Mardi Gras
Coming to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras "lazy weekend." Arriving on Friday, but late in the afternoon - and my partner wants to just get poboys and watch the parades (hotel is on the parade route on St. Charles). That leaves Saturday and Sunday:
So far, I've booked:
Brunch: La Petite Grocery
Dinner: Emeril Delmonico (Is this worth it? One plus is that it's very close to our hotel.)
I'm open to all suggestions - changes or deletions.
I thought it would be best to stay away from the Quarter - both because of the crowds, and also because I found it amazingly disappointing during my last trip.
For reference, restaurants I have loved in the past: Atchafalaya, Boucherie, Upperline, Bayona
I'd consider revisiting one I've been to before, but would rather explore new ones.
I've heard August praised to the skies, as well as Stella -- also have heard good things about Coquette.
Any thoughts? All are welcome. Thanks!
Thank you all for your input and advice.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to follow through with most of the restaurant choices I originally made because my traveling companion had other ideas.
On Saturday, we had an early lunch at Mr. Ed's in Bucktown. He ordered the paneed trout topped with green onions, crabmeat, and onions. I ordered Jumbo lump crabmeat au gratin, which sounded great - but ended up being a soupy goopy cheesy mess. Fortunately, my companion liked it, so we traded dishes. The trout was good and clean - quite nice, but nothing to write home about.
I am thrilled that I took the advice about Coquette - because it was the standout meal of the trip. I went alone and ordered the chef's blind tasting menu, which I washed down with a couple of excellent Pimms Cups. I ate at the bar and was treated with plenty of attention and courtesy.
For the five course blind tasting menu, there were two pre-dinner snacks - both excellent - each about the size of two bites:
Snack 1: Fried oysters with beef short rib, orange marmalade, parsley puree and grated horseradish. This was luscious and complex.
Snack 2: Steelhead trout tartare with tarragon creme, jalepeno, cubed apple, and dill garnish. Yummmm...
Course 1: An array of local vegetables - each treated differently - a combination of brussel sprouts, beets, turnips, broccoli, butternut squash, fennel red navel orange - a cashew puree that was creamy and delicious and I would have sworn was dairy based but wasn't -- The standoug here were the bits of pralined olive - yes olive --- amazing! and there was a satsumi gastrique. A fabulous dish!
Course 2: Chicken-fried sweetbreads with caper puree, pickeled chipolini onion, pickled mustard seed, and spiced honey. --- A must-order if you like sweetbreads.
Course 3: Red snapper seared and placed atop a bed of cabbage and chanterelle mushrooms steeped in a buttermilk broth, garnished with pickled mustard seed.
Course 4: Braised pork cheeks in a pickled andouille aioli dressed with barrigoule treated vegetables. - This was incredibly rich and delicious - But, alas, I found I actually couldn't get through the whole thing, with all the food I'd already eaten that day.
Course 5: Strawberry and champagne snowball (basically a granite finished with sweetened condensed milk) - this was perfect to freshen me up after the rich course.
Course 6: Grasshopper brownie. This is one of the best, if not THE best desserts I've ever had. House-made brownie cubes with creme do menthe chocolate frosting - solid cocoa nibs, --- but the crown jewel of this was a fresh mint "sorbet" - this sorbet was more like an ice-cream - rich, with the freshest, most intense experience of mint - just exceptional.
I would go to Coquette again in a heartbeat.
We also made it to Petite Grocery the next day for brunch - by which time my capacity for rich food was diminished. I had the blue crab beignets -- which were to die for - rich and creamy to the extreme. I also had the lemon fish crudo, which was clean and yummy.
As a side note, our hotel was right next to Voodoo barbecue, and the courtyard was constantly wafted with tantalizing clouds of smoke from their outdoor cooker. We did eat there Sunday night - and I must say that the baby back ribs were excellent, as were the sides.
Thank you all for your advice - I can't wait for my next trip!
So glad you didn't pass on Coquette just because you dined alone. I have had every dish you mentioned (I go there about once a week) and am so happy you hit so many of their high notes! C'mon back down soon, a host of places for you to try that didn't make the cut on this trip.
Be forewarned, getting around on parade days can be tricky. Many streets are shut down to traffic 2 hours prior to parade time.
My favorite of your options is August. It is arguably the best restaurant in town. Check the menu before making resv. It is far more polished ambience and food wise than your previous "likes". Coquette is sort of a a poor man's August. Atmosphere is casual. Good food and cocktails. Many love Stella! I do not. The "emperor's new clothes " is my usual comment. oh, and Emeril's is far better than Delmonico.
You have a good list. You might include Delmonicos as it is in its roots a classic old N.O. restaurant. However, it is the most expensive of the 3 Emeril's places and I'm not sure the cost equals the product (although the food is good). For me it is an expense account restaurant.
If you want something a little more downscale in your neighborhood consider Irish House. Not fine dining but very good pub food.
Instead of doing a full meal, we usually go to Luke for happy hour - 1/2 price beer, wine, and bubbly, and 50 cent oysters, even on the weekends. Your hotel may be close enough to walk to The Columns, which would also be a great place to go for drinks one day. During the parades, I like to get a go cup margarita from Superior (also maybe walking distance) - they provide an excellent pick me up.
We're visiting this weekend, too, and chose the "lazy" weekend deliberately because we'll be visiting with our 3 month old. Make sure to check the parade schedule and routes http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/sc...) and leave plenty of time to get from A to B and map your route in advance if you'll be driving, because many streets will be closed and the streetcars are running on a very limited schedule.