Monday, February 28, 2011

Buffa's - Best Late Night Food in Town

Photo Taken From Buffa's Facebook

I never thought bar food could actually wow me. Buffa's Bar was one of the two bars I went to this weekend that absolutely killed it in the kitchen. Honestly, even without the food I'd probably still want to hang at this spot. The darkly-lit, single small room (side note: there is a non smoking dining area in the back) with a bar, jukebox and a couple tables is my kind of scene.

I showed up with a kid from the neighborhood, and it became clear to me that almost everyone in the bar was also from the neighborhood. The bartenders and patrons were swapping stories about old friends ("Isn't he in jail in Thailand?" etc) and chatting about the weather as they drank. By the time I finished my meal I was sold. You will be hard pressed to find me at any other dive bar when I make it downtown.

The Good
-Where to start? The fries are a gift from God. Crunchy on the outside, melt in your mouth hot on the inside.
-I had one of the best black bean burgers I've ever eaten. That's right fellow vegetarians, a black bean burger in New Orleans. So. Good.
-Aside from Crystal at every table, there were three shelves of hot sauces in the back room.
-Great jukebox selection as well as good people picking the music.

The Not-so-Good
I'm hard pressed to think of anything. I mean, the bathrooms were regular bar bathrooms (welcome to New  Orleans) and the bar stools didn't have cushions.

Good to Know
-As of recently, Buffa's has started taking credit cards. So bust em out and get drunk!
-They do have feta in their selection of sandwich cheese on their menu. I got some on my fries.
Buffa's Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Short List: Monday February 28th

Papa Grows Funk @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

John Lisi and Delta Funk @ Tropical Isle Bourbon - 9pm

As always, if I'm missing out on some great show here, please let me know!

or check out a full calendar at WWOZ

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mardi Gras!

Some old photos of Gras floats taken by Bob Compton:

The Short List: Saturday February 26th

Krewe of Ponchartrain - Uptown - 2pm

Krewe of Sparta - Uptown - 6pm

Krewe of Pygmalion - Uptown - 6:45pm

Washboard Chaz Blues Trio @ Blue Nile - 7pm

Johnny Sketch @ Blue Nile - 10pm

Soul Rebels @ The Leaf - 11pm

Anders Osborne @ Tipitinas - 10pm

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Short List: Friday February 25th

Krewe of Oshun Parade - Uptown - 6:30pm

Krewe of Cork Parade - French Quarter - 3pm

Honey Island Swamp Band @ dba - 10pm

Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias @ Donna's on Rampart - 10pm

MC Hammer @ Harrahs Casino Theater - 10pm
(I shit you not)

Rotary Downs @ The Saint - 11pm 

Leo Nocentelli, Art Neville, Bill Dickens, CR Gruver, & Jamal Batiste + more @ Tipitinas - 10pm

The Mardi Gras Invasion: Tips From the Pros

Mardi Gras is a time for great parties, fun parades, live music and.. having ten people passed out on your floor. As I considered the dangers of having a big house with old toilets, I decided to head out and ask some of the more seasoned locals I know to impart some Gras wisdom:

1. Do one load of towels every day. 

2. Keep water bottles, band aids and Tylenol in stock.

3. Make sure everyone has the number for United Cab: (504)-522-9771
(I usually give guests my lawyer's number too)

4. Clean out your fridge to make room for beer.

5. Make sure everyone knows that they are on their own. You are not a tour guide. 

6. Stock up on toilet paper and to-go cups.

7. Give the guests you trust a key.

8. Share the drugs or hide them.

 9. Put out lots of trash cans.


10.Just don't let anyone stay at your house.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photo From the Vault: Robert Mercurio

Photo taken by Bob Compton

Here's a great shot of Galactic's Robert Mercurio backstage at Tipitinas checking out the sunrise on Mardi Gras morning.

