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Locals, recommend me some food!
June 16, 2009 9:57 AM   RSS feed for this thread Subscribe

I'm deeply excited about going to New Orleans for the first time, and while there's no shortage of awesome NOLA eateries listed on the internet, I wonder if those mefites familiar with the city have any tasty treats they feel they should recommend. My Yankee blood is cold and bitter, but my tastes are catholic; I will literally eat anything that is edible. What should I cram down my gullet?
posted by Greg Nog to New Orleans, LA at 9:57 AM (49 comments total)

Parasol's is a tiny pub in the Irish channel. It's the site of the big St. Paddy's party as well as being the place for some of the best po-boys in the city. I like the roast beef, but the shrimp/oyster one is famous too.

The Creole Creamery is my favorite place for ice cream in the city. It has tons of original flavors of house-made ice cream. It's fantastic. They rotate their flavors, so you never know what's going to be new each time you go, but my favorite flavor so far has been cayenne lime butter.

The Coffee Pot in the Quarter is good for breakfast or lunch/dinner. For breakfast, I like the pain perdu (a type of French toast) or cala cakes, which are essentially fried spiced rice balls. They serve breakfast cocktails, too. For dinner, I prefer their gumbo over most of the other menu offerings (and over a lot of other gumbos as well), though the red beans and rice is good and hearty, too.

If you get a hurricane while you're here, make sure you get one made from juices, not from a mix. It really affects the flavor and quality of the drink (though the ones made with mix will get you drunk just as quickly).

Luke is a bit more fancy. Sort of a German/French fusion, the mussels are supposed to be really good. Ask to be seated near the back to watch the chefs cook in a glassed-in kitchen. The crab ravioli is amazing.
posted by Night_owl at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2009

This will be my third trip....I'm looking forward to a debris po'boy at Mother's and the pecan waffles at the Camellia.

Glove Box (the anti-Zagat) has put out an edition of Hungry? Thirsty? New Orleans, but I haven't looked through it yet.
posted by brujita at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2009

The best list of New Orleans suggestions that I've ever seen has come from MetaFilter's own Chuck Taggert. The man is simply a genius.

I would add to his list: Luke, Cochon, and (careful, I'm about to suggest an Emeril restaurant here) NOLA. All of them are quite popular, and I'd suggest reservations at each.
posted by ColdChef at 1:09 PM on June 16, 2009

I am told that beignets are like fried dough, only done correct and WAY better than at the amusement park. It will be my first time to New Orleans, too, and I'm also a New Englander with shrivelled taste buds.

Anyone have any good nutria recipes?

posted by not_on_display at 9:58 PM on June 16, 2009

with all due respect, i'm not much on the chuck taggert list posted by cc. you can find a list of restaurants by neighborhood or by cuisine from new orleans' own snooty critic tom fitzmorris.

taggert ignores places like elizabeth's, juan's. cafe atchafalaya, lago, cafe rani, the joint (for bbq), venezia (pizza, italian) and dozens of other really good eateries where you can go in wearing shorts & flip flops, eschew reservations, and get great food at decent prices. and with even more due respect, frankie & johnny's went downhill years ago, camillia grill is a tourist trap, and my experience with ye olde college inn is that it sucks.
posted by msconduct at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2009

msconduct speaks the truth. (and actually, Chuck LOVES elizabeth's, it's just not on this list).

The truth is: if you had two weeks, you couldn't eat at all the wonderful places you'd want to try. The problem will be in limiting your choices, not in a lack of.

(But if you want the snooty recs anyway, feel free to email me.)
posted by ColdChef at 8:33 AM on June 17, 2009

(And as a contrast, when Frankie & Johnny's is ON it's fantastic. When it's off, it's meh. And I haven't been to Camillia Grill since the hurricane and I'd be surprised if Chuck really has.)

