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NOLA Travel tips?

SWMBO and I will be taking a few days in New Orleans this summer, it is off-season, but it can't be any hotter or humid than Tampa Bay. Any suggestions for accomodations, or places to eat, authentic creole would be nice as well as more upscale dining, thanks
 
Be prepared, when it comes to heat and humidity, New Orleans is uniquely uncomfortable.

Donald Link is doing some very good "Cajun" food at Cochon in the Warehouse District. His other restaurant, Herbsaint is also superb. If oysters are still available when you are there, head to Dragos (near the Casino) for BBQ'd oysters. Acme Oyster House is apparently something of a tourist trap now, but they do make a fine shrimp po-boy. Coffee and Beignets at Cafe du Monde, a Muffaletta from Central Grocery

Entertainment wise, stay away from Bourbon street. Instead, check out Napoleon House on Chartres street. The building's first owner offered it to Napoleon when he was in exile. Sit in the courtyard, have a Sazerac. Then stroll up Royal Street for four or five blocks before crossing over to Bourbon Street. At Bourbon and St. Phillip - reasonably past the usual Bourbon Street fray -is Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. It is a bar now and one of the oldest buildings in the city - one of the few remaining instances of original French architecture. Once you've had your fill there, continue walking up Bourbon until you cross Esplanade into Fauberg Marigny. Frenchman Street has a slew of cool bars, my favorite being The Apple Barrel Bar. I've never seen a bad band there.

I could go on and on, but that'll get you started.
 
Try out Brennan's, home of the Bananas Foster. Well, if you like cooked bananas, I don't care for them myself, but a lot of people do. It is $$$$...

As for breakfast, well it really all depends. Everyone says you MUST do Cafe Beignet. Been there, and while it is an institution that the untried should see, I prefer just a good old standard breakfast, myself. Head over too the Clover Grill. It's on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine Streets. It is a dive, but you get a good breakfast and real local atmosphere, which is important to me.

Oh and there was this place I cannot remember, I'm sorry I can't, that had the best po-boy sandwiches ever. Its around Pat Obrien’s someplace but I just can't find it. I hope this helps you with your food. As for things to see, we took a walking tour which was very tolerable in the heat, early in the morning. Try the tour in reverse; you'll miss most of the people this way! Good Luck!
 
A few restaurants to try:

Jacque-imos in the carollton neighborhood. Just a couple of blocks from the St Charles streetcar route. On Oak street as I recall. Spectacular creole and Cajun (they are different) food. A bit different and eclectic, but totally worth it. Show up at or shortly after it opens or be prepared to wait- this place is very, very popular with the locals and they don't take reservations. There is a bar inside to wait and an even better bar right next door that frequently has very good music going. Very casual and friendly. Trust me when I say this: try the shrimp and alligator cheesecake. I know, just try it. You'll thank me.

Herbsaint in the central business district (CBD). For a more upscale dinner this place is superb. A bit pricy, but less than the old line classics and the food is better. This is a more upscale creole/French restaurant. They are known for their different preparations of pork belly. And they serve some of the best gumbo in town.

For po-boys there are a lot of great options, but my absolute favorite is a place called crabby jacks on Jefferson highway right by the railroad tracks. It's owned by the same guy who owns Jacques-imos and does an excellent job of covering the classics and odd or unusual po-boys, especially their duck po-boy. And they make awesome jambalaya, red beans, and gumbo. So get a couple of sides with your po-boy.

And of course if you're in the French quarter you have to get coffee and beignets at cafe du monde and a muffuletta at central grocery, both on the river side of the quarter. Yes, they are very touristy, but they are damn good too.
 
For a good cheap poboy try Quartermaster Deli, Bourbon and Ursulines. They do a great roast beef poboy for $6.25. You can find a cheaper roast beef poboy but not one that is this good. They stuff that thaing full. They do a nice burger and a good chicken fried steak, which you can also have on bun or french. Monday is red beans day and they do a BIG plate of red beans and sausage for $3.99.

Most mornings there is a jazz brunch buffet at Two Sisters that is a bit pricey but well worth it. Dress code... wear a shirt with a collar, no sneaks no jeans. Starts at like 9:00.

Try Arnaud's for upscale creole/haute cuisine. This is THE home of shrimp remoulade which is a nice way to start a fine meal. I am partial to Pierre Maspero's, myself.

