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John Besh

Eat Here Now


August 14, 2015

The New New Orleans
By Abigail Gullo

Photo by Chris Granger

Photo by Chris Granger

Welcome back to reality, my boozy companions. Now that it’s time to begin thinking about Tales of the Cocktail 2016 (you know you’re already contemplating that seminar you want to submit) and joining 25,000 of my closest friends who come to New Orleans to celebrate my birthday every year I figured I’d highlight some of the newest places you may have explored a few weeks back or bring them to your attention so you don’t miss out next July!

Here is your yearly roundup of places to check out while you are here in the Crescent City.

First though, let us not bury the lede…I am in a new place! I’m settling in nicely to life on the other side of Canal; my barspoons and I have have taken up residency at Compere Lapin in the Warehouse District (Compere Lapin 535 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
504 599 2119 Compere Lapin is the title of a West African folk tale that became Briar Rabbit; like the rabbit (more on that later) the restaurant’s menu is a food journey to New Orleans that begins from the Caribbean, where our chef is from. Chef Nina Compton was a finalist on Top Chef New Orleans and won fan favorite.

Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Originally from St Lucia, with a stop in the kitchen of Miami’s Scarpetta, Chef brings all the French Creole influences of her island mixed with exquisite Italian technique and of course local Louisiana flavor. Crispy pig ears, conch croquettes and curried goat with plantain gnocchi have been stand out dishes; but it is all so very delicious.

Of course it couldn’t be New Orleans without a world class cocktail program…and we have literally World Class bartender Ricky Gomez running the good ship Lapin. Ricky is native Nola and was on the opening staff at Cure before heading to Portland and becoming America’s first Diageo World Class Bartender. The bar program is exciting and inventive; there’s carbonated coconut water on tap for the Jerez Highball with sherry and absinthe, Martini inspired sippers like the Noontide with celery and pear brandy, and a King-worthy TCB Sour. All the cocktails pair so well with our fresh raw bar, crudo and the dishes coming from our extremely talented kitchen. And our pastry chef does our breakfast goodies too, so stop my Old No. 77 hotel for a key lime pie donut or blueberry hand-pie with some of the best coffee in New Orleans from Tout La, our lobby coffee shop. It is just the jump start you need to get going to those morning seminars!

Working in a new neighborhood means exploring more neighbors! We are home to the classic Swizzle Stick bar at Cafe Adalaide, Cochon and Butcher (best Muffaletta in town!) and of course, Mother’s and the World’s Best Baked Ham is right across the street.

Cochon by Chris Granger

But we have some new comers too. Mexican is hot right now and the John Besh and Aaron Sanchez collaboration Johnny Sanchez has all your agave needs along with tacos galore! Besh restaurants are famous for their happy hour programs and Johnny Sanchez is no exceptions with great deals of tacos and pitchers of margaritas. Save room for dessert as pastry chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White are some of the best in the business.

As a matter of fact, just after you left town they opened a new pastry shop called Willa Jean in the Warehouse Districts’s new sub-neighborhood, The Paramount. Wood fired pizza, a Company Burger with boozy milkshakes and the Rouses are all located here so when you pick up supplies at our local super market chain, you can fuel your day with the best food Nola has to offer.

Speaking of one stop shopping, back in the new Marigny or St Roch neighborhood, we have a Nola foot court to end all food courts. The St Roch Market opened this year to great fanfare and some controversy this year. This traditionally poor neighborhood was a food desert for some time post-Katrina. Now with the rapid gentrification of this neighborhood, the St Roch Market became a beacon, and a bit of a target. Putting politics and gentrification theory aside, get to St Roch and go hungry (2381 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 609-3813

Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB

Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB

Inside the breezy bright turn-of-the-20th century warehouse are local vendors offering coffee, fresh juice, oysters, Creole, Korean and African cuisine. Go to the Mayhew Bar for a cocktail, and get a dozen bivalves from the Curious Oyster stand next door then pick up some local made products like Cocktail & Son’s Syrups from Max Messier ( and Tonic and Bitters from El Guapo’s Scot Maddox (, both bartenders turned entrepreneurs!

If you are keeping in the French Quarter, we have some great new spots that have opened up in the last year. Salon by Sucre is an upstairs lounge with Storyville inspired cocktails and full tea menu. Downstairs at Sucre is a candyland of color and taste for a quick pick me up of gelato and coffee…and maybe some signature macaroons thrown in a box too (622 Conti,

Next door to Sucre, we finally have our famous Vietnamese cuisine in the Quarter with the 9 Roses Cafe. An extension of the famous West Bank spot, come here for restorative Pho, and bright Bun and summer rolls with local pork and shrimp (620 Conti

Chef Alex Harrell left Sylvain to open Angeline in the old Stella space on Chartres street. And homage to his mother, Angeline has the comfort food you crave after a long day of tasting and drinking, all in a refined setting with perfect technique.

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Photo courtesy of Angeline

The bar program is sherry and mezcal heavy, so it’s a cocktail nerd’s delight! This is a great place to stop for dinner before making your way to dance and jive on Frenchmen street (1032 Chartres St.!

