Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Orleans: An Eating Itinerary

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Parkway Bakery & Tavern, New Orleans
  • Parkway Bakery & Tavern, New Orleans
I have not been to New Orleans in more than a decade, since a Halloween visit before we had kids. Children put a damper on certain only-in-NOLA festivities, such as watching French Quarter denizens goggle at your wife's inflatable breasts (it was a Mouseketeer costume, if you must know) or your friend's mom in her dominatrix-issue Xena costume. Sigh. Those were the days.

But I'll be in the Crescent City for about 48 hours this week, as part of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference. That means lots of sober reflection on the state of print journalism, the challenges of the online era, and the changing media landscape — for about two hours. After that, I will spend the next 46 hours attempting to devour the city.

Bound only by time, money, accessibility and a desire not to gain back every hard-earned pound I've lost in the past year — but what a way to go, right? — here are the possible stops I have earmarked for this weekend as I board a streetcar named gluttony. (Biggest bummer, besides Uglesich's: oyster haven Casamento's is closed for the summer.) You sophisticated travelers who care to warn me away from some or recommend others — or offer tips on what to order — I'm all ears.

Acme Oyster House — fondly remembered from my last NOLA visit, except for the pitcher of beer a companion spilled on me. Luckily, in New Orleans that just makes you fit in.

Bouligny Tavern — very curious about burrata, the barely solid cheese fashioned from mozzarella and cream that to my knowledge hasn't appeared yet in Nashville. Where better to try it than James Beard nominee John Harris' popular small-plate wine bar?

The Camellia Grill — because a streetcar ride to a chili cheese omelet is my idea of arcane decadence.

Central Grocery — the homeplace of the muffuletta, and by most accounts never bettered.

Cochon / Cochon Butcher — since I doubt I'll be getting a table at Herbsaint on a weekend night, this sounds like a swell introduction to the Donald Link pork empire. That said, I'm as tempted by Cochon's famous "fisherman style" roasted Gulf fish as I am the next door Butcher's reportedly world-class Cuban sandwich.

Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. — because I miss those Cajun meat pies that the late, lamented Wilma Kaye's used to serve.

Elizabeth's — two words: praline bacon.

Mandina's — is this where I finally try turtle soup au sherry? Is turtle soup even worth the effort?

Parkway Bakery & Tavern — supposedly the king of the roast beef po' boys, and fairly inexpensive too.

Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar — good word about the Costa Rican breakfast of eggs over brown rice with fried plantains and a side of boudin.

Three Muses — sounds awesome for checking out the music scene in Faubourg Marigny; also, "boolgogi" bowl of marinated ribeye with house-made kimchi for $12.

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