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New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- follow up

Well, I survived it -- 48 hours in New Orleans while sticking (mostly) to my WW plan. Thanks to all who offered such great suggestions! It turned out to be easier than thought it would be, and I did not feel deprived or tortured in the least.

Dinner #1 was at Luke. Our table shared the charcuterie plate, which had some really excellent elements, and by forgoing the bread and sticking to small bites of the leaner proteins and the pickled items I did OK. I also had a half dozen oysters with some really terrific horseradish that makes one feel virtuous and cleansed.For my entree I had the gulf fish special, which was a black drum -- I had them go very light on the meuniere sauce and got extra veggies on the side. The fish was exquisitely fresh and delicious, and the vegetables were a joy, rather than a chore.

Breakfast the next morning was at the hotel -- Cafe on the Square, on the corner of St. Charles and Poydras -- a really quite good hotel restaurant, where I had no problem customizing a protein and fruit heavy breakfast of an excellent crawfish omelette and bowl of fruit salad. They also had steel cut oatmeal and yogurt with local honey, so I could easily have eaten very well here for many days and not suffered from limited options. Staff was great about substitutions and omissions.

For lunch I had to take a first time visitor for Po' Boys, and that's where I pretty much gave up all pretensions of staying on plan. We went to Johnny's, where the line was long, the bachelorette parties obnoxious, but the fried oyster po'boys, dressed, were quite good. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but before introducing him to Killer Po'Boys, I thought he should sample a classic. You can get a half Po'Boy and a bowl of gumbo combo here, so it's a good way to get a taste of both without overloading too badly. I'd never had their gumbo and was impressed with the depth of flavor and the succulence of the shrimp.

I made it through the afternoon, and a sweaty wade through an overpacked FQ while I was playing tour guide, without succumbing to beignets. By the time we made it back to the hotel, we had walked about 4 miles in total, so the Po'Boy damage was somewhat minimized.

That evening we went to a show at the Chickie Wah Wah and that's where we stumbled into the unexpected food highlight of our trip: the Blue Oak BBQ annex, where you order at the window and they deliver your food to you inside the club.!food/c...

It's easy to order a selection of things to share so it's possible to piece together a meal that satisfies all of your tastebuds without overindulging. The Gulf Shrimp Tacos were absolutely the star of the evening -- perfectly fried shrimp with a tangy glaze, beautifully crisped (and I believe made in-house) corn tortillas and some great ginger-sesame coleslaw. I also sampled the smoked wings which were possibly a bit on the dry side, but extremely flavorful. I had a couple of bites of pulled pork, and a wasabi deviled egg -- who can't appreciate the notion of a deviled-egg-du-jour? Really great food out of a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. And a great room for live music!

Brunch the next morning consisted of a giant fruit salad and a dozen oysters from Acme before we had to head back home. Breakfast of champions!

Bottom Line: I didn't gain any weight. I didn't lose any either, BUT I had a great time, did not feel at all deprived of anything, had at least a taste of everything that appealed to me, including a few cocktails, and did not have to jump through a million hoops while being the annoying "I can't eat that" person of the group. I walked a total of about 9 miles in 48 hours (put in some treadmill time at the hotel gym each morning), sweated about an ocean's worth, and fell completely great about the whole thing.

So even though I didn't use many of the options I had researched, and that you all had so kindly suggested, knowing that I had them in my back pocket was really comforting. There is nothing worse when you're traveling than that feeling of having settled for a meal that wasn't really what you wanted, was far fattier, carbier, and low-nutrient, just because you were crazy hungry and couldn't think of other options. When that happens it tends to make you feel like you've already gone over the cliff, so you might as well keep falling. This time, wherever I went, I knew of at least 2 great and healthy food options within a few blocks that would not decimate my Points budget, so I felt well-armed and prepared.

Thank you all for your help!! We're due to go back a couple more times this year, and I feel super-confident that it will go well.

Aug 01, 2014
Fargo in New Orleans

New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- Unfortunate, but necessary, Help please!!