Want to make yourself hungry? Check out Chuck's Flickr set. It's half LA and half L.A. Warning: don't look at it before lunch.
posted by ColdChef at 8:40 AM on June 17, 2009

Camellia is pretty good. Granted, I didn't live here or go before the storm, but they have decent food and it's fun to eat there. Maybe a little overpriced for a shabby diner place (burgers and fries for two ends up being nearly $20) but you do get pretty good service and tasty food and sometimes, conversation with the people who end up sitting next to you.

Also, I forgot to mention the Trolley Stop. Their prices are cheap and they're open late. I recommend them for if you're still hungry and need something to sop up the alcohol in your system after the Saturday night meetup.
posted by Night_owl at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2009

would also suggest coop's place ("Where the not-so-elite meet to eat"), more for atmosphere than great food quality (altho the stuffed japalenos are marvelous). i was looking for a link for fiorello's which i obviously didn't find when i came across this: a little dated for instance, i think tee eva's is closed now : ( but nice selection along with accurate & succinct descriptions. they also recommend cheap places to drink. if anyone's into that i mean.
posted by msconduct at 10:29 AM on June 17, 2009

This is all fantastic, so far! Thanks, everyone!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:08 PM on June 17, 2009

Coop's is my favorite too - it's a bar with really great food. They serve late and I found it originally by asking bartenders where they go. Get the amazing jambalaya that comes with a side of some of the best fried chicken I've ever had.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:26 PM on June 17, 2009

Boucherie makes an amazing bread pudding out of . . . wait for it . . . Krispy Kreme donuts.
posted by liketitanic at 4:00 PM on June 17, 2009

posted by CunningLinguist at 4:30 PM on June 17, 2009

Okay, so I want to go to Boucherie. Now.
posted by ColdChef at 5:24 PM on June 17, 2009

well, they're not open sunday. if anyone wants to go for lunch friday or saturday, i'm game.
posted by liketitanic at 7:02 AM on June 18, 2009

That's very odd.... I happen to have a recipe for KK donut bread pudding.
posted by Night_owl at 9:13 AM on June 18, 2009

Okay, my damies, I have roughly seven meal-slots to work with here, and my tastes trend toward greasy and cheapish (I spent this past weekend in New England eating lots of fried seafood and mayo-doused lobster-rolls, if that's any indication of the kind of thing I love). I've taken a look at all your deeply fine, incredibly helpful suggestions, and have been turning things over in my head.

So I'm gonna think out loud, sorta. Everyone can take a look, and people who know these restaurants can kinda jump in and tell me if I'm making good or bad decisions. Other tourists from the FROZEN NORTHERN WASTES (or from other parts of the nation), can also jump in and say whether they really wanna go to any of these places I'm listing, and I'll be happy to try to arrange a schedule so that we can all go and be outoftown chumps en masse.

I will be down with eating things for the following meals:

Friday Lunch
Friday Dinner
Saturday Lunch
Sunday Lunch
Sunday Dinner
Monday Lunch
Monday Dinner

I'm particularly intrigued by:

Their taste plate looks like a great combination of awesome crap (Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, Cajun Fried Chicken, Red Beans & Rice with Sausage, and Rabbit & Sausage Jambalaya) that's like, five meals in one. Also, drinking.

I am hella intrigued by the Krispy Kreme bread-pudding, which they only serve for dinner, looks like. And they're closed on Sunday and Mondays, as liketitanic pointed out. So: dinner at Boucherie? Friday Night? If peeps are getting together for cocktails after that, we could just head straight from culinary boucherie to internet doucherie, yes?

The Joint
Because I love ingesting the flesh of beasts, this barbecue place looks wicked solid. They are not open on Sunday at all, and on Monday, they're only open for dinner. So maybe Saturday lunch here?

Juan's Flying Burrito
This place looks like it has AWESOME looking Creole/Mexican food. Is this correct. Let me know if this is correct. I started reading the menu, and then I stopped suddenly, like when you realize the review for the movie you're reading about contains spoilers, and all of the sudden you're like, "Oh dang, I wanna see this, better leave some mystery up ins!"

