new orleans photos and foodie


Phil and I are off to New Orleans today through Sunday. We’ll probably only do dinner tonight, by the time we arrive, so we’re really talking Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, returning Sunday night. So three solid days of eating, walking, exploring. I’m excited! I’ve never been. We’ll be staying at the International House Hotel. I know it’s located in the Central Business District, but I prefer that to a hotel in the Quarter. The problem with districts called "Quarters" is that while they sound all French and quaint, really what it means is, roaches. This is not my rule. Don’t be mad at me. So I’ll be a stone’s throw away from the party.

Let the recommendations begin. Where are good spots for us to take photos? What can we not miss? Here’s what I’ve heard so far:

Zea’s Rotisserie Grill: It was explained to me this way: Yeah, I know, it brings to mind the image of some Boston Market shite when you see that name, but I assure you it’s not. It’s yummy food that has  Southern touch without everything being deep fried. Don’t get me wrong, I love fried, in a big way, but you can go to Remoulade, Arnaud’s, Chartre House Cafe, Gumbo Shop, all of those New Orleans’ classics, and find yourself eating pretty standard fare over and over again. I also like Zea because it’s out in the Warehouse District, which is a different part of the city that most people don’t get around to seeing. And between the CBD and the Warehouse District, you can do some moseying about and see the kinds of houses that make you wish you were a Cajun belle.

Cafe du Monde… I’ve heard it’s "just okay," and to hit up other cafes for beignets and chicory coffee.

Check out Lillet and Le Petit Grocery.

We’re going to find a way to see the Lower Ninth Ward.

What about Brigtsens?

Any other recommendations are appreciated. Where’s the best bread pudding?



  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Following you for the last three years, my entourage knows you through referations to you as: "you know, the blog I follow from that girl…that first in lived in NY and now in Téxas…" So, I love it (the blog that is) but I've never commented before, anyway, this.. you needed to know.
    When living in the US in 2003, I visited New Orleans so I hope after hurrican Katrina it's still in OK shape.
    Wonderful setting, female chef, great wine and flowers in your salad…
    Enjoy your trip,

  2. Do go to Cafe du Monde and get a hot chocolate (it's like warm chocolate milk) and a beignet! Really it's a must not miss. Also Deanie's Restaurant right off of Bourbon Street is fantastic. Great crawfish. Have fun!

  3. Definitely try Jacquimo's on Oak Street. I was there a number of years ago and remember everything being delicious!

  4. Last time I was there, I loved Antoine's for some great French-Creole food. (also, the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller.) It was pricey, but everyone in my family loved it, even the picky eaters.
    It's been around since 1840 and I think is still family run.

    Also – check out Preservation Hall for some great jazz music.

  5. I consider myself somewhat of a bread pudding officionado and I think the absolute best bread pudding in New Orleans is at Brennan's. The Court of Two Sisters also has very good bread pudding, as well. If you get a chance, stop by the New Orleans School of Cooking to check out recipes, ingredients, spices and other fun cooking acoutrements! It's cliche, but photos in Jackson Square at night are simply divine. Also, there is a little bar on Algiers Point – you have to ride a ferry across the river to get to it – called the Dry Dock. It has the best Bloody Marys EVER and terrific Po Boy sandwiches.

    I do NOT live ther, BTW – I am a lover of NOLA and can't wait to get back there. Are the sprouts going along, too?

  6. It's not your rule? You sound so ridiculous. It doesn't take two seconds of research to discover that there are lovely and posh hotels in the quarter. Anyway, I'd recommend Gumbo House and despite what people say the Cafe DuMonde does have the best.

  7. I'm from New Orleans, haven't lived there in 15+ years though. Am going back to Mardi Gras i a few weeks, can't wait! I'll be watching these comments to see where the current hot spots are.

    I'd recommend making it to City Park and to the Lakefront. Not French Quarter but great sites to see. Last time I was there (2006), the lower Ninth Ward was still not a safe place to visit.

    And Cafe Du Monde, while mediocre beignet-wise, still a great historic spot to visit, right along with Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and the Pontalba Apartments. Oh, and go to St. Charles Avenue, ride the street car, ride the Natchez river boat and if you're taking the beans hit the zoo!


