Monday, February 7, 2011

Bayou Eatery on Magazine Street

I had debarked the Carnival Triumph in New Orleans at 6:30am and wanted to spend the day in town. My flight wasn't until 4:30pm, I didn't want to sit at the airport all day, and I couldn't confirm an earlier flight. What to do with my bags? I rolled over to my New Orleans' Foodie Friend Beth, or Buffy as I call her, and she allowed me to drop me bags at her office and off I went.

I made my way all around the French Quarter and first had breakfast at Mena's Palace (see previous post, click HERE). I walked some more over to my favorite bookstore, then up to Royale to gaze at the pretty antiques. I then crossed back over Canal and went down St. Charles, Camp, and Magazine streets. I made a discovery while walking along. On one of my first visits to New Orleans, maybe my VERY first visit, I dined at a wonderful old restaurant named Kolbs. As I crossed Canal, there it was closed, darkened, and somehow lonely looking.

It was nestled next to a seafood restaurant and oyster bar called "The Pearl." I even remember my first meal at Kolbs was Red Beans and Rice, with a Hot Sausage. Man was it ever good. I don't have many memories of Kolbs other than that, but I seem to recollect a big place with lots of tile and Art Deco furnishings. Maybe that is my imagination conjuring that. I sure hope someone someday open another restaurant in that location.

OK, I am wandering and about to forget why I started this post. I see this little place located on the corner of Magazine and Lafayette streets. It is about 3 blocks from my friend's workplace, and about 2 blocks from one of my favorite, now closed, downtown restaurants the Diplomat. Don't worry Bayou Eatery, I will soon quit talking about other restaurants and focus squarely on you... as a matter of fact it's Bayou Eatery.

Owned by a very friendly couple named Nanette and Ron Huddleston, they told me they had been there several years, and judging from the lunch crowd, they're doing good business. It is a "serve-yourself" affair, well technically you place your order, get your drink, and bus your own tray. Most everything comes already in a to-go type carton. Pleasant, clean atmosphere without all the screaming music you sometimes have to contend with. This was a comfortable place to have lunch, but how was the food?

I ordered the "Specials" of the day which was a Jambalaya with chicken, andouille, and shrimp. I have potato salad for a side and a piece of French Bread. I also had a large cup of their Crawfish, Corn and Potato Soup. This was the highlight of my day. The Jambalaya was good, sort of a cross between a red and a brown Jambalaya. Just the right heat and smokiness. The potato salad was good, like to try that with Seafood Gumbo sometime. The Crawfish & Corn soup however was awesome.

This was very similar in consistency to a clam chowder, only with crawfish tails and yellow corn kernels. It also contained potato, a little celery and maybe some very thin minced onion. This nice creamy base really made this tasty for "Yours Truly." I took my time and luxuriated over this bowl of creamy goodness for nearly an hour. Nice plump crawfish tails swimming around attempting to leap onto my spoon, wheeeeee-doggies.

Soups, salads, and sandwhiches, along with killer daily lunch specials make this place very popular with the locals in that area. Again, they are located on the corner of Magazine and Lafayette. I am not sure about their hours, but I sure know they are open at lunch, and how. You can call for their hours at 504-299-8600. Give this nice place a try and I think you'll enjoy it, especially when so many restaurants are getting $20+ dollars for lunch these days.

Tell em' RouxBDoo sent you!

Mena's Palace Cafe in the French Quarter

OK in the last few weeks I have gone into the Quarter and overdone it in terms of walking. I have a heel spur, as well as having to deal with the "pristine" condition of the sidewalks, I have left myself in a very painful condition on a few occasions. So I was try to go easy, like the BIG EASY. So I strolled up Canal trying to figure out what to have for breakfast.

I know, I had seen this place that was obviously very popular on Iberville, down a few blocks from Deanie's. I remembered it was on the corner somewhere. After a bit of a look 'round, I saw it... Mena's Palace Cafe. It's not a flashy place, a little dark looking from the outside, but inside it has an old fashioned, homey feel to it, a nice little place to go read the paper and have a bit of breakfast. That's just what I did.

I was greeted by a lovely waitress name Anne Marie, who turns out to be from Northern Ireland (don't know how I picked up on that accent), she was very friendly and helpful. We talked about Irish music, which is one of my other passions, specifically the Uilleann Pipes. We also talked about "the Troubles" as well as Ireland being overrun by illegal immigrants very much as we are here in the States. The first part getting better and the last part getting worse.

Back to breakfast. I got the andouille omelette with grits and toast. Everything was great, I do like my grits to be salted and buttered, but some place don't do that. I hear some locales around the South where people actually put SUGAR in them. OK, butter, salt, pepper, cheese, possible andouille or other type of sausage, but SUGAR??? Save that for your oatmeal. I really enjoyed the omelette though, everything was tasty and served hot.

Between the ambiance, food, friendly service, and it's location, it is a great place for breakfast. They are also open for lunch, no dinner(or supper). I don't know about their lunch, but the guy down the street at the bookstore said they had great lunch. He was ordering a Po-Boy from Mena's as I was browsing his bookstore. I looked at the menu and it is full of great New Orleans specialties. I scanned it so you can see it HERE!

Mena's is located at 200 Chartres St. I am pretty sure it is the corner of Chartres and Iberville, just a block off Canal Street. If you want to call it is (504) 525-0217. If you are staying in the French Quarter is it an ideal place to order delivery to your hotel. Enjoy Mena's while visiting New Orleans.