In & Around Uptown

A list of places I’ve visited so far in New Orleans and what I thought of them. (Hint: hit ctrl+F to search the list)

ST. JAMES CHEESE COMPANY

I went to the St. James Cheese Company as part of an after-hours event, but I will definitely be returning for lunch. The sandwiches were divine – made from some of the best bread and cheese I’ve ever had. My only regret is that I didn’t get to try some of the meets they had on display (like prosciutto, salami, etc.) – they looked delicious. And for such an upscale bistro, the prices were certainly reasonable – in the $8-$15 range per sandwich/cheese tray.

CAFE GRANADA

This is a small tapas restaurant next to Lebanon’s Cafe on Carrollton that is very good. I don’t know if the menu has a lot of unusual (but good) options or if I’m just an inexperienced eater, but I liked trying so many new things. It’s definitely somewhere that everyone should give a chance to.

WILD LOTUS YOGA STUDIO

I found Wild Lotus Yoga to be a lot more homey-feeling than other studios in town. The staff is really welcoming and, as cliché as it sounds, I really felt like I was going to a friend’s house for yoga rather than to a studio with people I don’t know. I shied away from this place at first because they ask that you bring your own yoga mat. I thought, “Why would I pay $14 for a class and then also have to go buy a yoga mat when other places have yoga mats to use free of charge?” But what I found after my first class is that having my own yoga mat each time kind of makes me feel good. I can’t explain it too much except to say that it makes me feel more at home to know that I am on my mat and that it’s the same mat I used for the last class. Plus, it’s purple which I love. But I digress… the instructors are very knowledgeable and helpful and the atmosphere was very calming and less sterile than other places. All in all, my new favorite one.

MAPLE STREET PATISSERIE

As much as I want to keep this new gem to myself, it’s too good not to share. The pastry shop just opened in April and it is my new favorite place in Uptown. Fresh bread, fresh pastries, fresh cakes and deserts…you name it, they have it. The chefs are not only amazing cooks, but area also amazingly friendly and a great addition to the neighborhood. This is the kind of place that makes PJs and Starbucks (which this business is sandwiched between) look like the bad-guy chain stores. I love this place. I will never get pastries anywhere else and Wesley and I have gone here every weekend since we found out it existed. The one thing they don’t have yet is a Web site, but visit them at 7638 Maple Street or call 504.247.7912.

STORYVILLE – APPAREL, SCREEN PRINTING AND GRAPHIC DESIGN

This is my new favorite place to buy casual clothes. I finally got my official “Brad Pitt for Mayor” t-shirt, but also saw so many other clever shirts that I will definitely have to go back and buy. I work in St. Charles Parish and one shirt said “Boutte call” lol. Anyone who lives or visits New Orleans should visit this place.

PETCETERA

This is by-far the cutest little “full-service pet boutique” I’ve ever seen. They have A LOT of stuff for dogs, but a fair amount for cats, too. They have any kind of carrier or pet bed you could ever want and a lot of cute dog treats, bakery style and in candy bar wrappers. This is the perfect place to find a funny gift for a friend who is obsessed with their cat or dog. They also do pet grooming, sitting and walking and professional pictures with owner and pet. Super cute.

FAULKNER HOUSE BOOKS

This is a must for literature lovers or history buffs. The book shop actually is the house that William Faulkner lived in during his time in New Orleans. It’s a very quaint little place with very friendly staff. And my favorite part is that it has those super-high bookshelves that you needs one of those rolling ladders to get to the top. I always wanted bookshelves like that one day. The only downside is that only the front room and a hallway are included in the book shop, the rest of the house is off-limits. Definitely worth a visit, though, even if it’s only to say that you’ve been somewhere on Pirate’s Alley!

THE OLD URSULINE CONVENT

The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. I think a lot of people overlook it as a tourist attraction if they aren’t religious, but this place is worth a visit for history-buffs too. A lot of Web sites have false information on pricing and tours of this place. Here’s the 411: There are no guided tours, only self-guided tours that visitors can go on at any time that the convent is open (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday). The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

PURE YOGURT CULTURE

This new place just opened on Hampson St. near the Carrollton intersection. I had been waiting anxiously for it to open because it is, as far as I can tell, the only place in town for actual frozen yogurt (the kind with active cultures that is really good for you). They offer six flavors and all the toppings you could want. It’s charged by the ounce so you can get a decent amount of frozen yogurt and toppings for only about $2.50 – a MUCH better deal than local ice cream shops. I met the owner and he was very nice and accommodating. I would definitely recommend this place!

