Michael Stipe’s New Orleans Guide
This week we bring you a thoroughly researched piece on New Orleans by our very first guest editor, Michael Stipe. Aside from being the frontman in one of the most innovative and brilliant bands of all time, R.E.M., Michael is an obsessed foodie like the rest of us here at goop. Michael recently spent a good chunk of time in the Big Easy recording the band’s next album, and true to form, discovered his favorite culinary gems, which he has so graciously shared with us. My brother and father both attended Tulane in New Orleans and so the city has always been a special destination for our family. Now that we have Michael’s list I can expand from my usual route of Café du Monde, Mosca’s and my mother’s favorite, the old world Galatoires.
The “Michael-in” guide!
Cochon930 Tchoupitoulas St. | 504.588.2123
Cochon is Peter Buck’s favorite restaurant in New Orleans, and he eats there pretty much every night that he can. The food, service, drinks, and freshness are unparalleled. Cochon was, in my short stay there, the gathering place for Alex Chilton, Ana Matronix from Scissor Sisters, Nicolas Cage, Eddie Vedder, Tim Robbins, Mario Batali, Dermot Mulroney, Parker Posey, various local and international writers, and of course, Peter Buck. This place is in the apex of New Orleans cool.
Schiro’s Café2483 Royal St. | 504.944.6666
This is where I sat when I texted goop to say, “I have to do a New Orleans edition of the MICHAEL-IN GUIDE, sorry for the bad pun, but, there it is.” This place, I believe, will do your laundry while you have a beer, some Hushpuppies, and salad while watching TV. It’s on a corner (isn’t everything in New Orleans?), there’s great locals people-watching, and this is way off the beaten track.
Meauxbar942 N. Rampart St. | 504.569.9979
Meauxbar, on North Rampart Street, has the other best salad in New Orleans; with frisée, and lightly fried oysters, all mixed up with a not-too-creamy cream dressing…It is sublime, superb, and alone worth the visit. Add their entrees, their atmosphere, bar drinks, and desserts, all are brilliant and fresh, fresh, fresh. This is one of the places I went back to over and over again for the quality of the food and service. There is always an interesting crowd there, too.
Dante’s Kitchen736 Dante St. | 504.861.3121
Ok, this place…they have the best vegetables in any New Orleans restaurant, an outdoor patio, and an amazing wine list. They have incredible meat and fish dishes, too. This is a great restaurant to get away from downtown, and one of the most inspired menus I’ve seen anywhere. The food and produce is fresh, fresh, fresh, and they accentuate the freshness with the preparation and presentation. The only thing I will say is that the portions are HUGE!!! Bring some friends and plan on having one of the best meals of your life.
Lilette3637 Magazine St. | 504.895.1636
Lilette has an excellent, fresh French-inspired menu and a great wine list. The service is expert and thoughtful. They have great salads and fresh vegetable items, and they are very accommodating. It’s away from the French Quarter and the tourists on Magazine Street. There is the most beautiful and weird bathroom I saw in New Orleans…they have my favorite weird wallpaper there.
Buffa’s1001 Esplanade Ave. | 504.949.0038
This joint is open 24 hours, and to look at it, hmmmmmmm…it’s a corner bar with a great jukebox, full bar, the usual New Orleans vibe…but ask for the menu, and man, the food is spectacular. Beans and rice with sausage, a giant plate of assorted handmade tamales from a local family…it’s a gem. It’s especially good after a night out or a concert, at 2am, when you just need a late great meal and some good company.
Cake Café & Bakery2440 Chartres St. | 504.943.0010
A great brunch joint in the Marigny. It’s super local and great for people watching. Basic, fresh, price-conscious, brilliant. It’s packed with character (and characters).
Le Croissant d’Or617 Ursulines Ave. | 504.524.4663
If it’s great coffee you’re going for, walk around the corner from the Soniat House to this French gem where the pastries are freshly made on the premises and are classic, old school, and old country. (Even my French bf was impressed. That’s NOT EASY.) The tile work inside is beautiful, and you will see locals and lots of Europeans. (For some reason…maybe its the pain au chocolat, or the almond croissant, which is disgustingly great. One of these per day and you better hit the treadmill, but man is it good.)
Satsuma Café3218 Dauphine St. | 504.304.5962
Last November I searched for a salad for 2 weeks before I finally found Satsuma Cafe. Their Kale Salad, made of all local ingredients, fresh, and organic, features Lacinato kale, Parmesan dressing, and (this is New Orleans after all) a piece of bacon on the side. This is the BEST SALAD in the city, hands down. A few blocks away from Desire Street, (which kind of says it all), and in the stunning Baywater, this is the hippyish place to go for great coffee and espresso, fresh ginger muffins, super great Nutella banana pancakes, fresh BLT’s with real tomatoes, hummus, bagels and lox with all the sides, and fresh juices made to order. It’s also all organic. Sit at the Squirrel Table and read the New York Times, or a local paper with the locals (and believe me, they’re there). It has a totally great vibe and fresh, fresh, fresh organic food. These guys make an effort and it shows.