New Orleans Trip Report, June 2018

I mingle with my peers or no one, and since I have no peers, I mingle with no one. — John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Day Two

Today was essentially Eating Day, with meals at two of the Brennan family’s famous restaurants, sandwiched with a bit of wandering around on my own. I like both eating and being on my own, so this was a good day.

This was also the day before I left for the wedding site, so encroaching nerves meant that said meals were a bit heavy on the booze.

I started the day where days in New Orleans are meant to be started:

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Breakfast at Brennan’s is one of those things that’s all touristy, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s that darn good. Top notch service, top notch food and booze at breakfast. Can’t beat that.

I won’t go too much into my three-course, three-cocktail breakfast (though you should check out my dining report), but let’s just say I was feeling pretty good when I rolled back out into the Louisiana heat.

My destination?

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I am not a frilly girl by nature, but I had a wedding to attend, and I needed to spruce up my nails. I don’t know how I ended up choosing Salon D Nola (or, specifically, the nail side of the business, Salon D Nola Too) on Burgundy Street, but it was an awesome choice.

Very chic, but full of Southern Hospitality…so, very NOLA.

My nail artist even talked me into leaning away from my plain, boring beige nails, with what she called a “party nail”: one coordinating, sparkly nail on each hand.

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That’s about as fancy as I get, folks.

Afterwards, I  headed back to the room because it was hella hot. I spent as much time as I could on the balcony (interspersed with cool downs in the air conditioning), immersing myself in New Orleans culture.

Or not:

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Eventually, it was time to get ready for dinner. I left a bit early to do some shopping on Royal, mostly for the pralines I have to carry home with me from each trip. I also found myself in one of dozens of shops full of hot sauce and Louisiana souvenirs, and found this little guy:

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He’s a voodoo doll! Isn’t he the cutest?! Somehow I let B talk me out of him, and I still regret it…

It was finally time for dinner at Mr. B’s Bistro. I got there right at opening, but had to wait at the bar forever … where I entertained myself with their Orange Julius (no relation to your local mall).

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When I did sit down, I almost left because of the crap-ass table they stuck me at. So glad I didn’t. Mostly because of these:

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I am not even a huge seafood fan, but these Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Grits and Red Eye Gravy is the stuff of dreams.

I even found a recipe, and may attempt it myself. Or I will just go back…

After dinner and a bit more shopping, I landed back on the balcony in time to watch a Second Line go right underneath.

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Definitely the right way to end an all-too-short New Orleans break.

Read about Day One.

 

Mr. B’s Bistro

New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin. — Mark Twain

I’ve eaten some amazing food at the most amazing restaurants in New Orleans. I’ve dined in elegant, centuries-old dining rooms that made me feel like a pompous aristocrat. I’ve had service on par with the best in the world, and yet that still left me feeling comfortable and welcome.

Mr. B’s was, sadly, not one of these. I felt ignored and forgotten. When I finally left the bar to find out if I’d ever be seated, I was shoved into a tiny table right in the center of the busiest thoroughfare in the restaurant.

Which is all to sound as if I’d never come back to visit Mr. B’s Bistro, but au contraire: This is the first place to which I plan to return. Why?

Because when I close my eyes and dream of what I ate in New Orleans, I always come back here.

This was, hands down, some of the best, most memorable food I’ve had in the city.

I started off at the bar, as I mentioned, with the restaurant’s signature drink: the Orange Julius. This isn’t your local mall’s Orange Julius let me tell you.

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It was delicious but since one of the main ingredients is vanilla ice cream, I switched to a blood orange margarita next. (Also delicious.)

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Since I was in New Orleans just as the Creole tomatoes were coming into season, many restaurants had specials featuring them, and Mr. B’s was no exception. Theirs were thick-sliced, drizzled with aged balsamic and scattered with shaved parmesan. They were mind-blowingly good.

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But this…this is what haunts my dreams at night:

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Bacon-wrapped Shrimp and Grits

This is Mr. B’s best-known dish and for good reason. The huge Gulf shrimp are wrapped in pecanwood-smoked bacon, served over creamy yellow grits and drenched in red-eye gravy.

A closer look:

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This may have been one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten.

It would be very difficult to top the shrimp and grits with dessert. Then in steps the other Mr. B’s cult favorite: Profiteroles with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

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Simple dishes like this have to be done well to be memorable, and these profiteroles were done very, very well.

In short, Mr. B’s can put me at any table they like and I will gladly hang out for hours at the bar, if it means I can make my bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits and profiterole dreams a reality.

Mr. B’s Bistro
201 Royal Street, New Orleans | 504-523-2078