Monday, August 14, 2006

N'Awlins Roundup!

A friend of mine is heading to New Orleans next month for her anniversary. Being as I've spent quite a few barely remembered hours in the city, she asked for my advice on things to check out while there, specifically, where to go for her Anniversary Dinner.
After some consideration, I decided to post what I sent her here as well, in the hopes that maybe a few people might take my advice and head south for a weekend or two. N'Awlins can use the support.
For your anniversary dinner, I would recommend:

The New Orleans Grill at Windsor Court. They have a "Chef's Tasting Menu" that is 5 or 6 small courses in which the waiters give you a description of each thing as it is brought out. It's between $100 and $150 per person.
If you want the wine pairings (5 3/4 glasses of wine selected by a Sommelier to pair perfectly with each course) it is an additional $75 each. It is one of the best restaurants in the city, but, it is in the Business District, not the Quarter. However, you CANNOT go wrong.

Some other suggestions if you want a different atmosphere, or just don't want a $400 dinner tab (can't blame you):
Galatoires: This is right on Bourbon, serves a damn fine meal, and is also a New Orleans institution. A few years ago, when they fired a waiter who had been on the staff for about 15
years (for sexual harassment) it made the front page of the Times-Picayune.
Arnaud's: Another great restaurant, right in the heart of the Quarter. There are various dining
options. You can eat either in the main dining room, or in the jazz lounge, or in the oyster bar. One word of advice; even if you don't eat there for dinner, at least go there for a drink and get an order of their Souffle Potatos. They are FUCKIN' AWESOME!
Antoine's: Another New Orleans classic. Nothing particular to suggest. Just get one of
everything.
Muriel's: This place is great. It's located on the corner of Jackson Square (you'll find it) which is on the edge of the Quarter close to the river. Even if you don't eat dinner here, go in, get a cocktail, and check out the Séance Room. Rumor has it that the former owner committed suicide in that room, and so they've decorated it in a combination of King Tut, Barry White, Marie LeVeaux, and "Queer Eye." Make sure you notice the "ghost's table" on the way up the stairs. That's where they set a place for all the ghosts to eat. Speaking of ghosts, Muriel's is listed as one of the most haunted buildings (I think THE most haunted restaurant) in the USA.

Pascal's Manale: Definitely not a "formal" place, so you may not want to go there for your anniversary. HOWEVER if you do go, you are not allowed to order anything but the barbecued shrimp for your meal. Trust me on this one. This place is not in the quarter, but it is a world famous New Orleans eatery. Lot's of celebs go there when in town. Do yourself a favor and get a dozen oysters at the oyster bar. The shucker will talk and talk and talk about the history of the place, people he's seen in there, and just about anything else you want.
The rest of my suggestions are not very anniversary dinner-y, but some places you should definitely check out:
The Praline Connection: Go to the location on Frenchman Street. Go for a snack/lunch. Order the Soft-Shelled Crawfish appetizer. This is the only place in the world I have seen such a thing.

The Red Fish Grill: This place is on Bourbon, on the edge of the Quarter. Go in for lunch/snack. Order the BBQ Oysters. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE YOU MUST GET THESE!

Drago's Restaurant: This place is in Metairie (between Downtown NOLA and the Airport). They are world famous for their Charbroiled oysters. They grill the fuckers on the half shell.

Hurwitz Mintz: This is a 4 story furniture store that offers everything you could ever want and can't afford. Red and I spend at least an hour in this place every time we go to NOLA. It's right in the quarter, and is a great break from eating and drinking, which you will do ALOT of. They have two stores there, about a block apart, one with more classic, antiquey furniture, and one with modern stuff. I prefer the classic styles, but both stores are worth checking out. While there, visit our dining table for us. It's this one: http://www.apter-fredericks.com/memorable-pieces/372.htm.

The Whisnant Gallery: This is across the street from one of the Hurwitz Mintzes. It is a neat antique store with all kinds of wild shit like a table that is upholstered with zebra skin. Worth a gander.

Pat O'Brien's: This is a VERY touristy spot, but you must go at least once. I recommend twice, to see a different flavor each time. Go during the day and sit outside by the fountain (which burns at night) and enjoy a beverage. Come back after dark and sit in the piano bar. They have two, copper covered, dueling pianos and the place is just a rockin' good time. DO NOT ORDER MORE THAN ONE HURRICANE IT WILL KILL YOU!!!!!
The Chart Room: This is just a corner bar on the corner of Chartres (pronounced charters) and Bienville streets in the Quarter. 1 block off Bourbon, this place offers great drinks, an open front so you can watch people walk by, and does so at prices comparable to local, small town establishments. Additionally, it is 1/2 block from your hotel (the St. Louis), so it is a perfect place for one of you to go get a drink and wait for the other one. Also 1/2 block from your hotel is The Old Absinthe House. They don't serve absinthe, but they have the old marble absinthe serving paraphernalia. A neat place to stop and wait as well.

Cafe Beignet: The Royal Street location is a block from your hotel. Grab a coffee and a Beignet
for breakfast then walk the streets looking for an open bar.

If you walk out to Canal street on the edge of the quarter, you can take a streetcar (not named desire, but whatever) to the Garden District. They have self-guided walking tours that I'm sure you can find some information on somewhere. The walking tours will take you past Commander's Palace (which is apparently not re-opened yet after Katrina, but definitely worth stopping for a meal when it does re-open) as well as all those beautiful old houses. Anne Rice's house is one of the one's you'll pass, if you give a shit about that sort of thing.

Court of Two Sisters: Make a reservation in advance. Go to the Jazz Brunch Buffet. I suggest getting there about 1/2 hour before breakfast is over and lunch begins so you get the best of both worlds. Order a bottle of mimosa, which is French for "I don't want to wait until noon to get smashed" and eat everything you see. Make sure you try the Turtle soup. Warning: this is a tourist destination, but, hey, you're tourists, and it is soooo good.

Be careful! You should be pretty safe in the quarter (it is full of tourists most of the time) but the quarter borders some pretty seedy places. The worst projects in the country are just outside the quarter, next to the St. Louis #1 cemetery (where they filmed Easy Rider, by the
way).

Well, that should about do it. Enjoy your trip.

3 comments:

DC Super Powers said...

You, Sir, are THE BEST.
Thanks and I do believe we'll have a SUPER time.

Super said...

Tomorrow you will have your first post-NOLA posting. And you complain as if you give ME anything to read!!!
xoxo

Burning Daylight said...

Makes me miss Nola