My wife, 16 yo daughter and I spent 5 nights/4 days in NO last week, and thanks to you all probably had the best sustained eating experience of our lives. Everything we ate was at least very good, but here are some highlights in chronological order:
Fried soft shell crabs at the Bon Ton. We caught Bon Ton for a rare Saturday night dinner availability for our first meal. Turtle soup and crawfish gumbo were also exceptional as was bread pudding. Crawfish four ways was, I'm afraid, too much of a rich thing and I would not order it again.
Jazz Brunch at the Palace on Sunday was not only one of our two best meals, but was an incredible bargain at $16-18 for a three course meal. We were more in a breakfast than lunch mood, and starting with a crabmeat cheesecake appetizer,wound up having the three best breakfasts of our lives--the pain perdue with praline sauce, the eggs benedict over homemade muffins and debris and the sunnyside eggs topped with bacon and served over homemade hash. We took the white chocolate bread pudding and grand marnier cheese cake back to our rooms for a late afternoon snack.
Dinner @ Crepe Nanou yielded the best lamb chops (w/bernaise) I've ever had as well a some very tasty sweetbreads and a sinfully yummy chestnut puree dessert crepe. Before dinner we had driven through Celebration in the Oaks and it was a knockout.
Went out Monday to pick up a roast beef po boy from Johnny's and an oyster/shrimp combo from Acme. Former was super, but unfortunately the latter really needed to be eaten on the spot and wasn't near as good an hour or so later. Monday night we had an early show to catch at Snug Harbor so we warmed up leftovers in the microwave augmented by excellent seafood and chicken & andouille gumbos we had picked up at B & C deli right near Laura plantation (great place to stop if you're touring Laura). As good as any gumbos we've ever made--real Cajun cooking. After Snug Harbor show we wandered down to Cafe du Monde for my daughter's first beignet experience--she's now a confirmed addict.
Tuesday, I tried to get into Mother's at 11:30 am for a take-out ferdie, but the line was just too long. Made it back earlier on Wednesday, and the whole family got ferdified. Must say, though, that the roast beef po boy at Johnny's was just as good and a couple of bucks cheaper. We "made do" with a post swamp tour stopover at Angelo Brocatto's where the gelato and cassata were bellisimo (IMHO the tiramisu, while good, is not up to star quality. Tuesday evening was Brigtsen's, and although we had some super dishes (my daughter gobbled her tournedos with blue cheese quennelles w/o offering us a bite) I was vaguely disappointed. The seafood platter turned out to have the same problem as Bon Ton's crawfish combo--too many somewhat similar tastes. My wife's fish w/sauce was very tasty, but for $26-30 per entree I was looking for something to blow my socks off. Ended on a excellent note, though, with the "banana bread" pudding and chocolate cake for dessert.
Final dinner was early New Year's eve at Galatoire's. I was somewhat trepidatious about this one, especially since we reserved (upstairs), but it turned out to rival Palace as our best meal. From the turtle soup through crab sardou, souffled potatoes and eggplant, creamed spinach and whiskey banana bread pudding everything--service, food, atmosphere--were top of the line. When we ordered our bottle of wine our server nonchalantly put a glass in front of our daughter, so she was able to partake of the excellent Chateau Graysac medoc as well. Without reservations the wait would have been unbearable, and none of us could discern any advantage to downstairs. Maybe being New Year's Eve was an equalizer as we were mostly among locals upstairs. After catching Big Al Carson (quite the R & B belter) at the Funky Pirate, we ended our night at midnight on the bank of the Mississippi devouring more beignets and cafe' au lait and watching the fireworks. And we still had a Central mufuletta to soothe us on the plane flight home on New Years Day. What a town! Thanks a million, chowhounds!!!