RICCOBONO’S PANOLA STREET CAFE

I went here with a friend of mine for breakfast around 2 p.m. I got the pecan waffles and they were awesome – they had whole pecans baked into them. It seemed like a nice, local haunt.

HAUNTED HISTORY TOURS

I went on a Haunted History cemetery tour that was amazing. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and didn’t need to employ any theatrics to make the tour interesting. The guide was also a member of Save Our Cemeteries so she really knew what she was talking about and told the tourists how important it is to preserve them. I have also gone on a French Quarter Phantoms tour where the guy was very into theatrics – surprise yelling/fake laughing at the audience, funny costume, etc.

LA MADELEINE

I went here for breakfast one morning because The Camellia Grill was closed! I heard it was open 24 hours, but apparently it’s not anymore. But this is a review of La Madeleine. It was a great breakfast alternative with a lot of different options and a fairly low price. I got two miniature chocolate croissants, a mini fruit parfait and eggs. Everything was excellent and worth what I paid. I will definitely go here again, especially if I’m up at 7 a.m. because no where else is open around here.

EMERIL’S DELMONICO

This place was actually a lot more reasonably priced than I expected: entrees were about $25-35. We got the gnocchi, She Crab soup, red fish, chicken and the crème brûlée. It was all excellent, especially the crème brûlée. It had something in it that was a little spicy. The staff was extremely friendly and there was complimentary valet parking.

FAVORI

I disagree with the negative reviews on this place, and the hours are definitely later than five. I got take-out from here at 8:30 p.m. and it was decent. Wesley got a meatball sandwich on french break (not exactly a poboy) and I got the fried catfish sandwich on french bread. I was expecting a poboy so that may be why I was a little disappointed. But Wesley loved his sandwich and plans to go back a lot since it’s so close to the house. The owner is extremely nice; the first time we walked in he greeted us personally and welcomed us to the store and asked us to come back soon. It’s a great place to stop in for some snacks and has a wide range of drink options (non-alcoholic).

AUDUBON ZOO

This zoo was decent. I was actually a little disappointed just because the Audubon Society is such a staple in the animal world that I can’t believe it wasn’t completely state-of-the-art. It was on par with my local zoo back home and perhaps had a few more exotic animals, but it was barely bigger by much. Some animals seemed very cramped in small spaces, such as the white alligator and the tigers…At first I was excited that it was so cheap ($13), but then I felt like I hadn’t really gotten my money’s worth. Still, it was a nice walk and I did learn some about New Orleans since they have a Louisiana Swamp exhibit. I also got to see nutria and the almost-extinct white alligators.

ROMAN CHEWING CANDY

This little Roman Chewing Candy cart that is always parked outside of Audubon Park is, I’ve heard, a local tradition. I finally got to try it at Audubon Zoo, where they have what I think is a more permanent stand. It was really, really good! Like freshly-made pulling taffy! Kind of warm and softer, but still hard. Yum.

CRESCENT CITY BREWHOUSE

I’ve heard this place is hit-and-miss, but I had a great time even though our server was from Tallahassee. The service was excellent, if a little slow — but it wasn’t unacceptable. I got the BLT, which is actually made with basil instead of lettuce, and it was amazing. I also got their seasonal beer: Oktoberfest. I don’t even like beer and I drank the whole thing. It was really flavorful and they made it themselves.

FRENCH QUARTER PHANTOMS TOUR

This tour was advertised as a ghost tour, but it ended up being the opposite. Our tour guide seemed knowledgeable, although he did contradict himself a few times. It was about the history of the Quarter and what made people think there were ghosts. But it’s all about uncovering the truth and not just jumping to paranormal conclusions, like many people in history apparently did. Some of the stories were quite disturbing — I wouldn’t recommend this for children AT ALL or the faint of heart.

ROMNEY PILATES CENTER

This place costs a dollar or two more than other yoga/pilates places around town, but it’s worth the extra buck. The decor was so peaceful I almost didn’t even need a class to come out of the building calm and refreshed. I took the beginner’s mat class here and it was amazing. There were about eight of us taking the class and I was really impressed with the amount of personal attention we still got and how intimate and friendly the atmosphere was. Then I laid down and saw a million twinkle lights swathed in almost-translucent white silk banners above my head. It was just amazing — so zen. No contracts to sign; just $15 whenever you feel like going. They do have a 24-hour cancellation policy, but I’ll never find out the consequences of that because I will never miss a scheduled class here. It will be the highlight of my week.

