First, thanks for all of the great tips I got from this board. While I tried to plan everything, of course, I had to be flexible occassionally too, but I think I got the best of both worlds: being a tourist, but trying some off the beaten path places.
The first night we were in town, we were starving after our long trip, so we headed to the French Quarter and to Acme Oyster House. I decided to start my eating adventure there because I knew it, I'd been there, and a little familiarity at the beginning of a trip is always a good way to ease into a vacation.
We got a half-dozen oysters on the half shell. I'd never eaten oysters this way, but had always wanted to try them. I wish I'd gotten a dozen! They were fabulous.
We also got a little of everything else with the New Orleans Medley (jambalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice) and the seafood platter (oysters, shrimp, and catfish). We shared. The medley was fine. Nothing too exciting and certainly not the best gumbo I had during my trip. But the seafood platter was amazing. The breading was nice and crispy; not greasy at all, and the seafood was very fresh tasting.
After dinner and a walk around Bourbon Street and a couple of drinks, we went to Cafe du Monde. Yum. Just as I'd remembered from my last trip. It's always a winner.
The next day we had a bike tour planned early, so we had to find a place for breakfast. The afternoon before, I'd tried to find Surrey's...but somehow we missed it on Magazine Street...so since we were on a schedule, we went to the Trolley Stop across Charles Street. Fine breakfast food. It's pretty hard to ruin breakfast as far as I'm concerned. The biscuits were yummy and the omlette my boyfriend got was as big as a football and delicious. And it was cheap.
For lunch, we went to Central Grocery for a Muffuletta. We stopped and got a beer and headed to the riverfront. The sandwich was great. My boyfriend doesn't like olives that much and thought that the bites with olives were too salty, but the rest of it was perfect. I like olives and thought the whole thing was great.
Dinner that evening brought us to Brigtsen's where even though it was 8:00 and we had no reservation, they sat us. The service was spectacular. At Brigsten's it seems that all of the wait staff works together so if your water needs filling, some one is right there to fill it up and we never went without attention.
My boyfriend got the roasted pork with sweet potato dirty rice. He loved it. The pork was plentiful and he gave me a slice. I must say, it was delicious. I got the seafood platter. Mostly it was good. The crab thermidor was amazing and the oyster Rockafeller was tasty. I don't remember what the other selections were called, but there was a shrimp selection that I didnt' like all that much. The sauce on top was pretty bitter...but the others, another stuffed oyster and fish with shrimp and sauce were really tasty as well.
Oh yeah, we also got an oyster and leek gratin for an appetizer. It was so good that I had to practically tie my boyfriends hands to his chair so he didn't lick the pan clean!
Even though we got a dessert menu, I had my heart set on going to the Camelia Grill for pecan pie, so I felt bad declining, but had to do it.
We had a short walk to the Camelia Grill and I got the chocolate pecan pie. Sooo sinful, but warmed on the grill with a little vanilla ice cream, it was also sooooo delicious and comforting. I was stuffed though, so I couldn't fit it all in my stomach.
As I was watching the grill though, it looked like they make some pretty good and huge omlettes. If I had another day in the city, I might have checked them out.
The next day we had scheduled a class a the New Orleans School of Cooking. We chose not to eat breakfast as the class ran from 10:00 to 1:00. We were starving by the time we ate, but the class was fantastic. I can't wait to make a roux and some gumbo! The food was delicious...from gumbo, to jambalaya, to bread pudding and pralines. All fantastic stuff and we got to see how it was made. Plus, Abita beer! For $22 each (we had a coupon), it was quite a deal.
From there, we had a tour at Mardi Gras world where we got a free piece of king cake. It was good. Just a big coffee cake with a lot of icing. Mmm. Icing!
That evening, we decided not to eat a huge meal, but grab some bar food and see some music. We ended up at Lounge Lizards on Decatur Street because they had some blues starting at 10:00. The food was alright. Nothing to write home about, but my boyfriend's beef brisket sandwich was pretty good; my crab cake sandwich was just alright. But the beer was cheap and the band was good, so it was fine.
After that, another stop at Cafe du Monde. Again, yum!
The next morning brought us to the Palace Cafe for their jazz brunch. I got the tip from someone on the board. We really enjoyed it a lot. The food was wonderful and the service was amazing.
I took the tip and got the crabmeat cheesecake as my appetizer. Oh. My. God. Delicious. My boyfriend was jealous although his bannanas foster beignets were wonderful (and I don't even really like bannanas!) I got the gulf fish encrusted with potato strips topped with poached eggs and a citrus scallion sauce. It was really, really good.
My boyfriend got eggs benedict. Instead of canadian bacon they used pork debris for the meat. This was also tasty and I absolutely love how new orleans cooking uses lots of pork debris. Mmm.
If that wasn't enough, the brunch came with dessert. I again, took the advice given from the board and got the Grand Marnier Cheesecake. Another oh. my. god. moment. It was sooo good though I could only eat about half of it.
My boyfriend got the bread pudding and he wasn't as impressed. It was good, but he thought the school of cooking version was much better.
After leaving the Palace Cafe we were so full we were practically waddling. Ok, we were actually waddling.
We walked off our brunch at the zoo. And then from the zoo we walked to Frankie and Johnny's. We decided on PoBoys here and I also got a cup of seafood gumbo. It was a much better gumbo than Acme Oyster House. And I got the crawfish tails poboy which was good...again nice crisp batter that wasn't greasy at all. I got the impression that our waitress didn't like us all that much...for no particular reason either. I mean, maybe we just looked out of place since we were tourists and it was definitely a locals place. But whatever, I was still glad to get somewhere a little off the beaten track. Plus, we got to walk through some interested areas, including Jefferson Street where we got to see some great houses.
Our final meal on Monday morning was at Mother's. Now, I had been waffling on where to go...I had a few suggestions from the board and was trying to decide the most convenient as we had to check out of our hotel before the airport shuttle picked us up at 12:30. But since I wanted to stop at the Louisiana Music Factory on Decatur, I decided Mother's it would be...and boy was I glad.
I got the breakfast special with scrambled eggs, grits, ham, and biscuits. Now, the eggs, grits, and ham were all good basic breakfast food. It's hard to ruin it and it's hard to do anything really amazing with anything that basic. So it was just fine. But, the biscuits were the best biscuits I've ever eaten in my entire life. I should have ordered four of them!
My boyfriend decided to get the ferdi special (I think the roast beef debris did it for him). He said that it was the best sandwich he's eaten in years. He also said it was such an interested sandwich because every bite was just a little different. I didn't have any because I don't really like pickles, but I trust his opinion.
So, there you have it. My eating tour. I can't wait to come back and eat my way through the city again.