Restaurants & Bars

New Orleans

Three days in NOLA is not enough! (long)

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Three days in NOLA is not enough! (long)

susiederkins | Apr 19, 2004 12:35 PM

Well first - I wanted to say thank you to everybody who posted replies to my query on where to eat near the Windsor Court. We ended up at two locations near the hotel and at several other locations not near the hotel.

Secondly, a big shout-out to New Orleans - it was awesome! The food was great, the weather was wonderful and the people there couldn't have been nicer. For me, saying the food is great definitely means something because I come from a chowhound town (NYC), left when NYC was 45 degrees and raining, and you can't beat the southern hospitality (again, esp. when you are from NYC!).

So with three days and some to spend in New Orleans - I did some research on to where to go...

Wednesday - arrived to crisp (but sunny!) weather. Getting in at around 11:00, we checked into the hotel, freshened up a bit after the 7:00 a.m. flight and promptly cabbed it to Uglesich's for lunch. We got in line and I remembered enough to order the shrimp and grits. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what else was good, so I ordered the crawfish etouffe (I'd never eaten crawfish before) and my friend ordered the Shrimp Uggie (I think that was the one which was supposed to be spicy). Also, slightly embarssing, but I had not gone to the ATM, so we found ourselves a few dollars short. So I had to hoof it to the bank (two blocks away). Shrimp and grits was tasty! The crawfish etouffe was pretty good, although my friend's shrimp uggie was nowhere near as spicy as I thought it would be. Afterward, we found ourselves in the FQ and we went to Cafe Du Monde. We got on the take-out line. To be fair, we went during the very busy lunch hour. However, the line only had about ten parties in it, but we ended up waiting twenty-five minutes. It's definitely worth it to go there once, but that's about it. Oh sure, the beignets and coffee were tasty enough - but waiting in line for twenty-five minutes for what I as a New Yorker would ignorantly describe as a zeppole - well... I wouldn't do it again (at least, not soon).

Wednesday evening, I had an appointment at Bourbon House. It was an OK dinner - not bad, but not great. Seafood gumbo was good. Surprisingly enough, the highlight of the dinner was dessert. The bread pudding came with a whiskey sauce. The whiskey sauce had completely soaked though - I initially thought that I was eating a custard until someone told me that it was bread pudding. Don't know if it the texture was right, but it was mighty fine.

Thursday - after a quick run along the Mississippi River, we ate at Bon Ton Cafe for lunch. I ordered the BON TON Redfish. That came with three enormous, crispy onion rings. The onion rings were perfectly crisp and practically greaseless and slightly sweet - yummy. I loved the redfish with crabmeat on top - very mild, and more importantly cooked so that it still had a great texture. (Too many bad experiences with overcooked fish!) At any rate, my friend ordered the crawfish etouffe. Can't say that the etouffe was tastier than Uggie's, but I definitely thought the crawfish at Bon Ton was more tender - so I think the crawfish at Uglesich's that I ate was a bit overcooked. Possibly sacrilegious, but both my friend and I liked our dishes a lot more when we poured on the tobasco on both the redfish and the etouffe.

Dinner time rolled around, and I dragged my friend to Dick and Jenny's. Having come at 6:30, we were spared a wait in line and were led directly to our table. I ordered to start, the dynamite crawfish with the jalapeno cornbread. My friend ordered the roast duck and andouille sausage gumbo. I was eyeing that item on the menu, so I was pretty happy to dip my spoon into the gumbo. I enjoyed the crawfish - the sauce, the cornbread. Texture and taste - both were right on with the crawfish. For my entree, I ordered the appetizer sampler, which came with fried oysters, 50/50 fried green tomatoes, crabmeat and something else (oh it was a lot of food). I really liked the fried oysters - crisp and tender on the inside. I found it to be a recurrent theme on my eating adventures - fried deliciousness - I ended up eating a lot of fried foods on the trip and all of it was fried the way it should be - light, flaky, and not at all greasy tasting). My friend ordered the tuna with pineapples - concentrating my the plate in front of me, I declined sampling her dish - although she reports that she was very pleased with the dish. However, for you oenophiles, I'd advise staying away from the house wine. I was fine with it, but my friend definitely didn't like it.

Friday - in search of breakfast items at 11:30, i agreed to go to Hueys Diner (only because it was close - although I have to wonder what the concierge was thinking - it probably caters to the tourists). However, my friend had been a pretty good sport about being dragged hither and yon (Uglesich's, Dick & Jennys), so I gave in to Huey's. All that I can say is that the portions were generous - but the meal was memorably below par. The biscuit I ate tasted alright, but the texture suggested that they hadn't finished cooking it and the omelet, in contrast, was completely overcooked, so it had an all-too solid consistency.

We grabbed a late lunch at Mother's (it was only a block away from our hotel!) and we split a soft shell crab poboy. Oh. My. God. So good. Pure deliciousness. Also, it was the first time I ever realized how a good pickle elevates a really good poboy to an extraordinary one.

Having eaten a late lunch at Mother's, we wisely pushed back our 8:30 dinner reservation at Upperline to 9:30. I have to say, for such a great restaurant, the bread was, well, disappointing - it's like something that they could have gotten out of a supermarket. Otherwise, everything was really nice. My friend ordered the turtle soup - brave soul! Now, I love red meat, but even the turtle soup was a little too strong for my taste. I ordered the warm foie gras napoleon. Delicious - I loved how all of the tastes - the richness of the foie gras and the warm plum basically melted in my mouth. For my entree, I ordered the roast duck with the ginger peach sauce and a side of mustard greens. My friend ordered the stuffed quail. She really enjoyed the quail, which came with rice and crawfish. The rice and crawfish were really well spiced and absolutely delicious. I was taken aback at the size of the roast duck in front of me - my goodness - half a duck! I didn't realize that the duck came with the sauce on the side - I guess you dip the duck into the sauce? If I'd known that, i probably would have asked to try the garlic port sauce. As it was, I ended up not eating the sauce, since the roast duck was pretty delicious on its on, and the sauce only seemed to cover up the richness of the duck. I like duck confit and peking duck, both of which are cooked in a way such that the duck is really rich, so both of those preparations seem better able to stand up to a sauce. But I thought that the duck (which I ate with the skin) was very good, but not strong enough to stand up to the sauce. Halfway through my duck, they served us two squares of cornbread. I love cornbread - so I tasted a corner, but decided to focus my efforts entirely on the duck - so I'm happy to report, that by forgoing most of the carbs (the not good bread and the good cornbread), I managed to polish off most of the duck. For dessert, we were deciding between the pecan pie and the bread pudding - we ended up going with the bread pudding. We both liked the bread pudding. I was stuffed by then, so I only had a bite - enough to decide that I liked the Bourbon House's bread pudding better.

Flying out the next morning, I found myself very sorry to leave and definitely could have spent much more time in New Orleans. And except for the meal at Huey's, I have not had a bad eating experience - at the very least, it was all memorable.

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