Food and Drink, New Orleans
If you can't afford to stay at the Monteleone Hotel on Royal St. in the French Quarter (and prices are steep), then you owe it to yourself to at least stop in for a drink at the revolving bar, known as the "Carousel" as much for its decor as for the fact that it really does revolve in a constant 360 degree circle.
Once you enter the sumptuous lobby, you'll find the Carousel bar on your right. It's a refreshing respite from the outside heat (well, at least that's how I come to view it, since it was my favorite place to grab a cold drink when I was working for a time share resort on Chartres St. one summer in between college semesters - I would stop in to the cool, dark lobby of the hotel and refresh myself in the carousel bar for a quick 15 minutes.
As much now as back then, you'll find both guests and local businessmen conducting negotiations over a glass of scotch or cognac, the bartender discreetly keeping his own counsel behind the revolving counter.
This hotel is considered a Literary Landmark in New Orleans and has been owned and family operated since the late 1800s.
This place is beloved by locals and by my estimate, the entire Tulane and Loyola student bodies. I never missed a Saturday or Sunday morning for the chili cheese omelets (look out - they are GIGANTIC - served with fries)
It's a diner with mostly black staff behind the counters - I recall an elderly gentleman known as the "Captain" - a real funny character who stood regally behind the counter barking out orders and training the younger staff with a sharp eye. Once in a while you'd hear him reprimand one with "Nigger! Hurry up on that nutty!" (The Captain was himself, black - which incidentally, don't be surprised if you hear some of the black folks in NO refer to each other as "nigger" in a friendly manner. If you're white - or even if you're black but NOT from New Orleans, do not attempt this kind of familiarity. The blacks in New Orleans tend to be deferential to the whites, but this is really pushing it).
It's a toss-up between the delicious cheeseburger with grilled onions, or the chili-cheese omelet, or the pecan waffle ("nutty waffle" in Camellia Grill terms) - and do NOT leave this place without ordering a slice of pecan pie warmed up on the grill. It's so buttery it will melt in your mouth.
Order a "coffee freeze" and watch as your waiter hands you the drink and straw so that you pull the paper off of it (a traditional Camelia Grill ritual). Also, and this may sound strange, but venture into the bathroom at this place - if you're not from New Orleans, you'll find it strange how the bathrooms are always located in the kitchens in many restaurants. I used to love to walk back through the Camelia Grill kitchen and watch the staff chopping up the lettuce or tomatoes - everyone is a colorful character here.
I have so many DELICIOUS memories of this place, I can't return to NO without eating here at least once during my visit, usually for breakfast or lunch. Simply the best. Reasonable prices, counter seating. Usually a wait.
This was one of my dad's favorite restaurants, located Uptown. It's famous for its barbecue shrimp. The ambience is great - it's been owned and operated by the same old New Orleans family since the early 1900s, and still has a beautiful old oyster and cocktail bar. I used to get their home-made lasagna here...but ALL the dishes are fabulous.
Open Monday through Friday, located at 1838 Napolean Ave. (Uptown). Phone for reservations.
the faubourg marigny can kick bourbon streets ass...its hard to describe this area...the blocks are comprised of triangles..squares...frenchman seems like it becomes decater...bourbon veers off and is perpindicular to rampart...who knows its a whole little area that rocks...gay bars...raggea bars...second line...punk rock laundry mats...for a girl like me the faubourg is heaven...
on friday nights cafe istanbul...or cafe brasil I truly forget but who cares...one of them pays their band to march around the block...similar to a funeral procession and get all of us tourists in the cafe istanbul...they do this I am sure to get the tourists...and we are all like right on...who cares let them manipulate me and get me in there...its fun...second line is my favorite live music....once you are on frenchman...the music world is your oyster...have some oysters before you head down...just to get the feeling...one year Frenchman street named me the tourist of the month...you will not get a hurricane on frenchman...but if you ask really nice they'll make you something..
the story is Lyle Lovvett brought Julia Roberts to frenchman street for their 1st date...and everyone wonders why she married him...bring me to frenchman street boys..may not marry you...but...the weekends rocka bit more...its no0t as popular as bourbon...but it is fun...fun...fun..
