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First foodie trip to NOLA

Willie Mae's is an old, old favorite of mine, but be warned the food's not the same as it was 10+ years ago. Still very good, but no one will likely ever be able to exactly duplicate what Willie Mae herownself did. The place and clientele (cops, politicos, chefs coming to pay homage) remains surprisingly faithful, though. Area is dicey, but has remained under-populated since K, so not as outright dangerous as it was in the 80's-early 2000's. In short, it's a cultural experience, more than a great meal.

Tujaques isn't going anywhere. Again, more a cultural/historical experience. Trip back to when boiled beef with horseradish sauce was more of a staple. I remember being so amazed at how different the palate was in historical country/working-class French cuisine, than what we think of today (Maylie and Esparbe Cafe and Table D'hote--cuisine time capsule from late 18th-early 19thC Gascony was a marvelous example) I like it, but it's pretty limited.

Middendorf's--really? OK, I like the old roadhouse/lakehouse restaurant thing, but it's a long drive out of NOLA and just not all that awesome, unless you happen to be up that way anyway. Would strongly recommend R&O Pizza for very casual, local seafood and ambiance. Also nice range, since there's good Italian, modified NOLA stds (Italian roast beef po-boy for one awesome example), and consistently great seafood. Don't believe the BS from that food network show that jumped the shark. Total BS.

Tip's for music, definitely. Another great uptown choice is Maple Leaf. In Marigny, roam Frenchman St. Lots of great clubs to chose. In Bywater, for light jazz, filling small plates, and a nice atmosphere if weather's good and you can tune out the hipsters is Bacchanal WIne, at Chartres and Poland.

Other recommendations given are very good, too. The biggest problem with NOLA is choosing from the vast array of restaurants.

Nov 26, 2013
Ay Uaxe in New Orleans

French Fry Po Boy????? Please explain. In detail.

I believe the folklore about the french fry po-boy being the original--poor workers couldn't afford meat, so they got filling fried potato sandwiches slathered in gravy. Looking at some of the old pictures on the wall in Parkway Bakery & Tavern, I imagine that scene with the workers from the American Can company and other industries that "ain't dere no mo" across Bayou St. John.

Parkway has a very good example. In the last couple of years, they've changed the way they prepare and serve roast beef poboys a little, which has also affected the gravy, but it's still among the best sandwiches in NOLA and thus, also in all the world. I like to add hotsauce to mine. Untraditional, but I need the spice to cope with that much starch.

Nov 26, 2013
Ay Uaxe in New Orleans
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wee hour eats and wifi near PHL airport

Here's the after action report, short form: Oregon Diner is awesome!

Convenient to PHL, parking, and plenty of gas stations nearby, so you can top off that rental before returning. Caveat: If during pro football season, it will probably be packed and a giant pain to even get to well before and well after a Beagles home game. I got to the Oregon at @ 3 am, after the Beagles/Giants game and the streets were lined solid with cars, quite a few PPD units doing various duties and still a few revelers basking in the dim after-glow. By that time, there was very little traffic and no crowd, though. City Soft Pretzel was shuttered--maybe sold out or just not wanting to deal with an earlier massive, rowdy crowd. I had traditional eggs, ham, grits, toast breakfast, but I should've just gorged myself on the vast array of baked goods (did get a very good apple/cinnamon muffin on the way out). I'll get that right on my next trip. Service was great--diner friendly, efficient, not intrusive or pushy. Food was very good, everything well prep'd. When the waitress realized she was pouring the last of a pot of coffee for me and a cop, she quickly brewed a fresh one and replaced ours asap.

Unfortunately, just didn't get into Philly early enough to make the full crawl of places suggested, so those adventures await another trip. Thanks again to all who made suggestions.

Oct 11, 2012
Ay Uaxe in Philadelphia

wee hour eats and wifi near PHL airport

Thanks very much to musugu and lawgirl for the additional suggestions. I may try them all. I'll post back with results, assuming I make it--God willing, that is. Any additional recommendations will also be appreciated and tried, if possible. As to wifi, guess we'll have to see what's available. May just have to tether. Life is so hard in the 21st C.

Sep 26, 2012
Ay Uaxe in Philadelphia

wee hour eats and wifi near PHL airport

Thanx! S. Phly Taproom looks like a good call. Still interested in some good old style roadhouse/diner type spots if anybody's got some. Might need more than one place, since ABO's close so early in quakerland.

Sep 17, 2012
Ay Uaxe in Philadelphia

wee hour eats and wifi near PHL airport

I'm visiting my kid @ Lehigh at the end of the month. Return flight leaves PHL at 5 am Mon. I probably wont leave Bethlehem (I'll have a rented car) until after 10 pm Sun., so don't want to deal with a hotel stay for only a couple of hours. I'd like to while away a coupla hours at a diner or bar/restaurant on the way to or not too far from the airport. Wifi would help, but not absolutely required. Being a longtime NOLA resident, I'm good with gritty character over safety and pristine cleanliness. After all, how good can a place be, if roaches dont wanna eat there. Good 24/7 coffee and pie or similar would be a big plus. Any recs will be greatly appreciated.