  8. I'm pretty sure this doesn't count as a "local" restaurant, but when I head to New Orleans at the end of the month, I'm definitely going to Emerils. I used to frequent the one in Atlanta when I went there on business. There's not one in NYC and the one in Atlanta seems to have disappeared. As far as I'm concerned, it's a destination in itself. I'm sure people will be offended by the suggestion, but my answer to those people is: try the banana cream pie and then talk to me.

  9. I'm so excited for y'all. I'm going back in April and have been making a list of all the things to see and places to eat.

    I lived down there for six years. The best bread pudding is in the quarter at Red Fish Grill. Yeah Red Fish is a NOLA chain but they have a white chocolate bread pudding that is delightful.

    Palace Cafe, birthplace of Bananas Foster, has good food.

    My personal favorite is Mister B's Bistro, located across from the Hotel Montelone (which houses the famous Carousel Bar–an actual, slow rotating bar and the bar there makes the best Shirley Temples in the city).

    Jacques-Imo's in uptown has great food. No reservations so first come, first serve.

    If you're feeling adventurous and looking for something more stick to your ribs, try Mother's on Poydras. They are famous for their Debris Sandwiches, but they also have a very good shrimp creole.

    Antoine's is an institution, not to be missed!

    Coop's is a little local hole-in-the-wall with some of the best Gumbo I've eaten in the state!

    Avoid Ember's. It's on Bourbon and it looks real nice and the food seems great, but it's not. It's a waste of money.

    I've also eaten at Napoleon's, Pierre Maspero's, Crescent City Brewhouse (makes an incredible mozzarella BLT), Desire Oyster Bar, Acme Oyster Bar, Cafe Beignet, Cafe Du Monde (take the order to go, the lines are insane in the morning), Cafe Pontalba, Central Grocer (home of the muffaletta can't be missed!), and so many more.

    Check out Lafitte's way down Bourbon. It's a great piano bar and supposedly the oldest operating bar in the US.

    Maison Bourbon offers fantastic jazz right on Bourbon street. It's hardly ever full, there's no cover charge. Just a drink per set (about $8).

    I'll let someone else talk now.

  10. I physically winced at the description of Cafe du Monde being "just okay." Dude, you have to go. It's an institution.

  11. Hey Steph,

    I am a Louisiana native and have some New Orleans advice.

    1. Closed-toed shoes. Trust me. Walking around the quarter in anything less will leave your feet in a state of disgusting you won't like.

    2. If anyone bets you they can tell you "where you got your shoes," keep walking. You're from New York- so you probably wouldn't be had that easily, but it is still good advice.

    3. During the day in the quarter there are lots of bars with two and three for one drink specials. Beware because they don't always tell you and just bring you three of what you ordered… That is ok in some cases but choose drinks wisely.

    4. If you want to get ridiculously (like college level) drunk have a hand grenade- but just one.

    5. The best red beans and rice will come from the hole in the wall restaurants on every corner.

    Have a good time!

  12. The French Quarter definitely has some good places to take pictures – you'll love the architecture. Try and see some of the Shotgun Houses – they are very unique. Those and the Creole Cottages are my favorites.

    Check out Brad and Angelina's house if you're interested:

    You must go to Magazine Street – lots of great shops and stuff to see.

    Take a ride on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar – it's one of the oldest streetcar lines in the world! It goes slow enough to take pictures also.

    As for the Lower Ninth Ward – we were just there a few months ago and were STRONGLY advised not to go into that area, that it was dangerous. This came from an African-American man who grew up in NOLA and lived in the Lower Ninth Ward. He even told us that tour buses do not go through there anymore. We're not scaredy-cats by any means, but his warning was so ominous, we didn't go. So….visit at your own risk, I guess.

    The French Quarter is a disgusting, beer drenched mess during Mardi Gras, but don't let that turn you off. You'll just have to see beyond the drunks. Which often, make good pictures! lol

    Jackson Square is nice, but the French Market just "eh".

    Also – check out Mignon Faget's jewelry (it's all over) – she has a "red bean" line that made me think of you and your "beans" when I first saw them. They are made to represent the red beans and rice the Creoles eat.

    Stop at the visitors bureau on St. Charles if you can – they have lots of brochures, maps and some displays with historical information on the city. Can't wait to see your pictures! Enjoy!!!

