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Five wonderful days in New Orleans

trishaluna | May 9, 200805:15 PM

Okay, Bostonian Chower here with my report from an amazing visit to New Orleans. My husband and I went down for 5 days, our first time. We met up with some friends from the west coast. This was their 4th trip to New Orleans so they picked most of the restaurants, which was fine with us. We absolutely loved your city and have decided that we should try to visit every year or so! What a great place!

We arrived late Saturday morning, once we got settled at our B&B, Ashton’s on Esplanade (which was great btw) we walked down to the FQ and had lunch at Coop’s. I had the fried chicken and my husband had the jambalaya. Both were great and a fantastic low-key meal to introduce us to New Orleans. We had a few beers (Abita) then walked around the quarter, got my first view of the Mississippi!
For dinner that night we had reservations at Cochon. Our friends were due in much later so this was a night out for just my hubby and I. I read about this place on the board. We had an excellent meal. I had the bouchier plate and my hubby had the fried pigs ears. We were excited to eat fare such as this since we don’t find these things on menus in the Boston area. My app was great; the plate had a pork pate, headcheese, a homemade bologna, homemade salami and homemade tasso. I’ve never had headcheese before so this was a new experience for me and I was eager to try it. It was much lighter than I imagined and had an earthy herby flavor. My husband enjoyed his pig ears. I then had the Louisiana Cochon and my hubby had rabbit with dumplings. The pork was great and my husband enjoyed his rabbit. Service was good but a bit spotty. I think our waiter was new. No biggie.

All of our breakfasts were at the B&B. Patrick the innkeeper is a great cook! And loves food and will sit and talk about restaurants and his favorite dishes. It became our topic of conversation each morning, what we ate the night before, what he likes from that restaurant etc. Very enjoyable and a great guy. His breakfasts are amazing. We had waffles banana fosters, a baked French toast with a praline topping, Eggs Sardu, Sweet potato stuffed French toast and more. It was great. The only downside was it was such a big, delicious breakfast that some days we weren’t into eating a big lunch, which cut down on the restos we wanted to try.

We walked down to the City Park, wandered around, took a streetcar and ended up at Mandina’s for lunch (per Patrick’s recommendation). We had a good lunch but the standout was the carrot cake. It was amazing! If they have it and you’re there, you have to get it. If I remember correctly, I had shrimp remoulade, the guys had po’boys and my friend had crab legs.

For dinner that night, we went to Mr. B’s. My memory is a bit fuzzy…lots of cocktails and wine. Dinner was good but a bit heavy. I think my body was trying to get used to eating so much rich food. For apps, the guys and one gal had the gumbo ya ya. My hubby was a bit disappointed with his, it had about only one piece of chicken and/or sausage. I had the wedge salad; I’m a sucker for blue cheese and bacon. My hubby had duck breast with risotto, which he said was great. My friends had the barbeque shrimp and I don’t remember the other dish. I had the garlic chicken. It was excellent but very very rich. I couldn’t believe how rich and savory the sauce was. I couldn’t eat it all. We had dessert as well, bread pudding and the chocolate molten cupcake. All very good

