Consuming New Orleans

This journal might be more aptly titled How to gain 5 lbs. in 3 days.

Consuming New Orleans

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by viajera67 on March 8, 2002

I attended a conference that ended midday on Saturday, so I decided to spend an extra night in the French Quarter. That, plus the free time each night, provided me with a good taste (literally) of what New Orleans - or at least the French Quarter - has to offer. Now I need to go back and spend at least a week!

When people asked me if I had been to New Orleans before, I responded with a "qualified yes". I was there once many years ago during Mardi Gras, but I didn't think that counted. I imagined that I would have a very different experience in the French Quarter this time. Actually, I was wrong. While there weren't quite as many people around, Bourbon Street was pretty much exactly as I remembered it: throngs of people with drinks in their hands, music and people spilling into the streets from the bars, people wearing beads and boas. I even saw two women flashing their breasts! Wow.

Even with the crowds in the streets, however, it was pretty easy to find space at one of the many bars. I found a few places I could call home on Decatur Street. ${QuickSuggestions} ${BestWay} I took the Airport Shuttle to and from the airport. The cost is $10 each way, and the trip takes about 45 minutes (depending on whether your hotel is one of the first or last for pickup/dropoff.) I was able to buy a round trip ticket upon arrival at the airport, even though I was being dropped off at one hotel and being picked up from another. There are a number of ticket booths in the baggage claim area. They use information from your return ticket (have it handy) to determine a pick up time for your return journey to the airport.

The Saint Louis

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by viajera67 on March 8, 2002

Location, location, location! The main attraction of the St. Louis is probably it's location - just a half-block from Bourbon Street. The hotel is "charming", with a small lobby and a restaurant in a pretty courtyard in the middle of the hotel. The rooms are located off outdoor corridors that surround and overlook the courtyard in the center. These corridors were a bit dingy - it had just rained so the outdoor carpeting was damp. There was also a tarp over the courtyard, presumably to keep it dry, that was somewhat of an eyesore.

I arrived at the hotel at 1:00 PM and tried to check in. I was told that check-in time was 3:00 PM and that I could store my suitcase until then. When I arrived back at the hotel at 3:05 PM, I waited on a short line to check in That day, there was some problem with the air conditioning in the building, which limited the number of rooms that were available and caused some delays in check in. After a few minutes, I was assigned room 311. The room clearly wasn't ready (the TV was on and the air conditioning unit was "under construction"), so I had a quick look at the room and then went back down to the lobby. The room was large, had a king-size bed, a table with two chairs, a television and a decent-sized bathroom with tub. The window overlooked a back alley - no good view, but probably quiet.

Back in the lobby, the staff asked for my patience as they tried to assign me a room. I waited a few minutes and then was assigned room 401. This room was a bit smaller, but also much newer-looking. It also had a king size bed, a newly-renovated bathroom with a large marble shower (no bath), and a view of Bienville street - when I stuck my head out the window, I could see Bourbon Street. The room also had a desk, a large TV (many cable channels, but no pay cable like HBO), an iron and ironing board in the closet, and a nice armchair. The bed was comfortable and the bedding -pillows, sheets, blanket - were lovely. The windows were old, but opened easily, and seemed to keep out the noise at night (or was I just too tired?) At 7:00 AM, however, I could plainly hear a very loud car alarm just outside the hotel. It was also a very, very windy morning, and the windows made light creaking noises in the wind.

I would recommend the St. Louis hotel for its fantastic location and adequate accommodation. Everything one would want in the French Quarter is a few minutes walk away. So, while the St. Louis may not be the perfect hotel for the business traveler who wants amenities like express checkout or HBO, it may be perfect for the party animal who wants to be close to the action but wants a nice place to stay.

Hotel Mazarin
730 Bienville Street
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
(504) 581-7300

Coop's Place

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by viajera67 on March 8, 2002

I read in Time Out New Orleans online that some think Coop's Place has the best Gumbo in town. That, plus the fact that it's more of a bar than a restaurant, attracted me to this place. Since I was on my own, I planned to eat at the Bar.