Thanks so much! We leave in the morning, so this is well-timed! I'm glad to have a Hound-endorsed Vietnamese place to consider. I loveVietnamese food, but have to admit that I'm not very good at picking restaurants -- my Vietnamese "Spidey SEnse" is not quite as well developed as it is about other cuisines!!

Jul 23, 2014
Fargo in New Orleans

New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- Unfortunate, but necessary, Help please!!

Thanks! I figure the sweatin', sweatin' sweatin' will help too!

Jul 04, 2014
Fargo in New Orleans

New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- Unfortunate, but necessary, Help please!!

Thank you! I was looking at EAT Nola as well, and am glad to get a Hound-y recommendation. Their menu certainly looks right up my alley. I've been to New Orleans many times before in my "Eat Everything" days, and have experienced the excesses (and loved all of them!), so now that those are no longer options, I'm really happy to see that so many places are stepping up their creativity with a lighter hand on the fats and calories! Although I am "budgeting" for a Po' Boy -- it would be a sin not to!

Jul 04, 2014
Fargo in New Orleans

New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- Unfortunate, but necessary, Help please!!

Thank you so much!! That's all incredibly helpful! Peche and Luke were already on my radar,and Carmo looks like a great option as well. I had good luck last time I was there at Muriels with a delicious broiled drum entree -- and it was a good lesson in not automatically turning up your nose at a place you might assume would be a total tourist trap!! I also se that there is a Saturday Farmer's Market a few blocks from the hotel, so I can stock up on supplies there as well.

Jul 04, 2014
Fargo in New Orleans

New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- Unfortunate, but necessary, Help please!!

I'll be in New Orleans for a couple days at the end of July. I've recently lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers and still have a long way to go. I adore food, so being in my favorite food city and having to forgo many delicious things is going to be a challenge!! And before you say "You're crazy!! Just hop off the wagon for a few days!", I'll just say that losing the weight has not been easy and I'm not willing to lose momentum. Believe me - I know what I'm giving up!
We're staying at the Blake Hotel, just outside the Quarter and I'm looking for places with good grilled seafood options, great and interesting vegetable dishes, creative salads, but that won't feel like "deprivation dining" to my companions. This is part of a work trip that is mostly centered in the CBD/French Quarter, without a lot of time to explore too far afield. I also need to be reasonably social and will likely get dragged to some of the touristy spots that aren't exactly WW friendly, so being armed with some alternatives would be really helpful.

Any thoughts? Who's got the best cold seafood platter in town? What's going to be at the peak of its season in terms of fruits and vegetables?

Thank you for any and all assistance. I am determined to get to a healthy weight without sacrificing deliciousness and you Hounds always come through for me!!

Jul 03, 2014
Fargo in New Orleans

Weight Watchers Foodies -- The Time for Action is Now! January 2014 [Old]

I hate to be a buzzkill, but only fresh dates are free, dried dates are 3 points per 1/4 cup :-( But that sounds like an awesome recipe and I'm going to try it!

Jan 09, 2014
Fargo in Home Cooking

Ogunquit at Christmas -- what's open?

It's about time to start obsessing about my holiday ritual -- every Christmas I take my mom away to someplace she hasn't been before. She's getting the beginning signs of dementia and is not terribly mobile, but still enjoys finding interesting food. This year we're going to be in Ogunquit over Christmas with access to a fridge and microwave, but not a full-scale kitchen. I usually try to find something non-traditional and interesting -- we've done Thai, Indian and sushi on Christmas day before. Will anything be open on Christmas day in the area? Is there even a slim chance a good lobster roll could be found? I don't know the area well and am willing to do a bit of traveling to find something good. She wouldn't be up to a fancy meal out in a fine dining place -- too confusing and she doesn't have the social skills she used to -- but we'd be up for anything else. Thanks in advance!

Nov 16, 2013
Fargo in Northern New England

Sat night without reservations -- am I screwed?

Hmmm.. secret reservation... that's an interesting strategy! Although I wouldn't want to be a jerk and not show up for it if the group decides they want to do something else.

Jul 18, 2013
Fargo in New Orleans

Sat night without reservations -- am I screwed?

