Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eating and Shopping in New Orleans

My suitcase is still in charge of storytelling.

When you visit a city frequently you can fall into a rut of eating at the same places. Often you want to make sure that anyone traveling with you has a great experience and as a seasoned traveler acting as a guide you want to avoid disappointing them. On Madame Owner's recent trip to New Orleans something new was discovered. MO's new son-in-law was keen to have a delicious brunch someplace in The Quarter before starting out for the drive home. It isn't hard to find a great restaurant offering up delicious fare including everything from bananas foster to eggs benedict on a lazy Sunday morning. Goldilocks would have been proud as they roamed from place to place.

"This one's TOO expensive."

"This one's TOO crowded."

Then in the shadow of the Louisiana Supreme Court they happened upon a little place with outdoor seating in the alley and an interesting menu.

"This one's JUST right."

The Somethin' Else Cafe is located at 620 Conti and the has outdoor seating in the adjacent alley. The weather was just warm enough to sit there and discuss which palm tree on the grounds of the courthouse is most iconic.  Madame had been hoping for endless mimosas as part of the brunch scenario but wasn't disappointed at all with her second choice, a bloody mary. The vegetable garnishes were arranged in a clever fleur di lis. The service was a bit slow, which isn't a big deal if you are lounging around hoping to soak up a few extra moments of Cajun ambiance before leaving town. The waitress was friendly however, and the menu was worth studying in depth. MO's daughter and her new husband ordered the Somethin' Else French Toast and MO and Mr. MO ordered the Crab Cake NOLA. This restaurant gets points for creativity and new twists on old standards.

The French toast actually tasted like a banana bread and looked like muffins. It was topped with a praline sauce, and was amazing. The "crab cakes" were scoops of lump crab meat seasoned to perfection and grilled between a biscuit, then topped with a fried egg and surrounded by a warm creamy sauce. MO ordered the egg on top of hers scrambled instead. All the food was uniquely delicious.  It's a bit pricey and they would have liked to have seen the waitress more often, but the food was worth the wait. The  consensus  was that the mary was the best one ever. Every item gets this writer's praise for original and fun presentation!


While researching this post I ran across several reviews of this restaurant and they are extreme on both ends. Lots of folks raved about it and just as many seemed to have had a really bad experience. I will admit that the food is s-l-o-w to arrive but I am easily swayed to love something that was better than I had hoped for, which it absolutely was.

Last weekend Madame Owner, her husband, daughter, and new son-in-law headed to New Orleans for the wedding of a cousin. MO's family has been to NOLA a lot over the years but this was the first time they hadn't taken the train.

A highway is less interesting than a train track running through the old parts of quaint, small southern towns. It is in this case, however, quicker. On this trip time was of the essence.


Dinner at Acme Oyster House always means standing in a line out front.  Might as well take some pictures while you're there, right?

MO and her daughter ordered something called an Alligator Martini. It was awful. At least MO thought so. It was green and had a strange flavor.

MO checked the list of ingredients.

Sierra Mist.

That explains it.

"Excuse me, Ma'am, can I get some water?"

It was pretty chilly but that didn't stop mother and daughter from window shopping after dinner.

"Ooooh, look at that dress."

"What street are we on?"

"We have to come back here tomorrow.

"Think we can find it? Wait. Where are we?"

This is what the men hear, but what MO and her daughter know is that their style homing instinct will lead them right where they want to go.

They still won't know what street they are on.

Except for Jackie's

This is one store that is a MUST whenever they are in town. Jackie's on Jackson Square, located a few steps from Cafe Du Mond on St. Anne Street, it is a trendy boutique full of chic and unusual items.  Some of MO's daughter's favorite pieces of clothing EVER have come from this shop.They always have a wide assortment of new and quirky pieces of clothing and accessories. MO needed a new purse and finally settled on a brown number, with gold details. Her daughter tried on several dresses but ended up with the two that were on display in the window.

Here she is wearing one of them at the wedding they attended. The ribbon is actually one she took out of her Converse tennis shoe to make an impromptu belt.

Style not only means taste, but the ability to be creative in a pinch. The dress itself has no waistline, and has layers of pretty eyelet detail in the back. The bright tomato red is a stunner.

The Quarter is full of shops running the gamut from high end, to trendy and inexpensive. You can find something that you will bring home and actually wear, unlike the naughty t-shirt that you thought was clever after your second hurricane. Trust me. Buy yourself something nice instead. You'll be glad you did.

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