Sunday, May 29, 2005

Eating out in the Big Easy

I should start off this post by saying that this most recent trip to New Orleans improved my opinion of the city in one respect, and probably only one respect: food. The city is still as smelly, sleazy, hot, and humid as I remember it being; but my verdict on the city's restaurants has experienced a major shift. My only other visit to the city was for a volleyball tournament when I was 15, a point at which I was a very picky vegetarian, wouldn't touch seafood with a 10-foot pole, and was going through a thoroughly anti-fried-food phase. Needless to say there wasn't much for me to eat, especially at the restaurants we (we = 10 teenage girls, two coaches, and a smattering of parents) frequented.

Now a confirmed foodie who will try anything at least once and actively seeks out interesting food, I had a very different dining experience this time around. Armed as I was with Gourmet's restaurant picks for New Orleans (organized in four categories for your convenience: high end, budget, hot spots, and local favorites), more often than not I was the one who got to decide where we were eating dinner. Gourmet did not disappoint, and on more than one occasion I was seen with a decidedly euphoric look on my face--in other words, grinning like an idiot. I've listed the restaurants I liked and would recommend. A few of them (e.g. Cuvée) also deserve their own review, so stay tuned for some pure foodie bliss.

Court of Two Sisters (recommendation from Antoun, not Gourmet)
613 Royal St.
French Quarter

Lola's (Gourmet listing here, and my own review coming soon)
3312 Esplanade Ave.


Cuvée (Gourmet listing here, and my own review coming soon)
St. James Hotel
322 Magazine St.
Central Business District
What I ate:

Napoleon House (Gourmet listing here)
500 Chartres St.
French Quarter


La Côte Brasserie (Gourmet listing here, and my own review coming soon)
Renaissance Arts Hotel
700 Tchoupitoulas St.
Warehouse District