So Michael Stipe from the band R.E.M. was in town recently and last week posted his favorite things to do in New Orleans to Gwyneth Paltrow’s website GOOP. It appears he did some hanging in the Marigny because it included a bunch of nearby spots: The Cake Cafe, Buffa’s, the Frenchmen street music scene, and JohnPaul’s Bar. Very cool.
Here’s an excellent piece on New Orleans after Katrina from Arthur Frommer’s website.
Christian Senger, one of our recent European guests, took an amazing photo of our hallway during his visit. Here’s a link to that shot and some of his other stunning photography.
One of our favorite mags—Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel—has a story this month about the best BBQ joints in America. It includes this item about one of our favorites in our next-door neighborhood, the Bywater.
New Orleans: The Joint
A year before Hurricane Katrina hit, husband-and-wife owners Pete and Jenny Breen outfitted an abandoned building in New Orleans’s Bywater neighborhood with wooden benches and a giant black smoker. After the storm, the duo reopened right away, trucking in meat to cook free meals for neighbors. Today, they’re still pleasing locals with spicy, Cajun-style sausages and rapidly gaining a reputation as one of America’s best stops for BBQ pork ribs, rubbed in spice and smoked for hours until they gain a crisp, caramelized coating and fall-off-the-bone texture. End the meal with a traditional Southern specialty, extra-creamy peanut butter pie. 801 Poland Ave., 504/949-3232, ribs plate $10.
This weekend I finally got around to perusing Gambit magazine’s list of top 50 bars in New Orleans. Right there in the #2 spot is Mimi’s in the Marigny, just a few blocks from us.The bar was praised for, among other things, its terrific tapas bar upstairs that serves late into the night. Coming in at #12 was the nearby Allways Lounge which Gambit notes “has blossomed as a destination and odd intersection for bohemian theatergoers, indie and alternative rock fans, and regulars for whom it’s always been a gay and lesbian friendly neighborhood bar.” Also nearby: D.B.A., the Blue Nile, HiHo Lounge, and everybody’s favorite dive the Saturn all get kudos as well.
This morning on the way to our nearby coffee shop, the Who Dat Coffee Cafe, I encountered another of those magical moments that help make our neighborhood unlike any other.
After reading our summer update Eileen Riordan was kind enough to share some great pix from their visit with us back in 2007. Here are a few of my favorites.
Have I mentioned how much we love Vietnamese food? And a new Vietnamese restaurant just showed up a few blocks away! Here’s what the Times Picayune had to say about it:
2529 Dauphine St., 504.949.2009
Perhaps the best evidence of depth in the New Orleans dining scene is the quality of Vietnamese restaurants. Marigny Pho gives east bankers who don’t live in New Orleans east better access to this asset. The restaurant is inside the new Love Lost Lounge, and the quality of the food on the concise menu — beef brisket and chicken pho, a handful of noodle salads, spring rolls and banh mi — belies what you’d expect to find inside a dark Faubourg Marigny saloon.
Spring in New Orleans is always a busy time, but this spring the city has been particularly inundated with folks from around the world. Local innkeepers are calling it “the Super Bowl effect.”
“The narrative for the city has been re-written again,” I overheard someone say at a cocktail party. This time from “that city struggling to recover from Katrina” to “the city of champions.” And so it is that we, and seemingly everybody else, have been extraordinarily busy.
But come June that changes, the city lapses into its more languid summer mode. This is when we really take the time to explore our city anew, catching up on the countless gallery openings, concerts, and museum exhibits we haven’t had a chance to visit yet…all of them in air-conditioned comfort. Last weekend we heard a great blues band at the Shadowbox Theatre that just opened around the corner from us. It’s in an historic old drugstore building that’s been converted into an intimate black box theatre space (with superb air conditioning). In addition to music, the lineup for the summer includes weekly improv comedy, fringe theatre and poetry slams. The other day we had an amazing muffuletta bread pudding at the recently opened Desperado’s Restaurant a few blocks from us. And a terrific Eggs Benedict at Marigny Brasserie across the square. It has new owners, and a more reasonably priced menu than before, but still in classy contemporary surroundings.
While our summer days are often hot, the mornings are still very nice…like this one during which I’m writing this out on the porch. And there’s often an afternoon shower that makes the evenings pleasant as well. So we just change our patterns a bit. Up early for coffee on the porch and a stroll, by midday we’re off to a museum, then home for a nap, then back out in the evening for music.
Our summer rates are the lowest of the year, starting at $65 in July and August. And our special where you get one night free when you stay four continues through summer. In August and September, COOLinary New Orleans is back with cheap eats at the city’s great restaurants. If you can’t wait that long and still want a great deal, we’ll point you to some places to save money on haute cuisine with a coupon.
There is a whole cluster of dining options not far from us on a pretty stretch of Esplanade Avenue near where Jazz Fest is held. They all take coupons from Restaurant.com which you can buy for $2 if you watch for one of their frequent sales, and then will save $25 on your meal. Choose from classic French fare at Café Degas, or light Italian cuisine at Nonna Mia, which has a very nice outdoor dining area, and charmingly decorated dining rooms inside the old house that the main restaurant resides in. Just down the block is local favorite Lola’s for Spanish cuisine, including their acclaimed paella, and my personal favorite, the calamari, which here comes out as wonderfully tender hearty little steaks of calamari rather than rings.
Or ask us about the coupon that scores you a free bottle of wine while dining at one of several Brennan family restaurants—Bacco, Redfish Grill, and Ralph’s on the Park—when you purchase two entrees.
So if you’re up to a visit at a leisurely pace, don’t mind “glistening” on occasion, and want to get a lot of vacation for a little money…come see us this summer!
Thanks to a romance that is uniquely New Orleans, the old furniture store around the block from us will soon be The New Orleans Healing Center. Our neighborhood Voodoo priestess and her long time beau, one of the city’s most successful developers, are transforming the building into a place for healing in the broadest sense of the word. It will house practicioners of everything from yoga and massage, to various kinds of spiritual healing. There was a great piece in Sunday’s Times Picayune about this remarkable couple and the legendary Voodoo priest they rescued from the rubble of his neighborhood in Haiti.