Restaurants & Bars

New Orleans

October Trip - Second Half (Long Again!): Sid-Mar's, Upperline, Coop's, Elizabeth's, Napolean Mufaletta's, Irene's, Quarter Scene

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October Trip - Second Half (Long Again!): Sid-Mar's, Upperline, Coop's, Elizabeth's, Napolean Mufaletta's, Irene's, Quarter Scene

LazySusan | Oct 28, 2004 11:08 AM

Wednesday began the second half of the trip, when moved from our hotel in the CBD to the Quarter. Since it was the last day we’d be around the corner from Mother’s, I ran out and got us each a one plain biscuit with jam and butter and one debris biscuit. As you can tell, I have become very fond of debris – In my opinion, whoever invented it should be canonized.

We took a day trip to Kramer for the Zam swamp tour – got a chocolate shake from Clover grill for the car ride. After the swamp tour, we went to Trudy’s, a local place recommended to us by our swamp guide. I was looking forward to trying some classic fried seafood po-boys. I got two half-po-boys – one shrimp, and one oyster. The shrimp was passable, and the oyster was much too fishy for me. I couldn’t make a judgment on the oysters, since I don’t usually eat them, but Richard didn’t think they were very good either, so that was disappointing, though the people there were very friendly and interesting, and they had good root-beer.

We drove back to town, and had quite an adventure trying to find Sid-Mar’s in Bucktown. There was construction everywhere in that area, and every time we tried to turn down a street we thought would take us through to the restaurant, we found it blocked. With persistence, we finally reached it. It was just around sunset, and it was lovely to take a little stroll toward the water and the boats.

We asked the waitress for recommendations. I had the corn and crab bisque which was nice, and for my main dish, I had the soft shell crab/fried shrimp platter. The soft-shell crab was more like stuffing without the shell – this was nice, but a little too rich to stand alone, in my opinion. The shrimp was nice and fresh. I thought the food at Sid-Mar’s was very nice, but not incredible. Next time I come to town, I will have to try again to find the ultimate seafood place. It may be that I’m just not a real “seafood person”, but I remain hopeful.

Thursday:

Thursday morning, more café and beignets with Richard and another friend of ours, and some driving around various neighborhoods, with a later stop for coffee at CG’s on Esplanade.

Thursday evening, we cabbed it to Upperline. We didn’t have a reservation, but we had called ahead to check how busy they were. The owner greeted us graciously, and we were seated immediately.

I really loved this place. It was just the right size, neither too sprawling nor too cramped. There was a fun selection of art, collected by the owner herself, on the walls. The waiter was friendly and helpful. We had a sazarac and mint julep to start. I had delicious sweetbreads and great oyster soup, and we shared a foie gras. (Yes, we went a little crazy on appetizers.) Richard had a tasting menu, so he got smaller tastes, but a wide variety. He had fried green tomatoes, turtle soup, gumbo, and jambalaya for apps. We both liked the soups very much, while the fried green tomatoes were just o.k.

I had the duck with peach sauce and garlic reduction (the waiter brought both sauces, even though they weren’t both on the menu). I thought the duck was very good, Richard thought it was a bit dry. I had pecan pie for desert. I’m a little baffled at the pecan pies I had in New Orleans, and asked the waiter about it. I thought perhaps they used a different kind of karo syrup, as each of the three times I had pecan pie, I was surprised at the blandness. The waiter listed the ingredients, and they sounded exactly the same as what we made at home. So perhaps it’s just the proportions.

Friday morning, I had coffee and quiche at La Marquise, which was very pleasant and almost empty. Much as I love Café du Monde, it was nice to have a little peace and quiet.

Later that day, we had a comical wild goose chase for a “gumbo fest” that I found listed on Gambit Weekly. After getting thoroughly lost a few times, we finally figured out that it was a church function, and had to have a good laugh at ourselves over that.

Hungry as all heck, we stumbled into Coops for dinner. Obviously, everything tastes better when you’re hungry, but I think I would have enjoyed the meal we had at Coops under any circumstances. We had some beer, and I ordered my first Boudin with mustard. Yummm! We had jalepino poppers with horseradish sauce (sauce was great – poppers – so so). I had the Chicken Tchoupitoulas (forgive spelling) and Richard had the taste plate, which had a bit everything on it. I thought overall, it was good, satisfying, hearty eats.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at Elizabeth’s, another high point. I loved this place. Folks were waiting outside, but since we were willing to share a four-top with two other patrons, we got seated right away.

My “main” breakfast order was just so-so, -- eggs atop some buttered French bread with some cream sauce over it, ham and potatoes. But we also ordered tasso stuffed merleton, which was fantastic! I wanted a whole meal of that --- and of course, whatever drug they were on when they invented praline bacon should be doled out to everyone in this country. Divine! We ended the debauche with lemon chess pie, which was also fabulous - tart, sweet, and rich! I was sad to hear that would not be open Sunday. If they had been, we would have been back for sure!

Later we had Pimms at Napolean house and split half a mufaletta. This was the warm variety, quite a bit different from the Central Grocery version --- but I thought it was quite nice in its own right.

We didn’t have a reservation anywhere on Saturday, our last night in New Orleans, but stopped into Irene’s to see what the story was. The maitre d’ told us there would be an hour and a half wait. We were fine with that, as our B&B was nearby and the game was on. I asked if we could call and check on the status of the list, and was assured that they would have the table when promised. Unfortunatley, when we returned an hour and a half later, we were informed it would be at least another half hour. This annoyed me, since I had asked specifically about this. But we went off to Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith and had some drinks. When we got back, Irene herself apologized to us and we were seated.

We started with some decent bruschetta – and Richard had some nice Chianti. No wine for me as I was already a little to sloshed from my previous imbibing. Richard had the corn shrimp chowder which was quite nice, and I had Caesar salad. My entrée was lamb chops with garlic mashed potatoes. I think lamb chops always run a danger of being dry and boring. These were not, they were moist and cooked perfectly, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Richard had some nice crab cakes. For desert we had a Baked Alaska and some bread pudding, both were fine but not extraordinary. Overall, we enjoyed Irene’s very much.

The waiter at Irene’s suggested Quarter Scene for our last breakfast in town. We went there and thoroughly had a wonderful time, more for the friendly staff and charming atmosphere than stand-out food. There was good coffee, and perfectly decent breakfast fare. I had eggs, pancakes, sausage and a biscuit – but my favorite part was being presented with a huge pumpkin to decorate. We were made very welcome by Jude, Randy, and Mel – who were all delightful.

We hadn’t planned on Irene’s or Upperline – so they were nice surprises --- and we never got to Uglesich’s, Mandina’s, or Mandich’s – all of which I had planned for. But now e have an excuse to come back again soon. Thanks to all of you Chowhounders for the great info and advice!

Susan

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