Unfortunately, it was raining quite hard that night and I walked to Coop's from the Hilton Riverside on the other side of Canal. It turned out to be a long walk, and by the time I got to Coop's, I was soaked. I took the only empty seat at the bar, which unfortunately happened to be next to a very drunk, very dirty man who kept leaning into me asking me for a cigarette. While the rest of the folk at the bar looked just fine, I decided to grab one of the tables in the front. As I got up from the bar, my drunk "friend" tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You can't leave."
"Excuse me?" I replied.
"You can't leave this place without eating!"
I told him not to worry, that I was just getting a table. Then he left me alone.

I was tempted to order the sampler dish (gumbo, jambalaya, etc.), but when I asked the waitress if it would be too much, she suggested that I get instead a cup of gumbo and a side of jambalaya. I did. The gumbo was delicious - a dark seafood stew with rice and okra. The jambalaya was just okay, which made me wish that I ordered a bowl of gumbo for my meal, instead of the cup. When it comes to gumbo at Coop's, there are three options: a cup for $3.95, a bowl for $5.95, and a bowl with extra seafood for $7.95. Next time I go, I'll go for the works - a bowl with extra seafood!

Coop's Place
1109 Decatur Street (French Quarter)
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116
(504) 525-9053

Cresent City Brewhouse

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by viajera67 on March 8, 2002

I walked into the Crescent City Brewhouse not because it was recommended, or because it looked particularly interesting, but because there was an empty seat at the bar, a jazz band playing, and a friendly-looking crowd.

The Brewhouse brews and serves four types of beer (plus a special brew): pilsner, red, black, and wheat. The friendly bartender allowed me to try all four before I decided on Red Stallion, the smoothest of the bunch as I saw it. As I sipped and listened to the smooth jazz music, I watched the bartender expertly pulling beer after beer from the taps (he could fill up to three glasses at once!)

Another man behind the bar was busy shucking oysters. I had a look at the menu (even though I had already eaten) to see what they offered. The dishes - mainly seafood - looked great, and there was a man at the bar next to me eating what looked like a huge and delicious plate of nachos.

After a short while, I broke down and ordered half a dozen oysters ($4.95). They were excellent! Another man at the bar agreed that he had once had very good oysters here. He added that the oysters at the Acme Oyster House--a more famous place for oysters in New Orleans--were not as good, but the sauces that came with them were better. At Crescent, they served the oysters with the traditional cocktail sauce and about six packets of Saltines. Since I like my oysters better than the sauces that accompany them, I was happy that I tried Crescent City!

Crescent City Brewhouse
527 Decatur St
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
+1 504 522 0571


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by viajera67 on March 8, 2002

The new friend I met at Crescent City had just come from dinner at the bar at Nola, Emeril Lagasse's French Quarter restaurant. He said that the fried oyster salad was to die for, and that I should try to get in the following night for a taste.

I arrived at Nola - on my own - at around 8:00 PM, and stood behind the crowded bar for a few minutes waiting for an opening. Fortunately, a man dining solo at the bar was just finishing, so I waited next to him. He had the sampler menu - a number of courses for around $40, if I remember correctly - and said that it was better than the food at KPaul's. Before I sat down, I ordered a glass of Emeril's Red Wine ($7), which was quite good. For dinner, I ordered soup and salad, instead of an entrée. First, I had the Turtle Soup, which was quite good. Next, I had the fried oyster salad. Since I like the taste of raw oysters, I wasn't thrilled with the fried oysters, although the breading was delicious. The salad itself, however, was fantastic. My bill (minus the wine) came to $18 - a bargain, in my opinion, for such a wonderful gourmet meal.

Eating at the bar was a nice experience and good for meeting people. To eat at the bar, you do not need a reservation, but you may have to wait a bit for a space to clear. If you have two or more people and want a table, you should reserve in advance.

534 St. Louis St
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
+1 504 522 6652

Andrew Jaeger's Back Kitchen

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by viajera67 on March 8, 2002

From an IgoUgo recommendation from ToddW's New Orleans Journal (The Civilized French Quarter), I decided to try Andrew Jaeger's Back Kitchen for brunch. The restaurant is small and cozy - a few people were eating at the tables outside, but since it was so hot and sticky out, I decided to eat indoors and was the only one there. I ordered the last breakfast item on the menu, which I think was called the Breaux Bridge breakfast. It was two poached eggs on two biscuit halves covered with crawfish etoufee and served with jambalaya on the side. It was a huge portion, and although I couldn't finish it, I loved it! The service was quick and friendly.
Andrew Jaeger's Back Kitchen
Exchange Alley
New Orleans, Louisiana

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