The Short List: Wednesday February 23rd

Khris Royal & Dark Matter @ Blue Nile - 9pm

The Tin Men @ dba - 7pm

Walter 'Wolfman' Washington @ dba - 9pm

Tommy Malone & Blvd. Jr. @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Short List: Tuesday February 22nd

John Lisi & Delta Funk @ Cafe Negril 

Rebirth @ the leaf - 11pm

Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Ensemble @ Snug Harbor - 8pm

The People Say Project @ The Louisiana Humanities Center - 5pm

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tipitina's Uptown

 Photo taken from Wikipedia

Tipitina's one of those vital organs in the body of New Orleans. The venue hosts both local and international acts and caters to a wide variety of musical genres, allowing the music lover in everyone to get in on the action. Most larger venues tend to suck for one reason or another - the New Orleans Arena has stadium seating (which makes sense for Hornets games, but is less fun for concerts), places like the Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues smell like corporate bullshit, and places like Rock n' Bowl lack the vibe that a packed, sweaty crowd and good music provide. Tipitina's has a capacity of 1,000 but manages to keep the small intimate venue feeling alive.

The Good
-Three separate bars, two downstairs, one up, all with seasoned bartenders
-Balcony viewing upstairs, most of which is good
-Bathrooms downstairs/upstairs
-Generally great line up of shows - no matter what you like
-One of the nicest door guys in the city
-Free Friday shows during the summer months!

The Not-So-Good
-There's no possible way to adequately staff the bars, so you'll have a decent wait for drinks at a packed show (it's not all bad, I've made lot's of shot buddies in line at the bar)
-Overpriced drinks by comparison to the rest of the city
-When the venue is at capacity, that nice crowded vibe feels more like hanging with drunken sardines

Good to Know
-If you want to go to a show for an out of town or famous band, buy your tickets early. This place does sell out pretty regularly
-Pregame at one of the bars on Magazine, it's only about 5 blocks away from the venue and the drinks will be half as expensive
-Ladies: the upstairs bathroom is way cleaner than the downstairs
-Non Smoking
-Standing Room only (more room to dance!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Short List: Sunday February 20th, Monday February 21st

Sunday February 20th
Khris Royal Trio @ Antoines - 11am

Kid Merv @ The Candlelight Lounge - 7pm

Joe Krown Trio featuring Russell Batiste & Walter “Wolfman” Washington @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Solutions Not Shootings Benefit featuring Amanda Shaw + Glenn David Andrews + Kermit Ruffins + Irving Mayfield + more @ Mid City Lanes Rock n' Bowl - 8pm

Monday February 21st
John Cleary @ Chickie Wah Wah - 8pm

Papa Grows Funk @ Maple Leaf - 11pm

Thursday, February 17, 2011

36 Hours of Awesome (a weekend in New Orleans)

I normally don't write about my personal experiences on here, but this past weekend needs to be documented. It was just that good.

I started off Saturday evening with a few drinks and a few friends. My boss and I had to head up to the Leaf so he could shoot Tommy Malone's new band. The crowd was light, the band was competing with Big Sam at Tips and Ivan Neville and Khris Royal at the Blue Nile - both of which already have the massive following that a new band just can't take on. The crowd was filled with good people though, so it really didn't matter. You could tell during the first song that the band was brand new, but they really got grooving after about ten minutes. Tommy has such a great voice and the rest of the band was doing just fine. Bob shot the the first set and we left to head down to Tips so he could get some shots of Big Sam.

The Tips scene was kind of abnormal, but good. Backstage was filled with a bunch of kids and the upstairs was empty. Big Sam put on a great show, as always. That man was born with a mic in his hand and learned to dance before he could walk. It's rare to find someone with such killer stage presence. I was surprised by and completely in love with Eric Vogel's 7 minute bass solo. The rest of the band left the stage (water, cigarettes) and Eric made my night. He moved through musical genres playing up and down the neck of his bass and ended with a samba jive that pulled Sam back on stage to dance. It was great.

 Big Sam at Tips (Photo taken by Bob Compton )

After the show I wandered over to Snake n' Jakes for a few drinks with some close friends. We talked until we were all close to passing out, took one more shot, then left for home. On my way back with a friend of mine, I had the bright idea of stopping in at the Mayfair. When we got there the bartender, Jill, was closing up but let us hang while she finished. Jill and I decided to move on to Brothers III, yet another late night dive, to have a few more drinks.