  13. Check out Coop's on Decatur for an excellent, authentic New Orlean's lunch. It's a grimey, hole-in-the-wall bar but the food is outstanding and cheap. For a night out I highly recommend Cochon (I think the NY Times voted it one of the best new places in the country last year and it's very cool, crowded and delicious, and obvs very unhealthy) and NOLA, which is an Emeril restaurant but you would never know that when you go inside. Also you should visit Faulkner House Books in the Quarter, walk around the Garden District, and hear music at Tipitina's. Perfect weekend.

  14. Make sure you have a Mufalata! There is this grocery in the Quarter that makes them! A very dear friend of mine lives in the FQ, so I'll email him and ask him for some suggestions for you! Have fun!


  15. I'm an NC girl now but we lived in New Orleans until I was 12. Mother's on Poydras has a great sandwich called the debris sandwich. They pick out all of the pieces of roast beef that fall into gravy and slap it on a po'boy bun with lots of mayo and shredded cabbage instead of lettuce. It has been 20 years since I've eaten one (during a return visit when I was 18)and I still think it might be my favorite sandwich ever.

    Also, pecan pie at the Camellia Grill was a childhood treat!

  16. The Commander's Palace Restaurant – I've heard great reviews on this one.

    I'm jealous you're going as I've never been there either!
    I truly wish I had been able to get there before Hurricane Katrina.. I realize the place is still fabulous, but I know it's not the same as it was before.

  17. Don't forget the other awesome thing about New Orleans….the Hurricanes. Stop by Pat O'Brien's and get one. They are incredible.

    And I always have to get a Hand Grenade….they sell them out of little windows on Bourbon street, and yes, they look like hand grenades.

    I don't remember all of the places I eat, I just look for something small and quaint, and it always turns out perfect.

    P.S. I just finished Moose and it's awesome! Thanks!

  18. I'd definitely check out Cochon on Tchoupitoulas for modern Louisiana fare… Bon Ton Cafe is rumored to have the best bread pudding.

  19. you have to HAVE TO eat at a place called "jacquimos"! it's so good… when you go, get the alligator pie appetizer!

    they always have a really long wait, so i'd go right when they open (i think at 5). it's crazy good. last time i was there we sat at the table next to emeril!

  20. cafe du mondes is amazing, i can't believe someone said it's "just okay." i also love brennan's for brunch.

  21. Go to Mr. B's and order the BBQ shrimp. It's a MUST. Also – you really, really, really want to go to Restaurant August. Get your hotel to make a reservation. It's such a treat. Skip Commander's and Galatoire's – it's just not worth it (tho Galatoire's at lunch on a Friday IS a fun scene – but I wouldn't go for the food). Lafitte's Blacksmith's Shop is not to be missed. Bayona is good, to some – it has a solid following, but I ordered poorly when I was there (duck confit that I could still feel three days later) and was put off it for life. Have fun – laissez les bon temps rouler!

  22. Go to Mr. B's and order the BBQ shrimp. It's a MUST. Also – you really, really, really want to go to Restaurant August. Get your hotel to make a reservation. It's such a treat. Skip Commander's and Galatoire's – it's just not worth it (tho Galatoire's at lunch on a Friday IS a fun scene – but I wouldn't go for the food). Lafitte's Blacksmith's Shop is not to be missed. Bayona is good, to some – it has a solid following, but I ordered poorly when I was there (duck confit that I could still feel three days later) and was put off it for life. Have fun – laissez les bon temps rouler!

  23. Well, I'm FROM the GNO and I can tell you that the French Quarter is consistently drowning in the smell of piss and beer. Don't get mad at me– it's true.

    Cafe du Monde is kind of essential New Orleans. It's messy, but the beignets actually are good.

    Not sure why you would want to see the 9th Ward. Word of warning: NOLA has the highest crime rate in the country, don't go looking for trouble.

    Zea's isn't in the Warehouse District. And though the food is good, it's just as much a lunch place as a dinner place. I loved Emeril's Delmonico on St Charles.

    You may want to take advantage of the Haunted Tours. NOLA has quite the haunted history.

  24. My love for Cafe Du Monde knows no bounds. Maybe it isn't the best, but it was where I had my first Beignet and Coffee with Chickory, so in my heart it will always be best.

    I'd suggest checking out Snug Harbor a great little jazz club. Ellis Marsalis is there on Friday night with his quartet. He's one of the best piano players working today. And maybe you've heard of his kids Wynton and Branford? Or his star pupil Harry Connick Jr.? Seriously. Ellis Marsalis. Do it.

