NOLA Experience: Part III (Finale)

This day was dedicated specifically to doing things that would put a smile on my mother’s face. We did a brunch at the House of Blues, a bus tour about Hurricane Karina, and dinner at the Commander’s Palace. After dinner, we had a late night indulgence back at Oceana Grill which I discussed in Part I. Before our early morning flights the next day, we stopped by Café Du Monde for beignets for the road.

House of Blues NOLA

Located just a few blocks away from my hotel at 225 Decatur Street.  The Gospel Brunch tickets were $50 a person and included both the show and an all-you-can-eat buffet. The buffet is advertised included an omelet station, chicken and waffles table, a carving station, and a few desserts. To be honest with you, I was dissatisfied.  There were far too many tables in the bi-level room and it was extremely cramped.  It was hard for the servers to clear your table while you ate and enjoyed the show.  I guess you have to serve yourself juice and water if you do not want the mimosas being served because I saw the drinks area on the way out.

There was only one omelet station and it was located in the corner on the second level. So what about handicap people? And then there was only one guy and two stove tops.  The omelet options included onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, bacon, sausage, crawfish, and of course cheese. I literally waited in line for about half of the show waiting for an omelet. I was supposed to be spending time with my mother on her day! The omelet was at least tasty but there needed to be more people working the omelet station and at least a table on the first level.

The rest of the buffet was mediocre at best.  Nothing was outstanding and would have me running back.  Food presentation was not really important nor was making sure people could get the food out of the buffet tray.  For instance, they had grits that had become so solid, it was hard to spoon out.  There was no one there keeping it fresh. The bacon was over cooked, the sausages were flavorless, and the potatoes were not seasoned at all and required ketchup.  The chicken and waffles station looked very dry and the chicken was just chicken tenders. Unless I missed something, the carving station had only one meat.  It was a pork loin and 3 different sauces to top it with.  I got the Cajun mayo which was tasty but the meat was so dry, I didn’t have enough of the sauce to push the meat down.

I did not see a formal dessert table but I did see bread pudding. But I was so frustrated with the overall dining experience, I did not even want to waste the calories. The gospel show was nice and the lead singer did a great job engaging the crowd and sharing her testimony.  She invited a few gentlemen from the audience on stage to sing with her and win a decorative umbrella for their mother or woman in their life. It was beautiful. A little boy at the end of the line took the mic, stage his little heart out, and did a spin move into a split and won the competition. But the set was pretty short.  It started late and felt like it ended early.  I was lucky enough to have gotten seats right in front of the stage but some of the other guest were seated in bar stools bot big enough for their party and it bothered me how they packed all of us in there and took our $50. Needless to say, I won’t be back. Next!

Gray Line: Hurricane Katrina Tour

My mother expressed wanting to go on a tour of the city to see the areas that were greatly affected by Hurricane Katrina.  So being the wonderful daughter I am, I booked us a tour to do just that.  Please take note that I made sure that this was on a bus and NOT a bike! The tour was 3 hours and gave us enough time to relax before our dinner reservation at 6pm.  The tour was informative and most of the highest hit areas have recovered. But part of the trip was stopping in City Park. There, I had some delicious beignets at a café called Morning Call Coffee Shop.  http://www.graylineneworleans.com/

Morning Call Coffee Shop

 

 

 

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This place was like taking a step back in time with the very retro setting and server uniforms.  We were told that service was faster if you took a seat but after waiting roughly 5 minutes and no greeting, I decided to get in line for the beignets.  The bike tour guide said that these were his personal favorite and I took my first bite and understood why. These beignets were a nice size but they were light, soft, but still crispy and delicious.  There was a ton much powdered sugar! I found a strategy to eat them without getting my clothes messy. It was wonderful. I heard that the places that sell beignets in the brown bags are the places to go. Just saying. http://morningcallcoffeestand.com/

 

Commander’s Palace

I took my mother here for her Mother’s Day dinner.  This was an incredible experience that I will never forget, nor will I forget the price tag.  It is considered one of the BEST restaurants in New Orleans and it lived up to its name!  But it deserves its own post about how special it was.  I did the Commander’s Tasting Menu which included seven courses and the optional wine pairing. Please read my blog to see what I ate and my experience.

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse

jazz clubLocated in the Royal Senesta hotel where I stayed, is this extremely intimate jazz room that was everything you wanted from a jazz bar and more.  As we came back from dinner, we walked by the playhouse and I heard a vocal jazz soloist and I was drawn to her performance.  The room was closed off by a deep burgundy curtain and once you entered, the room was dimly lit with deep red walls and drapes.  You could sit anywhere and listen to great music and the seats were comfortable.  The bar situation is strange because they are short-staffed and it’s a serve yourself type of environment. But whatever, the point I’m making here is that the music was amazing, the atmosphere was very intimate, and you will enjoy the experience.

Café Du Monde

Finally, after getting lost the first night trying to find this place, we located it after the bus tour. I had already eaten the 3 beignets at Morning Call during the bus tour so I was bummed that I could not get them while we were so close.  But I did not want to spoil dinner, so I just waited until Monday morning on my ride to the airport. The next morning, I ran out of the car and to the window to order my beignets.  I have dreamt of coming to this place and sitting and enjoying them there but this trip did not allow that to happen.  Anyway, there was no line and I got my order literally within seconds. I was not able to eat them fresh from the café because I didn’t want to get the gentleman’s car dirty with powdered sugar. But while standing in the line at the airport, I took my first bite and even though they were luke warm, I understood why they were so special. These were smaller than the others but were light and fresh.  They were not too doughy and still maintained their slight crunch. Next time I go, I will make sure I can enjoy them at that moment.  The jury is still out if I enjoyed them better than Morning Call.  I just I will have to go back and find out. http://www.cafedumonde.com/

I am so looking forward to my next trip to New Orleans and will definitely venture off Bourbon Street and all the touristy areas to get my future meals.  And I will make my way to at least one of Emeril’s three restaurants in the city. But overall, I had a wonderful trip and my mother and I were so thankful to have spent this time together. I hope you enjoyed reading my NOLA Trip Experiences and found something helpful for your next trip.

Please look out for my next post as I discover more restaurants and continue on with my challenge. And remember, It’s a big world and we are going to eat our way through it!

 

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