I think I was in a food coma the next day! Another great breakfast and then off to a plantation house in Houmas, LA. We were going to eat there for convenience but the restaurant closed at 2 (?) I was somewhat grateful because I always think the theory of any restaurant with a nice view usually isn’t good. So the gift shop lady suggested The Cabin in nearby Burnside. Off we went. Lunch was good except for the giant flying Junebug that was crawling around near us. The waitress came over and picked him up with a napkin. Ya’all got some big bugs down there! My friend and I had a very fresh catfish and my hubby had another po’boy and the other hubby had crawfish etouffee. Everyone thought it was fine but nothing remarkable. We ‘had’ to have the buttermilk pie according to our waitress so we did. It was okay. None of us have ever had buttermilk pie so we have no idea if it was a good version or not but they have the recipe printed out for you to take so I figure they specialize in it.
That night we went to Jacques Imo’s. This is a favorite of our friends and they were excited to take us there. I unfortunately was not feeling too great. I think it was a combination of eating so much good but heavy food for the past two days and too much wine and drink. Ahh, the curse of New Orleans. I didn’t really get into my meal but everyone else loved his or hers. It was my hubby’s favorite meal of the trip. Their cornbread was awesome. I got a lamb dish and it was good. Why lamb? I love lamb and wasn't feel like myself so I ordered a comfort food but I couldn’t eat much. My friends got redfish and loved it. I don’t remember what the hubby got and he’s in India right now…so anyway, the meal was great for everyone else and I would def. love to head back there again when my stomach is up for it.
So, lets see another great breakfast and then we went to Port of Call for burgers. Read lots of great things about this place including raves from our friends but I didn’t really dig it. My burger had a quarter-sized hunk of totally raw meat in it. Ordered it medium as well as everyone else. All the others burgers were fine. I had a cheeseburger and it had grated cheese all over it that was not at all melted so it kind of just fell off of it as I tried to eat it. What’s with the bac ‘o’ bits on the potato? I thought maybe they would have real bacon for the potato. Mine came covered by a mountain of day glow bits. Somewhat cracked me up. I took a picture. Our waitress seemed totally out of it and kept bringing the wrong drinks but she didn’t charge us for them so we got to sample all kinds of Windjammers, Port of Calls etc. Made for an interesting afternoon. Maybe we hit it at an off time?

That evening we had reservations at Brigsten’s. This was a place I had picked based on all the rave reviews here on the board. Our friends have never been before. It was good but I don’t think we’ll go back. I’ve been reading up on the place here and I knew that it was in a house and had a very cozy atmosphere. The service was fine; I found it odd that the waitress began taking our orders and started with my husband first. He was a bit flustered and then ordered. After she left, he apologized because he felt it should be ladies first. The service for the night was perfectly fine just a bit ‘folksy’ We’re not uppity folks or expect Ritz Carlton service everywhere I just thought that with the price point, Brigsten’s was going to be a bit more upscale, even with the cozy surroundings. Someone had mentioned somewhere on the board that they likened it to Boston’s L’Espalier which I have been to several time and consistently experienced great food with amazing service so maybe that is what stuck in my mind… The food was very good but didn’t knock my socks off. My friend and I got the tuna and my hubby got the pork (I tried to get him to have the duck but he had that the other night at Mr. B’s and wanted something different. I don’t like duck so I didn’t order it), my friend’s hubby got the seafood platter, which he enjoyed. I enjoyed my tuna, it came with some sautéed veggies (broccoli, carrots etc) and mashed potatoes. We met Chef Frank as we were leaving and he was a super nice guy. Talked to us about all the great photographs in the hallway. Overall a nice meal but I don’t think we would go back again, too many other places to try on our next visits and it was the most expensive meal of our trip. As far as price point it did not stand up. I felt a bit guilty because I had really talked this place up to my friends and I think they came away with the same feeling we did.

Our final day we had another great breakfast courtesy of Ashton’s B&B and then later on had beignets and coffee at….. Café du Monde of course. My first beignets and they were great. We shopped around the quarter and got gifts, had a nice time. We headed over to Ralph’s on the Park for dinner. This was one of our friend’s favorite places. We had an excellent meal. I really really enjoyed it. Service was excellent as well. I had the City Park salad and the blackened redfish, which was excellent! I can’t for the life of me remember what anyone else had! I was so into my meal. We really enjoyed this place. The last day we took a trip to a supermarket as well. The innkeeper recommended a place called Dorignac’s. We love to visit local grocery stores while on vacation and buy most of our souvenirs and gifts there. I’ve got to tell you, I am addicted to Crystal sauce. I am already half way through my 12 oz bottle. I’ve got to find a place that sells it around Boston or buy it online. Also bought some coffees (French Market) for gifts, different chips (Zapps etc), Tony Chachere seasonings and about 3 different jambalaya mixes. What fun!
All in all every single meal was very good in your great city! I still have a list of places I want to try and we will when we visit again. New Orleans is a fantastic city and we truly loved it. God, if I lived in your city I don’t know what I would do with all that great food around. I would have to live at the gym to work off those calories. Seriously. Thanks for all this tips here on the board, I really appreciate it.

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