FINNEGAN’S EASY

I liked this place, despite the fact that the food I got here made me feel really ill the next morning. Somehow Wesley survived unscathed, though. And it did taste great. The bartender warmed up over the course of the game — we watched the Dolphins-Colts game here. The franchise stems from Miami, so we thought it was appropriate. The drinks were good and not too pricey. It is a very sketchy walk down a dark alley to the bathroom though, just to warn you. This place seemed to have “locals,” which made it feel much more authentic, despite the Ghost Tour participants who kept popping in for their free drink included in the tour price.

FEET FIRST

I’ve been to both the Royal Street and the Magazine Street locations. This place is heaven for shoe lovers, but not for poor shoe lovers like me. It’s pretty pricey. The Magazine Street store is much larger than the one in the Quarter, but I kind of like the quaintness of the downtown location better. It’s like you’re finding treasure. They also have a great selection of purses and jewelry.

YOUGURT

I had high hopes when I found this place that it would be similar to Lollicup or  Mochi in Gainesville — a self-serve “good for you” kind of desert place with bubble tea. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. The frozen yogurt was extremely runny — closer to soup than ice cream. Also, the bubble tea barely had any pearls and they offered very few flavors. Also, not as cheap as Gville. The one thing I can say in its favor is that it’s the only restaurant of its kind (as far as I know), but I won’t be wasting my money here again.

UPDATE: This place is now out of business, which just goes to show you how accurate my ratings are.

SUSHI BROTHERS

So far, this is my favorite sushi place in town — cheap, clean and good service. They gave us free Miso soup with our meal and the rolls weren’t too pricey. The crawfish roll was spicy enough that I didn’t need spicy mayo, which was nice and they were medium-sized and easy to eat. So easy, in fact, that I ate two entire rolls and my soup! I was stuffed and happy, and I will definitely be returning here.

HANA SUSHI

This place is tucked away on Hampson Street just off Carrollton Avenue. It doesn’t have very good parking, but the sushi was good and they had decent service. Some of the specialty sushi was HUGE — too big for anyone to eat in one bite. They’re spicy mayo wasn’t very good, either.

UPDATE: I’ve been here a lot more since I wrote this review and it’s definitely grown on me. The staff is extremely nice and the sushi is consistently well-made and nicely presented.

CREOLE CREAMERY

This local ice cream shop reminds me a lot of Sweet Dreams in Gainesville. They make their own ice cream and offer a variety of unusual flavors that may not sound good but actually are — like goat cheese and fig. One major difference between this place and the shop in Gainesville is the amount of flavors available each day. This place has Sweet Dreams beat in that department with about 35 options a day!

KITCHEN WITCH COOKBOOKS

This place is tucked away on Toulouse in the quarter, but it’s worth the trip if you need a present for a cook! I was completely blown away by the amount of cookbooks that this seemingly-small store had. They had all different genres of cooking as well as some extremely rare and old cookbooks, which were price-upon-request and clearly out of my price range. They also have an entire section on Cajun/Nola cooking, including the cookbooks from historical local restaurants.

SWAP

Swap is a second-hand store for women’s clothes. They have a decent selection for a store of their size, but I love how their prices ranges from $9 to $200, so you can get low- and high-end products. I got some shirts for work and the staff was really friendly. However, I’ve been there before and gotten a less-than-pleasant experience with the staff, so I think it’s kind of hit-and-miss.

LANGENSTEIN’S GROCERY STORE

We went here the first weekend we lived in Nola because it had good online reviews and is owned by a local family. However, it was not a good choice. The food was overpriced and there were no generic options at all. Once we got home, we realized that half of the groceries we bought were expired and had to return them. The attendants were not very nice and the store was so small that it was hard to maneuver with or without a basket. We won’t be returning.

PLUM STREET SNOBALL

From my limited snoball experience, this is THE BEST place to find a snoball in New Orleans. The people are extremely friendly and the prices are excellent. They also offer childrens sizes to all ages, in case you just want a little. You can taste any flavor before having it poured on your ice — they actually get a spoonful of ice and pour a little syrup on it for you! There are a wide range of flavors and sizes. I am addicted and will be sad when they close up for the winter — they’re only open from spring to the end of the summer.

MAGAZINE LAUNDROMAT

This place was recommended to Wesley by Tulane, but it is not worth the trip. The prices were outrageous. The washers ranged from $2-4 per load and the $2 washer was extremely tiny. It would probably only fit underwear. The dryers were something like $0.50 for about seven minutes. We ended up going to a place on Maple Street instead, which costs $1.25 for an industrial-size washer, big enough for two large loads, and $50 per 10 minutes of drying. There are cheaper places out there, so don’t waste your time here!

