Weekend in the BIG Easy

I searched the Web for places to eat, sights to see, and things to do - not to be rigid with my itinerary, just to have plenty to do. I had a wonderful time!!! In a word, if you ever get the chance, GO!!

Stuff Legends Are Made Of

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by frikadika on January 5, 2010

Leah Chase. This woman is amazing! She is still going strong and at the time of this writer's visit, she was still in that kitchen. She was gracious enough to come out to our table to greet us, and sign my copy of her book.
It has been almost 5 years since my visit and I apologize for all of you that have visited NO and missed the opportunity to go to this restaurant due to my negligence. It IS all my fault.
I am from NJ and we went before Katrina, and for the next year all I could do was pray that this place made it through. It did, so make sure you visit.
The whole evening was amazing! There was no wait to be seated, but the place was not empty. This restaurant could be for a romantic occasion or a group of friends. Once seated, our waiter was quick to greet us and take our drink order. The menu was so hard to choose from, with so many delightful options. The waiter was knowledgeable and eager to help us make our decisions. I chose the Shrimp Clemenceau and my boyfriend had Gumbo. Both items were out of this world, which is what prompted me to buy the book.
Service was great, we were made to feel very comfortable, and the portions were plentiful, but so delicious that we cleaned our plates.

This place is a gem that is only known to few. I urge any reader to go and judge for yourself. You will not be disappointed!
Dooky Chase's Restaurant
2301 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70119
(504) 821-0535

Chateau LeMoyne

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frikadika on July 7, 2005

The hotel was quaint and nicely decorated, with beautiful courtyards and an attentive, knowledgeable staff. We arrived prior to check-in, which is 3pm, and we were allowed to check our bags ahead of time. As soon as you enter the hotel, you'll see the Tour Counter, straight ahead of you. They will be able to help you with any tours you would like to take. They booked our Swamp Tour and Airboat ride for us, which was very convenient because we went on our own, instead of taking the tour bus. Saved us 2 hours.

If you have a car, Valet parking is $26 and you can get your car whenever you'd like. This hotel is only one block from Bourbon Street and close to everything in the French Quarter. Two blocks away is Canal Street. We had breakfast in the hotel on two occasions, it is a very nice buffet. The pool was a little cloudy, so, as hard as it was, I refrained from taking a dip.

The room was very clean and the housekeeping staff was very professional and timely. Even on the mornings that we left out late, the housekeepers somehow 'knew' when we were gone.

French Quarter Chateau LeMoyne Holiday Inn
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Two Sisters Kitchen

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by frikadika on July 8, 2005

First of all, I could only find this restaurant on two search engines: this one and AOL City Guide. Secondly, its reviews were not that great. My whole group would like to find the writers of those reviews and slap them silly! The food was excellent.

We got off the plane, checked our bags and came to Two Sisters (not to be confused with the Court of Two Sisters). We came here first because it was the only restaurant for which I could remember the address without having to dig through my suitcase for my web printouts. Boy, am I glad we went there first. Two Sisters set the bar for my dining experiences. There were four in my party, and we got there after 11am, so we couldn't get breakfast. Three of us had the catfish platter. Whew! I'm sweating just thinking about it. So much food. Fried catfish (like four pieces), macaroni and cheese, potato salad (and I can't eat just anybody's potato salad), and green beans. Everything was so fresh and seasoned so well. Even the sweet tea was delicious. And don't let me forget the plate of cornbread they gave us. Mmm, mmm, mmm!! I didn't have a hard time cleaning my plate at all.

As for ambience, the restaurant seemed to be a spot for the locals, but folks were friendly. We had a table in the back and weren't bothered by noise or crowds. That's better than I can say for some of the other restaurants we visited. We loved it so much, we vowed to come back to have their breakfast. We tried on Sunday, but they were closed, so we made a special early rise on Monday (our last day) to get there for breakfast, and we were not disappointed. Sausage, eggs, and grits like my Grandma used to make! Definitely worth the second trip!

