Just returned from a very brief trip to New Orleans for work, (I've been there several times pre- and post-Katrina) and had one of the best times of my life. Flew in on a Wednesday and headed to Jacques-Imo's with three friends, sat outside with Jacque himself (the weather couldn't have been more perfect), and had stellar alligator cheesecake, cornbread, and cajun boulliabase...plus plenty of Abita strawberry lager.
Next morning, I swung by Stanley for breakfast since I was told I had to try it out. Sat at the bar, ordered Eggs Stanley (scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, and Creole home fries), and have to say that it's the first time I didn't reach for the S&P shakers for eggs, and the potatoes were perfectly seasoned. At $15, it was a tad expensive for a plate of eggs and a cup of coffee, but I live in NYC so I wasn't caught off guard
Spent the day out in strawberry country for work, then headed to the Thursday farmers market under the Mid-City park...picked up some fantastic bread from Graison Gill and creole cream cheese from Mauthe's Dairy...highly recommend going there for those two things alone.
Met up with friends at a pizza joint Uptown (where my friend I was staying with lives), and while I can't remember the name of it, it was the one with the bacon, basil, and roasted garlic pizza...addictive stuff!
Drove over to the Bulldog's Mid-city location for a glass of Abita's cask-poured Jockimo IPA...great bar and even greater beer. Drove to Esplanade and Frenchman, and walked down the strip, coming across a taping of HBO's "Treme", then proceeded to the Spotted Cat for some Miller Lite and listen to Miss Sophie Lee sing a song or two with her band. Not the best I've ever heard, but she was fun no less. Then drove to Vaughan's in Bywater, and although put-off at first by the number of Sunday-dressed, touristy-looking white people, was more than pleased when Kermit Ruffins showed up. The man can play the trumpet like no other, and I was fortunate enough to be standing literally at his elbow all night long. We even bonded over the fact that we both still use a cheap eMachines computer from 2003 that runs Windows 97. Whoever the woman he had with him who was singing (his wife? just bandmate?) sang a rendition of "Summertime" that will never be topped. After about three Abita strawberry lagers in, and during Kermit's break, we grabbed some of his red beans and rice that was set out at the bar for everyone to take. Don't know if it was just because I was drunk or what, but that was some of the best red beans and rice I've ever had...didn't need any hot sauce though I poured plenty on it. Finally drove to the Quarter for a nightcap at Lafitte's Blacksmith bar, my new favorite bar in the city.
The next morning, I had to leave too early for a proper meal and settled with coffee and an orange-cranberry muffin from my friend's next-door coffee shop. Drove out of New Orleans on way to eat more great food in home state of MS, but hated to leave it behind. With more trips like this one, I may never go back home.
8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118