Thanks again for all of the recommendations! I wound up having quite a few meals, as I hadn't counted on lunches not being provided at the convention, so I wanted to give a rundown of what I ate.
On Wednesday I ate lunch at Grand Isle and dinner at Jackson. I was desperately trying to find something for lunch and just ducked into Grand Isle. I wound up having a shrimp po-boy and fries. The fries were standard, but I loved the light touch with the shrimp batter. The service was extremely fast that day. Dinner at Jackson was very good. Service was a bit slow, especially considering there were only a few people in the restaurant. My sister ordered gumbo, which she said was very good. I ordered the chipotle bacon burger and asked for it well-done. My burger came out fairly bloody, so I had to send it back, but it was well worth the wait. The fries with truffle oil were so-so, as they were like eating a plate of slightly large shoestring potato sticks. OK, but not what I was expecting. For dessert, I tried the stuffed cookies, which were a disappointment. The ganache was good, but the cookies were quite hard.
On day 2, my sister wanted to meet up for lunch and was wanting gumbo, so I suggested Grand Isle because of the location. limited time I had between sessions, and the fact that it did not smell fishy the prior day. She ordered gumbo, which she said was not as good as Jackson's. and the alligator sausage sandwich. The alligator sausage was really tasty. Both of us had tried alligator at a Cajun joint in Houston and found it to be like chicken, but it tasted a lot like pork in this sausage. I knew we were going to be eating a really fatty dinner, so I ordered the giant salad with fried shrimp on top. The salad was good, but they seemed to use a heavier hand with the batter on that day, so I didn't enjoy the shrimp as much. For dessert, they were out of the strawberry cobbler, which I was dying to try, so I chose the carrot cake instead. The cake was disappointing as it was rather bland, dry, and crumbly, but it was served with this incredible brown butter ice cream that I would probably eat every day for the rest of my life. if available locally. For dinner, we decided to stay close to our hotel and try out the Ugly Dog Saloon for BBQ. Large portions, fast service, and laid-back atmosphere. I got the brisket, which was cooked very well, baked potato, and a side salad. The potato and the salad were standard, but the brisket was a winner. My sister got pulled pork, backed potato, and chili beans. The pulled pork was a bit bland and dry on its own (the brisket could have been eaten without BBQ sauce, no problem), but she really liked the chili beans. The prices were incredible. I think my meal was $13, tip and soda included.
On Friday, I was on my own again. For lunch, I went to Cochon Butcher. Hands-down, one of the best sandwiches of my entire life. I had a read a few reviews from people who had tried the pork belly sandwich, despite their hesitation about one or more ingredients, and had raved about it, so I decided to try it. It was wonderful. It has pork belly, mint (which I generally dislike), cucumber, some spread that I couldn't identify and was on white bread (another dislike). Just awesome. Greasy (in the best possible way) and moist, couldn't taste the mint, and the cucumber added a nice bit of crunch. I tried the sauteed Brussels sprouts on the side, which were delightful. It also came with a really good little pickle. I really wish I would have found that place on the first day when I was desperately seeking lunch. It was raining cats and dogs that evening and I knew it was the start of Jazz Fest, so I decided to stay very close to the hotel. I debated the Howling Wolf, as it always seemed to have tons of people outside eating, or going back to the Ugly Dog. I chose the Howling Wolf, which was regrettable. Dinner wound up being a brisket sandwich and jambalaya. The jambalaya was pretty much a tasteless, off-white pile of chicken and rice. The brisket sandwich was quite skimpy on the brisket, decent sauce (Abita-based), and had Zapp's chips, which I have an unhealthy amount of love for. I have always wanted to try Red Velvet cake, so I couldn't resist the $2 slices they had. That was definitely the highlight of the meal. The icing was perfect, the cake itself has just the right texture and density. It was really good.
Overall, I enjoyed my meals, but the real standouts for me were everything at Cochon Butcher and the brisket at Ugly Dog's.
Grand Isle Restaurant
Excellent! Thank you very much for that information. I checked out the menu for Jackson and there are quite a few things that I would be interested in ordering.
I'm going to be in town for a convention on these days and am looking for places to eat dinner and my mind is swimming from all of the options in the city. I'm hoping you can help point in the right direction.
A few requirements:
I'm staying near the convention center, so I need places that are within easy, safe walking distance and/or easily accessible by public transportation.
I'm pregnant and cannot deal with anything that smells too fishy, so any restaurant that is heavy on the seafood is out.
I will be dining with my sister on the first two evenings and alone on the last night.
Ideally, entree price would be under $20,
I'm coming down from Canada, but am originally from Texas, so any good BBQ, Cajun/Creole options would be wonderful. My tastes lean towards comfort foods, but I'm willing try just about anything.
So far, the only must-go place I have is Central Market for a muffaletta on the way home. I'm thinking Joey K's might be an option, but I'm curious about what the locals think.
Any help would very much appreciated!