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Highway 61 Road Trip Part 2: Louisiana & New Orleans (long)

PeterB | Nov 3, 2009 07:25 AM

This is part 2 of our recent Blues Road Trip from Memphis to New Orleans down Highway 61. You can read part 1 on the South Board. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664338

Rolling out of Mississippi into Louisiana we targeted St. Francisville as our lunch stop. We stopped at the Magnolia Café which is in a charming old house. We both enjoyed a soup and sandwich combo with a spicy shrimp poboy and a cream of broccoli soup. Both were delicious and we were excited to be getting ever closer to New Orleans.

We arrived in New Orleans mid-afternoon where two of my wife’s best friends were meeting us for the ladies’ reunion and their first visit to New Orleans. As a huge fan and frequent visitor to the city I was happy to be a tour guide. You always have to get something to eat once you arrive, so after checking in to our French Quarter hotel, we went to Stanley for a snack. Stanley is right on Jackson Square and is a nice bright room. We had Bloody Marys, gumbo, fried oysters, and salads. Off to a great start. That night we went to K-Pauls. I had only been once, back in the ‘90’s, and none of the ladies had been. It was great. I had my first Sazerac and it was perfect. We shared the fried green tomato with shrimp remoulade appetizer, which was awesome. I had the stuffed blackened pork chop which was incredible. Stuffed with cheese and cooked perfectly, every bite was great. They served it with a stuffed baked potato that was equally delicious. This is not the restaurant to go to on a diet, but it is a great place to go for bold flavors. Two of the ladies had the signature blackened drum and my wife had a stuffed soft shell crab. Amazingly, we ordered dessert, which turned out to be the best of the trip. We shared the bread pudding and a special carrot cake muffin with an amazing frosting along with good chicory coffee.

There was a great coffee and breakfast place close to the hotel on Ursulines called Croissant D’Or Patisserie. Mostly a neighborhood joint, it’s in a former Italian ice cream parlor. Beautiful tilework inside as a setting for the coffee and pastries. For lunch the next day we went to Green Goddess. I was surprised at how tiny it was but the food was great. The ladies had salads that they loved. I had a crab duet, which had a pepper cooked and stuffed with crabmeat as well as crab salad on a slice of watermelon. Fantastic. I imagine dinner there would be great. That evening we had our best meal of the trip at Cochon. Cochon lived up to all the positive reviews I had heard about it beforehand. We started with wood-fired roasted oysters, fried okra, grilled shrimp, and paneed pork cheeks. The pork cheeks were unbelievable. Imagine bacon crossed with pot roast. Two of the ladies had the cochon au lait as their main plate. Our semi-vegetarian had the oyster blt. I had the special which was pork loin crusted with mustard. We also shared smothered greens and shrimp eggplant dressing as sides. Fabulous. For dessert we shared mud pie and a special custard. Respectable, but not as good as K-Pauls desserts. We all agreed that we would come back to Cochon in a heartbeat. And in some cases order the same thing.

The next day we started with beignets, café au lait, and fresh orange juice at Café du Monde, the first time for our guests. It remains a great experience. Lunch that day was at Napoleon House. Sandwiches for the ladies and a Pimm’s Cup and red beans and rice for me. OK food but a fantastic atmosphere in such an old building. That afternoon we took the St. Charles streetcar out to the Garden District and explored Magazine St. We popped into La Divina Gelateria on Magazine St. for an afternoon snack and some delicious gelato. That evening we went to Maximo’s on Decatur, near our hotel. Not everybody realizes how good the Italian food is in New Orleans, but Maximo’s delivers. We started with the prosciutto plate and fire roasted shrimp. We all had different mains: house-made ravioli (Pansotti), grilled filet mignon, pasta pesto with grilled scallops on the side (a special request cheerfully honored). I had the crawfish diablo: crawfish tails in a spicy garlic green onion cream sauce. Again, all delicious. We split a tiramisu for dessert which was quite good.

Our guests had to head to the airport early the last day but we were able to linger and enjoy one last lunch before leaving. We chose Café Amelie on Royal, recommended by a friend who lives in the French Quarter. It is a delightful garden setting and the food is great. They also had an interesting absinthe menu. We had bloody mary’s (hey, it was our last day!) and shared a roasted beet salad. My wife had a catfish sandwich and I had a muffaletta. Excellent. This was our first trip back to New Orleans after Katrina. Everyone thanked us for coming and we had a great time. Can’t wait to go back.

Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
416 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA

La Divina Gelateria
3005 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Stanley Restaurant
547 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA

Cafe Amelie
912 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Croissant D'Or Patisserie
617 Ursulines Ave, New Orleans, LA

Green Goddess
307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand
1039 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Maximo's Italian Grill
1117 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

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