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New Orleans -- Street Food or Cheap Restaurants and Kid friendly activities

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New Orleans -- Street Food or Cheap Restaurants and Kid friendly activities

Old Dec 13th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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New Orleans -- Street Food or Cheap Restaurants and Kid friendly activities

Hi ...

We are headed to NOLA for 3 days and 4 nights just before Christmas ... Also looking to celebrate my son's 5th birthday there ... Any help with the following will be very much appreciated

-- Your favorite recommendations for Street Food/ Food Carts in the French Quarter/ Garden District/ Warehouse area
-- Your favorite recommendations for inexpensive restaurants that offer great local food
( we are a group of vegetarians but we make do with limited choice on a menu) ... On our radar already are Surreys, Cafe Du Monde and the somewhat expensive Green Goddess ... Critique feedback for these and more recos are welcome ...
-- Best things to do for a kid ...
-- We are planning for Audubon zoo for his birthday ... is the Audubon aquarium worth it too? How much time would the zoo typically take? If there is a time crunch, which one should we choose -- zoo or aquarium?
-- We are planning to go to Preservation hall for the Christmas jazz ... Creole Christmas ... Is there anything better to experience Jazz?
Thanks,
Vibhav
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...experience.cfm

Contains my experiences at restaurants at many price points here. Will definitely endorse the idea of going to Cafe du Monde.

I didn't find much in the way of true street food or food carts in NOLA, except for a candy cart guy who makes a taffy-like concoction and whatever you might find at the French Market.

You might consider checking out a guidebook for kid-friendly options. The zoo is very good and will likely take 3-4 hours to visit with kids. The aquarium is pretty good (ca. 2 hours is good here), though they did suffer greatly from Katrina and are still coming back a bit -- there are other US aquariums I liked more. The insectarium is another worthwhile option if your kids like creepy-crawlies (again ca. 2 hours is good here). If you can only choose one, I'd make it the zoo, but all have their merits.
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:25 PM
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Won't comment on food choices, as I'm not a vegetarian.

The Audubon zoo is fantastic. But the zoo is great, too. Does he have a preference? Has he been to some great zoos, so maybe the Aquarium would be something different? For the zoo, I would allow at least 3-4 hours - lots to see and do there and a beautiful setting for walking around (assuming good weather).

There is also a wonderful Children's Museum. http://www.lcm.org/

Where are you staying - that could help with recommendations?

Will you have a car? It's a bit of a drive (and not worth it by taxi) but the Christmas lights that Al Copeland (Popeye's chicken king, now deceased) used to display at his house are now at Lafreniere Park out in Metairie.
http://www.lafrenierepark.org/activi...mingEvents.asp

A little closer (again, if you have a car) is the Celebration in the Oaks at City Park.
http://celebrationintheoaks.com/cito10/
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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I do not recall seeing any street food/carts at all when we were in NOLA in May.
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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pretty cool candy store in the French Market, I'm blank on the name at the moment. there are a variety of poboy sandwich places that are fairly inexpensive.
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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Other than Lucky Dogs (which are great, but don't fit with vegetarians!) - no real street food/vendors.

Well, there are the taffy carts, but I don't think that is what the OP is looking for!
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 02:49 AM
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www.auduboninstitute.org

Both are neat aquariam is newest neatest of the 2...

My fav restaurant/grill econo is the Camelia Grill

steeped in history cheese omlettes are the best in the world

take the street car to the foot of St Charles at the Levee

It is right there...

www.neworleansonline.com many other good options

Have fun,
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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If you're in the area of Camellia Grill (which I agree is great -- not just the food, but the ambiance, which is all counters, very talkative waiters, etc., we even had a very nice conversation with the people sitting next to us), you could also try Cooter Brown's -- college bar, but good bar food (I had a terrific muffaletta there).

