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 I am in New Orleans for the week of parental care duty, giving my sister and brother a break.  I snuck off for a mid day respite at Bayou Beer Garden on a steamy hot and overcast day.  The food menu has changed, and not for the better. ☹️  Since last time I was here, some of the yummy things on the menu, like the mussels, are gone.  But it’s still a great place.

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Just spent 48 hours.  Four great, can't-miss--virtually perfect--meals:

Lunches at Marjie's Grill and Turkey & the Wolf.  Dinners at Herbsaint and Coquette.  Coquette is the only one of the four I'd been to before, and it was just as good this time around.  Would go back to all four in a heartbeat. 

Was sorry I didn't have time to try these, all very highly recommended:  N7, Compère Lapin, La Petite Grocery, Saba (NOT Shaya--avoiding Besh places).

(Nor did I have time for Cochon and Peche, both of which I enjoyed on my previous trip.  I think it's very safe to say the forthcoming Link/Wilcomb Italian place will be great, too--they seem to care a great deal about keeping the quality high across multiple restaurants.)

OK, sazeracs and po' boys:

Sazeracs at Herbsaint and Coquette were great.  Decided also to try one at the Sazerac Room, in the Roosevelt Hotel.  Horrible (but what do I know?).  Not balanced at all, and the (too strong) whiskey overwhelmed all other components.  And $17.  What a racket (understandably trading on its legend, but still).

As for po' boys, I've come to think that one could ask 30 or more trusted people for their favorites and not get a single duplicate answer. I like that about New Orleans.  Anyway, taking the word of one such person (a bartender at Coquette), I decided to get the shrimp po' boy at Rampart Food Store.  It was as good as advertised, albeit not life-changing.  Would have been better if I had eaten it within five or so minutes of its making, which would have meant, I suppose, finding a spot in Louis Armstrong Park.  But it was 95 degrees, humid, and I had to get to the airport . . . .  Next time, think I'll try the Peacemaker at Bevi Seafood, also highly touted. 

One more thing:  Found a great little -- and I mean little -- coffee spot in the French Quarter:  Spitfire.  They really know how to pour a cup, and the cold brews were fantastic. Only three or so stools, though, so plan to carry out.

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, frogprince said:

Say hi next time 😎

I asked for you (Thursday evening), but you had been on the early shift!  The (female) bartender, whose name I unfortunately can't recall, was terrific--in addition to mixing a great sazerac, she gave me (warranted) reassurance that the kitchen wasn't resting on its laurels w/r/t some of the old stand-byes (the gumbo, the duck, the banana tart), i.e., that they wouldn't disappoint.  She was right, on all three scores.

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For the record, my 5-year-old is insisting on going to NoLa. Furthermore, she wants to eat her body-weight in oysters and "not spicy" seafood. Maybe we will deposit her at the bar* at Herbsaint and fetch her after she's fully full. (we know the one place we cannot deposit our child is the actual bar...all else, ok).

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I don't eat raw oysters in New Orleans. Why take the chance when you can go to Drago's and get their famous charbroiled oysters.

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17 hours ago, mr food said:

I don't eat raw oysters in New Orleans. Why take the chance when you can go to Drago's and get their famous charbroiled oysters.

I’m not a food safety expert, but I’ve eaten raw oysters in New Orleans  almost all of my 60 years, with zero ill effects. 

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On 1/10/2019 at 9:00 AM, dcandohio said:

I’m not a food safety expert, but I’ve eaten raw oysters in New Orleans  almost all of my 60 years, with zero ill effects. 

It's only since deepwater horizon that there's been a concern...oh and that algae bloom from the  90s. Frankly, my people live really unhealthy lives but long ones. I think the radioactive stuff down there either kills you or makes you roach-strong.  If you are 70 and full of New Orleans food, you just might be roach-like, which in this context is a complement. 

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21 hours ago, NolaCaine said:

It's only since deepwater horizon that there's been a concern...oh and that algae bloom from the  90s. Frankly, my people live really unhealthy lives but long ones. I think the radioactive stuff down there either kills you or makes you roach-strong.  If you are 70 and full of New Orleans food, you just might be roach-like, which in this context is a complement. 

“Roach strong.” Perfect. 

 

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When I am in New Orleans taking care of my elderly parents, I tried to take a daily break to get some time for myself and to eat a tasty lunch.  On this quick trip, I was able to visit three venerable spots off of the tourist circuit, in Metairie, where my parents live. 

 Acme oyster bar, Metairie:  A cup of gumbo ($5) an appetizer portion of fried crawfish tails ($7) an Abita Amber. Note that Acme has a few other locations  

Drago’s Metairie:  famous chargrilled oysters and a cup of gumbo. I was here with other people, Busy talking, I don’t recall the specifics of prices. Drago’s has a location downtown, in one of the huge hotels on the river  

New Orleans Food and Spirits:  Half dozen chargrilled oysters ($10) and a cup of corn and crawfish soup ($6).

