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TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

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Saint Louis...
posts: 154
reviews: 11
TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

I owe a trip report as I benefit from a lot of useful info and tips from reading posts and thoroughly enjoy reading trip reports for fun. My thanks to all of the posters who contribute to the forum especially the NO experts and regular posters. A little background, couple in early 50s who visit 1-2 times a year for the past 8-10 years.

This really was one of our best trips ever - one of those great ones where everything just fell into place (welcome relief after this past summer's visit when both of us got hit hard with the flu). Being with DH (love of my life), outstanding accommodations, great weather for the entire trip, a majority of friendly servers and cab drivers, and for us, most importantly, much great food and drink. I won't bore you with the our day to day activities as they pale in comparison to many of the great adventurers whose trip reports I live through vicariously.

Our days are spent without a plan, leisurely wandering through the quarter, stopping for a cocktail wherever strikes our fancy, strolling through the market, in and out of shops that catch my eye, cards at Harrhs, and visiting the cat napping in the window on Royal. Days with nothing on the agenda for us is a true luxury as it is something we do not get to experience when at home. I will give the highlights of our trip along with details on our dining as we truly enjoy dining out in general and specifically eating and drinking our way through NO.

Highlights of our trip include blueberry margaritas from El Gato Negro and the cherry lime fizz from the Original Pierre Masparos, bought a small cinnamon King Cake from the market and got the baby in the first piece I cut - tasted like a cinnamon roll to me; made daily visits to the bar at the Original Pierre Masparos as it was close to our accommodations - the bartenders were always fun and friendly and we met a lovely couple from Michigan with which we shared cocktails and great conversation. We rode the ferry to Algiers for fun (boy did he get close to that huge barge in my opinion); however, the bartender at the Dry Dock was rather sour. Enjoyed our usual drinks and ride at the Carousel Bar as well as visiting with the bartender. Enjoyed the Krewe of Cork parade through the quarter (very small parade with no floats but fun none the less). Really got a kick out of the Barkus Parade - made me quite homesick for my "kids" and greatly appreciated the advice from this forum about watching parade at the beginning of the route as it tends to disband. Caught the end of one of the bigger parades on Saturday night on Canal - looked like great fun but have to confess that we really aren't parade people. However, I loved the vibe of the time we visited as I have seen some call it Mardi Gras lite, as well as all of the decorations. Would definitely return for this time frame. I have to admit that I hated to see all of the CBS Super Bowl set up in Jackson Square. I'm glad what the game means for the city financially and liked the buzz of the anticipation for the game and crowds, just like to see Jackson Square in its beautiful, natural state. Our celeb citings were John Gruden and Shannon Sharp playing blackjack at the next table in Harrahs and Neil Patrick Harris (he'll always be Doogie Howser to me) checking in at the Monteleone. Had a great little shopping spree at the New Orleans School of Cooking picking up a copy of John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine (now out of print) along with other kitchen gadgets and food stuffs. Staff was wonderful and shipping rates were very reasonable (they knock off tax when you ship). Finally, have to acknowledge the front desk staff at the Omni Royal Orleans. We did not have access to a printer for our boarding passes at our accommodations. I went to the Omni and asked if I could pay to use their business center. Without missing a beat, the man said "No problem, I'll be happy to print them for you right here." It doesn't get any better than that. Will definitely look into staying here in the future (but have heard most of their rooms are really small). We have stayed in several of NOLA's high end hotels and this was some of the best and friendliest service we have encountered.

Back in a few to fill you in on our many great meals!

College Station...
Destination Expert
for New Orleans
posts: 7,222
reviews: 3
1. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Very much enjoying your report. Thanks for sharing! As for the Omni Royal Orleans, my favorite New Orleans hotel location, only some of their rooms are rather small; the website gives specific area range for each room type.

Saint Louis...
posts: 154
reviews: 11
2. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

One more highlight - on Thursday night we wandered into Fritzel's on Bourbon after dinner and greatly enjoyed the house band which had an absolutely fabulous piano player and a great sit-in trumpet player. Would definitely go back!

Now on to the food - first meal is always Acme (DH loves their char-grilled oysters - he finds Drago's too smokey) no line, enjoyed good 1/2 shell, char-grilled, fried and gumbo. Dinner that night was at Vincent's on St. Charles - one of our favs. Corn & crab bisque was outstanding, I had a delicious veal special with crab topping and DH had tutto mare special loaded with a variety of seafood. I could OD on their bread sticks and garlic butter - had a cannoli for dessert. I love this place - small, homey, Frank & Dino playing in the background, service was great with our waiter telling tales on Archie Manning.