For a greasy spoon with delicious breakfast, Johnny's Po-Boy in the French Quarter. SKIP Mother's even if there's a line -- Johnny's is WAY better food.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for all your responses ...
Bachslunch, I am reading through your post .. Will also be trying to find websites for these and see if the pricing agrees with this group .. I am sad to hear that there is not much a food cart scene in NOLA ... We are so used to that in Austin, TX and always look forward to it when we visit some of the big cities like SFO, NY, Chicago etc ... Thanks for letting us know about the Katrina damage at the aquarium .. We might wrap up our day there for the last couple of hours .. What do you mean by “ca. 2 hours”?

Grcxx3 ... if you have any fav restaurants that are not pricey, just let us know ... we work very well with even just 1-2 veg options on the menu and we will research that ourselves ...
We are staying in the Martigny area near the intersection of Pauger and N Rampart ... and yes, we will have a car .. so I will look into the children’s museum and the lighting ...

Qwovadis ... I found Cameila grill listed somewhere too ... unfortunately could not find its menu online on it swebsite ... the link does not work ...

We are also planning a half day trip to the Plantation homes ...What would be the top list for those? Oak Alley, Laura and Destrehan?

Thanks,
Vibhav
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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Pictures of the Camellia Grill (I couldn't get the menu link on their website to work either)

http://www.neworleansonline.com/dire...ocationID=1784
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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There is a funky grocery store near where you are staying in the Marigny called Mardi Gras Zone. Upstairs they have cheap Mardi Gras stuff for sale or maybe stored- hard to tell- some of it may be inappropriate for kids, ie beads in the shape of boobs or something like that! Downstairs is a very crowded grocery with lots of vegetarian and health food type items mixed in with the traditional groceries.

You are also close to Mona's on Frenchmen St- a middle eastern place that isn't too pricey where you will find lots of veg options in a family-friendly setting.

In the Marigny you could also visit Cake Cafe for breakfast or lunch- omelets, breakfast sandwiches, grilled cheese, etc: http://www.nolacakes.com/menu.php Funky vibe and some veggie choices that aren't too expensive.

You could see if Central Grocery in the French Quarter will make you a special order vegetarian muffelatta (cheese and olive salad). They are huge- a whole could feed three-four people for a lunch.

We also found a Vietnamese place in the FQ where you could get a vegetarian meal (can't remember the name- something with moon in it).

Uptown, we enjoyed pizza and salad at Slice on Magazine next to Whole Foods.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 11:30 AM
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Buffa's Lounge is on Esplanade and has good inexpensive food and good tamales. Camelia Grill just opened a new place in the FQ on Chartres. Clover Grill and Coop's are good inexpensive places with good food. Felipe's has good Mexican food. Mena's has good country food for breakfast or lunch. Rampart Food Store has good po boy's. Brother's has good fried chicken.

Buffa's Lounge @ 1001 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 949 - 0038. Tamales.
http://www.buffaslounge.com/
Camelia Grill @ 540 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 522 - 1800.
http://www.neworleans.com/index.php?...36&Itemid=4468
Clover Grill @ 900 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 598 - 1010.
http://www.clovergrill.com/
Coops Place @ 1109 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 9053.
http://www.coopsplace.net/
Felipe's Taqueria @ 301 N. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 267 - 4406.
http://www.felipesneworleans.com/index.html
Mena's Palace @ 200 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 0217.
http://www.menaspalace.com/
Rampart Food Store @ 1700 North Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 944 - 7777.
Brother's Food Mart @ 148 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 592 - 1113.
http://www.brothersfoodmart.com/
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 11:40 AM
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Evergreen, Laura, and Oak Alley are within 10 miles of each other. Evergreen and Laura are good tours. Evergreen is still a working plantation and the tours there and at Laura are presented from a historical perspective. Oak Alley is a great photo-op from the road, looking down the alley of oaks towards the main house. You can get those photos from the road, though. I wouldn't spend either my time or my money touring the house. It just isn't that impressive.
If you're looking for grand old plantation homes and gardens, Houmas House and Nottoway are head and shoulders above the rest. Although they are on opposite sides of the Mississippi River, they're not that far apart. It will take about 20 minutes to drive from one to the other. The houses and gardens at both are magnificent.
You should be able to drive from the downtown area to Houmas House or Nottoway in an hour or so. Evergreen, Laura, and Oak Alley will require a bit less time. The roads are good and the drives are safe.
Don;t spend much driving time on the River Road. Driving is slow and there isn't much scenery. You can't see the river because of the levee.

