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New Orleans Trip Report

Oysters, Shrimp, Beignets oh my!--Trip Report!!

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Oysters, Shrimp, Beignets oh my!--Trip Report!!

ktbear7476 | Apr 6, 2004 04:28 PM

Warning--This is LONG!
Ok so first and foremost let me say thank you. My New Orleans experience wouldn’t have been nearly the success that it was without your help. We ate a lot of food, a lot. I really felt like we got a sense of New Orleans… not just the FQ tourist view. Besides all the eat-eat-eating, we also checked out a few bars (Lafitte’s Blacksmith, the Maple Leaf, d.b.a. (which was a favorite), the R Bar, and Whiskey Blue). And yes, we even ventured down Bourbon Street on Saturday night to see some of the infamous debauchery…

Before I go into my review, let me say for the record that my best friend and I have both worked in restaurants in the past. Therefore I think we are a bit more critical than others may be, we focus on a lot of details that many don’t even notice. That being said, we enjoyed almost every meal, almost. Anyhoo, this is my review, hope it is helpful to some! And once again Thank you!!

Monday

We got into town and decided to share our first po’ boy.

Acme Oyster House
Fried Oyster & shrimp po boy
YUM!!! First time with fried oysters and they were tasty (as long as you follow the pork dumpling rule of don’t look at what you are eating!!)

Lb of crawfish
This was rather amusing. My friend Michael had to spy on the table next to us to make sure we eating them the correct way! Again, quite tasty!

For dinner we headed over to the first place I was truly excited to visit.

Jacques Imos Café-- We spent the time of our wait (hour and a half on Monday!) at the Maple Leaf.
Love it there. Love it. The servers are crazy busy and are running around, but it wasn’t stressful or disorderly. You could see the teamwork between servers, and we never, ever felt neglected. I liked that it didn’t try to be something it wasn’t. Servers auctioned off food, sometimes bringing half an order out, but again, it seemed to fit the vibe of the place.

Our appetizer was the Shrimp & alligator sausage cheesecake. It was a tad too rich for me, and Michael agreed. This could simply be a result of our East Coast taste buds. After our appy we got salads w/fried oyster. I loved the dressing, the greens and the oyster! All the flavors went so well together!
For dinner Michael had the Stuffed Catfish with Crabmeat Dressing. This was pretty amusing because after his first bite, Mike said that it wasn’t very exciting. Next bite was catfish and crabmeat and this was a whole nother experience! It was incredibly flavorful and delicious!! It melted in your mouth!
I had the New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp with Rice. YUMMY! At first I was a little scared by the little shrimp heads staring up at me but then I started to chow down and wow. I love how buttery NO bbq sauce is! GREATT!
Also with dinner we received Cornbread muffins. Michael and I devoured these despite the fact that we don’t normally enjoy cornbread muffins!

Tuesday
Beignets!! Tastes like Funnel Cake!! Big Funnel Cake! YUM!

Alright, day 2. Commander’s Palace

SHRIMP RÉMOULADE MODERNE
Boiled Gulf shrimp layered with crisp greens, spicy shrimp mousse, Creole rémoulade sauce and salted lemon zest
CRAWFISH BOUDIN CAKE
Creole mustard, smoked onions, bacon and charred chili coulis
CAST IRON SEARED GULF FISH
A warm salad of grilled asparagus, spring onions, oyster mushrooms, broiled local tomatoes and Meyer lemon vinaigrette
CYPRESS GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN
Jack Daniels corn coush-coush, smoked onions, bacon and wild blackberry-honey barbeque sauce

My entrée was superb, we weren’t too impressed with either appetizer. I have to say that the Bread Pudding Soufflé very well may be the best dessert I have ever had in my 28 years on this earth! We also enjoyed the 25 cent martinis!

For the record, I am happy that we did Jacques Imos and Commander’s back to back. They couldn’t have been more different. While Jacques was bustling and laid back at the same time, Commanders felt very tense. On several occasions servers converged on a tray that was left in the middle of the dining area as they tried, quite loudly, to figure out seat positions. We also noticed more that once a server bringing the wrong food to a table. It took at least 5 minutes for our server to come over to our table, and for the majority of our meal I felt like he was talking down to us. My friend and I both have a variety of restaurant experience, including upscale and fine dining, and we both felt that Jacques Imos pulled it off the whole dining experience better. They didn’t try to be something they were not. I know that we were hard on Commander’s, after all we did enjoy our food, we just felt like if they were going to try to portray a certain atmosphere, they service staff needed quite a bit of work.


