Still thinking about my fabulous weekend in New Orleans. What a great city. I've already got a long list of things to do/see/eat next time.
One of these days I'll write up a more detailed recap of the trip, but for now here are the highlights.
Thanks to all you hounds who provided great tips and recommendations!
FOOD (in chronological order)
Bayona -- awesome lunch. The smoked duck sandwich is a candidate for the sandwich hall of fame. Indescribably delicious. Forgot to ask them what they put in the dressing for the apple celery salad that comes with it - anyone know? If you think you're too full for dessert, get the petits fours. You'll find room.
Casamento's -- may be worth a trip for the "décor" and cast of characters alone! Impeccably fried, greaseless oysters.
Lagniappe Guest House -- wonderful breakfasts (guests only) - banana pancakes, perfectly cooked bacon and the best scrambled eggs I've ever had (Helene's secret is Tony Chachere's seasoning mix). 1925 Peniston St., 800-317-2120 www.lanyappe.com
Southern Candymakers -- An homage to the pecan. Pecan brittle that should cause peanut brittle to hang its head in shame. Delicious glazed pecans (and I don't like that kind of thing). And the turtles ... yum! 334 Decatur, 800-344-9773
Tee Eva's -- go go go to this little pie/snowball stand a block or so from Casamento's. At $2 a pop, we should have sampled all the mini pies she had, instead of only the sweet potato pecan and cream cheese pecan. Both amazing. Let me repeat -- cream cheese pecan. Sort of like cheese cake or cheese danish on the bottom, pecan on top. And the mini pies provide a great crust to filling ratio. Wish I had one right now. 4430 Magazine St. And, amazingly, at http://tee-eva.net Cute website -- "Sorry we can't ship you a snowball."
Uglesich's -- remember that it's not open for dinner. We forgot. :(
Mother's -- Get the Ferdi's po boy (but you knew that already) and skip the gumbo and the pecan pie. Make sure the napkin holder on your table is full before you dig in.
Café du Monde -- had a good time watching the guys make the beignets. Go around back and peer through the window.
Dry Dock in Algiers right by the ferry station -- great muffaletta (this from the girl who hates olives). I admit that it's the only one I've ever had, but my friend Elizabeth said it was better than Central Grocery's. They heat a bit so the cheese melts and the roll is toasty.
Roadhouse Café -- the bleu cheese salad that Mike C. raved about was really good, though I wouldn't recommend going out of your way for it if you're not in the neighborhood (near Tulane and Loyola). Shrimp and crab claw gumbo was delish - better than Mother's by far.
NOT ABOUT FOOD
I definitely recommend visiting New Orleans at Christmas-time (especially if you luck out with 70-degree weather!) -- it's not too crowded, and they do a great job decorating for the holidays -- houses, street lamps, trees, skyscrapers, even construction cranes (one had a huge lit-up Santa dangling from it).
The Historic New Orleans Walking Tours garden district architecture/cemetery tour was really great -- lots of info and sites packed into about 2 hours for $14. www.tourneworleans.com
Saw Jerry Lee Lewis at the House of Blues. Yes, he's still alive! However, he is 65 and is reportedly quite frail. I was preparing myself for something like the old fat Elvis -- maybe dottering, forgetting words, wavering voice -- and when he slowly walked on stage, his back curved over like an old man, it seemed like my fears were going to be realized. However, once he got to the piano he was pretty amazing -- belting them out and banging the keys (tho he only played for about 40 minutes). If you have a chance to see this rock and roll legend, don't pass it up.
If you've got a few hours to spare and you've never seen a swamp, the Jean Lafite Park is a great excursion. Algiers is a nice detour on the way back to the city. The view of the underside of the bridge is very cool.