You will stop by the ShimSham Club right on Toulouse Street. I know, I know. Although Toulouse Street isn't exactly what you might first think as "off the beaten path," the ShimSham club is, for the sole reason that tourists stroll right past it. Don't make the mistake of possibly missing: the Flogging Molly lads playing live, Glam Nights (think David Bowie/New York Dolls), 80s dark New Wave nights, or maybe even the ever-raging Confederacy of Scum tour. ...Like I said, off the beaten path!
The Neutral Ground is a laid-back coffeehouse hangout where all ages are welcome: college students, aging hipsters, families. There are pastries, board games, paperback books, art displays, and live music, and no one cares if you linger over your $1 cup of coffee. Wednesday is poetry night, and Sunday is Open Mic.
The evening we were there, sheltering from a cold wind blowing off the Mississippi, we heard a good band playing blues and rock. A young teen casually joined her aunt onstage for a duet, then went back to doing a jigsaw puzzle with her friends.
If you want a break from the tourist hordes, stop by and say "hey" to owner Phil Melancon and the other nice folks at the Neutral Ground.
Located at 5110 Danneel Street, Uptown. Open daily, 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Bourbon is overpriced and dirty. Check out Frenchman St instead-1 block out of the French Quarter- follow Decatur St to Esplanade, cross over it and take the street that curves behind Check Point Charlie's, you're on Frenchman-it's got bars with some of the best local bands, great food, and the city's best jazz club: Snug Harbor. Mix with the locals and enjoy cheap drinks and a 24 hour party.
Walk into any bar in the city and the local beer on tap will be Abita. Brewed in quaint Abita Springs, LA (about 45 outside of New Orleans proper - across the Causeway), Abita is a local favorite.
One of the oldest craft breweries in the United States, Abita offers complimentary brewery tours on Saturdays (1:00 and 2:30 PM) and Sundays (1:00 PM). Guests are shown the ropes of the art of brewing and indulged with all the draft beer (they keep several of their most popular varieties on tap, as well as a seasonal) they can possibly drink by one of Abita's colorful brewmasters. Abita also makes and provides a steady supply of their famous Root Beer, for those who so desire.
If you are by chance craving some food to go with your drink, the Abita Brewpub is only 1 1/2 miles down the road (it's located in the building that was used for brewing and bottling until the early 90s). There you can continue your liquid indulgence if you so choose while eating some typical (and not so typical) pub fare - try the BBQ Crab Claws, they are yummy. If the mood so strikes you, you can even pick up a 6-pack or a 1/2 gallon of your favorite Abita variety to take home with you. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside at one of the picnic tables under the big Oak tree and watch the cyclists cruise by on the Tammany Bike Trail.
Although neither the beer nor the food are truly exceptional from my point of view, it's always a fun day and the short trip is well worth giving it a try for yourself.
A far bit of warning though, local police love to hang out right around the Brewery, just waiting to snag unwitting patrons following their departure...so, please, be responsible and hand over the keys if you are going to be drinking.
The Prytania Theatre, founded in the early 1900s, is the last remaining single-screen suburban theatre in Louisiana. The owners have gone through an exorbitant amount of work to bring out the unique, old-fashioned feel of this historical landmark. It ranks as my best place to see a movie, because of its quaint qualities. Normally no lines and low prices, with discounts for students = its time to go to the movies!
Crabby Jack's has to be my favorite place to grab lunch. They are open from 10 am-5pm, and is the best local secret! The owner of this nice little New Orleans seafood joint is actually Jack Leonardi, the same owner as Jacque-Imos. Most of the dishes are very similar, without the ritz and some of the better sauces, as JI, but the prices are so much better.
The salads are also HUGE! This is definitely where you want to go for a good large salad. You get to pick everything you want tossed in your salad, and I recommend getting the JI house dressing. It tastes like a plum vinegar with something extra, maybe worcheshire sauce? The Po'Boys here are huge too, and delicious. My boyfriend loves the BBQ brisket po boy, and all the lunch plates are fantastic.
