Returned from my first trip to N.O. Here are my culinary notes and other random thoughts.
I was all set to go to Brigtsen's for dinner during the week but found out they were closed for their summer vacation during my stay!
Monday dinner: After looking at a few menus on Decatur (including French Market Cafe and River's Edge), we settled on Cafe Maspero. The price was definitely right ($12 for their fried seafood platter and $8 for their jambalaya), but the food itself wasn't anything to write home about. Final bill including tax and tip was $26.
Monday after-dinner treat: Dessert included the first of many stops at Cafe Du Monde (the flagship location at Jackson Square) later that evening. The beignets reminded me of the yew jow gwai (fried bread) that is typically served with Chinese rice porridge, except that the beignets are much sweeter and yew jow gwai (which I can get in my SF Bay Area home turf) doesn't typically go well with coffee or as a dessert! My wife isn't a coffee drinker, but she took a sip of my cafe au lait and became hooked. Final bill for two orders of beignets, milk, and a cafe au lait came to $6.
Tuesday breakfast: Went to Cafe Beignet on Decatur at Ursulines. My wife had the french toast (pain perdu) and I had a bagel breakfast sandwich. Neither was especially noteworthy, but it was on the way where we wanted to go (and it was behind our hotel). Final bill including beverages and t/t was about $18.
Tuesday lunch: Picked up half a muffaletta from Central Grocery. My wife and I both loved it and would pay another visit later in the week! Total damage was a little over $6.
Tuesday dinner: Ate at Coop's Place on Decatur at Ursulines. It looked like a dive, but don't let that fool you! The food was excellent. We had the Coop's Taste Plate and the shrimp remoulade salad. I especially liked smokey flavor that permeated the jambalaya. Final bill including t/t was about $28.
Tuesday after-dinner treat: The second trip to Cafe Du Monde. This time, my wife had a cafe au lait to go with mine, and we only got one order of beignets. Including a can of coffee to take home, this trip to Cafe Du Monde came to about $9.
Wednesday breakfast: Went to Cafe Beignet again, but only for a cafe au lait, juice, and scone. The scone was quite a bit smaller than what I'm used to. The tab including t/t came to $6.
Wednesday lunch: Took a midday break from the D-Day Museum to walk down to Praline Connection #2 on South Peters. We didn't realize that this P.C. was lunch buffet only ($10.95 per person), so we didn't have a chance to sample the chicken livers, fried pickles, and other delicacies. Nevertheless, we especially liked the fried chicken, fried fish (didn't know what kind of fish, but it definitely wasn't catfish), and mustard greens. For dessert, they had bread pudding, king cake, and peach cobbler. Unfortunately, I was so stuffed I couldn't try any dessert!
Wednesday dinner: Went to the Marigny Brasserie on Frenchmen at Royal. Started off with the foie gras du jour, which was very good. I had the smoked ham osso bucco served over beans. It was good and very earthy & homey. My wife had the daily fish, which was exceptional. (I forget precisely what kind of fish it was, except that it was a white Gulf fish that starts with the letter T.) We topped it off with a chocolate malt ice cream. While the food was wonderful, the service could have been a little more polished--water glasses were not refilled and the ice cream had been sitting around in the kitchen and began to melt before it was served to us. Final bill was $75 including t/t.
Thursday breakfast: Went to Croissant D'Or on Ursulines near Chartres and had an apple croissant to go ($1.20 including tax). Very good and terrific staff; I would be back the next morning.
Thursday lunch: Had another Central Grocery muffaletta again today, but split a whole one this time around for about $11. (Urp!)
Thursday dinner: Went to Silky O'Sullivan's on Decatur at Bienville. Since I didn't have a po'boy yet, I tried their shrimp po'boy, while my wife had the pulled pork platter. The po'boy was overflowing with shrimp, but the pulled pork was greasy--grease was literally flowing out of the tray. The food was otherwise decent, but nothing special. The bill was $24 including t/t.
Friday breakfast: Stopped by Croissant D'Or for a cafe au lait and a ham & cheese croissant. Enjoyed both items for $5.
Friday lunch: Out in plantation country and ate at the Sonic Drive-In in Vacherie, and I'll leave it at that.
Friday dinner: Went to Mike Anderson's on Bourbon. While the description in the phone book sounded good, it turned out to be a Class I tourist trap. My wife and I shared the broiled seafood platter and shrimp remoulade, neither of which were remarkable, except that there was plenty of shrimp in the shrimp remoulade. For $44, we definitely could have done better elsewhere.
Friday after-dinner treat: Our final stop at Cafe Du Monde before heading home the next morning. Two cafe au laits and an order of beignets for $5.50 including t/t.
Whew--so there you have it! We'll definitely miss the muffalettas and beignets. I don't know when I'll be back in N.O. again, but next time I'll try to make it when Brigtsen's is open!