Destrehan Plantation @ 13034 River Road, Destrehan, LA 985 - 764 - 8785.
http://www.destrehanplantation.org/
San Francisco Plantation @ 2646 Highway 44, Garyville, LA 985 - 535 - 2341.
http://www.sanfranciscoplantation.org/
Laura Plantation @ 2247 Highway 18, Vacherie, LA 225 - 265 - 7690.
http://www.lauraplantation.com/
Oak Alley Plantation @ 3645 Highway 18, Vacherie, LA 225 - 265 - 2151.
http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/
Evergreen Plantation @ 4649 Louisiana 18, Edgard, LA 985 - 497 - 3837.
http://www.evergreenplantation.org/
Houmas House Plantation @ 40136 Hwy 942, Darrow, LA 225 - 473 - 9380.
http://www.houmashouse.com/
Nottoway Plantation @ 31025 Louisiana Highway 1, White Castle, LA 225 - 545 - 2992.
http://www.nottoway.com/
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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I see you are interested in cart food. You can get po boys from Johnny's to go or muffaletta's from Central Grocery and eat on a bench in Jackson Square. That's a fun spot and your son will enjoy playing there.

Mimi's in the Marigny and Port O Call are fine places for inexpensive dining. The burgers at Port O Call are outstanding.

Mimi's in the Marigny @ 2601 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 872 - 9868.
Port of Call @ 838 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 0120.
http://www.portofcallneworleans.com/

The Trolley Stop Cafe on St. Charles Avenue has outstanding breakfast and lunch that's inexpensive. Go for the early bird $2.99 special. Angeli on Decatur has cheap late night eats such as pizza, burgers, sandwiches and pasta with a Mediterranean flair. Cafe Maspero serves very good reasonable NOLA cuisine also.
Trolley Stop Cafe @ 1923 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 0090.
Angeli on Decatur @ 1141 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 566 - 0077.
Cafe Maspero @ 601 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 504 - 523 - 6250.
http://www.pierremasperosrestaurant.com/
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 01:03 PM
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vibhav, "ca. 2 hours" is shorthand for "circa 2 hours" or "approximately 2 hours." In other words, am thinking about 2 hours is a reasonable amount of time to spend here.

All giving advice, note that the OP and family are vegetarians. Burgers and fried chicken aren't going to work for these folks.

Re plantations, I've been to Laura, Oak Alley, and Nottaway. I think all three are well worth a visit, and all are very different from each other. Laura is a Creole style house, plainer than the other two, and has many of its out-buildings intact. Agreed that Oak Alley's grand tree-framed entrance is really impressive, but I also liked the house inside and tour here, too. Nottaway is grand and ornate and the largest of the three. Use a car to get to anything other than Laura and Oak Alley, as tours to other area plantations are spotty at best and non-existent at worst, despite such tours being listed at tour company websites. Tours to Laura and Oak Alley are normally more reliable.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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A fun activity with kids is to take a carriage ride around the FQ. It can be on the pricey side, but if you choose one that is large enough to share with other people, you can save some money.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 04:56 AM
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There are also a number of vendors in the French market. Can't vouch for the quality of food, though, because I didn't sample any.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 05:06 AM
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In the French Quarter, Bennachin restaurant is a great African restaurant for good vegetarian food. You will definitely be satisfied with this place.

The main street vendor food is lucky dogs, which are great for non-vegetarians when you're hung over and need a pick me up but not much else. No vegetarian street vendor food.

Have fun!
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 05:08 AM
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About Preservation Hall, I could think of nothing better than Christmas Jazz there, didn't realize they did it.
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