    We were in New Orleans about 6 months after Katrina and it was a truly wonderful experience. I'm sure things have improved a great deal since then too…have fun! Can't wait to see the pictures.

  25. I've lived in NOLA my whole life, and I'm a total foodie. Going to New Orleans for Zea's??? I don't think so. That's like going to Austin and heading to Applebee's. Head Uptown to places like Clancy's or Dick and Jenny's. Both quaint, smaller places with incredible dishes. And afterwards, for the true Southern experience, head to The Columns for an after dinner drink. In the French Quarter, don't miss Stella! My favorite, you'll die. For great pictures, go to Jackson Square where there's always activity. Also, there are so really wonderful cemetaries (weird, but trust me) around. Feel free to email me for more info. Laissez les bonne temps roule!

  26. once in a while, my mum took my sister and i when we were children…just for the weekend…to listen to jazz in the bars and sax on the street corners and to eat beignets at cafe du monde. i can't imagine skipping du monde, but maybe it is too commercialized now.

  27. Molly's at the Market. Best Frozen Irish Coffee you'll ever have. It's like heaven in a cup. Also, Central Grocery has the best Muffaletta. Usually a long line but well worth the wait. Cheers!

  28. Skip Zea. You can get that stuff anywhere. You want something good in the warehouse district, go to Rio Mar – killer cevich. Big YES to Brigtsen's. Check out Dick and Jenny's – no reservations accepted but waiting is half the charm. Food is fabulous and atmosphere is casual. Do NOT listen to anyone who says Cafe du Monde isn't "the" place for coffee and beignets. It is. Trust me. And come find me if you're disappointed – I live about two miles from there. The best bread pudding is at Commander's Palace, which I'm sure you know is THE place to eat in New Orleans. Well worth every dime, too. Upperline is incredible – great atmosphere, wonderful hostess (Jo Ann Clevenger), ridiculously good food. Trust me – I'm a local! I've heard great things about Lilette and Le Petit but haven't been to either yet. If you're renting a car, you can just drive down to the Ninth Ward. Hope you enjoy your visit!

  29. Also, as you may already know, the French Quarter is ok – better in the daytime – but it can be kinda smelly and tacky at night. Take the streetcar Uptown or to the cemeteries at the end of Canal St. There you can walk around and see the sights that aren't so tacky.

  30. Sorry for blowing up your comments, but here's another suggestion in the Warehouse District (and it was rated 5th best restaurant in the country by the NY Times) – Cochon. Small plates, open kitchen, good service and casual.

  31. Might as well keep dropping bombs – As for photos, there are some good opportunities in the French Quarter – Jackson Square is a classic, of course. Some people dig the cemeteries. If you take the streetcar, St. Charles Avenue has glorious oak trees and mansions. And I thought of another restaurant near Brigtsen's – Restaurant One – great food and yummy cocktails.

  32. Brunch or drinks at The Columns Hotel on St. Charles in the Garden District. We got married on the front porch, and it is divine!

  33. I love New Orleans and have been many times for what it's worth. Zea's is a chain, we have one here in Albuquerque. I wouldn't bother. Whoever told you Cafe du Monde is just okay was wrong. The beignets and cafe au lait are to die for.
    The most elegant meal I ever had in New Orleans was at Broussards in the Quarter but that was a while back so I'm not sure if it is still as wonderful. A local recommended Olivier's Creole Restaurant as one of her family's favorites and we weren't disappointed. Bread pudding is a passion of mine and I can't say who has the best but the worst I ever had was at Commander's Palace. Actually my whole meal at Commander's Palace was a disappointment but it is located across the street from the beatiful and fascinating Lafayette Cemetary. Enjoy your trip-can't wait to see the pictures!

  34. Definitely have a Hurricane and try a Hand Grenade. Best idea is to not try them in the same night. I was in New Orleans in July, so hopefully it's not as humid now. We just walked around and loved it. You find some great random places that way. Have fun!

  35. Please skip Mother's and Jacques-Imo's. Mother's food is NOT worth the wait and is overpriced. I had a bad (as in rotten) piece of swordfish there. The "kitsch" factor is all it has going for it, and even that gets old after five minutes.

  36. Avoid Commander's Palace. Very mediocre and a real rip-off. DON'T avoid Cafe Du Monde. The beignets are far from mediocre and if you like chickory coffee, indulge. It's part of the NOLA experience.

