Monday, May 17, 2010

typical weekend recap + ...nawlins!

Weekend Recap... please forgive the unoriginal List-Format - all that relaxing wore me out!

Amidst the long-walking, real-estate-gawking, and in-front-of-True-Life-Marathon-snoozing that is the norm of many of our weekends, there were some noteworthy moments...

(1) City Island

Run - don't walk! - to your nearest artsy fartsy theater to see this movie!  Imagine Little Miss Sunshine with a heaping helping of Italian blue collar flare... then mix in a fat fetish, a few convicted felons, and a Marlon Brando impression that has to be seen to believed; whisk with just a smidge more of "the funny," and you have the best ensemble comedy I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long, long time. Also?  Andy Garcia has officially secured a top spot in my Silver Fox Five - I was completely, utterly, whole-heartedly smitten with his performance!  

(2) Ristorante Nicola 

While we didn't technically "dine" at the newly opened Nicola (rather, we impromptu-brunched after discovering that Ziziki's only serves lunch buffet-stye on Sundays), I think we will surely be making a return night-time visit to test-drive the homemade pasta!  My salad didn't stun (but to be fair, all entree salads are compared to Houston's Thai Steak Salad, so the bar is sky-high) but the Focaccia Siliciana was a major party in my mouth - one I hope to be recreating in my own kitchen sometime soon.  Although we enjoyed the patio swathed in dramatic gold and red drapes (well, the view onto Preston Road leaves something to be desired, but I do love a patio), the dinning room is pure swank!  {DMN Review Here}

(3) The Tudors

While Evs and I enjoy many of the same movies, there's a bit of a disconnect when it comes to the television shows we both agree on (with the exception of 97% of Bravo's programming... thank you Top Chef, Real Housewives, Flipping Out, and Million Dollar Listing - you make Prime Time so harmonious!).  Evs tends to prefer shows produced by the History / Discovery channels, while I get jazzed for Glee, Law & Order: SVU, and So You Think You Can Dance.  So when the Mister mentioned he'd like to start Netflixing The Tudors, I said... CONSIDER IT DONE.  Now Evs gets his history fix (albeit loosely-based and teaming with breasticles) and I get... um, eh... Jonathan Rys Meyers.  Thus far everyone involved is very, very pleased.

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Laissez les bon temps rouler! 

On a bit of a whim... we're headed to New Orleans in late June for a little weekend getaway!  I've only been once and while Evs has been loads-o-times, his visits were mostly during his Mississippi High School days... so we are in need of  "adult" recommendations!  Part of our decision to hightail it to NOLA involved a ridiculous hotel deal, so we've got that part covered... thus, I'm mostly talking restaurant raves!  {I'm lookin' at you and you!} Jazz Brunch is a definite... and then I'll be on the lookout for amazing-but-man-friendly-food (ie: three pieces of rabbit tortellini is not going to cut it) and an authentic atmosphere.  

Whatdaya Gots for Me, Lovely Readers? 

31 comments:

  1. I don't know, but I'm planning on truckin' it out to New Orleans for the first time this fall and the Ritz was up there on my list. Dare I say it's rather reasonably priced? Who would have thought?

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  2. If you need an extra person to go to New Orleans with you, I am available. I can clear my schedule in no time = ) Sounds like a great idea. Have a great week.

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  3. Yay for Nawlins! Y'all will have so much fun. Just make sure you get beignets & cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde! And blow kisses at it for me!

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  4. Crabby Jack's has the best shrimp po boy. I have a friend that is a local there and she loves this place. It isn't located on any of the main strips, but if you are renting a car it shouldn't be a problem. And you have to eat breakfast at Mother's. It is next to The W. There homemade biscuits are sooo good.

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  5. I'm almost done with the first season of the Tudors. I love it! (And my fiance doesn't hate the boobage, either... it's a win-win!)

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  6. You have to go to Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse. It is my favorite.

