I may be the only person in history to have lost weight on a trip to NOLA. Sigh. We had the most frustrating string of bad luck when it came to restaurants.
Reference.... family of 5 on an extended road trip.... in NOLA for the weekend.
Friday. It took longer than we expected to get into New Orleans and get checked into our hotel (Place de Armes.... loved it BTW). No one had eaten lunch and by 7:00 p.m. we were starving. We had a scheduled 8:30p.m. tour, but we thought.... surely we can eat in 1.25 hours and still get to our tour. WRONG! We walked up to Acme, found a line out the door, so crossed over to Felix's where we were seated at apprx 7:15. We ordered and then waited. It should have been a tip off to me that no one around us had food on their tables and that they all looked pretty miserable. We waited and waited. Our drinks eventually arrived. We ordered the house special... some sort of spiked up lemonade thing. It was nauseating; sickenly sweet and artificial tasting. At around 7:50 some shucked oysters finally showed up (our server promised our food would be right out). The oysters were fresh, but they had been so poorly shucked that there were pieces of shell and debris littered through out. Shame on them! At 8:15, fully an hour after we were seated, our food still had not shown up. We had to leave without eating. Thank God Cafe du Monde is open 24/7.
Saturday (our one good food day).
Lunch... We tried to go to Coops but a single gaming machine meant that our teens couldn't go in. Ended up at the Napolean House. Very nice lunch. Gumbo, Red beans & rice and Jambalaya all very good. Po Boy and Mufuletta nothing to write home about. I thought the Muffuletta needed more meat in it to balance out the olive relish. Introduced to Pimm's Cup. Yumm!
Dinner... Boucherie. Everything I hoped it would be. There was a crowd waiting to get in, but we had a reservation and our table was waiting for us when we arrived. The service was very good and the food was wonderful. They make a smashing Pimm's Cup (best one we had in NOLA). I had the Boudin Balls and Shrimp/grits. Delicious! Son who is a bit of an expert when it comes to mussels having eaten them all over Belgium, France and the Pacific NW said that they were some of the best he had ever had (the broth has "some delicious greens in it). Both son and husband raved about the ribs. Dessert was a bit of miss. They need to hire a good pastry chef. If I lived in NOLA, I would eat at Boucherie all the time.
Sunday.... After Mass we headed out to Dante's Kitchen for brunch. We were a bit late getting out of the Quarter, so we did not get to the restaurant until 11:20. At 11:20 there was a 1.5 hour wait!!!! Yikes! We had to get out to our Laura Plantation tour, so we could not wait. I told the kids we would eat on the road. BIG MISTAKE! We didn't really see much on the way to the freeway. Once out of town, tourist information told us that there was a restaurant right next to the plantation. CLOSED. We ended up not eating again all day. Back in the quarter for dinner, most of the restaurants we wanted were closed on Sunday night. We ended up at Mr. B's.
The minute I walked in, I thought... uh oh. My senses told me that this was the type of place that probably catered to business travelers and tourists. I was right. The food was expensive, mediocre and even bad. Both gumbos (seafood and regular) were inedible. I took three bites, put my spoon down, but was never asked by my server if I wanted something else. My two older kids liked their cheese and leek soup, but watching them eat it, I thought the soup had sort of a gloppy consistency that was unpleasant. Main dishes... two older kids had the soft shell crab. They liked the crab, but the crab was served on some sort of corn concoction that my 16 yr old son graciously pointed out was NOT a good pairing for the crab. My 15 yr old daughter just gagged when she tasted it. To be fair, my husband liked his crab ravioli. I ordered the BBQed shrimp which everyone says is the must order dish. Now I'm an experienced eater. I've eaten things that most people would not get within 10 feet of. I'm no shrinking violet and I enjoy tucking into food. However, this BBQed shrimp was ridiculous. It came with every thing still attached to it (head, legs, shell) and it was served in a deep wide bowl full of sauce. I don't know what the problem was. I've shelled plenty of shrimp in my day... maybe they were over-cooked, but these shells were not coming off for love or money. They tended to break up in small pieces in my hands and by the time I was finished shelling, I was up to my wrists (literally) in sauce and I felt like I had participated in some sort of Grecco-Roman wrestling event. I was fuming! The shrimp tasted pretty good, but they were ABSOLUTELY NOT worth the effort. Dessert was pedestrian at best. In the end, our bill was $200 (we did not have wine) and we had had a boring, if not bad meal. I was beside myself because I had so wanted to eat good food in NOLA.
Anyway.... once again praise for beignets and Cafe du Monde. Also for Pimm's Cup, our new found summer cocktail. All in all, we loved NOLA and I can't wait to come back with just my husband. Hopefully we will have better luck with food next time.