Two Sisters Kitchen
223 N. Debigny Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

Felixe's Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by frikadika on July 15, 2005

While doing my Net search, I picked restaurants that got very good food reviews, coupled with those that have a casual dress code. I knew we wouldn’t want to go to the hotel to change just to go eat. Felixe’s was on my list as such a place. We left the hotel, intent on just strolling along, until we came upon "the" restaurant that called out to us. When we came upon Acme, I started to look around, knowing that Felixe’s was supposed to be across the street, and there it was.

Right inside the entrance is an oyster bar. It’s an actual bar. I’d never seen such a thing. It made me realize how serious these folks were about their oysters. I considered myself a casual oyster fan, but once you taste the oysters down there, you will become an addict. But, I digress, as we were seated immediately and then quickly forgotten. The service here was very slow. It took 10 minutes for our order to be taken. Once taken, we waited another 10 to 15 minutes for our drinks and appetizers. My boyfriend and I are sweet-tea drinkers, and Felix’s tea is unsweetened. The other couple in our little group are wine drinkers - they thought the bottle they ordered was okay. For appetizers we had calamari, which is something I try to order wherever I go if it’s offered - it was very good. We also had fried zucchini, very good, and raw oysters, which were absolutely delicious. At the end of the appetizers, we began to forgive the wait staff for being so slow.

This place was very noisy. It was spacious enough, every table was occupied, and the voices carried. We weren’t bumping elbows with the customers next to us, but the atmosphere is very casual and relaxed, and the volume was high. This, in no way, took away from the enjoyment of the food itself. For an entrée, I ordered a soft shell crab po’boy, while the others had jambalaya and more oysters. The po’boy is what I had determined was NECESSARY for me to have while in New Orleans, but this was not the one. The soft shell crab was not cleaned, and in all my crab-eating career, I had never had a soft shell crab, so I don’t know if they are supposed to be cleaned or not, but I did not like the unclean soft shell crab po’boy. The jambalaya was tasty, and I reiterate, the oysters were delicious.

If you don’t mind waiting for good food or a lot of noise, you will enjoy Felixe’s.

Felixe's Restaurant & Oyster Bar
739 Iberville St
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
+1 504 522 4440

Pat O'Brien's

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frikadika on July 15, 2005

This was our first night out on Bourbon Street, and we stopped in at Pat O’s for a midnight snack. The restaurant is beautiful, with a flaming fountain, brick everywhere, and wrought-iron furniture. The wait staff was very attentive, which I imagine can be quite difficult to maintain at midnight on Bourbon Street, with flaming drunk jerk-offs everywhere. It just so happened there were a group of them at the table next to ours.

At any rate, we were there for appetizers and drinks. Apparently, New Orleans created the Hurricane, but at this point, everyone there seems to be making it from a mix instead of from scratch, and it’s really not that good. I may be the only one in my group that felt this way, but I’m also the only one in my group that is a bartender and knows the ingredients, so I kept my opinions to myself and had a ginger ale. For appetizers, we had the famous muffuletta sandwich, crawfish nachos, and alligator bites. The muffuletta was very good and consists of a round loaf of crusty Italian bread split and filled with layers of sliced Provolone cheese, Genoa salami, and Cappicola ham, topped with olive salad, a chopped mixture of green, un-stuffed olives, pimientos, celery, garlic, cocktail onions, capers, oregano, parsley, olive oil, red-wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. The alligator bites were also delicious, lightly seasoned and deep fried, with such a fresh taste. My swamp tour guide said, "If you get alligator and it tastes like chicken, you’ve been duped and given chicken." He was right on the money. No way does it taste like chicken; it has its own distinctive flavor. It’s hard to describe, but definitely tasty!

We returned to Pat O’s on our second tour of Bourbon Street and ventured in to the Piano Bar. I should’ve stayed home. Maybe I’m not the piano bar type, but if I wanted to hear no-talent singers wreck my favorite songs, I’d have gone back to the Cat’s Meow for karaoke.

Go to Pat O’s for the food and drink, and go to the Piano Bar at your own risk.