Around 6am I was swaying. "Jill," I said, "it's bedtime for Anna."
She looked up from the poker machine, "I'm just going to hang here till daylight then go get some breakfast."
"Alright hun, well if you're going in less than an hour and a half, don't call me. If you're going in more than an hour and a half, give me a call." (I needed at least some sleep)

Around 7:30 I was awake and hungry. I called Jill. "Breakfast?"
"Yeah! But there's some marathon going on. I can't cross the street."

I figured that either Jill was delirious or I was hearing things, so I ignored that and got dressed. Tie dye pants seemed appropriate for the hour, so I pulled them on. I walk out to St. Charles and lo and behold, there's an effing marathon going on. Springsteen's "Born to Run" was playing from a DJ booth next to Superior Grill and the runners were dressed in costumes varying from a pride of lionesses to a man in a penis hat. The marathon went down St. Charles till Louisiana then wound back up Prytania.

 Runners on St. Charles

When I got to Coulis I found Jill sitting at a table enjoying a big cup of Kettle One on the rocks and an, as she put it, appetizer of bacon. The huge windows at Coulis looked out on the marathon runners so we had a great view of them as we clogged our arteries and drank vodka.

When we left the restaurant Jill asked me if I would spot her as she tried out her new stilts. Jill will be dressing up as a butterfly for the Box of Wine Mardi Gras Parade and had yet to see if she could actually walk in stilts. At first I thought this was a bad idea, but she tempted me with Absinthe and Abita and off we went.

Imagine this: two drunk (etc) girls, one on stilts, one in tie dye pants, walking down the St. Charles neutral ground with beers in hand. To the left and right there are marathon runners dressed up in crazy costumes and at each intersection there are bored cops. Born to Run is playing (again).

Jill and the Cops. The one to the far right told Jill that he had always liked bigger women.

Jill and I made it to Louisiana and then headed towards Cafe Prytania. Cafe Prytania has a fantastic happy hour special: from 11am-8pm they serve beer for $2 and liquor for $3 (per shot). It was 10:45am. Colby, the bartender, let us in early and served us up some Abitas.We took this chance to take lots of pictures and try out the stilts in various, every day situations:


Jill's first bathroom experience on stilts

We sat there till about 2:30pm hanging with regulars and taking shots.  Bob, my boss, picked me up from the bar and we went to the Not So Super Hero Ball planning committee barbeque. I was doing alright but was definitely too shot to socialize so I sat on the couch reading Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels and eating mac n' cheese.

Once evening hit we rolled back towards my hood. Bob dropped me off at the Mayfair where I stopped in to have a beer and reminisce with Jill before heading home. I was dead to the world by 8:30.

I love New Orleans.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Grocery - a sandwich for the hangover in everyone

So this morning afternoon, after Rebirth at the leaf and Snake N' Jakes, I was hungover. I have passed by the Grocery a million times, but decided to walk on down there and see what the food was like. I walked out an hour later with a cured hangover and a beer in my hand.

The Good
-Great menu selection: classic po'boys, pressed sandwiches, and clubs. I got the California Avocado (tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, pesto, cream cheese) and it was fantastic.
-Large sandwich size: My friend ordered a small roast beef po'boy and it was at least 6-7 inches across and loaded with goodness

The Not So Good
-Honestly, I'm having a tough time here. I mean I guess it looks more like a deli than a restaurant.. but I don't really have a problem with that. Do you?

Good to Know
-They had a huge lunch rush when we showed around 1:30. By 2:30 when we were leaving the place was almost empty. If you don't want to wait 10 minutes for your order to come up, go early/late.

