We spent a week in New Orleans, returning to one of my favorite cities for the first time in years. It’s her first visit ever (hence Cafe du Monde, below). The Quarter is grittier than I recall, but memory is a famous liar and the official statistics on homelessness wax and wane, mostly waning in the decade just gone.
One thing that hasn’t changed: It’s difficult to find a meal or a cocktail in the Quarter that disappoints. This part of the city is as dense with great restaurants as anywhere; you can’t take a step in the wrong direction, food-wise. We stick mostly to the Quarter, beginning at Cane & Table.
It’s a two-story restaurant and cocktail bar in a rustic row house. The Coctel de Mariscos appetizer is this: gulf shrimp, crawfish, avocado and (a first for us) fried saltines. It turns out that frying a soda cracker doesn’t really transform it that much, and the overall effect is to diminish, slightly, this dish’s otherwise rich flavor profile. The crackers add texture, though, and we support the deep-frying of anything, on principle. These crackers might be better inhaled as crab-dip delivery devices, though, rather than paired against (more than with) this great seafood. They do meet well the avocado. Seated alone in an upstairs room — the first floor being too loud — we dance to salsa music that bleeds from a private room adjacent. This is not a dance space but so what.
After dinner, we walk along the river through Woldenberg Park, then get up early the next morning. How does a one-hour time difference cause so much jet lag? We go for coffee at Cafe du Monde (of course), where the beignets are covered in teeming mounds of powdered white sugar, much more than anyone should consider consuming on a per-donut basis. We know it’s not the best beignet, or coffee, in the city or even the Quarter, but it’s Cafe du Monde. No one’s here but tourists. Like us.
Tomorrow it’s lunch at Herbsaint, dinner at Court of Two Sisters (like we said: tourists), then drinks somewhere. We’ll see. But doing it again, we’d avoid Decatur Street when possible — it’s like Bourbon Street on opioids — and concentrate instead on Frenchman’s Corner.