Eat It or Skip It: New Orleans Eating – The Verdict

February 1, 2011

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Eat It or Skip It? We’re here to tell you.

Here’s the Flavor Junkie round up of all the eating we did in New Orleans.

Acme Oyster House – We had a plate of raw oysters, they were nice enough and we tried the famous Char-grilled Oysters – which started out OK, but the longer they were in front of us, the more pungent the cheese (Romano?) sprinkled on top became…and simply covered the taste of the oysters themselves.  The best thing we had?  The Boo Fries – crispy golden french fries topped with cheese and the most flavorful brown gravy you’ve ever tried.  If they had a takeout window, I’d get an order every night on my way in from partying….so I guess I should be grateful they don’t! *smile*

New Orleans is an oyster city – so don’t waste your time standing in line for this place.  Though if you’re walking by there isn’t a wait and you have a craving for gravy-fries…feel free to stop. *smile*

Verdict:  Skip It!

Mother’s – a famous ‘dive’ if ever there was one.  This is a place I had some really amazing memories of….but that is where the amazing stops – in the past.  Went back to get the Ferdi Special Po’ Boy – a sandwich stacked with their own Baked Ham, Roast Beef, Gravy and (my favorite) Debris- the burnt ends of the roast beef that fall off and get mingled in the fat and juices…yuuuumm-yy!  But despite my memories of killer Mother’s Po-Boys past….this one was ‘eh’.  The Debris was still incredibly tasty, but everything else–the bread, the roast beef, the ham–were all lacking and when eaten together damped down the deliciousness of the debris.  I ended up stripping everything off my sandwich – including the top part of the bread – except for the Debris, so I could at least get to enjoy that one glorious taste. And that is no way to dig into a famous Po’Boy.

Verdict:  Skip It!

Cafe Du Monde – The most famous of the oh-so-many famous places in New Orleans – and it is worthy of its reputation.  The coffee is strong and creamy, the beignets are light and crispy and arrive in a cloud of sugar that puffs and sprays as you take a bite…and the slightly worn-and-crumbling building is boisterous and filled with people having a great time…morning, noon and night.  It would be worth a visit even the food wasn’t this good…but I’m so happy that it is!

Verdict:  Eat It!

Arnaud’s – another New Orlean’s institution…and indeed, you do feel as though you’ve traveled back in time a bit when you enter….Went for dinner and chose to eat in the Jazz Bistro (where they have a live band winding through the tables as you dine)…and I’m so glad we did.  The food is fine – we had the Trout Meunier and the Quail Elzey for mains–not great and certainly not bad, but nothing remarkable, either….but combine the old-fashioned dishes with the faded glory of the room and the vitality of the musicians…and you’ve had a worthy – very worthy New Orleans dinner experience.

Verdict:  Eat It!

Grapevine – We were turned on to this place by the bartender of the place we  were having mid-evening cocktails at.  As usual, we New York City girls were looking to eat dinner on the late side and our bartender, Mike, told us this was one of the few places that would be serving at 10pm on a Sunday night in the quarter–so off we went.   It was a newly-redone, yet still exposed-brick charming kind of place.  We ended up having a few more cocktails (my new-this-trip-favorite Sazarac) and so, mostly filled up with liquor, we chose a few things from their “Petite Fare” menu….the Angus Medallions and the Mussles with Crabmeat and Bacon.  Both fit the bill deliciously and perfectly.

Verdict:  Eat It! Don’t skip another restaurant you’ve been wanting to eat at to come to the Grapevine, but if you’re looking for late-night eats or are simply in their neighborhood, they’re a fine place to stop.

Nola Restaurant – Hands down, the single best meal we ate our whole trip.  The Buttermilk Fried Chicken, the Gumbo YaYa, the Stuffed Fried Chicken Wings, The Beef Brisket – all were amazing in their own right.  And this restaurant will always hold a special place in my heart for being the place I first had a Sazerac cocktail.  At a loss for what to order, I thought, what the hell, I should have one before I die….and it was so great, Carolyn switched her drink order to it come round 2…and I’ve had dozens since then.  So, so good!  And extra bonus points to our country-boy waiter who was so Lousianna-polite that he escorted me – on his arm – to the ladies room.  Talk about service! *smile*

Verdict:  Eat It!

Hubig’s Pies – conveniently found at a Walgreen’s near you!  Near you in New Orleans, that is.  Think of a freshly made – and not as sickeningly sweet – Hostess-type hand-sized Fruit Pie…and you know what we’re talking about with Hubig’s.  They have the apple and the blueberry and the like, but they also have Pineapple, Chocolate (think chocolate cream pie filling)…and my favorite:  Coconut.  They are made and delivered fresh, and should be eaten within a week or so ( the date is stamped on each waxed-paper-type bag).  These are so delicious, I carried back as many of the coconut as I could find.  I also brought back an assortment of other flavors…but mostly so I wouldn’t have to share as many of those coconut ones. *smile*

Verdict:  Eat It! At about $1.09 a pie – it is a steal for something so fresh, portable and delicious!

And as a bonus, I’m going to slip one Do It or Skip It into this article….If you’re in New Orleans on a Sunday, do yourself a favor and catch the Jazz-Gospel Mass at Saint Augustine’s Catholic Church in the Treme.  It’s at 10am – and make note, it’s a 2 hour affair (so you can plan your lunch reservations accordingly*smile*)…but what an experience!  You don’t need to be religious to enjoy this or get something out of it.  The church was built in 1842 for a place of worship for slaves and free people of color, and the layout of the church is beautiful – and so beautifully New Orleans.  The music during the mass was incredible and the service was so interactive and the people so friendly, you feel like if you came back the next week they’d remember you and welcome you back.  We got the chance to a number of locals after the service and that was a bonus.  It’s a great way to start a Sunday in New Orleans.

Acme Oyster House
724 Iberville Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 522-5973
www.acmeoyster.com

Mother’s Restaurant
401 Poydras
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 523-9656
www.mothersrestaurant.net

Cafe Du Monde
French Market
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
504-525-4544
www.cafedumonde.com

Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar & Bistro
720 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-523-1930
www.orleansgrapevine.com

Nola Restaurant
534 Saint Louis St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-522-6652
www.emerils.com/restaurant/2/NOLA-Restaurant

Hubig’s Pies
800-232-0269
www.hubigs.com

St. Augustine’s Catholic Church
1210 Gov. Nicholls St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
504-525-5934
www.staugustinecatholicchurch-neworleans.org

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Filed Under: Eat It or Skip It, New Orleans, Restaurant, Travel

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