So here's my conundrum: I'll be in New Orleans in August with a small group of people who will be looking to me to fill the role of "organizer", though that is not a role I want or feel equipped to perform. I just know, based on past experience that this is how things will evolve. They will expect me to know where we should go for dinner on a Saturday night, although none of them will commit to a reservation anywhere. They will expect me to have some special insight into the "secret treasures" of the FQ because I'm the only one in the group who has been before, and they will expect that through some magical process we will be able to waft into a restaurant of our choosing without a reservation on a Saturday night and have an amazing meal that does not break the bank.

Yes, they are tough crowd of cats to herd, but they are not bad people. What often ends up happening is that they abdicate all responsibility for making decisions and look to me as the resident "foodie" to have some innate sense of where to go and how to waltz in the front door directly to a table with no advance planning whatsoever. When this doesn't happen and lines are long because nobody wanted to make a freaking reservation ("oh, let's just play it by ear!") we end up famished and crabby, and that's no fun.

So given that this behavior can't be changed (believe me, I've tried!), and blowing them off for the evening isn't really an option (professional relationships could suffer), does anyone have any suggestions of places in the FQ where we would be most likely to be able to walk in on a Saturday evening ( a group of six), without a reservation and get a good meal that offers up a sampling of local foods so that these folks can go home and brag that they had a great "authentic" New Orleans experience.

Other parameters:

Reasonably affordable -- $15 - $25 entree range
Within the Quarter
Bonus points for ambience and "character", which is highly subjective.
It can be a dive, but it should be a dive with awesome food

I've had decent luck at Coops Place before -- a tad touristy, but it would work for this group. Is it a mob scene on a Saturday night? I've also been hearing good things about 801 Royal.

Thank you all so much!

Jul 17, 2013
Fargo in New Orleans

Really brief visit to New Orleans, trying to pack as much in as possible!

I'm hosting a small group trip to New Orleans in August for a bunch of people who have never been there before, We're arriving by train at about 3:30 pm on Saturday, and departing at 1:45pm on Sunday -- less than 24 hours! YIKES! We're staying at the Hilton Riverside, so we're in easy walking distance to the FQ, streetcar etc. Since everyone will be looking to me to cart them around, and we have so little time, I'm trying to map out an itinerary that gives them a decent taste of things.

I'm thinking that we'll arrive, drop bags at the hotel and immediately head out to the FQ for cocktails. Tujagues is somewhat of a tradition for the first drink in town. Has it managed to escape the clutches of the evil t-shirt empire? The group may not want to all dine together on the first night, some have already expressed interest in Herbsaint, Peche and Coop's -- they're a fairly adventurous bunch, so are there other places I should direct them for their "one-shot" at dinner in the FQ? We've got some self-proclaimed "high-end foodies" and some others who might wander into TJ McFunsters if we don't stop them!

What would be a good night spot for after-dinner cocktails for a group of about 20? Festive, but not too loud and not filled with drunken tourists? OK, we will also be slightly drunken tourists, but you know what I mean!

In the morning I'm thinking of rousting them early and heading out on the streetcar to Camellia Grill for breakfast, some Garden District strolling, then back to the French/Farmers Market for the inevitable trinket shopping and to pick up snacks for the train that afternoon. I will not be allowed to avoid a visit to Cafe Du Monde, although it sounds like Cafe Beignet might be giving them some competition.... I'm inclined to stop at Johnny's for po' boys for lunch and send some of them to Central Grocery for muffs before we head back to the train station.

I know all of this sounds a little predictable, but I'm trying to give people a "taste", given how little time we have in town. I've visited NO a bunch of times, but still have so much to learn, so I'm eager to get an insider's perspective on how you might do things differently.


May 19, 2013
Fargo in New Orleans

Does Pavlova travel well?

OOH! Great ideas! You have kicked my imagination back into gear!! I am leaning toward something strawberry-based, as we should be at the peak of our very short and delicious strawberry season here in VT when the event rolls around...but now I'm thinking about nutty things too...luckily no nut allergies in the office!!

Apr 13, 2013
Fargo in Home Cooking

Does Pavlova travel well?

I've been tasked with making the birthday "cake" for a member of our office team who does not eat gluten and hates coconut. I'm thinking about making a Pavlova -- baking the meringue the day before, transporting the sliced strawberries and whipped cream in separate containers and assembling the whole thing on site. Will the meringue stay crisp over night? What should I store it in?

