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Restaurants & Bars 4

Montana's, Fiorella's, R&O--longish

Junior | Apr 20, 200301:58 AM

I was just in New Orleans for the French Quarter Festival. Due to my playing schedule and the amount of time it took to get from the Quarter back to the parking lot, then to my motel in Kenner, I didn't get to eat much in the Quarter proper.

I arrived on Apr. 8 and drove to my old stomping grounds in Bay St. Louis. Montana's in Gulfport had always been one of my favorite restaurants and I was looking forward to having their BBQ/Seafood buffet. The quantity of items has been reduced and the selection has been changed since I last ate there (1999). The BBQ was not as good as I recall, but the catfish, crawfish and boiled shrimp were just fine.

In New Orleans on the 9th, I had Community Coffee for breakfast, Popeye's Red Beans and Rice for lunch, then a very good oyster po'boy at Fiorella's for dinner. (I visited the Houston area on the 10th and posted that info on the "Texas" message board).

The first day of the French Quarter Fest, I had three jobs to play. Because of that, I only had time to gulp down one quick meal between sets--a small cup of Mike Anderson's Crawfish Etoufee, from one of the FQF stands. It was just as good as I remember. That night, I had an oyster po'boy from the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company on Vets Blvd. It was good--and quick (drive through service).

The standout meal on Saturday, 4/12, was a carryout roast beef po'boy from Russell's Short Stop on Transcontinental (at Airline). I wasn't able to get to Parasol's on this trip for one of THEIR roast beef po'boys, but Russell's was excellent. I also had a small cup of their jambalaya, made with turkey sausage. Delicious.

Sunday the 13th I had the continental breakfast at the hotel, missed lunch because of my playing schedule, but went to a sit-down dinner at R&O in Bucktown. The last time I went to R&O, about 1999, the food quality was disappointing. But I decided to give them another chance. I'm glad I did! When I walked past the happy diners chowing down on lasagna, spaghetti, pizza and po'boys I just about started twitching, since the food looked GREAT. I settled on the old standby--oyster po'boy. It was possibly the best I have had anywhere, anytime. Oysters fried to perfection, crunchy and juicy at the same time. Finely-shredded lettuce, plenty of pickles and a toasted bun. If the restaurant had an "off" period, it must be in the past, as the place was jammed and the diners seemed to be very content.

I finished off the trip with one last cup of Community at the CC's Coffee House in Metairie and Fiorella's Red Beans & Rice. Together with Mother's and the cafeteria at Louis Armstrong Int'l. Airport, it's one of the best plates of RB&R I've had. I also took a Central Grocery muffaletta home to the Mrs. Thankfully she was willing to share it. What a world-class sandwich!

Now I'm looking forward to my next (food)trip to dear old New Orleans...

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