The Grocery on Urbanspoon

The Short List: Wednesday Feb 16th, Thurs Feb 17th


Khris Royal @ Blue Nile - 10pm

Tin Men @ dba - 7pm

Walter "Wolfman" Washington @ dba - 9pm


Bonerama @ Blue Nile - 10pm

John Cleary  @ dba - 7pm

Soul Rebels @ Le Bon Temps - 11pm

The Trio with Johnny Vidacovich and George Porter Jr @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Alex McMurray @ The Saturn Bar - 9pm

Monday, February 14, 2011

Big Sam's Funky Nation - Tipitina's 2/12

Photos taken by Bob Compton

The Short List - Monday February 14th

The 6t'9 Social Aid & Pleasure Club's Valentine Ball with the Davis Rogan Band @ The Backyard Ballroom - 9pm
(fyi - there will be a kissing booth)

John Cleary @ Chickie Wah Wah - 8pm

Glen David Andrews and Amanda Shaw @ dba - 9pm

Papa Grows Funk @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Charmaine Neville  @ Snug Harbor - 8pm

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Short List: Friday February 11th and Saturday February 12th

Just gonna get this out there now - so you have time to plan your weekend and so I don't get drunk and forget to post it up:


John Lisi and Delta Funk @ 12 Bar - 9pm

M@ People's Collective @ Howlin Wolf - 9pm

George McConnell @ Maple Leaf - 11pm

Washboard Chaz @ The Spotted Cat - 6pm

George Porter Jr. and the Runnin' Pardners @ Tipitina's - 10pm


Kermit Khris Royal @ The Blue Nile - 11pm

John Boutte @ dba - 8pm

Little Freddie King @ dba - 10pm

Tommy Malone & Blvd. Jr. featuring Johnny Allen, David Torkanowsky, Shane Terio, & Carlo Nuccio @ The Leaf - 11pm

Mia Borders @ The Rusty Nail - 10pm

Big Sam's Funky Nation + Earphunk @ Tipitinas - 5:30pm  10pm

Dirty Dozen @ dba 2/4/11

Photos taken by Bob Compton

The Short List: Thursday February 10th

Washboard Chaz @ Apple Barrel - 10:30pm

Gravity A @ Blue Nile Balcony Room - 11pm

John Cleary @ dba - 7pm

Ernie Vincent and the Topnotes @ dba - 10pm

Soul Rebels @ Le Bon Temps - 11pm

The Trio with Johnny Vidacovich & George Porter Jr. @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Alex McMurray @ The Saturn Bar - 9pm

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Surrey's Cafe - Lower Garden District

New Orleans has this random sect of breakfast places that all serve gourmet-ish, super fresh, relatively original eggy concoctions. I don't know if Surrey's Cafe started the trend, but as far as I've seen, they're leading the pack.

The Good:
-The Banana's Foster French Toast is fantastic. I'm not usually one for sweet breakfast dishes (there's something sickly tasting about sweet stuff in the morning), but a few bites of this dish definitely made me happy. If you're a pancakes/waffles kind of person - go with this.
-The sandwich menu looked delicious. I was feeling breakfast when I went, but the spread looked inventive and definitely worth trying.
-Yummy biscuits. Very homemade looking, pretty damned tasty.

The Not-as-Good:
-The Huevos Rancheros dish that I ordered wasn't bad, just ordinary. The black beans etc were all fine, but they skimped on the avocado. It's basically the same Huevos Rancheros you can get anywhere.
-The coffee was stale. I'm a coffee person. I like good coffee. With everything else in Surrey's being homemade and delicious, I was surprised that their coffee failed so hard.
-The Carrot Juice was chunky. I showed up a half hour before closing, so I don't know if everyone was just tired of cooking at that point (might explain the coffee too) or if that's just their style. I didn't enjoy it too much.

Good to Know:
-There's usually a hefty wait in the mornings. When they say 45 minutes, they mean 45 minutes. I tried calling ahead once and it didn't work. Don't go if it's cold, raining or before noon on a weekend.
-They're only open till 3pm so factor that in to your drinking/sleeping habits too.
Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 7, 2011

From the Vault: Anders Osborne

Check out this sweet shot of Anders Osborne at Tipitinas from January 2010:
 Photo taken by Bob Compton

The Short List: Monday February 7th & Tuesday February 7th


Papa Grows Funk @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Charmaine Neville @ Snug Harbor - 8pm