Or can anyone suggest a festive gluten free cake-like thing that doesn't have coconut in it and doesn't requite the purchase of 9 different flour substitutes?

Thanks so much!

Apr 13, 2013
Fargo in Home Cooking

I'm an idiot-bad judgment in the kitchen

Failing to trust my experience and instincts: I should have noticed that a recipe that claimed to serve 4 people and called for a full cup of chopped, raw red onion would likely turn out to be sinus-fumingly acrid and overpowering. I think they meant to say 1/4 cup..... Two days later, no amount of tooth brushing, parsley eating and Listerine gargling has helped!

Mar 03, 2013
Fargo in General Topics

Chino Wayne

All my best to him and his family!! When I first got on Chowhound many years ago, his posts served as a great example of how to have strong opinions while maintaining a gracious welcoming presence. Sending good thoughts and healing energy his way!

Feb 19, 2013
Fargo in Site Talk

I ate too much of it once...

Triscuits -- my sister and i polished off an entire box one night about 30 years ago and I'm just starting to think about trying them again.

Luckily I got over my tequila aversion -- the one based on a cliched college over-indulgence.

Dec 21, 2012
Fargo in General Topics

Tea pot-kettle: does such an animal exist?

What about the type of pot they use in Turkey for tea:

You could steep things in the upper pot and keep a low flame under the lower pot

Nov 20, 2012
Fargo in Cookware

Please help me be kind to a rude in law

A much-wiser-than-I person once remarked "People aren't inherently annoying, we choose to be annoyed by them.", and to a certain extent that may be true here. All we ever have control over is our own words, actions and reactions.

I have a mentally ill family member, whose behavior at family functions ranges from embarrassing to verbally abusive. We've all twisted ourselves in knots over the years trying to modify her behavior and none of it has worked, so we've now taken the approach of either not inviting her, if we feel we can't tolerate the behavior, or being honest in our reactions to her " X, I'm not going to tolerate being spoken to like that." or "You've said a lot of unkind things about Uncle Morty, and I'm not interested in hearing any more." and occasionally "If you can't stop dominating the conversation, it's time for you to leave."
There is no need to be unkind -- just put out a set of clear expectations if she can't read social cues, be honest when your feelings are hurt, and if she chooses to be offended, then so be it. All that said, you have my sympathies -- it's tough.

Nov 14, 2012
Fargo in Not About Food

If you could create a Fast Food restaurant what would it be and why?

Mine would be a build your own grain salad bowl place -- a selection of pre-cooked grains and beans, dozens of chopped veggies, nuts, cheeses, proteins, with dressings and greens -- sort of like the Whole Foods salad bar, but without having to set foot in that odious place. A wall of giant Agua Fresca canisters in every color/flavor imaginable.

Sep 09, 2012
Fargo in General Topics

Downtown St. Louis near the Hilton on a SUNDAY evening??

Thanks! Sounds like the options, while not optimal, are not quite as dire as I previously thought.

Aug 28, 2012
Fargo in Great Plains

Downtown St. Louis near the Hilton on a SUNDAY evening??

Hi all -- I've been reading all the STL posts and drooling, looking forward to our visit in mid-September, but I just noted what might be a fatal flaw in our plans. We're there on a Sunday night......A large group of us is staying at the Hilton Downtown (the one at 400 Olive) and it looks like some of the places we'd like to try are closed on Sundays.

It's a large group (about 50 of us), but we'll be on our own for dinner, and will have about a 2 hour window to find something decent before heading out to an evening event, so traveling out to some of the neighborhoods (where there look to be some amazing options!) isn't really a good option for this largely public transit phobic crowd -- I once tried to get them from Oakland to San Francisco on the BART and it took 40 minutes for them to successfully buy their tickets through the vending machines, so that gives you a sense of how challenging it can be to move them from Point A to Point B!!!!

So walking distance from the Hilton is a must, I'm afraid. It looks like Pi, Bailey's Range, Joe Buck's Tigin's Irish Pub and Caleco's are open on Sundays -- what else am I missing? We don't all need to go to the same place, and some will be fine with grabbing a sandwich or a slice of pizza, while others will want a sit down and a beer.