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  7. Mmmm... My New Orleans is all about the food :-)

    OF course you must start your day with beginets and cafe au lait from Cefe Du Monde. Then, I'd suggest lunch at Cafe Maspareo, enjoy a Central Grocery mouffoulatta or Mother's - just don't think white table cloth - more like your family & this is comfort food. The Court of Two Sisters jazz brunch shouldn't be missed and my favorite jazz bar for a little night time excitement is Fritzels Bar, right on Burbon. Check out this post to get a listen on some of the best jazz ever:

    http://fleurde-licious.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-jazz-ever.html

    Some of my favorite fine(er) dining spots are... Antone's, Commander's Palace & Brennen's. I'd also suggest a lovely mid-day snack of fresh gulf oysters n the half show with a cold Dixie beer - YUM!

    Enjoy & have fun, can't wait to see the recap :-)

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  8. NOLA recs: Brunch - The Coffee Pot on St. Peter's (the ladies sing if you ask really nicely and it will bring you to tears!)
    Brennan's - Home of Bananas Foster!
    Dinner - Bayona (quail salad is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and the service is great)
    Luke (John Besh's 3rd restaurant, named after his third son; has a Marines theme [Besh was/is a Marine]
    Johnny's Po-Boy (one is the best hole-in-the-wall places; only takes cash last time we were there, but there is an ATM inside)

    I could go on forever . . . You're going to have such a great time!!

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  9. I know it may be touristy, but it is a New Orleans must. You have to eat at Commander's Palace. It's beautiful and the food is to die for. The service is impeccable and I really think you can't pass it up. It's just a great New Orleans experience.

    Also-- for late night dining, please don't miss Camellia Grill. It is possibly my favorite place on the planet. It's located on Carrollton right where Carrollton and St. Charles meet. It's great for breakfast. I know this sounds like heart attack on a plate, but I love the chili cheese omelet and french fries. And a chocolate shake. OUCH! :) You sit at a counter and you may have a wait, but the experience is wonderful and fast-paced. So great. http://www.camelliagrill.net/

    One of my favorites holes in the wall is a little place called Jacques Imos. http://www.jacquesimoscafe.com/ We've had tons of family gatherings there.

    Go get a hurricane from Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street and sing at Howl at the Moon and do karaoke at The Cat's Meow.

    Go visit Yvonne LeFleur http://www.yvonnelafleur.com/ and buy some of her beauty products. It was all my mom wore for years. She has beautiful hats and she's just an eccentric French Cajun woman! :)

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  10. Erin has some great recommendations above- I lived in New Orleans for four years and it is my favorite place in the world. I'd suggest taking a carriage tour of the French Quarter- the guides are pretty entertaining and it is a good way to see the whole Quarter without sweating your behind off & will give you ideas of places you might like to go back.

    Commander's Palace is a "must" for high-end dining, Galatoires is also a favorite (crab sardou, mmmm) and the Sazarac Bar (newly renovated Roosevelt Hotel) and the Swizzlestick Bar at Cafe Adelaide (a Brennan establishment) are well worth it. Cocktails on the porch of the Columns Hotel on St. Charles is quintessential and for good boutique shopping I highly recommend wandering down Magazine Street. Crabby Jacks or Johnny's for a po-boy! While you are on Bourbon Street one night be sure to grab a hot dog from a Lucky Dog vendor (Confederacy of Dunces!) and be sure to spend the majority of your Bourbon Street time in the piano bar at Pat O's- an institution in and of itself.

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  11. YAY Nola!! Here's my post on our trip: http://www.freckledcitizen.com/2009/09/missing-you-new-orleans.html.

    To recap: AUGUST!!! You must go get your John Besh crush on at his flagship restaurant. Also, do either Antoine's, Gallatoire's, or Commander's Palace for a traditional dinner or jazz brunch. Also do po'boys at Willie Mae's Scotch House or a muffaletta at Central Grocery for lunch one day.

    Next trip I'm most definitely hitting up Cochon.

    And the bar at the Ritz is really fun late-night and full of spectacular people-watching. They have a jazz band there. We saw the most awkward marriage proposal ever on their stage.

    You will have a blast!

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  12. Hmmm- I'm with Erin on Camellia Grill- especially when suffering from a case of the cocktail flu! Upperline is amazing for fine dining, Frankie and Johnny's for a fried food extrvaganza, White Columns for an elegant cocktail which is a nice refresher after the tackiness/tourists of Bourbon Street. Verdi Mart is my fave place for a po-boy, and is a bit off the beaten path right outside the French Quarter. Hmmmm, where else? Cafe Du Monde even though it is touristy as all get it. Mmmm, beignets sound delish right now. . .

