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Our purpose: Food and Music
I would definitely say visiting New Orleans is a little like visiting another country (drive-thru daquiri, to-go cup (purely touristy), Mardi Gras an extra holiday - of which I'm super jealous). Even the locals say this, and they are pretty proud of it. It seems this feeling has been in place since Louisiana was sold to Spain and then to the Union. It was a long time before government officials spoke anything but French.
From what I can tell, local Orleanians are the foodie kings (they laughed when everybody started in on the local, slow food movement - it's not new to them, they were already doing it). Life is too short to try bad food. They are extremely picky about where they eat. One gentleman seems to have to do a background check on the staff in order to eat there. For this reason, I'm extremely suspicious of a restaurant that doesn't have a favorable review from a local. And if it is unfavorable, I wonder if they are trying to keep tourists away...
New Orleans is not so much a beer town, which can be disappointing to beer tourists; they are a artisan cocktail type place if you decide to go to fancy restaurants. However much I did enjoy the regional cocktails Sazerac (bourbon based) and Pimm's Cup (gin based), I was not disappointed by the beer selection and even the local choices. Below is a list of all the beer I tried. As far as cocktails are concerned, there is one more on my list that I'll get next time: Cafe Brulot (coffee and brandy) suggested as an after-dinner experience in Lonely Planet - they set it on fire!
Music: There is always someone talented playing in the music clubs on Frenchman St. We also got lucky with some of the groups we did see. More details below.
Beer I imbibed that I can't get at home: Abita Mardi Gras Bock, Irish Channel Stout, Restoration Pale, Amber, Golden, Save Our Shore; NOLA blond, red, wheat, porter; Bayou Teche LA 31 biere pale; Brooklyn The Companion, Chocolate Stout; Stillwater Existent; Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse; Lazy Magnolia Pecan Nut Brown; Tin Roof Perfect Tin Amber, Voodoo Bengal Pale
Maringy. LGBT friendly. Home sweet home, home base, crash pad. Carl is very attentive and sweet.
Marigny. 2/7/12 stopped in for a quick pint and a spot of jazz. Excellent musicians for so early in the evening. Food looks really good, but we didn't try. 2/8/12 we were back for The Upstarts and a ginger pulled pork sandwich which was tasty. It was after 9 and it looks like their menu changes by that time-- something with less choice, and understandably so. My first Sazerac--not sure if it was a good one, but I liked it.
Maringy. 2/7/12 This is not the Vegas-strip type joint with machines spewing crappy drinks that it sounds like. Very tasty morsels. Small plates and entrees, extensive cocktail list, decent beer list. My first alligator. Tastes like chicken.
Marigny. Great beer selection. Smoke free. 2/7/12 Treme Brass Band is excellent. 2/9/12 We love Hurray for the Riff Raff and the Tumbleweeds, but they played such sad songs....
Uptown. Not smoke free. 2/7/12 Rebirth Jazz Band on Tuesday night cover $12. Definitely dive-y, but very nice that they have water and cups available for rehydration. They have a decent amount of NOLA beer: blond, wheat and porter. Bathrooms were fun; a lovely stranger held the door closed on one of the stalls for me and there is no door on the men's room. We saw Wendell Pierce arrive with a beautiful dame on his arm as we were leaving; stars are always shorter than you imagined them.
French Qtr. 2/8/12 we sat in the outdoor patio of this soulless touristy joint, but I guess the place has 100 years of history. Choices seemed only to be coffee and beignets and soft drinks. Beignets good, coffee so-so. But there are street musicians hanging around and them I loved!
Warehouse D. 2/8/12 I've been to few places that have emotionally moved me as this, and one of those places was ground zero and the A-bomb museum in Nagasaki . The theater is amazing. State of the art, and artfully employed for the film. Great sections talking about what it was like for black people and women during the war, They may want to add some more displays about the Japanese internment here. I think all politicians in the position to start wars should visit a museum like this.
Warehouse District. 2/8/12 hog jowls with liver cheese and fig preserves, wood roast oysters, rabbit and dumplings, chocolate pecan tart with chocolate bourbon ice cream. Even the locals in the place said, "You picked a great spot to eat."
French Quarter. 2/8/12 No bathroom, no booze, small ugly room, excellent musicians with an excellent rapport. Not only is the music wonderful, the gents up there were joking with the audience and each other. OH and what makes this place even better, is the old deaf cat that crawls into your lap for love as soon as you sit down.
Marigny. 2/9/12 Convenient! Good coffee and tasty treats and good service.
Hey, free. Sort of. Should tip your guide. 2/9/12 Our hipster guide showed us around Lafayette Cemetery and the Garden District
Garden D. 2/9/12 Lots of hype and it lives up to it. We had a great time with the staff and tasty food. But if it's not in your budget, no worries.
CBD. 2/9/12 This place did not have the same value for me as Cochon, the sister restaurant, however, everything was tasty and service excellent. My first frog legs. Also chicken like. I don't know if I'll ever have any that good again.
French Qtr. 2/10/12 Good value. Got our Tastes of Plate with Gumbo, red beans and rice, shrimp creole and Jambalaya (my favorite). CJ says the rest of the menu, especially pasta and chicken chopitoulas, is worth sampling.
Maringy. Happy hour and piano music 4-630pm. 2/10/12 I could eat here every day. Super super tasty. Very good performers, Bill Malchow and his guests, especially the lady sax player.
Maringy. Not smoke free and taqueria in the back, with well reputed fare. 2/10/12 CJ and Beth are awesome! They played an early show of Celtic inspired stuff. To be followed up by the usual reggae band, which is not my scene.
Marigny. 2/11/12 Neighborhood joint with excellent value. That biscuit sandwich looks small, but it was hard to finish. Servers were super sweet and welcoming to us tourists. Get the cupcake with your meal for a dollar-- you won't be sorry.
Edge of French Qtr for St Louis Cemetery No. 1. 2/11/12 Extremely knowledgeable and amusing guide. You get the history in context of the people who lived and died in New Orleans.
French Qtr. 2/11/12. 25 local beers on tap. They also serve food, but we were just there for the beer.