    If you have the time, drive out to the near-by plantations, particularly Oak Alley.

  37. Galatoire's is the best restaurant I've been to, and I've eaten my way through 1/2 of the 2008 Zagat. The crab omelet is TO DIE.

  38. You've got to try Jack Dempsey's! We found this place about ten or eleve years ago. Asked a cab driver where the locals eat and he brought us here. It's not in the tourist area and will give you a good view of the real New Orleans.

    We go to eat here every time we visit the city and are never disappointed! The food is good, down-home style cooking, the tables are crammed in the restaurant and they are always full.

    Word of advice- wear some pants that stretch! And take a cab there, keep the cab company's number or have the restaurant call one for you so you don't have to wait around outside in the neighborhood for long. Haven't been since Katrina, so if it was bad then, I can only imagine that it's worse now.

    Have fun!

  39. Ok, so while not from New Orleans, I'm there Wednesday-Friday of every week for work and often in between for fun. (I'm a 27-year-old interior designer, so that's your age reference for these suggestions.)

    Cafe du Monde is a must, if only once, as well as Central Grocery, and if you do make it to Zea's, the corn grits are to die for. Just pop in for a snack, don't bother with a whole meal, unless it's the Thai Ribs. Or for a quick munchie, try a Lucky Dog (found on most street corners in the Quarter). If you like paella, Lola's has the best, but try the sangria at Arabesque. An buddy's Dad owns the place.

    For beverages, the best part is that you don't have to spend the entire night in one place, or wait until you've finished your drink to move along. There are plastic cups at the exits…just pour your remaining beverage and take to the streets. Try Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel, the Swizzle Stick Bar in Cafe Adelaide at Loew's, or the Carousel Bar (the bar is on a rotating platform) at Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street. Or if you feel like a wine night, try W.I.N.O. on Tchoupitoulas. Hurricane's at Pat O'Brien's, but if you really want a taste of New Orleans, order a Sazerac, but not at Pat O's. And if renting a car, you must get a drive-thru daquiri.

    Walk down Bourbon, but wear closed toe shoes. Grab a Hand Grenade, take a peak at Cat's Meow, The Famous Door, but if you really want to dance, go to OZ. Warning: Bourbon Street past St. Ann is the gay scene–which is where you'll find OZ.

    OH! And how could I forget! On the edge of the Quarter, on Esplanade, you must go to Port of Call. Hamburgers–no french fries offered, instead it's a baked potato. Order a Monsoon. You'll only need one. Then take a detour away from the tourists and follow Esplanade to the triangular intersection with Frenchman's. It's like the Quarter all over again: but for locals.

    Any questions? Just ask.

  40. K-Paul's is a definite don't miss in my book. The menu changes daily, but they always start with a bread basket (and for me this is awesome because they're the breads out of his cookbooks that I never take the time to make). I'm not sure what can beat Cafe du Monde – love the beignets, love the atmosphere. Bread pudding souffle at Commander's Palace is awesome.

    Acme Oyster House and the Gumbo Shop in the Quarter. And make sure to have some Dixie beer – it's my favorite (the regular is my fave, not the Blackened Voodoo or Crimson if they still make it). Always have to hit Pat O'Brien's for hurricanes, cyclones, rainbow drinks, rainstorms… I'm generally a bit teeter-tottery when I leave there, as you can tell from my list of "to drink". The one in the quarter has a great atmosphere, the one on the River is okay… you might as well be on Riverwalk though at that one.

    As for pictures, just keep the camera with you at all times. It's a beautiful town and there'll be opportunities abound — people, architecture, food…

    Wish I were heading there! Maybe next year.

  41. I also got irritated at the ""Quarters" is that while they sound all French and quaint, really what it means is, roaches." Absolute nonsense.

  42. Camillia Grill near the toulane campus. take the trolly. DO stand in line. turkey cheese omlet. Ask how the weather is. Cafe dumond is worth it. don't breath in when you take a bite of the bignet – lots of powdered sugar…,mmmm. go to pat o's for the ambiance, but best hurricane is at the black smith shop – oldest building just outside the quarter (i hope it's still there) – take a horse drawn carriage & be careful…those suckers are strong. and if you want the best shrimp scampi ever – a place called Masca's – outside new orleans. Shrimp, garlic & butter – what could be better. it's worth the cab ride.

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