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  13. We were just in NOLA weekend before last. Here are my picks for you:

    Cafe Amelie for fabulous drinks! It's on Royal in the Quarter and the bartender made some of the best drinks I've ever had.

    Mother's for a Ferdi Po-Boy. Get the debris!

    The Coffee Pot is an excellent breakfast.

    Restaurant August was truly delicious, but a very long meal. Our lunch was more than two hours.

    If you want authentic NOLA music and bar scene, the Maple Leaf Bar (take a cab) has a crawfish boil every Sunday night. Doesn't get any better than that!

    And, you know you have to get a hurricane at Pat O's.

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  14. I was just there for Mardi Gras with a friend (born and raised... and escaped). We always hit up Mother's when we go (as several above recommended). But this time I was in charge of finding the brunch spot for day 2 (usually his job), and I found a gem!

    Cafe Atchafalaya
    Cafe Atchafalaya Reviews
    More Reviews

    I had their version of eggs Benedict on a crab cake with a scrumptious creole sauce plus a side order of cheesy grits that made my eyes roll back in my head. The cocktails were tasty too. It is located in the garden district a couple blocks off of Magazine (a fun place to stroll after brunch).

    Enjoy! Love New Orleans (mainly because of the food). I challenge you to find a voodoo priestess and get your fortune told, should make for an interesting blog.

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  15. have to have to have to go to cochon! the fried alligator {trust me}, the oyster and bacon sandwich, and the lemon buttermilk pie are not to be missed! major foodie paradise and SO yummy.

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  16. Jacques-Imo's Cafe. its AMAZING. you have to go and eat the alligator cheesecake (not actually cheesecake). last time we sat next to emeril, so you know it's good!

    www.jacquesimoscafe.com

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  17. I just got back from a wedding weekend in NOLA - 2 recs for you:

    -if you like oysters, go to ACME Oyster House (French Quarter). The Chargrilled are amazing. This place is a must if you like seafood - affordable and fun.

    -Those who mentioned Cochon are right on. This place was amazing - make your reservation now! We ate here, and every single thing was great: cocktail menu, entrees. Do not leave without ordering the pineapple upside down cake.

    General recommendations for escaping the tourist traps are: go to Frenchmen St on Saturday night for jazz. I loved the Spotted Cat. You can see music all up and down that block.

    I also liked Magazine St in the Garden District - take the St. Charles streetcar up there and wander. Nice afternoon activity.

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  18. For a sweet treat you must check out Sucre!

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  19. OMG!! I went to Tulane and Oh how I miss undergrad!

    Jacques-Imos Cafe---a must! food is great!

    St. Joe's on magazine street---best blueberry mojitos ever! and only as far as I've ever seen

    Juan's Flying burrito---just a good burrito period...but you live in Te-jas so no comparison I'm sure

    Maspero's----good shrimp po-boy or oyster po-boy

    DO NOT under any circumstances eat a Lucky Dog on Bourbon. You will regret it

    Fancy meal out: Galitoire's

    Sunday Brunch:Commander's Palace, Court of Two sisters, or Brennans

    BBQ---Voo Doo BBQ on St. Charles

    Ok, I should stop...but I could keep going and going and going!

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  20. Cafe du Monde is a must too...and they're open 24hours a day so end your nights (or start your days) here for beignets

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  21. Just remembered...if you want GOOD Gumbo and a nice daiquiri. Then go to Gumbo Shop on St. Peters. I always start my visits here....get's you kicked off right.

    Ok, no more from me....I can't wait for alumni weekend ;)

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  22. Go to lunch at Galatoire's on Friday if you're there. You'll have to get there early and wait a bit, but the people watching and the drinks/food are great! You also get to see lots of seersucker on old men and bow ties!

    Cochon is fantastic, so is Lilette. I love Mother's for biscuits with ham. Yummy!

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  23. Please, please, please be sure to get out of the Quarter and see the Uptown/Garden district area. I live in New Orleans and most locals don't even venture over to the Quarter except to show their friends "Bourbon Street." However, I will recommend stopping in for a cocktail at the newly renovated Roosevelt Hotel's Sazerac Bar in the Central Business District -- it's where the Sazerac cocktail was invented and is one of our favorite places to start the evening. Another place for your pre- evening out drinks is the Columns Hotel - a historic New orleans Hotel on St. Charles that serves drinks out on its patio. Its absolutely lovely.