Pat O'Brien's
718 St Peter St
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116
(504) 525-4823

Louisiana Swamp Tours

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by frikadika on July 14, 2005

We reserved our tour at the hotel and opted to drive ourselves out there to save time. The hotel equipped us with a map (the same one you’ll find on the website, www.louisianaswamp.com), which wasn’t too difficult to read. Maybe it would have been easier if we could have understood the concierge better - that N’awlin’s drawl is wicked - but we didn’t get lost.

The money that the hotel takes is just a deposit. (Our concierge took too much and had to refund us when we got back.) The cost is moderate at $24 for the Swamp Tour without transportation from the hotel. We chose to take the 15-minute airboat ride to basically just to be able to say that we rode an airboat. It was hotter than July, so the airboat ride was somewhat refreshing because of the wind, BUT it was LOUD, even with the earphones. AND THE WIND - the wind was rushing so fast that my eyes were watering, and I had on sunglasses. I’m not complaining, though, as it was as we expected.

The actual swamp tour was on a party boat, a covered boat that seats about 30 people. We were warned as soon as we boarded to keep our body parts and belongings in the boat and that the alligators would go after anything white: skin, clothing, objects, you name it.

Our tour guide was entertaining with his far-out tales and interesting facts. We saw an Indian burial ground, an aboveground cemetery, and a few ancient buildings. Of course we came across some alligators. Our tour guide "called" a very large alligator over to our boat, then proceeded to rub, touch, and kiss on this alligator while feeding him raw chicken. Shocking, right? Well, the alligator was blind in one eye and their eyes are on the sides of their heads, so he purposely stayed on the alligator’s "blind" side. We also found out the reason the alligators like white marshmallows. All the tour guides use marshmallows to attract the alligators.

There is a bathroom on the boat for those with the need. When I came out, there was a baby alligator being passed around, so I got to hold him. He seemed used to being handled.

On our way back to the dock, we could see an approaching storm. It was so fast and furious that I was scared that there wouldn’t be a Louisiana Swamp Tour after it was over. As soon as we docked, the storm hit, and I mean, boy, did it hit! I’ve never seen such a thing, 4pm and the sky was pitch-black and the winds were at least 35mph. It was terrible and beautiful at the same time. We were in the car and able to get away from the eye of the storm, and I didn’t hear of any loss on the news, so it should still be there when you go.

Louisiana Swamp Tour
9706 Barataria Blvd
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70072
(504) 689-3599

Bourbon Street After Dark

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by frikadika on July 15, 2005

This is an experience not to be missed. Although it was much tamer than I expected, I’ve seen the commercials for "Girls Gone Wild" and even watched the "Real World," and I didn’t see any of that kind of stuff. Maybe all the girls lifted up their shirts after I walked past. It’s possible. I’m a girl, so I wasn’t really looking that hard, but from what I’d heard, you didn’t have to search it out. I saw no bead exchanges.

I did, however, see plenty of drunk people. A couple of times I was one of them. And how could you not be, when every bar has a 3-for-1 drink special every night. So, picture this, wherever you start on Bourbon Street, you go into a bar, order a drink, and get three. Then you go down the street to the next bar, order a drink, and get 3. For most of us, two drinks, especially when the liquor is poured 2-to-1, is enough to get you buzzed. So now you’ve had six drinks, and you come upon a bar like the Cat’s Meow (a karaoke bar). How could you possibly NOT share your singing ability (or non-ability, as the case so often is) with the rest of the world?!?!?

So, now you’ve sung your heart out and you think you’ve sweated your liquor out, but you really haven’t, and you head to the next bar for the next set of drinks, and it’s only 9pm. Now, you should understand how, by midnight, you are sitting on the curb puking all over yourself. It’s a horrible sight-and-smell experience. Lord only knows how you make it to your room. You spend all day recuperating, just to head out and do it again the next night.

I didn’t personally experience all of that, but I certainly witnessed it, and once was enough. There is so much to New Orleans in addition to, or besides, Bourbon Street that traveling down that road just once was quite enough.


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