03 July 2011

Heaven is spelled N.O.L.A... The Finale

Mo' pics, less clicks (that would be my fingers clicking the keys.) That's the name of the game for this post. My ass is spent talking about New Orleans, so I'm going to give you very sparse details for this post. But don't worry, there'll be lots of perty pictures.

After brunch at Commander's Palace, we found a brochure in the lobby that offered a mapped walking tour of the Garden District. Since this was what we were planning on doing anyway, we grabbed one and ran through your wicked garden... district.

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After our walk we did some shopping along Magazine Street. Guys, listen up. If you ever read online that there's great shopping along Magazine, realize what I failed to in that there's great women's shopping along Magazine. I've never seen so many damn women's clothing, shoes, and accessory stores in one place in my entire life. While I was bored to tears, I kept my happy face on as my wife went door-to-door.

After freshening up at the hotel we went to Ugly Dog Saloon and Bar-B-Que who said they'd put the Caps game on for me. I had a few Abita beers, which didn't hold a candle to the brews at NOLA. A regular made some barbecue shrimp and brought them in and they insisted we have some. That was really nice.

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Unfortunately we had to leave prior to the conclusion of the game as we had dinner reservations with my mom and her fiance at Emeril's.

Despite reading from many many sources online about how despite Emeril's being a very highly trafficked restaurant, the quality of the food was definitely down a peg or two from the other places we ate over the weekend. And I'd also read glowing reviews of the service, and the waitstaff at Emeril's was the worst we experienced in New Orleans. They were slow and indifferent.

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The Sazerac I ordered was an insult to cocktails everywhere. When our waiter handed it to me I honestly thought it was a sample:

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The best bite by far was the little complimentary corn muffin. It was some of the best cornbread I've ever had.

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My soup Crawfish & Tomato Bisque tasted not much better than something out of a Campbell's can.

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My wife ordered the Creole Marinated Calamari and while the calamari itself was overcooked and chewy, I did like the inclusion of the olives for a nice salty punch.

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My complaints were few for my entree as well which was Grilled Sea Scallops with creole tomato-okra stew, spicy boiled peanuts, and spring onion-popcorn rice.

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The grill marks were definitely present and flavorful, but again, these were slightly overcooked. My favorite component of the dish was the spicy peanuts. They could've served as a very addictive bar snack. The popcorn rice didn't come close to Mr. B's. The fried coating killed any taste the pickled okra may have had.

Even though I had my heart set on Emeril's famous Banana Cream Pie ever since I laid eyes on it, my mother detests bananas and I was simply too full to finish an entire slice on my own. So I ordered the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.

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It was fluffy and light, but again, nothing really memorable. It tasted like something from Cheesecake Factory.

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Afterwards we headed over to Harrah's since my mother wanted to check it out. The Mrs. tried her luck again on the Lord of the Rings machine, but unfortunately didn't walk away a winner this time. I found the machine that was put on this earth specifically for my entertainment. May I present to you the Hoot Loot:

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'at's 'em hoot owls up in dem dere trees. Hooka-looka-chooo! I have the coolest grandpop whom ever lived. And with a middle name like Oden (Odin), he damn well better be.

After Harrah's we decided to head back to the Swizzle Stick Bar to see if their bread pudding was still as good as it was when we were fitshaced.

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This time around we decided to sit in the lounge area. No more than 5 minutes after we sat down Obama came on the air with a live announcement that we'd killed Osama Bin Laden.

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You could hear a pin drop as the entire bar stood in awe listening to the monologue. I wanted to redeem myself after that pathetic Sazerac I had at Emeril's so I tried a 'Japanese' which had brandy, almond syrup, and Angostura bitters.

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Unfortunately this was way too sweet.

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The bread pudding was still damn tasty sober, but not quite as perfect as the one we had at Jazz Fest. I think it was still my wife's favorite of the trip, but for me it was a very strong second.

The next morning the wife and I rolled out of bed and headed out the door. Our destination was Surrey's, but this time we had full intentions of sitting down for breakfast.

I ordered another Apricot Green Tea and a Jazz Fest special Crab Cake Benedict with a biscuit. The wife ordered the Bananas Foster French Toast.

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The eggs were perfectly cooked and oozy. The cakes themselves were good but over-seasoned, masking any actual crab flavor. I loved the strong lemon flavor in the hollandaise, but it was very thick, bordering on goopy. The biscuits were clearly baked in-house and they were very dense and moist. Although my dish was fine, after seeing plate after plate of amazing-looking shrimp & grits go by, if I could've ordered again, I would've went with that.

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The french toast, however, was the star of the show. The thick slices of brioche were literally stuffed with bananas cream cheese filling. I'd never seen this before. When she cut into a piece, the filling gushed out like an open wound.

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It was magical. The banana's foster sauce was a tad grainy, but otherwise this was some of the best french toast we'd had. The bread was light, moist, and custardy with a great outter crust from the being pan-fried. She didn't come up for air until her plate was cleaned.

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If it weren't for the grainy sauce, this would've been in the upper echelon of french toast stardom alongside Day by Day and Madre.

We headed back to the hotel, packed our bags, and checked out. The lobby said they would gladly hold our luggage while we spent our last day in the city. After walking around town for a little while we had lunch reservations at Cochon and Herbsaint. But after walking and talking with my wife, we came to the same conclusion when we were trying to decide our last bite of Jazz Fest: Let's just go back and re-order our favorite things. So that's exactly what we did. After two heaping bowls of Mr. B's BBQ Shrimp and round after round of Pisco Sours by the hands of my main man Marvin (who caught me creepin' as I peeked in the window to see if he was working), we picked up our bags at the hotel and trudged off to the bus stop to catch the shuttle back to the airport. I'll leave you with no words, just pictures. Thank you all for reading through our amazing weekend in New Orleans. We will most certainly return, and in the not-so-distant future, I hope.


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Emeril's New Orleans on Urbanspoon
Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar on Urbanspoon
Mr. B's Bistro on Urbanspoon

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theminx said...

Emeril's was definitely the most disappointing meal of our trip to NOLA - 11 years ago. Everything was oversalted, so much so that other flavors weren't particularly noticeable.

I had the banana cream pie at Emeril's in Orlando (where the rest of the meal was stellar). You're not missing anything - it was mostly cornstarch, with a couple of slices of banana. Terrible.

Thanks for sharing your trip - makes me want to visit again.

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