Personally I don't like Clover Grill. They went way downhill after Katrina and never got it back. Too many of their key people went on to bigger and better things, like Ange and Earl. The burgers, which they were deservedly famous for, are nothing like they used to be. They still cook them under the same hubcaps but they AIN'T the same burgers. Brennan's, another place already mentioned, is okay but they let scruffy college kids in shorts and flip flops sit at a table next to decent folks, and I think that is very low class, but the food is pretty decent. You MUST get some fried chicken from Popeye's, too. Nothing else like it.

Oh, did I mention Quartermaster delivers 24 hours anywhere in the quarter? No? Well, they do. It is pretty cool to be sitting in a bar and a delivery boy brings you a nice steaming hot shrimp poboy to help soak up all the booze in your belly.

There really isn't much genuine cajun cuisine in New Orleans. Unfortunately Paul Prudhomme invented this blackened thing and now the whole world thinks that is cajun cooking. That is not cajun. We don't like our food black. We call that "burnt" LOL! I actually ate in one place in the city where the waittress said Sauce Picquant and Etouffee were the same thing! But you could try Michaul's on St Charles street. Mulate's, a cajun icon in Breaux Bridge, opened up a branch restaurant in New Orleans but I found the food underwhelming and the original Mulate's atmosphere sadly nonexistent. Oh, best avoid, IMHO, "Cajun Cabin" on Bourbon street. That's where Sauce Piquant and Etouffee are the same thing. Home of the non-cajun Cajun band. Anybody who thinks covering Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" counts as Cajun music is a damn yankee and I don't mean that in a nice way, either. For real Cajun, you got to go West to Laffayette, Abbeville, Mamou, Eunice, Ville Platte, Thibadaux, Houma, Patterson, Berwick, Cameron, out that way; or down the road and on the way to Grand Isle, following LA 1 along Bayou Lafourche. When you see a place that has tables covered in newspaper during crawfish season, you have arrived.

Comeaux's Cafe, across the street from the courthouse in Abbeville, is one of my favorites. Another one I highly reccommend is Cafe Des Amis, in Breaux Bridge. At either place, you will leave wishing you were Cajun so you could go to your Granmere's house and eat like that all the time.

Most places, people eat to live. In New Orleans, we live to eat.

Not all Bourbon Street places are to be avoided. Fritzel's, a tiny little dive on Bourbon, sometimes has a very nice Dixieland combo. Maison Bourbon sometimes has a good band. But other than that, there is a lot of live music on Bourbon but often not much GOOD live music where you aren't hustled for a tourist. House of Blues is popular, and you might want to check it out. Otherwise, the Marigny neighborhood has some good choices, as well as uptown. Tipitina's and Spotted Cat are two that come to mind.

New Orleans has a sizeable gay population that is highly visible in the French Quarter, and also a lot of transsexual or transgender types. If that bothers you, stay away from St. Louis Street between Bourbon and Burgundy, St Ann street, and Bourbon between St Ann and Dumaine. In the wee hours of the morning, watch out for pickpockets. Aging, over-the-hill streetwalkers and too-ugly shemale hookers often resort to this profession, and some are quite good at it. Beware the unsolicited embrace and wandering hands, especially if you might appear to be drunk. Be aware that strip clubs, while they can be a lot of fun, are there to take your money and they are very, very good at it. Don't take a hyooge pile of cash, or any of your credit cards. Cha-CHING! You lose! And if you are foolish enough to carry credit cards or debit cards out to the bars, don't let anyone stand behind you while you punch your PIN in.
 
Lots of great suggestions from the men above...my two favorite restaurants are Cochon and Jaque-Imos (eat in the truck), both are amazing. Went to Brennan's and Galatoire's a couple months ago and both were very average and very expensive. I wouldn't be disappointed if I never went back.
 
I just got back from NOLA on sunday. A place called "Somethin' Else Cafe" had really good breakfast.

I did notice once we got outside of the big touristy restaurants, no one had oysters.....

And yes... It is insanely hot there.
 
http://www.pralineconnection.com/

Fried chicken livers, baby!

If the line at Acme (which Henry mentioned) is crazy, go to Felix's across the street. Actualy, you might want to go there even if there's no line at Acme.

Another great place is, or at least was, Camelia Grill. It was closed for a long time after Katrina, and while it's reopened, I'm not sure if it's really the same.
 
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http://www.pralineconnection.com/

Fried chicken livers, baby!

