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Restaurants & Bars

4 Days in New Orleans Roundup

clairelizabeth | Dec 15, 201411:04 AM     10

My husband and I recently escaped from frigid Toronto for a long weekend in New Orleans. This was my 3rd visit and Adam's 5th, so in preparation we scoured and lurked on Chow boards, read up on recent reviews, and made lists. Lots of lists. And then - apart from carved-in-stone dinner reservations - we kind of threw plans to the wind and relaxed.

Here's where we ended up.

Thursday afternoon/evening:
We walked from our inn in the Marigny over to Coops to share the taster platter (gumbo, shrimp creole, jambalaya, rice, fried chicken) and quench our thirst with couple of Abitas (Amber and purple haze)

Walked off the snack through the Quarter and around Frenchman Street to check out who was playing through the weekend.

Hopped in a cab to dinner at Peche. I love, love, loved the atmosphere and energy at this restaurant. We ordered everything to share, and our eyes were slightly larger than our stomachs, but I regret nothing. Smoked tuna dip and BBQ shrimp to start. Braised Drum fish (reminded me of the Vietnamese dish Ca Kho To, fish braised in a clay pot) and grilled fish with greens and mushrooms, with a side of roasted brussel sprouts. We had wicked cocktails to start and then a couple of nicely balanced whites by the glass. Waddled back to the edge of the quarter to amble through the absurdity of Bourbon Street before hitting a couple of bars on Frenchman.

We were up unusually early to get a hearty breakfast at Cake Cafe (http://www.nolacakes.com/). Omelette with crab, brie and spinach for Adam, eggs, boudin sausage and cheesy grits for me. We're not really breakfast people, but everything was amazing. Highly recommended.

The early breakfast was strategic: we'd signed up for a Cocktails of New Orleans bike tour (http://confederacyofcruisers.com/new-...) that began at 10:15 am. Promising 5 drinks in 3 hours, we needed to eat first! The tour was excellent, and it covered some places we had been to before, we learned a lot. To wit: NOLA's oldest fitness club also has a great bar (of course it does!).

After biking, and a bit buzzed, we decided to embrace the day-time tipsy cycling opportunity. We kept the bikes and pedalled over to Bacchanal in the Bywater for "snack". One massive cheese plate and an order of stuffed dates later, and our plan to follow up with BBQ at the Joint was shelved until Saturday.

For dinner, we headed across the city to Brigtsen's (thanks for the suggestion, Chowhounders!)and were welcomed into one of the back dining rooms by the chef. Still a bit full of cheese from the afternoon, we skipped the Reveillon menu and went for classics. Sweetbreads, BBQ shrimp - I could not get enough of them - a seafood platter and gumbo. Pretty sure we eclipsed our weekly recommended sodium intake in one meal, but it was completely worth it. The service was lovely and each dish was excellent.

We hopped back on bikes to pick up a 1/2 Muffuletta from Central Grocery and a couple of beers from Sidneys, picnicked on the bank of the river and watched the boats go by.

After a visit to the Backstreet Museum (go! it is amazing!) we pedalled back into the Bywater to The Joint. We shared a platter with ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage, backed beans and coleslaw. And each had a massive stein of day-glo orangey pink rum punch. The ribs were some of the best we'd ever had, anywhere, and the pulled pork was amazing. Were I to go back, I'd get the potato salad and the mac 'n cheese as sides. But at the time, a hit of vitamin C from the coleslaw was much needed.

For dinner we headed back to the Riverbend to Clancy's. It was busy and bustling and fun, but we were seated at a table in a deserted room upstairs. Slight buzzkill. However, they make a mean negroni and we did our best to strike up a good rapport with our server (which... kind of worked, eventually). Adam had the fried oysters with brie, followed by veal with crab, and I had BBQ shrimp with grit cake, and the lobster risotto. Both starters were great, and Adam's veal situation was delish. The risotto was decent, but not really memorable. We liked it and will definitely go back, but we'll try to get a reso on the main floor.

Sunday we took it a bit easy:
Adam was heading to the football game, so we walked over to the stadium, picking up Irish coffees (one iced, one hot) from the Erin Rose along the way. He had an alligator sausage at the game, and I grabbed a fried oyster po-boy at Tujagues bar. Also picked up another Muffuletta for the flight home on Monday.

We met up at RBar for beers and a snack, before heading back to Coops for more fried chicken and jambalaya for supper. There's nowhere to get good jambalaya in Toronto, and we wanted one last fix before heading back to the freezing north.

Throughout the weekend, we also drank like champions. I'd be happy to post a quick list of where we sipped, if there's interest - this post is already too long, and I tried to keep it food-focused.

Thanks again to the whole NOLA Chowhound community for your suggestions and insights. We're already plotting and planning our next trip to your lovely city!

Cake Cafe & Bakery

Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits
Brigtsen's Restaurant
Central Grocery and Deli
The Joint
Clancy's Restaurant
Erin Rose ua
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