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TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

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TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

After about 6 long years I finally made it back to New Orleans! This will be mostly just highlights of things that come to mind...

Last time I was there was with a few friends for Mardi Gras in '03 and this time it was with my wife and another couple for French Quarter Fest. My wife was a NOLA virgin and the other couple had one NOLA virgin and one who had been once, but didn't stay in the French Quarter too much since she was with a friend who lived outside the city. The oldest me, is 36, and the rest a couple to a few years younger. However, the way we put away hurricanes, hand grenades, Abita's, and other concoctions you would think we were a bunch of college kids! This is also our first leg of our "drinking world tour", we are going to Oktoberfest in Germany, then Prague, and then Austria later this year. So lets say we like to put them away with the best of them and we figured we better do it now before we/our livers can't do it much longer…which is coming fast :)

We left Boston at the crack of dawn and was in New Orleans and at our hotel by around 2pm

We stayed at the Prince Conti and had a good experience there. My review should be posted shortly for those who want further info.

FOOD:

ACME Oyster House (twice) - there was a line each time, as always, but we never waited too long since there were 4 of us. The oysters were amazing, so tender and fresh! We had grilled oysters for the first time too and they were amazing as everyone says. Love the cocktail sauce there! There other food is equally as good.

Cafe Du Monde - stopped twice...amazing! A favorite obscure Jimmy Buffett song about sums it up...

"...Well the coffee is strong

at the Cafe Du Monde,

And the donuts are too hot to touch;

But just like a fool, when those

sweet goodies cool, I ate 'til I ate way too much..."

Speaking of Jimmy...

Margaritaville - stopped in for an app of "gator bites". I had them once before but had to let the wife give them a go. My wife thought they tasted like chicken...go figure...

Coop's Place - had to eat here after all the great reports. There was a line here too for dinner but we ended up with seats at the bar pretty quick. Not the friendliest of folk, or at least the 1 bartender of the 2 that night, but the food was good. I had the sampler plate and I enjoyed it although all the tastes kind of all blended together.

Central Grocery - Had to get a muffaletta. My wife has been wanting one since I told her about them and we waited in line for about 10-15 mins. There was a line there every day. Wife and I got a Half to share but could have eaten a Full no problem. We wanted to save room for some other FQF food samplings. Actually, I had Frank's Muff at the Fest tent the same day to compare. Tough call on the better one...more meat in Frank's, better olive salad at Central Grocery.

Oceana - Stopped here for an appetizer one night. Had some more oysters (very good, regular cocktail sauce) and alligator sausage. Alligator sausage was really good and the spicy sauce made it!

French Quarter Fest Food Tents - So many to try and I so wish I could eat more!! We each had a couple of dishes and each one was very good to amazing. I had some grilled shrimp with cheesy bacon grits that was very good. I can't remember what everyone else got but from what I got a bite of it was amazing. I also got a order of crawfish that I have been wanting at one of the tents near the US Mint building. They had crates and crates of them! I ended up with a good amount (guess was about 1 1/2 - 2 pds) with a potato, corn, and a piece of sausage which was $7. They were very good and nicely spiced, not too spicy but a nice flavor. I would love to do it like I knew a lot of you do…boil'em up and dump it out on a newspaper covered picnic table with a keg of ice cold brew. I will trade a New England Lobster Boil for a "real" crawfish boil…hahahaha.

I think that about sums up the food…will post more soon...

Orlando, Florida
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1. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

I enjoyed your report and await the 'rest of the story'. The Prince Conti is a great new orleans hotel and good location and its so much fun to stroll and eat and stroll and drink and be entertained at the Festival. I combine the New England boil and LA. boil..I get a couple lobsters steamed at Rouses, five pounds of boiled crawfish, three pounds of boiled shrimp, a packet of boiled sausage, corn, and potatoes. At home I throw it in a big boiling pot for a couple minutes and its like fresh made Yankee-Cajun boil.

Boston...
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2. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Thanks Cajunyank, your Yankee-Cajun boil sounds fantastic. The best of both worlds!

Conti was very good, perfect location. Caught the 2nd Line parade Friday morning just steps from the hotel. I will touch on that soon.

Of course, after being back to work afer a fews days plus an extra day of detox I guess I should do some work :)

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Thanks for your report! I believe you were at the Rouse's tent for the boiled crawfish. Rouse's (local Louisiana supermarket chain) usually does a great job with boiled crawfish, and they have some of the best prices around too!

Boston...
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4. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Yes, it was Rouse's tent. They certainly tasted good and it seemed like a fair price to me.

In fact I thought all the prices were decent ($4 for beer, $2 for water, $4-7 for most food)

Up here if they had something like that you would expect to pay $7-8 for beer and $5 for water and you would probably have to pay to get in. Then if you wanted a beer you would only be able to be in some roped off area with a million other people.