This place is also next to a seafood warehouse, so all the seafood is fresh. The prices are from $8-15 for a nice large meal, and if you order a drink, you get a plastic souvenir cup with Jack's picture. I guess kind of neat if you are a tourist and want a cheap plastic cup as a keepsake. Well that is the New Orlean's style.
Everyone I know that is local come to this place, and it's in Jefferson Parish. About 10 minutes from Uptown. But it's oh so worth the adventure. Just a plain little restaurant, but once inside, you see those Dr. Bob decorations of those Abita beer tops and "Be Nice or Leave" signs. It has this New Orleans flair, same as Jacque Imo's but once again much more affordable. This is a must hit if you are visiting New Orleans, this and Jacque Imo's on Oak St.
Oh, and most the days I go, I see Jack wandering around in a bright T shirt with black Nikes with neon shoelaces and he greets everyone with a smile~
Alot of people do not even know this place exists and it is only a 10 minute cab ride from the French Quarter. Celebration Distillation is the Oldest Operating Rum Distillery in the United States. It was started 15 years ago by the Artist James Michalopoulos. They Produce 4 different rums year round. Thier Cajun Spiced Rum was voted the number one flavored rum on the market for the second year in a row by the Beverage Testing Institute BTI.
They give tours on a daily basis @ 10am 1pm and 3 pm and the tours are only ten bucks!
They include one of the specialty drinks - their cajun iced tea is my favorite on hot summer days!
you also get a tour through the distillery by one of the two distillers and a tasting of all of their products.
you can purchase the products right at the distillery and they even have a specialty 10 year product that is only available at the distillery!
This is really a unique and interesting thing th check out in new orleans that truly is different than everything else.
I would absolutely suggest calling and getting good directions before venturing out to them. Alot of the road signs in their area are still missing after Katrina and can make it kind of hard to find them. They had over 9 feet of water and have come back really strong
They also do alot of special events and love large groups so make sure to call ahead and that one of the daily tours has not been canceled or postponed for a special event
My all means see Burbon Street, and the French Quarter, but you should also venture out a bit.
For a college crowd/sports bar try Cooter Browns. It's one of those places with dozens of beers from the USA and around the world, huge sandwiches, and oysters on the 1/2 shell. It's uptown , off St Charles Ave, pass Tulane University. (you can take the St Charles streetcar from downtown). http://www.cooterbrowns.com/photos.html
Another place is Finn McCools in Mid-City (about 2 miles from the French Quarter, near the Canal Streetcar line). This is a Irish pub, and the owners are from Ireland. This is a place were Brits, Irish, and locals hang out. If there's a Soccer game on anywhre in the world, chances are it will be on one the big screen tv's here. http://www.finnmccools.com/Home_Page.php
Cheap beer... $2.00 domestic, and of course Guinness on tap.
the old new orleans rum distillery tour is great. we had brian, one the distillers, show us around and pour samples of their tasty rums. he was funny and made us all feel welcome. they do 3 tours a day. the sampling room sells rum and souvenirs. they've been around for years and are becoming more available outside of new orleans. these people really love what they do and it shows. it was the highlight of our trip.
address: 2815 frenchmen street
directions: grab a cab or if you have a car - take elysian fields from the french quarter; turn left on abundance. left on frenchmen. they are two blocks down on your left...follow the red arrows. it's in an industrial section of town, but worth the short ride.
As you step off the ferry that crosses the Mississippi into New Orleans' historic Algiers, you will see the popular Algiers hangout: Dry Dock Cafe. Truly a local bar this bar and restaurant serves all the New Orleans classics like red beans, etouffe and jambalya. Moreover, regular pub grub like burgers, catfish and fried shrimp poboys are served here along with beer and cocktails priced for locals. The food is served in an unpretentious fashion by and attentive staff.
You have to try the barbeque shrimp. The juicy shrimp drowned in a spicy bbq sauce goes well with an ice-cold beer.
Take an afternoon away from the French Quarter and enjoy Magazine St. Make sure to stop at Rue de la Course to get an iced coffee, sit outside and people watch. Have an outdoor lunch at Cafe Rani or have a drink at the upstairs balconey of the Balconey Bar. If your in the mood for a pitcher of beer and a unique slice of pizza, try Rocky's. Bring a little cash if your in the mood for boutique shopping.