I wanted to give a little rundown of some of my favorite New Orleans restaurants while I was there, but I was simply too drunk and too sated each night to write after returning to our hotel room from all our fabulous dining experiences. Plus, three chickens in a hotel room, however spacious, was interfering with my focused internet time.
Royal Blend Coffee & Tea, 621 Royal St. (504) 523-2716
Has the loveliest coffeehouse courtyard in the Quarter. They serve good coffee and good food, but be prepared to wait. The pace is slow here. Chill by the fountain while your friend waits in line.
Jaques-Imo’s, 8324 Oak Street, 504-861-0886 https://www.jacquesimoscafe.com/main.htm
They don’t take reservations for parties of less than five, and it’s difficult to get a reservation before 10pm on short notice. The bar is good, though, and the Maple Leaf, one of New Orleans’ best music venues is right next door. The food and atmosphere at Jaques-Imo’s is not to be missed—buttery cornbread and wilted spinach salad to start, topped with a perfectly-fried oyster. The fried chicken is famous, but I usually get the venison. Everything’s good, and do not leave with saying hello to Jaques. Don’t look for him in the kitchen, the photograph above was totally posed; you'll find him in the bar.
Grabby Jack’s, 428 Jefferson Hwy. (504) 833-CRAB (2722)
Used to be The Louisiana Seafood Exchange, home of the best down-home overstuffed po boys in town. A bit off the beaten path—out past the Riverbend on Jefferson Highway—but well worth it for the freshest fried fish and oyster sandwiches in town. Nothing fancy, sandwiches come wrapped in butcher paper, and you can count on whatever you ordered to tumble out onto the paper for finger-lickin’ deliciousness. Jaques has added some creative offerings like fried green tomato and shrimp remolaude, rabbit, and his famous fried chicken lunches. Closed Sundays, and maybe Mondays, too.
William's Plum Street Sno-balls, 1300 Burdette Street 504-866-7996
Everyone’s got their favorite snoball stand. This is mine. Nestled in the heart of an Uptown neighborhood off Carrollton Avenue, Plum Street Sno-balls has a line out the door all summer long. Still standing after the hurricane, and although FEMA trailers are abundant, the neighborhood was still pleasant to stroll through. I recommend the Nectar Cream.
The Bluebird Café,3625 Prytania St, Lower Garden District, 504-895-7166
Simply the best hangover breakfast in town. There will be a line after 9:30 on weekend mornings for pancakes that cover your whole plate with blueberries, pecans, bananas—or all three griddled right in. Huevos rancheros, homefries, bottomless coffee, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. So much goodness you’ll wish you had room for more. Closed Mondays and maybe Tuesdays, too, and only open until 2pm.
I've already recommended Café Du Monde—it’s a pilgrimage, across from Jackson Square, and open 24-7.
Adolfo’s, 611 Frenchmen St, 504-948-3800 (cash only)
A cozy little joint that’ll make you feel like a local for finding it. It’s upstairs from the Apple Barrel, where the drinks are bad and bartenders are rude. The chef, Adolfo, stowed away on a boat from somewhere in South America and jumped overboard somewhere along the Mississippi River many years ago (the story’s posted in a newspaper article on the bathroom wall) makes what he calls Creole-Italian cuisine—amazing cannelonis, pasta and fish with verde, shrimp and crawfish sauces. Café Brasil is just up the street for a fantastic post-dinner music scene that usually spills into the street.
Lola’s, 3312 Esplanade Ave (504) 488-6946 (cash or local checks only).
Located in Bayou St. John, Lola’s is known for the paellas and bread and butter so garlicky it burns your tongue. You can bring your own wine for a reasonable corkage fee, but don’t miss the sangria—they spoon a little fruit in your glass and pour it over. The best I’ve had in a good long while. Maybe ever.
Mona's Cafe, 1120 S. Carrollton Ave. 861-8174.
Lebanon Café, 1500 S. Carrollton Ave. 862-6200.
For me, these two are practically interchangeable. Excellent fresh Middle Eastern fare—hoummus, tabouleh, and kebab. The Lebanese tea at Lebanon Café is made with rosewater, and it’s divine. Go for lunch, it’s not a fine-dining experience.
Clover Grill, 900 Bourbon St., 504-598-1010
Late night burgers, diner-style. Closes at midnight, and homophobes should dine elsewhere; prepare to be abused and/or flirted with shamelessly by the flaming waitstaff. At the foot of Bourbon Street—stumble on down.