Sunday of this trip was pretty laid back. Went to choich. Lollygagged around the hotel a bit, walked down Decatur Street, stopping at Louisiana Music Factory to pick up a second Eureka Brass Band CD and swing by Faulkner House book store to see if there were any tomes that gave any in depth look at the etymology of Mardi Gras Indian chants (there weren't! - in fact, on returning home I reached out to someone cited as an authority on Caribbean culture and he affirmed that such work doesn't exist to date) and then down to the end of the French Quarter and Coops.
Years ago, on one of our first trips to NOLA we were wandering haplessly down Royal or Chartres and stumbled into a very downhome eatery whose name now escapes me. Looked VERY dicey but we really didn't know WHERE to stop so gave it a shot. And they had some amazing fried chicken. After The Flood it closed and we've been searching out for comparable experiences. One local guided us to Fiorello's, also down at the end of Decatur. And this was a worse dive than the first. Dirty, in attentive staff. There were roaches crawling around on the walls. And they took their sweet time in delivering the chow -- but it was all pretty much worth it. Great chicken, served up hot, freshly made. Last time we went there, ordered up the grub asked for wine and were told by the waiter -- "there's nothing here you'd wanna drink!" But we insisted. And he insisted! He finally gave in and brought some nasty chablis -- can't say he was steering us wrong! But the food's the point. Haven't been back since. (I should point out that Willie Mae's is very neat and clean and if the staff seems overwhelmed they are always polite and make you feel at home - hell, one year a waitress pinched me for putting my elbows on the table!)
Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal (which Mrs. W. reads religiously) had mentioned Coops as one of the great foodie bargains in the French Quarter. So we tried it last year and it's OK so that's where we wound up that Sunday afternoon, Saints game on the telly. I gotta say the chicken -- to my taste -- is nowhere near Willie Mae's. The breading is much thinner and nowhere near as crunchy and flakey. Smaller portions too. But the coleslaw it's served with is fresh and spicey and refreshing. The rabbit and sausage with rice was filling and occasionally tasty but kinda bland.
On the way back to the hotel Amy decided to try Cafe Beignet on Royal Street instead of Cafe Du Monde on our friend Joy's recommendation. We'd eaten there in years passed but didn't think too hard on the experience. The big difference is that Cafe Beignet is indoors, intimate and far more civilized that Cafe Du Monde. In warm weather (the temperature dropped into the 50's this day), there's a sweet little garden area immediately abutting the police station. So there's less waiting for a server to find you -- or to find a single clean table than at Cafe Du Monde. Otherwise, the victuals are comparable.
We napped again and pondered dinner. We lamed out and opted for the Gumbo shop in the French Quarter. Nice enough atmosphere - kinda downhome touristy. But peronable wait staff, good service. Food was all on the bland side tho. I got blackened chicken and expected a bit of heat coming off 'em but the spices mainly made the chicken taste like beef. OK but. WTF.