An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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Lunch at Coop’s Place

Lunch at Coop’s Place

By on Apr 28, 2009, 4:02 pm in Food and Drink, Travel | 2 comments

I had lunch at Coop's Place this afternoon- the dinner I brought with me on the plane froze overnight in the little hotel fridge. Coop's is a dive on Decatur Street in the Quarter, oriented mostly to tourists, no doubt, but the food is good and reasonably priced. I was first introduced to it on Mardi Gras day, 2006, when Eric took us there for lunch.


There's a cat sleeping soundly in her bed on the wide window sill. The couple who sat next to the window reached out to pet the cat. "Don't wake her 'til after lunch" the waitress called out, "otherwise she'll be dancin' on all the tables".


I was at Coop's last at the end of January 2007- the last time I was in New Orleans. It, and the Quarter, were virtually empty then, but today Coop's is full, and I can see the Quarter beginning to fill. Oops- the kitty has awakened. She's scratching herself and preening, stretching her body with front paws hanging from a pane, and peering out at the passersby outside her window. It is a wonder to me how she slept through all the commotion in here.


"What's the Redfish Belle River", I ask the waitress. It's on the blackboard, but not the menu.


"I don't know. What's the Redfish Belle River", she yells out to the manager/bartender.

"Cripsy fried filet topped with crawfish and – do you know what etouffé is ?" -I assure him I do – and served over rice".

 

Sounds good to me.

 

The service is pretty slow here today, not like the Mardi Gras day, when the place was packed to the gills. The waiter had plates stacked all the way up his arm and was snaking his way with a sinuous grace through the throngs waiting to jump on any table that might be opening up. You can read my description of our lunch there, and the waiter's great handling of  the Mardi Gras crowd at Coop's Place at Blogstream Pain Perdu.

 

The kitty's name is Stella- an appropriate  New Orleans name. She flounced around some of the banquettes, and got a belly rub from a gentleman at the table next to mine before going back to sleep.

 

The redfish was fabulous (although a wreck on my blouse) smothered with mushrooms, crawfish tails and a spicy sauce. And I'd forgotten how good the "Creole green beans" are- spicy with big chunks of tomatoes.

 

"What are you eating?" asks the guy at the next table, "it looks good".

 

"It is good, and way more than I can eat. Where can you go and spend less than $20  on a great meal, and have enough leftover to take for dinner? " I asked as I packed the rest to go.

 

"That's true."

 

"I always tell people about this place. I told someone in the airport yesterday. It's good to know that natives eat here, too" I said. I had been listening in on their conversation.

 

"You're not a native"?

 

"No, an expatriate. One of the many on that LA to L.A. path".

 

We chatted a bit about the places that everyone feels compelled to dine when in New Orleans, and their relative value, as opposed to an inexpensive find like Coop's.

 

"I recommend Jacques-Imo's too", he said. "Jack's really good."

 

Just about then his Smoked Duck Quesadilla arrived. "Wow- that looks good, too" I said.

 

"Yeah, and it's an appetizer, but enough for lunch."

 

I may just have to stop back tomorrow to try that, and I'll take a picture of Stella while I'm there.


Coop's Place on Foodio54

    2 Comments

  1. I lived upstairs from Coops Place for 8 years, and while it is slowly becoming more tourist friendly, I can assure you that it is a local dive through and through. There was a time when Lower Decatur Street (The Lower D) was strictly local, but that time (sometimes sadly) has passed. Coops has been a proud local establishment for almost 25 years – long may it’s food and Fay’s Bloody Mary’s reign!

    jules

    June 3, 2009

  2. Amen to that!

    Actually,it was my brother (who’s a local-lives in the Marigny) who introduced me to Coop’s. It used to be
    “common wisdom” amongst some natives that no “real” New Orleanians hung out in the Quarter. I think post- Katrina, that has been changing somewhat, thankfully.
    I love hanging out there when I visit.

    Gisele Perez

    June 3, 2009

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