Cliff Island, Maine
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5. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Loved your report. I too like the muffs at Frank's.

Boston...
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6. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

I guess the last of my report is just a misc. listing of things that happened, thoughts, etc

We caught the 2nd line parade to open the French Quarter Fest and I'm glad we did. Everyone looked like they enjoyed themselves and it was just cool in general to see.

We only listened to a few FQF bands in passing. Not really our type of music but while in New Orleans it is infectious.

The crowds were not bad until mid afternoon Saturday. For the most part we didn't wait in any long lines at the food/drink vendors. The longest lines we saw all weekend were at ACME.

Ah, Bourbon Street, now this was where we spent most of our time after dinner.

Hurricane's at Pat O'Briens - first drink and since my first trip is now sort of a tradition

Lafitte's Blacksmith - Went there one night and thought it was pretty cool. It was very laid back compared to many of the other places. All in candle light was definitely different. The only thing, and I am not sure what it was, but after a half hour or so my allergy asthma really acted up and my chest tightened up. I very rarely ever have that happen, usually only when dust/mold is really stirred up. It is an old place so that may be why. Anyway, after a drink we needed to leave. A hit off the inhaler back at the hotel and I was good to go again.

Old Absinthe House - stopped in to try some Absinthe and it wasn't bad. Tasted like sweet, watered down, Sambuca. So I don't think it was really the real stuff, plus it was pretty expensive at $17. When I am Prague later this year I am going to try and have it there. It is suppose to be terrible but the curiosity has gotten the best of me.

Tropical Isle - of course had a couple hand grenades. I think they are pretty good, although a little sweet. The last night we hung out there, the one that is linked to another bar next door. They had an acoustic guy playing and a few guys playing popular songs for tips. It wasn't too busy, we wanted to hear some live (non-jazz/non-pop) music, and we wanted a seat. We had a great waitress there too who kept our drinks filled!

We tried to go to the Funky Pirate to catch Big Al for a couple songs but since we had drinks already they wouldn't allow us in. We moved on and never made it back.

We ventured into quite a few other places in our 3 nights there. Bourbon Rocks being one and a few others that escape me. Almost all were advertising 2 for 1 and 3 for 1 drinks up to 9pm. Some would encourage bringing in outside drinks, it was just the Trop Isle places that seem to be the ones who didn't allow "outside" drinks.

Always have to buy at least one "Huge A$$ Beer". That marketing cracks me up every time and I even got to hold the sign!!

Almost forgot, also stopped in Napoleon House twice for a Pimm's Cup. Love those things, nice and refreshing.

Overall the Bourbon St crowd was much more tame then the Mardi Gras crowd. An older crowd and it showed and there was barely any female flashing, I think I only saw it once. We did see one fight in the middle of Bourbon between 4 guys though. It was around 5-6pm and it lasted for a good minute or two. No cops in sight yet and, I believe, a store owner came to break it up. They went in opposite directions and that was it.

I would say Bourbon is no place for kids when you get down to the area where the strip joints are or after 5-6pm There was almost always a stripper hanging out front of "Little Darlings" from about 6pm on. And almost everything was hanging out...and I mean everything. I don't know where they got the "Little Darlings" name from but the girls standing there certainly did not fit that billing.

We would of liked to have done more but FQF took up most of our days. Next time I will try to get down to the Garden District, take a tour, etc. With everything going on with the fest we found it hard to do much else. Plus when American moved up our flight on the last day that didn't help either.

So that is about it and in closing...

New Orleans is a fantastic city. I don't see how anyone couldn't have a good time there. It is such a unique place with amazing food that everyone should visit at least once. I encourage everyone that hasn't been to NOLA to go! Ignore some of the reports, do your research, and go see for yourself. Any foodie, art lover, music lover, history lover...anyone should visit. It does truly have something for everyone.

Lastly, thanks to everyone on this board that gives such great advice. Especially Worldtraveler786 who gives some of the best advice on any forum on TA that I visit.

Party on NOLA, we'll be back!

Marlborough...
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7. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Nice TR srauhala!

maryland
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8. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Nice TR srauhala I am taking notes bcause we leave on Friday!!!!!!!!

Boston...
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9. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Thanks all

I also forgot to mention that we tried going to the Carousel Bar but didn't have any luck getting a drink. We were there on Saturday and every seat around the bar was full and the bar was pretty crowded.

While the concept of the bar is unique there is no place to squeeze in an get a drink if it is full. We tried to sit at one of the tables for a drink but it took forever to get any service. So we just ended up leaving.

So advice, avoid going there at prime times. We were there around 6-7 on Saturday night and it was too busy, probably with the before dinner drink crowd.

Cliff Island, Maine
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10. Re: TR - 4/16-4/19 - Highlights of FQF, Bourbon St, Food

Loved the report and your part about Little Darlings had me rolling. Hilarious!