The gumbo at Acme was superior to the gumbo at Drago’s.  Dragos was fun because the cup contained a pretty large piece of blue crab, but the roux flavor and the sausage was better at Acme. Super fresh shrimp. Both leagues better than anything I’ve had outside of Louisiana  

I would give Dragos a slight edge on the chargrilled oysters, although New Orleans food and spirits, being slightly less charred, might appeal to people who prefer that.

The crawfish in both the fried and soup preparations were firm and sweet.  It is possible that places are using previously frozen crawfish, but they probably come from a good quality local source. 

These are essentially neighborhood restaurants, places that at lunchtime, are packed with workers,  from guys in steel-toed boots and groups of people in scrubs, to the suit and briefcase crowd.  Prices are reasonable for the quality/quantity of the food, and every dish and every experience is one that would be a standout if it were in any other city in America. 

None of these three places is hip, or cutting edge, or “new and noteworthy.”  They all just work hard to put out delicious food at decent prices in egalitarian settings. 

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St. James Cheese Company has become a lunch standard for me as I visit my daughter at school.  Wish there was someplace like this in DC.   Great cheeses, wine & beer, and a fun atmosphere.  

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On 3/18/2019 at 8:44 AM, dcandohio said:

None of these three places is hip, or cutting edge, or “new and noteworthy.”  They all just work hard to put out delicious food at decent prices in egalitarian settings. 

The Galley in Old Metry and Harbor Seafood out in Kenner (brah) also fall into this most noble of restaurant categories; indeed, ask any industry folk and I would wager that most spend their hard earned time off in establishments such as these (if they choose to go out to eat at all but that’s a whole different topic...)

The crawfish at both are exemplary, also the gumbos, fried things, honestly you can close your eyes and point and it’ll be fantastic (but defitnely the crawfish). 

Yall can find me at either, sometimes both, on my hard earned days off

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On 3/18/2019 at 7:52 AM, zgast said:

St. James Cheese Company has become a lunch standard for me as I visit my daughter at school.  Wish there was someplace like this in DC.   Great cheeses, wine & beer, and a fun atmosphere.  

Does that Cowgirl Creamery joint still exist? That’s the only thing comparable in DC that I recall (granted that was many many moons ago)...

Stick to St James Uptown, it is light years better than the downtown farm team

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10 hours ago, frogprince said:

Does that Cowgirl Creamery joint still exist? That’s the only thing comparable in DC that I recall (granted that was many many moons ago)...

Stick to St James Uptown, it is light years better than the downtown farm team

Cowgirl Creamery is still there.  Not quite the same in my book as it lacks the liveliness.  Glad to see the local expert agrees with a place I randomly discovered!

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12 hours ago, zgast said:

You have appropriately calibrated my trendiness level.  I stand corrected.

You just complimented yourself - seriously, you did.

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3 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

 Looking for a great brunch spot for Saturday (not looking for egg dishes).  

Look at Elizabeth's.  It's off the beaten track, and a little funky, next door to a great record store, and it has a great brunch.  First come first served for brunch.

https://www.elizabethsrestaurantnola.com/brunch/

They do a "make your own mimosa" where they just give you a bottle of champagne and a pitcher of OJ and let you do the mixing.  Fun and reasonably priced! 

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I loved Peche.  Not brunchy but casual weekend lunch friendly.  Found Herbsaint meh.  Not bad but vastly preferred Cochon, Cochon Butcher, and Peche.  And Peche was my favorite by a wide margin.  (If you were looking for suggestions, I recall very good meal at Coquette, and Le Petit Grocery).

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What's the best place (meaning no long lines) to get a Po-boy and beer on Saturday morning btwn 10-11 a.m.?  LIuzza's, Parkway, or Domilise's?

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On 5/14/2019 at 1:32 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Taking the kids to the Crescent City in August.  Dinners will be at Herbsaint, Gianna, La Petite Grocery and Brennan's.  Looking for a great brunch spot for Saturday (not looking for egg dishes).  The place has to be casual (i.e., allows shorts and sandals).  

Coquette would always be my first choice -- shorts & sandals probably ok, but call to be sure.  Turkey & the Wolf is another excellent (and very different) option. 

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17 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

What's the best place (meaning no long lines) to get a Po-boy and beer on Saturday morning btwn 10-11 a.m.?  LIuzza's, Parkway, or Domilise's?

Liuzza’s and Parkway don’t open till 11. Neither should be very crowded then unless there is a big festival nearby.  But August isn’t really the height of festival season because it is so freaking hot.  If you’re going to either one, you are close enough to City Park that you must visit and see the newly expanded sculpture garden. It’s phenomenal.  I drove by on Wednesday before it was open.  The garden is free, and there is lots of free parking. Trust me. 

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On 5/15/2019 at 2:00 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

What's the best place (meaning no long lines) to get a Po-boy and beer on Saturday morning btwn 10-11 a.m.?  LIuzza's, Parkway, or Domilise's?

 Don’t sleep on Bevi neither...

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