If the line at Acme (which Henry mentioned) is crazy, go to Felix's across the street. Actualy, you might want to go there even if there's no line at Acme.

Another great place is, or at least was, Camelia Grill. It was closed for a long time after Katrina, and while it's reopened, I'm not sure if it's really the same.

I have to agree with you on Acme. I can't relax and enjoy my oysters when I know there are 3 dozen impatient people waiting on my seat, and the house wants me to hurry up and get my *** off of it and out the door so they can take the next customer's money. An oyster is an oyster, and both Acme and Felix's are going to get the best oysters reasonably available. For some reason, Acme has the name and reputation. But there is nothing wrong with Felix's unless you just want to be able to say you waited in line for 45 minutes to get in the door at Acme.

The best oysters I have ever eaten in my life were I believe at the Chart House, Toulouse at Chartres, pre-Katrina. Sadly, last time I went there, they were just plain old oysters. But before, they were hyooooge, and very very tasty. Now, they are still as good as Acme or Felix's, which really, is still pretty good.

Went by Dooky Chase's a few months ago and apparently they are still not open for dinner, only lunch, and then sparodically. They seem to have staffing problems. This is a shame, because pre-K, they had shrimp-n-grits to die for, and their rice and andouille was sublime. They were famous for their gumbo, which was generally great, and their fried chicken, which was notoriously variable from dry and semi-tasteless to tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor. The sad thing is, there were so many benefits and charity things thrown for this place, to get it opened back up, and well, nothing much seems to be happening.

Yes, I am told that the Camelia Grill is back up in full operation, and that the food is still the same great food. It is a little out of my neighborhood so I haven't been in there since before Katrina, but I remember them having very good burgers, very good service, and pecan pie that must have been made by angels while a heavenly chorus sang and an orchestra of harps played. I might just go have lunch there today.
 
I usually avoided the oyster bars downtown and went to Cooter Brown's at the riverbend. They renovated it to feel more like a sports bar, so it lost some of it's ambiance, but they still served damn good oysters. For fried oysters the ye olde college inn makes a mouthwatering oyster loaf (essentially a fried oyster po-boy for those unfamiliar with the term).
 
Anyone else getting hungry reading this?

Luke mentioned Jacques-imos, which is a great place. Interesting story about that: a few years ago they opened a location in NYC. My wife (who is from New Orleans) and I were in there shortly after it opened. Jacques himself was there getting things off the ground; he invited us into the kitchen, we had a great meal and an all-around great time. But then he went back to N.O. and the place started going downhill. We went two or three more times and then decided that was enough, and eventually it closed. So I guess the key ingredient for a New Orleans-style restaurant is a New Orleans chef on the premises.
 
Anyone else getting hungry reading this?

Luke mentioned Jacques-imos, which is a great place. Interesting story about that: a few years ago they opened a location in NYC. My wife (who is from New Orleans) and I were in there shortly after it opened. Jacques himself was there getting things off the ground; he invited us into the kitchen, we had a great meal and an all-around great time. But then he went back to N.O. and the place started going downhill. We went two or three more times and then decided that was enough, and eventually it closed. So I guess the key ingredient for a New Orleans-style restaurant is a New Orleans chef on the premises.

Yeah...would make sense. Not many cajun chefs in NYC.
 
http://www.pralineconnection.com/

Fried chicken livers, baby!

If the line at Acme (which Henry mentioned) is crazy, go to Felix's across the street. Actualy, you might want to go there even if there's no line at Acme.

Another great place is, or at least was, Camelia Grill. It was closed for a long time after Katrina, and while it's reopened, I'm not sure if it's really the same.

+1 to all the above. I'd hit Felix's before Acme, and Camelia is always a good choice. Especially after a night out drinking.
 
Just a note to thank everyone for the suggestions, SWBMO and I are actually going to make it legal finally, and chose New Orleans to do it.
 
Just a note to thank everyone for the suggestions, SWBMO and I are actually going to make it legal finally, and chose New Orleans to do it.

Congratulations! If that's the case, perhaps Commander's Palace would be in order?

I leave it to the NOLA natives to comment further. My hanger-on knowledge only goes so far. :biggrin1:
 
Personally I don't like Clover Grill. They went way downhill after Katrina and never got it back. Too many of their key people went on to bigger and better things, like Ange and Earl. The burgers, which they were deservedly famous for, are nothing like they used to be. They still cook them under the same hubcaps but they AIN'T the same burgers.

This is a damn shame...
 
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