    I also HIGHLY recommend Resturant Patois. It is right in our uptown New Orleans neighborhood and the food is a yummy fusion of traditional New Orleans food and local organic produce. If you decide to go there, book a reservation early -- its getting a lot of press since it's the place they film the resturant scenes for Treme.

    Herbsaint (a spectacular Donald Link resturant) is in the CBD and is soooo tasty.

    If you want the best French food this side of the Atlantic, La Crepe Nanou is a must. Also, I repeat Juan's Flying Burrito -- I went to A&M for grad school and Juan's mexican is pretty darn close to what we had back in TX.

    Shopping on Magazine is a MUST. It's a little hard to walk the entire street b/c it stretches from the Garden District to Audubon Park and is spotted with stretches of residences, but it is within a few blocks walking distance of the streetcar. The antiquing is great, but some of the coolest botiques are there: Aiden Gill for hubby - www.aidangillformen.com (he'll love it, my hubby does), Lili - www.lilivintage.com (the most pristine, afforable vintage clothing from the 30s - 60s), Hazelnut - www.hazelnutneworleans.com (awesome home decor and gift shop), Sucre - www.shopsucre.com (amazing gelato), and Trashy Diva - www.trashydiva.com (re-tooled vintage style dresses designed by a local).

    I could go on listing everything this amazing city has to offer, but I will spare you the long comment. You will love it here in the Crescent City!

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  24. You should go to Camelia Grill. It's an awesome greasy spoon kind of place, with counter seating and lots of ambiance. It's been in NOLA forever, and even though it's been many years since I've been there, we went just about every time.

    Have so much fun -- I can't wait to hear how it is post-Katrina!

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  25. We have been watching The Tudors since it started..and we absolutely LOVE it! Very sexy.

    My top recs for NOLA are Drago's (delicious chargilled oysters), Acme Oyster House (again, with the oysters), and Mother's (awesome, black food..no offense). Now, I want to go!

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  26. I went to NOLA on business for the first time last month. Didn't do much outside of the convention, but we did eat at Mr. B's Bistro. Delish! Here's their menu: www.mrbsbistro.com

    Hope you enjoy your time there! :)

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  27. It sounds like everyone has great recs for restaurants...Handsome Husband and I went to Dickie Brennan's the night we got into NO....it was late-ish and the food was really great. I'm always apprehensive about getting great food later at night....this place did not disappoint.

    The Garden District was magical....I'd definitely plan to go there again.

    Then my one other rec is a shopping stop....if it's still open, Scriptura....has the loveliest paper products ever. I went to the one on Chartres St but there was also one on Magazine St. Again, not sure if its still open....but so worth the stop!

    Just checked...still there, only at Magazine street and then a new store in Metairie....website: http://www.scriptura.com/home.html

    Handsome Husband and I went during a difficult time for us....NO holds a special place in our hearts because of that trip. I know you'll have a great time no matter what you do!!!

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  28. Ah ... perfect timing! I'm headed to NOLA next weekend and have spent the day planning! Yay for all the recommendations! :) Thanks in advance for helping out. haha!

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  29. I want to go to NOLA! So fun! I'm staying/living close to the Preston Ziziki's right now.. I've not tried any places yet!

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  30. kiki -- Scriptura is alive and well. It is no longer on Chartres Street, but it is next to Lakeside Mall in Metarie (which is an absolute BEAR to get to). The Magazine Street store is lovely, but I actually recommend the Stationer of New Orleans over Scriptura for the nice-ness of the sales associates and their willingness to help customers. But definitely check out Scriptura - its one of a kind.

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  31. Cafe Reconcile in New Orleans has traditional Louisiana fare (gumbo, poor boys, etc) and delicious bananas foster bread pudding. Even better, though, is the story behind the restaurant. It employs underprivileged youth in the area and teaches them the ropes of the food service industry...from being chefs to hosts/hostesses. Really cool place and a relatively cheap/easy lunch!

    http://reconcileneworleans.org/cafe/cafe-information

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happy little comments!