Thanks so much!

Aug 25, 2012
Fargo in Great Plains

Share the best single thing you ate TODAY!

Half a watermelon from the farmstand, sprinkled with cracked pepper

Aug 25, 2012
Fargo in General Topics

What do you want to find in a vacation rental kitchen?

I second the blender! My gripes about rentals (and I've rented a lot!) are less about what's there, but more about how it is organized. I just rented a place on Cape Cod that had an enormous well-stocked kitchen, but the problem was that nothing was organized and it took us forever to find things. In fact it wasn't until the very last day that we found a whole stash of Tupperware lids at the bag of the pantry closet -- we had assumed they were all missing and by that point had already gone out and bought a set of cheapo supermarket plastic storage containers -- not very green!

It would be great if owners would label the various shelves and drawers, so renters know where to put things back and so the next batch of renters could find things. "Cooking Utensils" :Barbecue Tools" "Plastic Storage containers and Lids" "Paper Goods" "Condiments" etc.

Instructions about how to handle trash and recyclables -- bins large enough to hold a typical weeks trash!

A local menu folder is always a nice touch and in my opinion you can never have enough ice trays

Aug 07, 2012
Fargo in Cookware

Buffet Dinner for 50 in Santa Fe?

Hi all -- I'm organizing a large group dinner and live music event for about 50 people on a Sunday evening in September in Santa Fe. I'm looking for a place that would have a private dining space in which we could do a reasonably priced buffet dinner ($15 pp) followed up by some live music (a small band).

I'd love to find something with more charm and atmosphere than a typical hotel/restaurant function room and will consider anything with an interesting "funk" factor. Having a good bar attached is important as is the quality of the food.

Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance for any help with this!!

Aug 03, 2012
Fargo in Southwest

Make ahead meals for Elderly

I see that this is a pretty old thread, but the content is always relevant to those of us who care for elderly folks. I cared for my dad for 17 years after he had a stroke that made independent living a challenge -- complicated further by the fact that he had pretty severe speech and comprehension deficits, so it was hard for him to tell me what he wanted. Luckily he was able to heat things up, and do some basic cooking, but less so as time went on. After a while we both got pretty stuck in our ways about what to shop for and what to prepare, and he definitely got in a food rut -- same groceries every week,and he started to lose a bit of weight. I started taking him my old copies of Gourmet and Bon Appetit and any other food/lifestyle magazines with good pictures in them -- I'd leave him with a marker, and when I came back the next day he would have circled the dishes that were of interest to him. Often they were dishes or ingredients that I don't normally shop for or weren't in my regular cooking rotation, so it was good to get a bit of a kick in the pants to get some new ideas. It also helped re-connect him with foods of his childhood that I never would have thought of buying him (liverwurst!), or special treats he was hoping I'd make him (cheesecake) that he wasn't able to verbalize, but seeing a picture would trigger a good food memory for him and circling a picture was how he could communicate his preferences to me. Occasionally he'd throw a surprise in there -- he once circled a picture of sushi, which perplexed me, but then it occurred to me that he probably had never had sushi before his stroke, so we gave it a try and he loved it. I think the picture browsing also helped to stimulate his appetite (it certainly does mine!), and gave him some autonomy over his diet. The pictures also helped clarify how he preferred certain items to be cooked -- he liked potatoes boiled and tossed with butter and parsley, but didn't particularly care for mashed -- evidenced by the giant X he drew through a picture of mashed potatoes. We had a lot of fun with the magazines, and I think it really helped him stay interested in food -- it certainly gave me plenty of ideas!

And I heartily agree with everyone here -- Ensure is disgusting and nobody likes it. If you need to get calories and some nutrition in an easily eaten form, you can never go wrong with a low-sugar ice cream! When my dad was suffering from end-stage prostate cancer and started refusing food, I could always get some Hagen Daz vanilla into him. It was one of his few pleasures left, and luckily he never had a blood sugar issue, so I figured what the hell.

Jul 29, 2012
Fargo in Home Cooking

London Olympics Opening Ceremonies snacks and drinks?

