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Quick trip report from BA visitor

bbulkow | Jun 22, 201508:44 AM

Here's a quick rundown. We're a couple who travels a lot, including long weekends about 4 times a year in random places (literally, we roll dice). In a long weekend you have one large meal, and lots of "stop and get a bite". In San Francisco, I like Commonwealth, Flytrap, Cockcomb. I eat tasting menus and enjoy them. I spend more time in the south bay eating chinese, indian, and japanese.

* Stayed in Bywater. About 1 mile from frenchman's street, and we relied on rented bicycles, cabs and uber, and our feet to get around. We walked the mile from frenchman to bywater several times a day.

* Elizabeth's. Around the corner from where we stayed, thus the simplest morning food, and very good for that. Ended up brunching here when we couldn't get a reservation anywhere else, and happy with it. Eggs Cochon, some kind of strange sweet rice balls, fried green tomatoes where I finally "got it".

* Markey's. Neighborhood bar. Nothing special but food till 2am which is great when you're coming from the west coast and usually on a late schedule. Great burger. Don't know how it compares to other great burgers in NOLA, but I love a good burger and price performance was excellent at a local spot.

* Bacchanal. Started off friday evening here, what a great atmosphere, and the wine was pretty good too. Felt like a real new orleans place - not the white tablecloth place - because it was mostly locals unwinding after a long week.

* Bootie's. Coffee house, very trendy, stumptown was only "ok".

* Other places within a few blocks were Red's Chinese, where the menu looked pretty interesting, Oxalis, which wasn't open, Frady's for PoBoys, Bud Rips for being a bar, and walking to Mimi's. Nice neighborhood to be based for neighborhood stuff.

In french quarter bars / food:

* Arnaud's French 75: Tried to go twice, but the bar opens at 5:30pm. We often like a cocktail in the late afternoon when travelling. Wish yelp was more accurate about opening times of bar vs food (no separate category).

* Laffitte's blacksmith. HOPELESSLY overrun with young college age hetrosexuals. Fled in terror.

* Lafitte in Exile. Cool welcoming gay bar. Typical poorly mixed coctails. Would not recommend.

* Absinthe House. Just fine. They take care with their drinks even though it's not super fancy coctailing. Would recommend.

* Cafe du Monde. Long line on a sunday. Waited half an hour for poorly made misshapen junk. Go at 2am like locals do, not on a sunday morning. I had great beignets during jazz fest, but it was probably 4am.

* Central Grocery. Bought a whole sandwitch for the plane. Great move.

* Clover grill. Wanted to try because my local new orleans restaurant had a "clover tribute burger". Not sure why their burger tastes better, but it's a fine burger in the cooked-from-frozen category. Worth a stop only if you're very interested in burger history.

In other news:

* Fancy-(ier) food. Should have booked about Thursday or Friday for a saturday dinner, there was some available but then it booked up. Not sure what was "in town" (there was a pride thing) or if this was normal NOLA summer. Ended up at Patois. Very pleasant place, quite a few cajunish dishes, but left with a "hm, I bet there's a lot better in NOLA", and not a feeling that food was specific to new orleans, although solid. Would not recommend to a limited-time visitor, although I bet I would be there often as a local.

* Po-boy from Liuzza's by the track. This was normal-to-style but they messed up my order because I wanted the highly regarded BBQ Shrimp and got a Regular Shrimp. Still the glory of the po-boy as a concept came through. I could have easily existed on nothing but po-boys.

* BBQ oysters. We didn't eat 'em, even though we love oysters. So much time, so little food. Also, we have a strong BBQ oyster thing on the west coast ( Marshal Store on Tomales Bay ). Next time.

* Crawfish. Didn't eat 'em. We ended smack-dab in the first week of crawfish season in Houston last year and ate up-to-our-necks crawfish. Again, so much food so little time.

* District, on Magazine St. This was a moment of despiration because we were bicycling to the garden district and it was the first day and I hadn't acclimatized. The "nitro cold brew" here was EXCEPTIONAL. This place is part of the california-invasion of the Root people, I understand, and I wouldn't recommend it generally. For nola locals, there's a long thread on the SF board asking if people are tired of District-type places, and it's a LONG thread.

I'm sure I'm missing a place, but that's a good synopsis. Our next trip will be to Boston, and I’ll be at a loss for the styles we really have to eat. Boston has NO real native cuisine, compared to NOLA where we had to cover MULTIPLE local food forms in very few meals. NOLA was hard simply because of the wealth of styles, and strength at both high and low end (I presume strength at high end, I ate strength at the low end).

Frady's One Stop Food Store,
NOLA Poboys,
Killer Poboys at Erin Rose,
Mimi's In the Marigny,
Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar,
Liuzza's by the Track,
French 75
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