John Lisi & Delta Funk @ Cafe Negril - 9pm

Rebirth @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

Thelonius Monk Institute Ensemble @ Snug Harbor - 8pm & 10pm

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Short List: Sat Feb 5th

Soul Rebels @ Blue Nile - 11pm

John Boutte @ dba - 8pm

Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ dba - 10pm

Groovesect @ Donna's on Rampart - 10pm

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cafe Nino - finally! good pizza

New Orleans lacks in four major areas of delicious food: Mexican food, Deli (po boys are not deli food), Chinese food and Italian pizza parlors. As far as Italian goes, the options are limited to shoddy replicas of New York-style pies, "hipster" pizza(which isn't always bad), healthy cardboard crust pizza, and bs American chain restaurant garbage.

Luckily, one place stands above all of that disappointment. Cafe Nino rivals most of my favorite pizza places up north and puts the rest to shame. The marinara makes the parlor, and Nino's has it covered. Nino, an old Italian dude who runs the place and can be found sitting at the counter most afternoons, listening to Louis Prima and watching soccer on TV.

The building looks like an old, converted Subway sandwich shop. You can grab a slice of pizza, order one of the daily entrees and a side of pasta, or order something off of the menu to be made for you. I usually get a cheese calzone, which is always amazing.

Their selection of wine is as follows: "red" or "white." But for 4.50 you get a 20oz styrofoam cup full - which is a great compliment to the food (and a trip to drink with a lid and straw). (If Nino is working, chat with him. Sometimes he'll give you a little free wine (read: about a normal glass size) "for the digestion.")

What else can I say? Go there. You won't be disappointed.
Cafe Nino on Urbanspoon

The Short List: Fri Feb 4th

Mia Borders @ 12 Bar - 10pm

Kermit Ruffins @ The Blue Nile - 11pm

Good Enough for Good Times @ The Maple Leaf -11pm

The Blue Party @ Republic - 10pm

Ellis Marsalis Quartet @ Snug Harbor - 8pm

Rebirth @ Tipitina's - 10pm

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mardi Gras Indians on my mind

I've been doing a lot of reading about the Indians lately - so I thought I'd share some of the cool stuff I've found.

First a link to a great interview with Bo Dollis from Blues Access Magazine (which has since been cancelled):

Wild Indians Down in New Orleans: An Interview with Big Chief Bo Dollis of the Wild Magnolias

And here's one of my favorite Bob Compton shots of one of the Red Hawk Hunters
(no one ever notices my favorite part: whitey hanging from a tree in the bead work)


The Short List: Weds Feb 2nd

Khris Royal and Dark Matter @ The Blue Nile - 10pm

The Tin Men @ dba - 7pm

Walter "Wolfman" Washington @ dba - 10pm

I'll be at Tin Men if anyone gets bored...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Columns Hotel/Bar

The Columns is a gorgeous old hotel located on St. Charles and General Taylor. The ample outdoor patio seating and the bar on the first floor provide you with the perfect setting to pretend you've traveled back a hundred years in time. If you're looking to add a little genteel New Orleans culture to your life, this is the place to go.

The Good:
-There are tons of comfortable nooks in the bar area to hide in.
-The bartenders can make your drink, whatever it is and they have pretty decent happy hour prices.
-The appetizer-style menu is as good as any other upscale bar.
-Ladies, don't bother with the bathroom in the bar area, go to the one to the left behind the hotel desk - two clean stalls+a sitting room.

The Not-As Good:
-They're a little overpriced for upper shelf liquor.
-The bar tends to get crowded with frat graduates on gamedays and later on weekend nights.
-The cocktail waitresses are awesome girls, but have a hard time keeping up when the bar gets busy.

Good to Know:
-As of 2011, the bar area is officially non-smoking (which is either good or bad depending on who you are).
-Dress up or dress down - anything from a t shirt to a cocktail dress is considered acceptable (although cocktail dresses are a lot more fun).

The Short List: Tues Feb 1st

John Mooney @ Chickie Wah Wah - 8pm

Rebirth @ The Maple Leaf - 11pm

A full calendar can be found at