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A Paean to NOLA - LA Chowhound (very long post)

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A Paean to NOLA - LA Chowhound (very long post)

kevin | Jan 24, 2005 02:21 AM

So I arrived in New Orleans, for a trip a few days long not knowing exactly what to expect since I have never been to the Big Easy before. So here goes and bear with me. First of all, a couple of notes, it seems with a lot of restaurants/cafes that I went to the service was completely uncaring and surly at times, I mean come one people lighten up, whatever happened to good ol' southern hospitality. anyways, to say the least, I was deeply excited about the food possibilites in this great city.

all start of with my frist meal and work my way down from there:

Acme Oyster House on Iberville in the French Quarter;

I ordered up an oyster po' boys since they do have some acclaim in having great one, and I hard a lot of acclaim here on chowhound, it was a short hop skip and jump away from my hotel on the riverfront (about 15 min. walk away). anyways, orderec with the waitress, who wasn't the nicest of servers upon taking a seat at the bar. this po boy for the regard had bread that was tough and not conducive to a good sandwich nor was the fried oysters that great at all. what's so special about this place, it really beats me, it almost felt like a chain restaurant. it literally crushed the hopes for my first meal in NOLA.

Cafe Du Monde:

Later, that evening I stopped by at this infamous coffee and french donut house on decatur st (nice to know that's it's open round the clock 24-7). upon taking a seat, it took the waitstaff a good 15 minutes or so to get on over and take my order. let me preface this by saying that there's was a table of a bunch of DuMOnde employeees merely laying around smoking cigarettes and shooting the shit while customers are waiting patiently at their seats. I was eating to stay so the person at the reigister, said that the counter was only for "take-out orders". So waited unreaonably patiently until they arrived to take my order. I stupidly chose the frozen cafe au lait to drink and an order of the beignets. with a minute or so, the goods were fast to arrive. at least, the food preparation time is minimal. so dug in. in a nutshell, the donuts were nothing special, merely fried fritters showered in un-necesssary amounts of powdered sugar. I gueess they were still all right (but somehow those beignets creep up on you and get quite addictive, sort of like crack, to the point where I wish there was a joint in Los Angeles that has begun to sell them, but I gueess it would be better that it didn't open here, at least that way there would be something to look forward to on my next visit to New Orleans. oh, on to the frozen cafe au lait, i think someone, one of the hounds most likely mentioned this as a can't miss drink, well, it was no better actually probably worse than a frapuccino (aka crappacinno at strawbucks). i did visit dumonde a couple more times over the course of the vacation, and on my second or third visit the beignets actually got better (or grew on me) and I steered clear of the frozen crap drink, and got a nice hot cafe au lait the other times. so in a convoluted sort of way, i give this joint an endorsement. Go here at least once, it also has an undeniable character that I almost forgot to mention.

Ugelsich's on Baronne in the CBD:

I walked here from my hotel on the riverfront, up poydras, and then a simple left on barone then go up a good number of blocks and then you're there. the shack seemed like a diamond in the rough, a little restaurant without many or any restaurants in the area. got inside a little before eleven or right at eleven so quickly sat at a table and ordered. let me tell you the owner here at least is grumpy (may because he's pretty old now) but still good-natured and the younger waiter was making wisecracks every bit of the way. i ordered up the fried green tomatoes w/ remoulade sauce and shrimps and the shrimp uggie and the oyster po boy. once again the oyster po' boy was nothing special, though markedly better than the acme version. the fried green tomatoes were great with that rich sauce and the shrimps on top. and the shrimp uggie was nice but excessively oily. there's a lot of emphasis on butter and oil here. even the bread here comes already pre-buttered, darn them and their butter. just jokin. i think i ordered a little incorrectly here, it was only me dining at the joint so i was too full to order anything else, and besides it is tough to eat a full heavy meal at about eleven in the morning, while i was there the line started to build up and people bought copies of the uggie cookbook to take away. to wash my food down, i had a barq's root beer in a traditional bottle for the very first time and also a bloody mary , which i didn't really care for. if i can get there again, i'd like to order the ugglicious, the shrimp and grits, the muddy waters, the crab cakes, and the voodoo shrimp, and of course some bbq shrimp. sadly, i did not make a even a dent in the menu nor did i get the chance to visit again.