Sep 17, 2012
Ay Uaxe in Philadelphia

Starving Student Couple Needs Advice on One Fancy Meal

Commander's (in the Garden District) is tough to beat. If there's a budget, recommend lunch in the Garden Room (we traditionally favor that room--so long as the weather is not hot). We also had a wonderful meal recently at Pelican Club, in Da Quawtahs. I've only eaten at Antoines a couple of times, but I've never found it unduly stuffy--just very old and traditional. Their version of oysters Rockefeller is very special. I think for the foregoing, the guy will need at least a sport coat. But then, dressing up is part of the experience. BBQ shrimp at Pascale's Manale on Napoleon (Uptown--within walking distance of St. Charles streetcar) is another excellent meal, but to me, at least, it's the only (and quite sufficient) reason to go there. Don't think it'll be shrimp grilled with a sweet red sauce. It's actually a bunch of huge shrimp in a bowl of buttery, peppery goodness. A salad, BBQ shrimp and a bunch of french bread (for getting the sauce of your hands and to soak up bunches of it from the bowl) is a sufficient meal (possibly for two, if you're light eaters). Finally went to Brigtsen's about two months ago and found it very good, but not wow. It is in Riverbend, kind of close to Tulane and Loyola Universities. Clancy's is a pretty grand dining experience, also uptown. Way less formal and less expensive, but filling many of your wants might be Mandina's on Canal (Mid-City). Their almondines and trout bayou and lafitte dishes are favorites and two can more than comfortably share. Very easy access from the Canal streetcar. Very different areas of town and ambience. That may matter to you. Hope you have a great time.

Mar 07, 2012
Ay Uaxe in New Orleans

Roast Beef Po Boy Tour

Parkway Tavern and Bakery on Hagan, by Bayou St. John is hands down the best in town. Jazzy Po'Boys basically ripped Parkway's recipe and poboy style--he was kitchen help, not a "chef". Still, if you're in his neighborhood, I'd say go to Jazzy--as the guys at Parkway have said, they've got no "beef" with him--imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Domilise's is still the same as it's been for about 50 years, so it's got history, even if not the best taste and texture. I absolutely love the people there and that counts. R&O's Italian Roast Beef is a to die for variation on the original. If you're doing a tour, it shouldn't be missed. Don't forget Mother's debris roast beef on Poydras--it's a real classic, too, though they've gotten a bit of an attitude. Sadly, the last RBPB I had at Parasol's was nothing like the first decades ago. It got new management back around 2003 that couldn't leave wonderful alone. It's still a place everyone who cares about discovering great spots of local culture should visit, and the RBPB is probably going to be ok, just not what it was. DiMartino's and Short Stop??? Kidding, right? Actually, I like Short Stop, but it's sandwiches are typical convenience store/stubway type fare with a little local flavor. Parran's is more of a restaurant, but not much better--in fact maybe not quite as good as Short Stop. DiMartino's, IMHO, outright sucks. Danny & Clyde's gas station sandwich counters are as good or better, cheaper, and convenient.

Jan 10, 2008
Ay Uaxe in New Orleans

The very BEST King Cake?

Antoine's just off West Bank Expressway on Stumpf, across from the back of the Home Depot. Wonderfully consistent, well made, reasonably priced cakes. They have the slightest hint of orange or satsuma that really sets them above everything else (particularly since Randazzo's Goodchildren Bakery in Chalmette has not reopened-they were the standard, no doubt). Maybe a little too much icing, but it comes off easily, if you don't want it. These guys took a pretty bad hit to their Freret St. location from Katrina flooding--the landlord never re-habed the building, so they're limited to the Gretna location for now. Well worth the trip across the river. If you're stuck in Metairie world, the branch of the Randazzo's family that operates there puts out a close but not quite the same version of the Goodchildren cake. If you didn't really savor the cakes from the original Randazzo's, you won't know the difference and either Antoine's or Manny Randazzo's should make you plenty happy.

Jan 10, 2008
Ay Uaxe in New Orleans

Best Crabcake in Baltimore area

I've been searching for info on what happened to Leon's for a long time--has anyone found a source or recipe for the fabulous spicey sauce (kinda like a pepper jelly/honey sauce) Leon's served with their fried chicken. I freakin' loved that place. You'd think you were gonna get killed, but once you were at Leon's door, everyone was friendly, 'cause we were all brothers and sisters of great food. Same concept still applies in my current home, N'awlins. Being able to cross the communication barrier is definitely a major side benefit of growing up in the south and going to integrated public schools.