Nov 29, Friday ~ Lunch Booty’s. I had shrimp tacos, others had the banh mi and the Asian salad bowl (?); the guys shared Fish 'n' Chips. Decent but nothing was a standout, and it was a bit too cutesy, hipster-y for me. Spacy waitress. Montouri, in retrospect I know what you mean by hit n miss service. The two cocktails that I tasted (daiquiri and whiskey/ginger variation) were sort of weak and small, although the espresso liqueur milkshake number with a pecan on top was pretty and creative. I thought it was going to be more of a dive, not a pretend dive?
I would choose Maurepas over Booty’s, as I mentioned in kevin's earlier posting about the NYT article.
Post Booty’s, we took the C of C Creole tour and it was great. Stopped at Marie’s bar for some nice strong drinks and met Guitar Lightnin' Lee. One of the trip highlights since Lighnin' was singing along with the jukebox version of his own song. Good strong drinks, and nice vibe at Marie's.
Dinner: Rio Mar was a rather weird but interesting experience. Both the restaurant and the separate bar were nearly empty. Before we could even get to our seat in the sparsely decorated, almost grim, bar (we specifically told in the reservations that we wanted the $5 tapas and half price beer/wine HH special), the hostess made it very clear that we would not have “service.” I was not offended that we would have to get up to order, BUT it was very unwelcoming of the staff to “call that out” as soon as we walked in the door. As it turned out, we had very nice service from the bartender and the waitress. It was later explained to me (by someone smart with a very sharp hat) that RM caters to convention center crowd so they purposely separate the bar and restaurant to control noise.
So, although the ambiance was odd, our re-united family of five craved some privacy after such a busy few days; the awkward "aloneness" of the bar was actually refreshing and much needed. We ended up in giggle fits about mispronouncing ‘ceviche’ – lovingly invoking a New Orleans method of botching up foreign words, even “dates” got a different accent. Also, we discussed karaoke strategies. We are weird in that way.
The ceviche was wonderful (two orders), we loved the grilled octopus and fried oysters as well as those stuffed dates. The wines and beers were excellent although sort of a shame that there were ZERO Louisiana beers on tap? Very very reasonable for our party of 5 and we were nourished after a long bike ride. (Our hotel had free cookies so that always helps!)
Kajun’s was our final destination of the night and it was great fun. We are told the hamburgers are great (thank you, montouri) but did not try them this visit. Our drinks were strong and delightful and we all did at least one karaoke number before midnight. The grilled cheese scarfed down by a friend looked more than passable. Super smoky bar, Bob did not like the acoustics, but I loved the diversity and verve of the crowd.
Nov. 30, Saturday ~ Lunch La Petite Grocery. Warning: La Petite only serves brunch menu on SUNDAY. Saturday is a traditional lunch with a couple of single egg dishes but no waffles or multi-egg dishes. I did not do my research well and a couple of us were very disappointed. The young visitors found it quite tasty, but I must say it was *not* the “out of the park” experience I had envisioned. The trademark savory beignets – that lovely waitress Nicky extolled -- were a bit too sticky and cheesy for my taste. Might go back for dinner, but given ALL the great Magazine St. choices I would probably go elsewhere.
We walked up Magazine to La Divina Gelateria, the Bourbon/Pecan gelato was decadent – buttery, huge portion with enough pecans to keep me guessing.
For dinner, we ditched the young adults and went just the two of us to Herbsaint --and it was the best of my three experiences @ this spot. We got some special treats from Miss Rebecca sitting at the bar! Sanglier, thank you once again for the introduction @ Peche. Honored.
Bob had the fricassee rabbit pasta which was a standout; I was clearly needing some veggies because I had the spicy greens salad, a cauliflower delight (w/pancetta, cheese?)-- and then she sent out a snappy little broccoli dish topped with fried catfish. Top notch, everything had a hint of heat but not overpowering.... and you will note a nicely done rye old fashioned in the accompanying photo. They really do it right, and all three of our wait staff at the bar were super friendly and helpful.
Overall, for this trip Sylvain and Herbsaint and Peche were the standouts -- alongside a wonderful home made Thanksgiving feast. [Did I say that two Bayona cooks were at our T-day meal?]
A real estate discussion will begin soon -- but hopefully I will not bore the CH boards with that issue, gauntlet or no. Thanks Chowhounders. Sending best wishes from freezing California; it was a wonderful trip, particularly for two NOLA newbies and my Bob who had only been once before.
P.S. Still need to report on: Satsuma on Maple, Domenica, and Mother's. Merchant and MiLA were covered on my 12/2 post. I really wish Marti's had been open on Monday -- that is my one big regret of this trip. Oh well..