Thanks for all the good advice I found on the boards. I started reading and asking questions several months ahead, as I enjoy planning, and I feel it definetly payed off. I was lucky enough to get to go two times - here are some of the combined highlights.
Hotel Marais, FQ: Loved this boutique hotel. I will post under the hotel section for those interested.
Favorite activities: Walking the FQ & Garden District. Hurricane Katrina exhibit at Presbytere is a must see.
Dinning & Bars
Mr. B's for lunch: &1.50 drink specials, famous BBQ shrimp and Gumbo, all great. I like the atmosphere and service here.
Cochon Butcher: Muffuletta, marinated brussels sprouts, Mac'n'Cheese. All excellent! I did miss the more traditional olive salad on the muffuletta, but the quality of the meat is unsurpassed.
Drago's: Charbroiled oysters for my husband, who decided he prefers raw oysters.
Muriel's: Good choice for lunch specials
Sobou: Modern space, hip atmosphere, excellent bartender. Stopped for drinks and ended up ordering gumbo of the day (duck & chicken with scoop of potato salad on top). My favorite gumbo so far.
Kingfish: Open airy space, excellent drinks with cracklin' (seasoned pork, duck & chicken cracklings).
Cafe Beignet: For beignets, I vote for Cafe du Monde. Much thicker and heavier dough at Cafe Beignet.
Commander's Palace: All the good reviews of lunch are true. 25 cent Martini's aside, a delightful experience. The weather was perfect, so sat outside. Many lunch choices, including prix fixe menu. Biscuits with strawberry shortcake were amazing. All the food was excellent. However, what I most remember is the superb service. You felt like they wanted to take care of your every wish. When asked if we could take our time, were told no problem. i think we stayed for two hours. It goes on my list of most enjoyable experiences for lunch anyplace in my travels.
Luke's Happy Hour: 3-6 PM, 50 cent oysters, special pricing cocktails, beer & wine. I made a 3 o'clock reservation. Place was empty at 3, so changed to bar. 15 minutes later, bar and tables were full. Bartenders and shuckers were very professional and friendly. I mentioned that I'd like to try a Sazerac, but might not like whiskey. The bartender actually offered to make one for me, and if I didn't like it, she'd make something else - I was amassed!
Then I found out that the daily express menu is available until 4 PM ($17 with cup of soup). I ordered slow roasted pork, green onion sausage, andouille corn muffin jambalaya. Great, flavorful, and good portion. The matzo ball chicken soup was a wonderful surprise - untraditional, a little spice, nice pieces of roasted chicken, with highly seasoned matzo ball.
The entire experience was pleasant and a nice bargain.
French 75: Saved this for our last night cocktail. Small, intimate, sophisticated, old club style, smoky, dark and atmospheric bar, with most attentive service. It would not be a regular for me due to the smoke, including cigar smoke. For one drink, I loved it.
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