MILTON LATTER MEMORIAL LIBRARY

This is the closest public library branch to my house and I’m not too disappointed with it. It’s not great for finding specific books if you’re in a book club, like me, but if you’re just looking for a good read in a really beautiful location, Milton Latter is your place. It’s on a hill in Uptown and the old house is a real piece of history. I can see myself walking there when it gets cooler outside and sitting on their steps with a good book or a magazine from their wide collection of periodicals.

CAFE PONTALBA

This is a decent-sized place right in Jackson Square, in the French Quarter. The food was excellent, if a little pricey (about $9.50 for a fish poboy). But the real draw to this place is that it’s completely open to the outside and is set right next to the outdoor jazz bands in Jackson Square. So, you get free entertainment with your meal and you get to enjoy the atmosphere in the center of the French Quarter. The service was pretty good, too.

THE FRENCH MARKET

This place is by far one of my favorite places in New Orleans. I will take every visitor I have there. It’s a huge open-air flea market with jewelry, decorations, fresh produce, etc. You name it, they’ve got it. The vendors are pretty nice, for the most part, and the selection is huge. I could walk around in here for hours. Definitely worth to fight for a parking spot on Saturday afternoons.

GARDEN DISTRICT BOOK SHOP

This mid-sized book shop is in The Rink shopping center on Washington Street and Prytania. It’s pretty much the only store in the shopping center worth visited, but it definitely pulls its weight. I found some really unique gifts for friends and myself here. They also have information on local book clubs and regular author signings. They have a pretty large and diverse collection for a local book store, as well. And as for the place being called a shop: they definitely live up to the name. They are way more than just a store.

MAPLE STREET BOOK SHOP

This is a cute, little place on Maple Street (duh) where you can go in and really form a relationship with the staff, rather than just look through their products. It has quite a small collection, but for its size there are a lot of books. They are crammed in every corner of every shelf. It’s a fun place to look through for an hour and find a real gem in hiding. I found a great childrens book here called Goodnight Nola — a variation on Goodnight Moon that has a New Orleans theme. It was a great and unique gift for my 4-year-old cousin.

TROPICAL ISLE

This bar used to have two locations on Bourbon Street, but apparently one of them burnt down in early 2009 so now you have to walk almost to the end of the bars on Bourbon (away from Canal Street) to get their famous Hand Grenade. But the walk is definitely worth it. I don’t go to Bourbon without grabbing one of these watermelon-flavored drinks. They’re pretty strong so it’s worth the money because you only need one or two (they’re about $8 each). They come in both iced and frozen varieties and in a special plastic grenade-shaped cup.

PARASOL’S RESTAURANT AND BAR

This place looks extremely sketchy from the outside. It’s an Irish bar in Uptown that apparently holds an awesome block party on St. Patrick’s Day, which I can’t wait to check out. The food was good, with the best thing being the gravy fries. Seriously — everyone needs to go here and get the gravy friends. It’s a local place so you’ll feel like you’re part of the community when you visit. It has also been featured on the Travel Channel as a place to eat in New Orleans.

MOTHER’S RESTAURANT

This is a pretty small place with excellent poboys. It’s found on Poydras Street and Tchoupitoulas Street in the Business District. The service wasn’t too great, but the food was good and it was also featured on the Travel Channel as a place to eat in Nola.

LEBANON’S CAFE

This place is near my apartment and we ate here for Wesley’s birthday. If you know me, you know I’m not too into exotic or different foods. However, this place has turned me. I loved it! The falafel was excellent and so was the summer salad. Everyone got a different meal and seemed to enjoy it a lot. They have really great traditional Lebanese tea also, which has pine nuts in it. It had great service and it wasn’t too expensive either. The waitress put up with a lot of questions we had about Lebanon and never left us without an answer — she was very knowledgeable about the restaurant’s culture. You could tell that knowing about Lebanon was more than a job to her.

GODIVA IN LAKESIDE MALL

I am normally going to try to stay away from reviewing chain stores like this, but I had to give this one a shout-out because they were extremely helpful and nice. I went here to get some chocolates for Wesley’s birthday — because even guys like chocolate! The saleswoman was so helpful and nice. She took the time to step away from what she was doing to explain the store’s products to me and help me get the best value for my money. She also informed me that if you sign up for the free rewards card program, you get a free piece of chocolate of your choice! I got the double chocolate raspberry truffle — so worth giving them my e-mail address!

 

4 responses to “In & Around Uptown

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  2. Pingback: It’s a zoo out there « New Orleans Uptown Girl

  3. Pingback: Nuns, Mexican and dead authors « New Orleans Uptown Girl

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