Because I am a huge fan of the over-the-top spectacle of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies, I've gathered a few friends together for a viewing party tomorrow night. I'm thinking about an English theme, but so far haven't thought of anything more creative than Gin and Tonics and cucumber sandwiches. A major decision making factor is that I'm working tomorrow and will have about an hour to pull something together -- any thoughts on quick and easy snacks that have something (even remotely) to do with London?

If I had gotten my act together early enough I would have done a Parade of Nations menu -- a small bite from each country as they march out onto the field..... Served in alphabetical order..... "And now from Andorra!" It would have been brilliant, but insane. But maybe in four years......

Jul 26, 2012
Fargo in Home Cooking

Ice cream stop in southern vermont I 91 or VT 9 - WRJ to Bennington

I heartily second Wahoos! I used to work in Wilmington, and the thing I miss the most is Wahoo's chicken wrap with grilled mushrooms and pineapple.

Although it's a bit off of your route, the Walpole Creamery in Walpole NH has a scoop shop that serves their delicious premium ice cream -- You'd get off 91 at exit 6, come down RT 5 to Bellows Falls, over the bridge and south on Rt 12 and it's on your left in the little plaza that has a laundromat and a tire place. You could continue on south on Rt 12, cross back over the river south of the Shaws plaza and get back on 91 at exit 5. I think the quality of the ice cream is worth the detour.

Jul 26, 2012
Fargo in Northern New England

Which Two Cuisines for the Rest of your Life?

Turkish and Sushi, with a special dispensation once a year for American Thanksgiving Dinner.

Turkish, because it is the food I grew up with and covers so many bases -- great grilled meats and seafood, unbelievably diverse vegetable dishes, wonderful breads and the yogurt......

Sushi because it makes me happy every single time

and Thanksgiving Dinner because I don't think I could live without it.

Jul 22, 2012
Fargo in General Topics

Popolo in Bellows Falls -- First impressions

Yes, it's what used to be the Windham Hotel -- it's been renovated to house the restaurant, and some additional event space.

The Cafe down the street closed last year and I don't believe anyone else has opened up in there.

Oona's burned down a number of years ago and the building was torn down after lying fallow for a few years.

The diner is under relatively new ownership and is reportedly doing some interesting higher end farm to table stuff.

Jul 11, 2012
Fargo in Northern New England

frugal or just plain clueless?

I used to get invited to a fairly regular dinner party. It was never referred to as a Pot Luck. Everytime I asked the host "What can I bring?" He'd say "Oh just yourself, there will be plenty of food!", which I suppose was true because ALL the food and beverage was brought by other guests, who had figured out years ago that if you wanted to eat or drink at these "dinner parties", you had to bring your own provisions and enough to share with the group. I am pathologically unable to show up empty-handed, so I would always bring something, and because I am also pathologically prompt, I would often be among the first ones there and saw that the host never had anything prepared or available -- not even a bowl of chips and salsa -- so whatever I brought would be devoured instantly. I started feeling a bit put upon when I realized that he was never offering to send anyone home with leftovers -- anything uneaten went right into his fridge. After I became somewhat of a regular, he'd call to invite me, then would casually say "Oh and on your way, would you mind stopping by the store and picking up paper/towels/dishwashing liquid/sponges/napkins?" -- or any number of things that should be regular household supplies. He would never offer to reimburse, even when I'd purposely leave the receipts in the bags. That's when I realized that all of his "guests" were basically performing his weekly grocery and sundries shopping for him. So the last time I got an invite and he asked me to pick up dishwashing liquid on the way, I measured out enough dishwashing liquid from my own home supply -- enough for a party's worth of dishes, put it in a small jar and handed it to him as I walked in. I haven't been invited back!

If you're going to host a pot luck, call it a pot luck and give people specific instructions about what to bring. Or even some guidelines like "I'm happy to provide the use of my deck and grill and will be buying a case of beer, so if you wanted to bring whatever you wanted to grill and a side dish or dessert, that would be great"
It's not a dinner party if the guests are expected to feed themselves.

Jul 06, 2012
Fargo in Not About Food