The Ferdi special Po' Boy looks amazing. Since I'm mainly going there for one sandwich, perhaps I could do this in conjunction with one other place. Like, Mother's followed by the Creole Creamery?

See above, but for the Gravy & Sausage Po' Boy.

Central Grocery

I hear Muffulettas are good. Is this a reasonable thing to do? Will this mark me as a tourist? Do I care about that? Probably not if I'm eating a sandwich!

I'm also a little bit intrigued by Elizabeth's for brunch. How are the wait times there? If I show up for a lazy Sunday brunch, would I have to deal with like a two-hour wait while every other person gets they Bloody Mary on?

Also, Creole Creamery, which I could wedge in as a post-meal snacky dessert snack. It's closed on Sundays, looks like. I'm mighty intrigued by the Tchoupitoulas Challenge, but given that my time and blood-sugar-rationing are precious, maybe I oughtta skip that.

Also, in my defense, I'm usually not a really type-A Planning Priscilla; I just want to make sure I hit up some great food I ain't ever had before. My most terrifying nightmare is that I'll be surrounded by delicious fried oysters and sauces and crawdads and magic, yet because of not thinking it through, I find myself sitting in a hotel lobby at noon, staring into space, morosely chewing on a Clif bar.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:03 AM on June 22, 2009

I'm happy to make a rezzy at Boucherie if we can get between 5-10 people, so MeMail me, friends.

Juan's is really good, yes, but I don't know if it's ONLY IN NOLA GOTTA GO good. It's, you know, fancy Mexican.

You could do Mother's and Creole Creamery, but they're not really close together, so you'd need to drive or take the streetcar (Prytania is a block off St. Charles) because Mother's is in the CBD and CC is way uptown (between Napoleon and Jefferson somewhere).
posted by liketitanic at 7:30 PM on June 22, 2009

Also, eff the tourist concern and get a muffaletta at Central Grocery.
posted by liketitanic at 7:31 PM on June 22, 2009

ALSO also, instead of CC I'd go to La Divina Gelateria (one in the Quarter, one near Juan's) or Sucre (near Juan's) for gelato. I have been to CC and it's ok, but nothing special.
posted by liketitanic at 7:32 PM on June 22, 2009

I have to stop looking at the menus. Otherwise, I won't want to eat anything until I can have THOSE RIGHT NOW. I've already decided that I must eat at Mother's and Coop's. I plan on gaining at least 10 pounds from food and drink over that weekend. But that's OK, because I figure I'll sweat out 20 pounds of water.

Thank you for this thread. I intend to spoil myself with other people's cooking and then come home and practice and practice until I get the recipes at least close enough to not be embarrassing.

I can't make any other plans for certain at this point, unfortunately. We should have WiFi and I will probably send a cell phone number to whoever wants or needs it when the day gets closer.
posted by lilywing13 at 11:47 PM on June 22, 2009

"I hear Muffulettas are good. Is this a reasonable thing to do? Will this mark me as a tourist? Do I care about that?"

It's a damn good sandwich. I waited in line for one the last time I was in LA, and I'll wait again this trip.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:13 AM on June 23, 2009

Thanks for the feedback! Sucre's macaroons look like they're off the fucking chain, so I think my plan might be to get Juan's for one meal, followed by a dessert of gelato and macaroon at Sucré.

And yeah, let's say Friday evening dinner at Boucherie! Should I start a dedicated thread for that, you think?
posted by Greg Nog at 8:23 AM on June 23, 2009

I made one, Mister Nog. Check it, friends.
posted by liketitanic at 8:38 AM on June 23, 2009

respectfully submit angelo brocato's as a good alternative to creole creamery. (i'll admit, though, my opinion of creole creamery might be tainted by its association with mckenzie's, which i never got.)
posted by msconduct at 10:06 AM on June 23, 2009

I went to CC last night, and picked up a scoop of strawberry jalapeno cheesecake (tasty, but not enough jalapeno flavor) and a pint of fresh mint with chocolate chunks (really, really damn good) and I cannot imagine having the chance to stop by and passing it up. They've also had their molasses oatmeal cookie for awhile, and that one is starting to become one of my favorite flavors. Please, please don't miss it. Maybe stop by before hitting up the meetup on Saturday?

