Thank you to everyone who commented and gave recommendations for places to eat in New Orleans. This trip was so busy with conference activities and workshop preparation that I ended up not eating anywhere nearly as well as I'd hoped. I didn't even make it to Cafe Du Monde! Still, there were a few wins.
Surprisingly, the best meals I had were in a classic spot in the city and a dive bar uptown, which sort of works for my personality. We wandered the Quarter on Saturday morning, when I absolutely needed a good breakfast before a day where I had a lot of things to do. It so happened that Brennan's could seat us immediately, so we sat.
Sometimes I'm wary of touristy spots, even those that people seem to like a lot. But if I had any doubts, they were immediately assuaged by the very nice waiter and a dish called Eggs Hussarde.
I'm a fan of Eggs Benedict anyway, but this version, with the addition of a Marchand de Vin sauce, took it to a new, delicious level, and made me wish it were acceptable to lick one's plate in polite company.
So good. SO GOOD.
Then the waiter told us that he made the best Bananas Foster in the place. Sure, I said. Bring it.
And he did.
These were, again, plate-lickingly good.
The breakfast here set a wonderful tone for the rest of the day, and in spite of my usual aversion to carb-heavy morning meals because they can put me to sleep, magically I felt fine. And I would go back for all of it.
On the last day, we tried to eat (as my commenters recommended) at Cafe Amelie and Stanley, both near Jackson Square, but the wait was too long for what we had to do later (which was to, ahem, watch the Washington Capitals play the New York Rangers. I'm a little obsessed with hockey.) Stanley's Service Bar does a delicious takeaway Bloody Mary, though, so that was nice.
We headed uptown on the trolley to a joint called Cooter Brown's, a place my dad told me would surely be showing the game. It's a bar just north of Tulane University that offers a large beer selection and the best fried oyster po' boy I've ever had.
Yes, Tony Chechere's and Louisiana hot sauce. I'm not afraid. I'd had raw bar oysters at Bourbon House the night before, but the oysters here come highly recommended. This sandwich and a few bottles of Abita Purple Haze made this a lovely last day in the Big Easy.
I can't wait to go back -- hopefully this time with a lot more down time, aka time to eat wherever and whenever I want. It really is one of the best places in the world to do just that.