Next day was lunch at Katie's - another of our favs. Love to eat at the bar with always friendly bartenders - great spinach and crab bisque (a special) DH enjoyed soft shell crab and pizza as usual for me. Dinner Thurs. evening was at Brigsten's. This is one of our repeats each trip but it pains me to say I think it is off the list. I had the butternut shrimp bisque - it is probably very good, just wasn't for me. I think DH had some kind of pork chop and I had the shellfish diet. All was good, just not as good as I remember it being when we first discovered it. The past two trips, I have found the meals and atmosphere to be uneventful to the point of boring. With all of the other dining options, will probably take a break.

On Friday, we ventured to Borgne for lunch. This is a casual Besh establishment heavy on seafood. We enjoyed it. Ate at the bar with another very friendly bartender. Tried broiled oysters with spicy garlic butter (needed more butter), 1/2 shells very good and very clean, grilled romaine very good, oyster spaghetti was good but too rich for lunch, star of the show was fish in a bag - would return for it. Also, the only Besh restaurant we have been to that serves Anheuser Busch products - much to DH delight (we are from the home of AB and DH will only drink Bud Light). This night was the only real dining glitch of the trip. Had long standing reservations for Revolution (which we visited this past July and liked but weren't wowed by the food and service was just plain weird). They were busy when we arrived a few minutes early for a 9:30 reservation so we headed to the bar. Took forever to get a drink even though we were lucky enough to get seats at the bar. After a short wait, we were shown to our table. I had requested a table in a certain location and there were open tables where requested but they led us to another room. No big deal. We were greeted, told who our serving team would be, and given menus. We had 3/4 full cocktails and there we sat chatted, viewed the menu, sipped our drinks, and sat and sat and sat. 20 minutes and not one person stopped by our table - even to say just running behind and be with us soon. Drinks were eventually finished and we sat some more. Then I got the look from DH and I knew what it meant. We got up and walked out, past various service staff and not one person said a word to us. Needless to say it will be pulling teeth to ever get DH back, but I still bought Chef Folse's cookbook. So now it's well after 10:00 p.m. and options are limited. We called our old standby Tommy's and they said sure come on over. Had our usual great meal - avocado with crabmeat and veal sorrentina for me, tomatoes maison and veal special with crabmeat for DH. As DH says when I'm thinking of leaving it off of our dining list "It's hard to beat." He's right!

Have to run now - will fill you in on the rest as a reply tomorrow!

little rock arkansas
Destination Expert
for Little Rock, Arkansas
posts: 3,133
reviews: 247
3. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

agree with Loophole on the Omni, my fav hotel. Talk to Emily in reservations at the hotel about your concerns about room size and she will help you out pending availability.

Orland Park...
posts: 516
reviews: 23
4. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Thanks for the report, wonderful job!

Bossier City, LA
posts: 2,649
reviews: 2
5. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Thanks for the great report Luckcat! My daughter stayed in the Omni Royal last month (there one night and Royal Sonesta one night). She had a balcomy room and loved it.

Cape May Point, New...
posts: 592
reviews: 26
6. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Wow, what was up at Revolution? I can't believe they didn't even acknowledge you when leaving. With so many outstanding choices in Nawlins they better step up their game. Glad Tommy's came through for you.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 10,042
reviews: 61
7. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Excellent report LuckyCat! Really enjoying reading it! Glad you had fun and enjoyed Barkus too! Did you ever get that Seperator drink at Good Friends? At least you got your dog fix--even though I'm sure you missed your babies lots! Those El Gato margaritas are great too. I haven't tried the blueberry one, but their watermelon margarita was perfect on a hot day...as is the house one too : )

Saint Louis...
posts: 154
reviews: 11
8. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Thanks to all for your replies. I love all the tips on the Omni and will certainly use them.

Deny-I never did get to try a Seperator - though I wanted to, it sounded so good. The crowd for Barkus was out of control so it gives me something new to look forward to next time (there's always something, isn't there). Had the watermelon margarita last summer - loved it too.

Glad everyone is enjoying the reading and I'm not boring you to tears! Will finish up this afternoon or evening as another reply.

louisiana
Destination Expert
for New Orleans
posts: 5,890
reviews: 91
9. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Vincent's, Katie's and Tommy's ...you did good.

Washington DC...
posts: 37
reviews: 81
10. Re: TR - Jan. 23-30 (very long)

Great report LuckyCat! I'm looking forward to enjoying one of those blueberry margaritas and some Acme oysters at the end of this month!