Also, I can verify that CC is indeed open on Sundays, from noon til 10.
posted by Night_owl at 3:54 PM on June 23, 2009

Can't you people see that our differing takes on Creole Creamery are tearing us apart?

On the strength of this debate alone, I will try it, so that I may plant my flag in one of these camps. Of course, that won't stop me from going to all kinds of other gelato joints.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:38 AM on June 24, 2009

greg nog = peacemaker amirite?
posted by liketitanic at 9:56 AM on June 24, 2009

The only way to solve this is by having an all-day gelato crawl.
posted by casarkos at 4:36 PM on June 25, 2009

I'm watching "Man vs. Food" right now at Mother's, and the goddamn barbecue shrimp look AMAZING.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:23 PM on July 3, 2009

Yeah, well, you could eat for at least a weekend JUST at Mother's.
posted by Night_owl at 5:05 PM on July 4, 2009

My final restaurant hope list -

Royal Sonesta Hotel.
Bourbon House.
The Old Coffee Pot Restaurant.
Elizabeth's Restaurant.
Palace Cafe.
Deanie's Restaurant.
Mimi's In the Marigny.
Joey K's

We will certainly be at Mimi's Friday night.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:03 AM on July 16, 2009

Hey, y6 (and anyone else) -- what would you think about brunch at Elizabeth's on Saturday or Sunday?

This is my map so far; yellow signifies possible lunch, purple signifies possible dinner, light blue signifies dessert! Of course, I'm flexible on times of day, as any time is a good time for eating time.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:10 AM on July 16, 2009

Either would work for me. Elizabeth's is the one restaurant my wife asked to go to. So we may spend a bit of time poking around there and taking pictures. But it's a must.

Sunday might work better.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2009

Hmm. Elizabeth's looks good (maybe for Sunday) and it seems like the crowd opinion is leaning toward's Mimi's on Friday, but we weren't going to get a car...maybe I need to rethink that...
posted by cabingirl at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2009

I'd be totally down with Elizabeth's on Sunday for brunch!
posted by Greg Nog at 11:29 AM on July 16, 2009

*a tiny, wistful tear rolls down EmpressCallipygos' face

Oh, Greg. I am so very, very, very jealous, and have so many ideas. Even though I'm not a local...

* This may be borderline "tourist", but The Gumbo Shop may be worth a stop. It's enough of a "thing" that people would be able to tell you where it is.

* The last time I went, in February, the very best red beans and rice I had the whole time I was there was at this hole-in-the-wall place called Igor's on St. charles Avenue, where the meals were dispensed through a literal hole in the wall. Igor's actually was a bar which had a restaurant next to it; I went to the back room, and found that they had a woman who looked to be about 92 working in a galley kitchen, and sitting in front of the galley kitchen was a guy who took people's money in a cash box. This was during Mardi Gras, so they only served 3 things. Red Beans and rice was one, and was phenomenal. It's on the regular menu -- check it out.

* There's a seafood place in the Quarter called Felix's that I went to twice -- once because a cop recommended it to me, and the second time because on my first visit, I had been utterly fascinated by the vibe in the place. For all the world, it felt like if Katz's Deli had had a twin restaurant, and the two baby restaurants had been separated at birth and Felix's grew up in New Orleans and Katz's in New York.

* This isn't a restaurant or a meal option, but it's food-related: there is a bookshop on Toulouse Street in the Quarter called "Kitchen Witch" which specializes in new and used cookbooks, and in used CDs and vinyl albums. It is run by a couple who have become dear friends of one of my friends; they have a great selection and are also generally cool people. Also, should you need it, about two doors down from them there's a small "internet cafe" (read: a storefront with some computers in it and a Mr. Coffee in the corner) run by another guy who was cool in the "insane in the best way" fashion.