Emeril's on Tochouolipitas in the Warehouse District:

I went here afterwards (after uggie's) for dessert and coffee, nice modern surroundings. I took a look at the lunch and dinner menus but they didn't sound that interesting at all. I ordered up a chocoilate mousse roulade w/ chantilly cream, which I felt was pretty darn good. Best dessert so far in the trip. And I sat at the counter so I got about an hours long show of all the hustle-and-bustle in the kitchen and the preparation of the food. not too bad for around ten bucks.

Restaurant August on Toucholipitat in Warehouse District:

This was not my choice, I went here with a bunch of fellow conventioneers. Not good at all. A pretentious joint w/ food labeld as New French w/ the freshest Louissiana ingredients. It seemed to be mimicking the Cal-French restaurants we have here in Los Angeles, but fell short in food taste and quality. The foie gras sampler was not all that great and way too salty (give me a spago or shibucho prep of foei graes anyday over this stuff) and also the veal shortrib ravioli in saffron broth. this ravioli dish was just plain bad in addition to the fact that it felt like it was mystery meat in the ravioli rather than some high-quality goodness. didn't order dessert, and was not at all impressed. nor were the fellow colleagues.

Clover Grill on Bourbon St;

I got to admit, I saw the sign heralding "World's Greatest Burgers" and then I knew I had to stop by. I was sold by their shameless advertising. In addition, to their old fashioned "We Proudly Serve Coco-Cola" sign. So ordered up that famous 1/3 pound burger cooked literally under a GMC car hubcap. Very interesting and pretty darn good hit the spot at a tremendously later hours. Here, ironically, the waitress couldn't be any sweeter.

Mother's on Poydras and Tchouplitatos:

Ordered the famous roast beef w/ debris. It was a tasteless shamble. Except for the good quality bread and the tomato, mayo, and lettuce. the beef and the debris were purely tastless, I took a few bites and pushed my plate away. the seafood gumbo was also very boring and pedestrian. i should have got mabye the soft shell crab po boy w/ lemon butter sauce in retrospect or the corn beef or pastrami po boys which gotta have some flavor. it bests me why people wait in line for up to an hour for food this bad. oh, forgot to mention that the fries we ordered was the best part of the meal. some traditions must go.

K-Paul's on Chartes in the French Quarter:

I know, I know, you don't have to say, Why go to this touristy trap restaurant when Brighten's is just a short commute along the St. Charles line, well I had to try because my friend wanted to be in the french quarter and we got a last minute reservation. and besides i wanted to try it to so there you go. Well, let me tell you, this was by far the best meal of the trip, my blackened Gulf drum fish w/ chipotle compound butter was absolutely tremendously delicious, melt in the mouth goodness (i know blackened fish is a cliche, but it was darn good) and my friend's twin filet mignons w/ debris sauce were incredibly delicious. he mentioned it as being one of the best restaurants that he's been to. sadly, they didn't have the famous coconut cake on the menu, so we had to settle for a sweet potato pecan pie which was still pretty darn good. this place is defintitely a keeper.

Cafe Beignet on Decatur, across from Cafe DuMOnde:

Of course, I had to try the competitor and it was as good if not better than dumonde, albeit a little pricier, but just a few measly pennies more. this is more of a new age coffee shop setting than dumonde.

A&P market on ST. pteres or royal st.:

I had some great piping hot fried chicken legs to go from here. Who would have thought from a supermarket of all places?

Compac Market (foirmerly Buster's) on St. Paul and Dauphine:

Ordered up a pretty darn good shrimp po'boy fulled dressed, and when I mean fully dressed deliciously fully dressed.

I'm getting a little tired, all continute the rest of the joints shortly.

Thanks for reading.

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