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Good coffee is a must and why not do some vintage barware shopping while you are at it? Arrow Cafe on North Rampart street is also a bike repair and vintage shop (628 N Rampart St.). Jane pulls the best espressos in the Quarter, hands down. And she pairs shots of espresso with lime cordial, tonic syrup and good Topo Chico for refreshing pick me ups that fuel my trips to the gym and work. You can rent a bike next door, and pick up some cool Bike Nola t-shirts from Dashing Nola and some vintage martini pitchers from Nola Drift. (Full disclosure, my dog Ronnie Magic is the mayor here and these ladies have been kind enough to do doggie day care while I run errands in this hot Nola sun.) The sense of community here in Nola is what makes it so very special. And I am so lucky to have this community in my life looking after me and my little dog too.

Marin Tockman (right) with her friend Julia and her new Public Bike at arrow cafe

On the next block, at 700 Rampart st, is a new bar called the Black Penny. They have an extensive selection of beers and some great spirits. The bar wraps between two spaces and the white leather banquets make this a cool place to sip on some suds right across from Louis Armstrong park and the legendary Congo Square.

And or course there is the long awaited Latitude 29 from Beachbum Berry. Believe the hype (and order the Tiki room service if you can). I pretty much have my own stool at the bar here and worked my way through the extensive tiki drink and food menu within a month of their opening. Luckily, the talented rooster of bartenders create their own drinks for Happy Hour, so I have always have something new to try (321 N. Peters Street!

Next time you’re in town please come and visit me at the Rabbit (open a week and we already have a term of endearment for our Compere Lapin) and I will toast to good friends and good cocktails here in the city of New Orleans!

Photo by Chris Granger

Photo by Chris Granger



July 17, 2011

Food & drink, culture & frivolity abound in the city that knows how to let the good times roll
By Cheryl Charming

(All photographs courtesy of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau unless otherwise noted)

Photograph by Carl Purcell

For the past five years I have attended Tales of the Cocktail ( as a personality, author, seminar panelist, and moderator and each year I roam around the streets not really knowing where to go or what to see and taste. Well, I moved to the French Quarter in October of 2010 and now have a bit more information, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Below, is a little NOLA visitors guide to help Tales of the Cocktail visitors trek around the French Quarter and other parts of New Orleans. If you’ve never been to Tales then this will serve you well. If you are a return attendee then you might see something new. I hope you enjoy the information I’ve gathered. Also, if you have information you feel I should include, correct, etc. just Facebook email me.

FYI – This year I’m tending bar at The Bombay Club (830 Conti [CON-tie] – one block from Bourbon Tuesday through Saturday. I work with a great bartender named Steven Lemley. In the 31 years I’ve tended bar, he is the best bartender I’ve ever worked with. It would be our pleasure to serve you. We open at 4 pm, offer live entertainment 7 nights a week, and have a wonderful food menu (our chef, Rickey Cheramie trained under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace).
If you have not reserved a Spirited Dinner for Thursday night, then you should know that we have Maine lobster night on Thursdays for only $25. It includes a 1-½ lb full lobster, salad, and a side. You must have reservations because we fly in the live lobsters based on reservations. On Friday we have entertainer, Judy Spellman and she’s great at getting the crowd going. On Saturday night we have the incredible Luther Kent ( singing the blues. He use to be the lead singer for Blood, Sweat, & Tears in the 1970s. Starts at 9:30pm. I’ll probably be slammed those nights, so I won’t have much time to talk…but it should be fun to watch me in the weeds, lol.

• The French Quarter (Vieux Carré [VOH- care-eh]/Old Square) is only 6 blocks X 12 blocks. It was the very first part of land built upon in the 1700s.
• There are four streets that border the French Quarter. Canal, Rampart, Esplanade, and Decatur/Mississippi River.
– Cross over Esplanade and you enter the Marigny Triangle and the best place to visit is Frenchman street. This area is where the locals go for drinks, food, and entertainment. The best way to get there is a cab or walk East straight down Decatur.
– Cross over Canal and you’ll enter a business type atmosphere, but there are bars of interest to visit.
– Cross over Rampart and…well, DO NOT cross over Rampart on foot at night. Only go as far as Bar Tonique.
– Cross over Decatur, keep walking, and you’ll end up in the Mississippi River 🙂
• All the streets in the French Quarter are one-way. There is no need to constantly look for the one-way signs when crossing a street…just look to see which way the cars are faced.
• The sidewalks in the French Quarter are very uneven and full of holes. The best shoes to wear should have a flat sole. Heels on women are dangerous. Wedges work well, though. Also, the streets are very dirty. so if you wear open toed shoes, then expect to wash your feet often.
• Cabs are very easy to get. They roam the French Quarter streets just looking for someone to pick up. People ask me to call them a cab all the time at The Bombay Club and I let them know that all they have to do is walk to the corner and one will go by every minute. If you are going to use a credit card then ask before getting in because some do not take credit cards.
• Banks/ATM. On both corners of The Hotel Monteleone there are two full service banks with ATM’s; Chase and Capital One.

NOTE: When you cross over Canal from the French Quarter the street names change. Here is the list:
Decatur to Magazine
Chartres to Camp
Royal to St. Charles
Bourbon to Carondolet
Dauphine to Baronne
Burgundy to University Place
North Rampart to South Rampart

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