In general: yes, a muffeleta is good. I prefered the one in Napoleon's, because they toasted theirs, but that's a personal quirk. Be warned that a single "whole" muffeleta at the Central Grocery will feed about five or six people. The line for beignets will be long no matter where you go.

And I am jealous.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:47 AM on July 16, 2009

"I'd be totally down with Elizabeth's on Sunday for brunch!"

Let's work out details at the main meet up. I'll be the short bald fat guy with the beautiful sexy wife.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:09 PM on July 16, 2009

My final restaurant hope list -

That is a thorough and, ultimately impossible, list. I wish you luck with it.
posted by ColdChef at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2009

It is impossible. Especially since I need to work in my central grocery sandwich.

Current plan, with days -

Friday - Mother's, Mimi's In the Marigny.
Saturday - The Old Coffee Pot Restaurant, Joey K's, Deanie's Restaurant.
Sunday - Eat, Elizabeth's Restaurant, one of - Sonesta, Bourbon, Palace

I'll be hurting on the plane back. But other than the meetup the *only* thing I want to do in NO is eat eat eat. I could likely hire a driver for the weekend with the money we'll be spending on cabs. And I don't care. One doesn't get to eat in New Orleans often enough.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2009

I think I'll have to be hitting Mother's for Saturday lunch just based on those barbecue shrimp. I won't be down that early on Friday. Anyone want to join, lemme know -- I should be in for drinks at Mimi's Friday as well, so we can talk plans.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2009

Mother's on Saturday sounds like an excellent plan. I should be at Mimi's tomorrow night, too, so I'll talk to you then!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2009

posted by middleclasstool at 2:28 PM on July 16, 2009

I was sold on Elizabeths by these two words:

praline bacon

I'll just let that sink in. It seems to be on the breakfast menu, but also in various dishes later in the day. And as an appetizer.
posted by batgrlHG at 3:46 PM on July 16, 2009

Also I should say right now, if we don't mingle a huge amount with folks it's going to be due to y6's scheduling and the recovery time needed - I'm imagining we're either going to be dead and asleep very early, or ridiculously full of food. Last time y6 did New Orleans he ate roughly 6 times in one day, much to my amazement/horror. (I blame that for the crawdads in the mail incident. I really thought he could easily polish off 30 lbs of them. Er, over a few days. I sorta didn't think out that he'd need to cook em all at once.)
posted by batgrlHG at 3:54 PM on July 16, 2009

y6, swap Joey K's (greasepit and not that good) for Ignatius. I know whereof I speak. I live 10 blocks from Joey K's and keep trying to like it but it's exceptionally mediocre.
posted by liketitanic at 7:46 PM on July 16, 2009

Took Jessamyn for poboys at Parkway Bakery for lunch. Then, Tizzie and I went for cocktails at the Swizzle Stick bar in Loews. Both excellent so far.
posted by ColdChef at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2009

I doubt anyone's on here now who's in town, but is there any good cheap sammiches to be had near the Pelham? Either with wifi or a Mefite?
posted by middleclasstool at 5:23 PM on July 17, 2009

So I wrote up a little recollection of most of the food I ate, and it's posted here.

I tried to keep the review non-mefi-specific, since other friends of mine wanted to read about what I ate, and I didn't feel like going into a big digression about "So then ColdChef ate this banana sandwich, and ColdChef is this completely awesome dude, and while he ate his sandwich, he told this hilarious story about taking tizzie, whose real name is Anne, and who's also totally cool, to see the strip clubs the night before, and the story involved this facial expression he did that was maybe the funniest thing I saw during the entire trip, but I can't really describe it, and man you shoulda been there." So it's just focused on the food, not the splendid company I was lucky enough to keep as I was eating it.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:02 PM on July 22, 2009

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