Wednesday

Alrighty, Wednesday night, the big night I’ve been waiting for. Upperline!!!! When I called to make the reservation I spoke to Joanne and mentioned that I had heard about Upperline by way of this board.
This restaurant. Well, I could go on for days. The staff, and most of all Joanne, were a complete pleasure. I have never felt so welcome in my life. Joanne checked in on us several times through the evening and she is a big part of what makes Upperline so special.

We decided in order to get a good taste on a number of things Michael would get the Taste of New Orleans (a tasting of 7 menu items) and I’d order other items straight off the menu.
I ordered:
Crispy Louisiana Oysters with Celery Root Remoulade

Watercress, Mixed Greens, Stilton Cheese & Pecans --Divine! Loved the way the flavors flowed together!

Tom Cowman's Famous Roast Duck with Garlic Port—Oh my God!! Really, when they put that plate in front of me I thought to myself there is no way that I’ll get through that…but oh yes I did! So delicious…my mouth is watering right now as I think back! I preferred the Garlic Port instead of the ginger peach sauce that Michael got with his.

Crème Brulee- Probrably the best I’ve ever had.

Taste of NO
Duck Etouffée with Corn Cakes and Louisiana Pepper Jelly,
Turtle Soup and Andouille Gumbo

We enjoyed most of Michael’s first course, except for the Turtle Soup which we both felt was waaaay to rich. Again, I blame this on east coast taste buds.

The Original Fried Green Tomato with Shrimp Remoulade
Spicy Shrimp with Jalapeño Cornbread and Roast Duck with Ginger Peach Sauce

Michael had been waiting patiently for the fried green tomato and needless to say, he was not a bit disappointed!

Warm Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce
OMG!!! I loovvvve Bread Pudding!

This is a place where you don’t just enjoy your food. You oohhh and ahhhh and mmmmh with every bite! One of the best meals I’ve had ever and definitely the best restaurant experience (including places where the chef and staff knew me) ever.

Thursday
Mother’s
Oyster PoBoy
Ferdi’s Special (Roast beef, Ham w/gravy and drippings)

These sandwiches were crazy big and messy and quite delicious. I enjoyed my Special more than Michael’s Oyster Po’ Boy but that could also be because I was starting to have oyster backlash. (That’s what happens when you’ve never had an oyster and then you are eating them every dray!)

Friday
Alright, well here it is, the big disappointment of the week. As I said, when you project a certain image, you are setting people’s expectations….Galatoire’s did not come anywhere near any expectations...in fact, it fell far, far below.

We got there well before 11:30 because we wanted to get in on that first seating downstairs. When we came in, it took the man with the list (I’m assuming he’s the manager) a full 5 minutes to even acknowledge my existence. Finally, the hostess with the permanent puss on her face took my name. Michael and I watched in awe as the manager and the hostess were incredibly rude to almost every person waiting for a table. At one point, the hostess said to a couple, “Your table is going to be in the corner. Just so you know, because I don’t want you to complain about it after I put you there”. Wow…our jaws dropped. I have never seen a staff treat its guests this way. A little after 11:30 we were seated. We sat down to a tablecloth that was dirty, and had no settings. When we were finally given silverware, it was spotty. At this point Michael and I decided to note every detail that was out of sorts. If you are going to run a restaurant with that kind of attitude you sure as heck better be able to back it up. Our server was nice enough, he answered our questions about the menu and suggested the Shrimp Etouffee to Michael instead of the Shrimp Creole he was considering. We sat and watched the floor. It was definitely an experience to see all those old southern women decked out and socializing. Too bad our food didn’t impress us as much as the clientele.

Crabmeat Cocktail-the crabmeat was swimming in the sauce which was overpoweringly spicy.
Crabmeat Maison-In contrast, it was completely tasteless.

Drum (brown butter w/crawfish)- There was quite a bit of crawfish on top of my Drum and I was impressed by that, but too bad there wasn’t too much flavor too go along with it.
Shrimp Etouffee (shrimp Creole) Completely devoid of any taste at all. We found this particularly interesting since the server suggested this to Michael and specifically told him it was spicy.

All in all, I’m pretty sure we were treated the way we were because we were the youngest couple in the restaurant and because we didn’t have big southern hats or flowers sticking out of our heads. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite an experience and I’m sure that locals (or those that can pull off appearing like a local) will find something quite different than we did at Galatoire’s.

Saturday
Oh, our last meal in NO!

Mr. B’s Bistro
Catfish fingers
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp- I got to wear a bib! So deliciously messy! YUM! The buttery-ness! So good!
Soft shell crabs-A special for the day, Michael it enjoyed it (but not as much as I loved my shrimp!!)

So that’s all folks! Again thank you so much! Every place I picked, I found on this board! You guys rock!

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