go


Advertisement

    New Orleans

    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!

    Love,
    gp

    The “Michael-in” Guide to New Orleans

    Coop's
    1109 Decatur St
    (504) 525-9053
    http://www.coopsplace.net/

    You could walk by this place 60 times and not even break stride, with one glance you've got it; but don't judge a book by its cover - a good rule of thumb in New Orleans. This French Quarter bar, with its placement across the street from Margaritaville and down the street from Café du Monde, is kind of in tourist central, meh; but these guys have the real deal in red beans and rice, gumbo, fried chicken, and super authentic local favorites. Also check out the side salad, with the BEST homemade Green Goddess dressing in town. The servers are sweet and super tattooed, the kitchen is basically in the outdoor courtyard, and next door is the fantastically alt-goth bar...

    Pravda
    1113 Decatur St
    (504) 581-1112

    Great for a late night hang with the locals. They know their music, they play it hard, and they are happy to talk about it.

    Bar Tonique
    820 North Rampart St
    (504) 324-6045
    www.bartonique.com

    Great for a late night hang with the locals. They know their music, they play it hard, and they are happy to talk about it.Ok this is the real deal; easily my favorite return-to bar in New Orleans. This joint concocts drinks according to the recipe from the year the drink was invented. So you get lots of Pre-Civil War and 1920's authentic recipes, made from rum and gin (I don't drink gin, ever!...but I do here...) It's basic, with little fanfare; no need to shout here, there's enough of that 3 blocks away. This is real, carefully and lovingly prepared, super authentic and reasonable. And, on Sundays, there are a couple of crock pots in the back booth with beans and rice to deaden or carb out the inevitable weekend hangover. It's across the street from...

    Armstrong Park
    801 N. Rampart St

    Named, I believe, after my psychic godfather, Louis Satchmo Armstrong. There are great musical festivals here from time to time.

    Satsuma Café
    3218 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.

    Soniat House
    1133 Chartres St
    (504) 522-0570
    www.soniathouse.com

    If you are here for a longer stay, this is the best hotel to check out in or near the French Quarter. In the week I was there it was John Malkovich, Patti Smith, and I staying. It's not haunted and the super friendly staff will take you on a tour of the hotel and tell you its fascinating history (it has two enormous compound houses across the street from each other.) It smells like jasmine, the wireless internet works and is included in the room rate; some of the rooms have balconies and they serve the BEST BISCUITS in NOLA, delivered in a basket with a hot stone underneath, and a side of strawberry jam. God...is so great...to provide this.

    Le Croissant d’Or
    617 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.)

    Cake Café and Bakery
    2440 Chartres St
    (504) 943-0010
    www.nolacakes.com

    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.)

    The Joan of Arc Statue
    Place de France

    I must have wandered, driven, walked or (to be fair) stumbled by this a million times in the past 29 years, and it wasn't until Patti Smith pointed it out to me that I stopped long enough to look up and see how very beautiful it is. On the main stretch of the French Quarter, it's worth a pause.

    Tipitina’s
    501 Napoleon Ave
    (504) 895-8477
    www.tipitinas.com

    This classic New Orleans stop has the best logo of all time. I'm going to silkscreen it onto a shirt for Patti Smith, I saw her there in one of the best performances I've ever seen (and I've seen a few...!)


    I came upon these weird matching mansions walking along the water in the 9th Ward.

    New Orleans Athletic Club
    222 N. Rampart St
    (504) 525-2375
    www.neworleansathleticclub.com

    This is the second oldest sports club in the USA, the first being on Central Park South in NYC (they share members if you need both...). This place is a hard working museum with a tile-walled basketball court, chandeliers in the treadmill room, parquet floors, a giant pool, marble showers with immense skylights above them, and steam and sauna rooms. The walls are covered with photos of boxers and athletic stars from the heydays of the early 20th century, and of course it has a full bar, and I don't mean protein smoothies; this is New Orleans, after all! Have a whiskey with your workout, and conjure Tennessee Williams. Why not?

    Buffa’s
    1001 Esplanade Ave
    (504) 949-0038
    www.buffaslounge.com

    This joint is open 24 hours, and to look at it, hhhmmmmmmm...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 2 a.m., when you just need a late great meal and some good company.

    Lilette
    3637 Magazine St
    (504) 895-1636
    www.liletterestaurant.com

    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.

    Dante’s kitchen
    736 Dante St
    (504) 861-3121
    www.danteskitchen.com

    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.

    Kermit Ruffins at Bullet’s Sports Bar
    2441 A.P. Tureaud St

    Famed from the HBO series Treme, Kermit is the real thing, Bullet’s is the real thing, the waitress who steps up to the mic with her tray to sing a verse and chorus is the real thing. This is essential New Orleans. Brilliant.

    Frenchman Street

    Frenchman Street is the trashy fun part of good music, off and away from Bourbon Street, just this side of Elysian Fields (check out my band's 1982 song 'West of the Fields'...yep!). Here it's mixed tourists with locals, but super genuine. This is where you can wander from a great bar with great bar band, to great cafe, to a great late night Middle Eastern restaurant, to a great bar with great bar band, in like 40 minutes, and not leave a two block radius. It's fantastic on Thursday nights.

    Meauxbar
    942 North Rampart St
    (504) 569-9979
    www.meauxbar.com

    Meauxbar, on N. Rampart St., 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.

    Saenger Theatre
    6 South Joachim Street
    (251) 208-5600
    www.mobilesaenger.com

    The Saenger is where my Nana and her errant brother would escape Hattiesburg to see jazz and big bands in the '20s when she was what she called a 'weekend flapper.' It was really when my band R.E.M. played there that she took pause, and said, "Honey, you have arrived." I was so proud. The Saenger reopened this Fall. If those walls could speak it would be a glorious din.

    Napoleon House
    500 Chartres St
    (504) 524-9752
    www.napoleonhouse.com

    The Napoleon House is the tourist trap that is well worth the hassle to visit. Smack in the heart of the French Quarter, it is the enclave that was built for Napoleon had he ever arrived into New Orleans. He didn’t. The walls, the paintings, the bar, and the bar staff however, breathe history and realness. They have vegan beans and rice for lunch, and it’s worth the wait in line for the sweet tea alone. If you’re going to have a Sazerac in New Orleans, have it here. Have two, and don’t call me.

    Hushpuppies at Schiro’s

    Schiro’s Café
    2483 Royal St.
    (504) 944-6666
    www.schiroscafe.com

    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.

    John Paul’s Bar
    940 Elysian Fields
    (504) 948-1888
    www.johnpaulsbar.com

    My friend Reuben Cox, the amazing photographer, texted me while I was working in New Orleans to say that we had to go to this bar to see the drag show. He had photographed these lovely ladies a few years earlier and they ALL had stories to tell. It was a fun and surreal night watching them introduce the younger girls. A great beer stop and goodtime place.

    Cochon
    930 Tchoupitoulas Street
    (504) 588-2123
    www.cochonrestaurant.com

    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.

    Michael Stipe is a dear friend and the lead singer of the band R.E.M.

    The goop collection

    Advertisement

Advertisement