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Trip report

Hackenbush | Jul 3, 200405:31 PM

Just returned from our usual summer week in NO and will be fitted for new pants when time allows. The weather was warm, but really only uncomfortable one day and the expected daily shower did not disappoint. The crowds were beginning to arrive for Essence week so the timing worked well because reservations were easy. One good thing about summer is reservations are a little easier to get.

Sat: plane arrives at 8 and we’re in Mr. B’s at 9.This is our usual 1st night meal since we love it and it’s only a block from our accommodations. Sazerac, gumbo YaYa and pasta jambalaya are as good as ever and the wait staff treats bro in law extra nice when they find out it’s his birthday. I skip dessert (at least the ordering part) but end up eating the better half of the better halves’. We take a stroll down Bourbon for some blues and beer.
Sun: Commanders Palace- my wife’s favorite. Although I’m not a fan of the stiff linen in general, it’s one of my favorite places also. The jazz brunch was great. We were seated downstairs and the trio seemed to spend most of its time there. There was some dancing by the wait staff that I hadn’t seen when seated upstairs. The extra room and a few large parties helped. Started with a shrimp remoulade (slightly too much emphasis on the mustard for more than one of us) and a great pecan crusted drum fish. It was outstanding. We ordered four different desserts so we could all sample something different and I liked the praline parfait most of all. The bread pudding was up to it’s usual standards. The negatives, in my eyes (and it was only in my view, no one else seemed to notice) were that I thought the service was a little slow. I know a Sunday brunch wouldn’t be something to be hurried through but it seemed unusually long before our food orders were taken. The computer system was down which backed up some of the reservations, perhaps there was a connection. The drinks selections were taken as soon as we were seated and there was quite a gap between our drinks and food orders.
Mon: Café DuMonde at the request of the couple who were departing that day. It seemed a lot cleaner than when we visited last year. It looks like they’ve done a little painting or trained the birds to stay away. We shopped a bunch and stopped at Acme Oyster House for lunch. It wasn’t too busy (the line was 20 or so later in the day) and the shrimp po boy+ Abita hit the spot. I needed a break so little wine, cheese and crackers from Vieux Carre' Wine worked for me.
Tuesday: the better half had liked the looks of the Pelican Club on our walking the day before and we made resv for dinner. This is one restaurant we haven’t visited previously and I liked the openness of the room and the “whimsical” (her words) artwork. We had dinner at 6 and I opted for the filet mignon with a tomato and mozzarella appetizer. I was born and bred in NYC and IMHO it’s tough to match the NY for mozzarella but the Creole tomatoes made up for it. The spouse had a goat cheese salad which had some roasted red peppers that she didn’t care for but I thought was the best thing on the plate. My filet was perfect and the wife’s lobster was 1-½ pounds (we took a good portion home) and cut so there was no muss no fuss but we had, sort of, the opposite situation of Commanders. The service was attentive to the point where when we had taken the last bite of our entrées, they handed us our dessert menu. The room was only about half full so I know they weren’t rushed and we didn’t linger.
On the curious note, the clientele was at least 90% female. There were only 3 male diners in the place during our meal.
Wed: we had been to Brigtsen’s on one of our previous visits and looked forward to returning. We had early resv (5:30) and left our hotel (two blocks from the St Charles streetcar) at 4:45. We didn’t get to the restaurant until 6pm. I was able to call and they were accommodating but we were seated at the last open table. I was glad I called. I started with a Creole tomato salad, which was a little light on the tomato (3 small pieces) considering they are in season now. My wife and I both had the panned chicken and I thought it was the best meal of the week. Even thought we both ordered the same thing, the plates were not identical (which I thought was great). One had more beans and the other more snap peas so we did a bit of trading with the veggies. I jumped on the dessert wagon again and the lemon icebox was outstanding.

Thursday: The wife wanted to revisit Commanders and I could say no. Well I could have but I usually regret it. She has accommodated me often during the past visits so I could pass up Jacque-Imo’s this time around. Another lunch, this time overlooking the patio. The bloody mary was much more spicy this time around and the cosmos go for a quarter. Sunday’s bloody was a little bland but this was up to par. We each had a salad, she the veal and myself the onion-crusted chicken. I got to eat an entire praline parfait this time around. The only place I eat dessert is in New Orleans.
In order to counterbalance the second trip to Commanders I went to Coop’s for dinner. I was actually in search of the Yankee-Red Sox game but I had had a burger their before and, for bar food, it’s not bad. The jukebox had a solid hour of Frank Sinatra going and Frank, the burger, and the Abita all got along well.

Friday: we have 5pm flight so we go homeless for a few hours, pick up some last minute French Market stuff, throw away a few dollars at Harrah’s and revisit Mr. B’s for lunch. We stopped here after checking out the Palace Café and not finding anything that attracted the both of us on their menu. I like the atmosphere at Mr. B’s. It’s a little noisy, classy and yet very relaxed. The shrimp salad was great, nice large shrimp.

Let the dieting begin till next year
Larry in San Diego

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