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Katie Davis



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Archive for March 24th, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 @ 09:03 AM

017 This week we will be taking an adventure to a new city.  I know…finally, right?  I could likely post on just Chicago and Dallas for years, but this week we are traveling to another great culinary city…New Orleans! (or N’awlins for you purists out there ;)). 

New Orleans is a city that boasts history, culture, wonderful sites, and it has some of the best food in the country, both fancy and ‘hole-in-the-wall’ alike.  Lucky for us, New Orleans is a drivable distance (7 hours), which allows for a long weekend getaway; and after we had been talking about New Orleans for months and kept seeing restaurant after restaurant featured on various shows, we just knew we had to take a trip.  So, about a year ago we decided a trip for Adam’s 30th birthday would be perfect; and it was a great gift for him because N’awlins is one of his favorite cities!


As I said, we had been seeing tons of features on various spots throughout New Orleans, some well known…others maybe not so much, and we had a list of our must-try places.  The first restaurant I want to share with you is one of the most famous eateries in the city (if not country), and was actually the very first place we ate upon arriving…the world famous Acme Oyster House

Opened in 1910 and located in the legendary French Quarter, it has been successfully shucking as many as 3.8 million oysters a year for its guests.  As famous as this place is, of course it has been featured on just about every television program about food and travel, and we’ve seen a number of them.  Most recently, Acme was featured as #25 (of 101) on Travel Channel’s ‘Chowdown Countdown,’ and perhaps their most famous appearance was as Adam Richman’s challenge location on Travel Channel’s ‘Man vs. Food.’  Needless to say, with this kind of notoriety, we knew Acme was a place we really had to check out and see if it was all it was shucked 😉 up to be.  Plus, neither of us had ever eaten an oyster; and if Adam Richman of “Man vs. Food” can dominate and destroy their oyster eating challenge at 15 dozen in 30 minutes, we had to have at least 1…and yes, I said 15 DOZEN!  That’s 180 oysters in one sitting!  The following clip proves it…

Crazy right?…and to think that I had never even tried one. :)  They always looked too slimy and gooey to be any good.  But I said that in the name of being a “foodie,” I would have hat least have one; and since Adam had never tried them either, I was in good company :).  So, after rolling into New Orleans late our first night, quickly checking into our hotel and freshening up, we headed out to this famed hot-spot. 

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We knew we wanted Acme to be the spot to kickoff our trip and subsequent culinary adventure; and needless to say that based on the clip from “Man vs. Food” and other shows we’d seen, we had high high hopes and expectations for this place.  We figured we would be able to get in quick, decompress, and enjoy some great food after a long car ride; and being that it was well past 9 in the evening (almost 10), we were both pretty hungry, drained, and ready for a great experience.  However, I will be the first to admit that I should not just take what a television show portrays as being totally accurate.  First, let’s just say that when we arrived at Acme, I was shocked at how small it was!  Television has done wonders for making it seem like a larger than life, hopping establishment with plenty of space.  I was quickly disappointed when we entered to see it was very narrow and, to be honest, did not have much seating.  It was hopping in a sense, because it was completely full and there was a line out the door.  Then again, I feel this was simply due to the lack of space.  Still, we did not let that deter us, and being the good little patrons we are, we patiently waited our turn (which in truth was only like 5 minutes ;)).  Unfortunately, I was once again disappointed when, after waiting, we didn’t even get a seat in the front of the house by the “shucking bar,” but rather were seated in the very, very, VERY back…right by the back-alley door, almost in the walking path where they KEPT walking trash right by us; and because they kept opening the door to take out the trash, our seat was regularly breezy and kind of smelly.  I honestly felt like we had gotten shoved back there; and because of its location in the restaurant, this shouldn’t even be a place to seat people. 

Ok, so after 2 bad hair days (yes I posted that picture above that shows a bad choice of stylist to try and save a buck (I know…stupid me), where my hair pretty much was on the verge of falling out and criminally stripy ;)) a long car trip, and having high hopes for this place, Acme was not off to a good start with me.  I would like to say my feelings changed, but sadly, not many did.  After ordering a couple of beers and perusing the menu, we knew a few of the items were definitely jumping out to us.  We knew we had to order their famous oysters on the half shell.  Also, to get a different angle on oysters, we ordered the chargrilled oysters, as well, which are basically oysters grilled in the shell with butter and cheese…I mean come on, yum!; and even if I don’t like oysters, I do like butter and cheese…, so why not? :)  Finally, for a traditional seafood taste, we ordered the fried shrimp basket which came with fries and hush puppies (and Adam LOVES him some hush puppies!).  So although my mood did not start off good, I was hoping all these dishes would turn it around.


There is my man trying his first ever raw oyster! :)  We both agreed they were not our favorite thing ever, but Adam kinda liked them and said he’d have them again under certain circumstances.  Plus, Acme does have a wonderful homemade cocktail sauce that has horseradish in it, which is out of this world!  For me, the sauce mixed with lemon juice and ladled over the oysters made them just edible.  I am sure that if I were a raw oyster lover, I may have a different opinion and would likely think these were the freshest ever, but being that I am not one, I have trouble recommending these to anyone.  The cocktail sauce, on the other hand, was the bomb!  That stuff would be good on cardboard…haha :).  013The chargrilled oysters, in contrast, were pretty tasty.  Although still an oyster (and still slimy :)), I could swallow it much easier with all that butter and cheese. ;)  The butter and cheese infused a ton of flavor into the oyster itself, and absent was the fishy river watery flavor of the raw oysters.  Now Adam will say he LOVED these, as they meet his “cheesy-goodness” quota :), but I just thought they were ok.  I enjoyed them, but I am not sure I would ever order them again.  I just didn’t enjoy them enough. 

Finally, last but not least…the fried shrimp platter (which I unfortunately do not have a picture of; but let’s just say they were not even good enough to photograph).  Little did we know that it was not shrimp season, so we honestly never should have ordered them.  They were puny, heavily breaded, and not tasty…AT ALL!  There fries and hush puppies also left a little to be desired; and that being our final dish to arrive, I did not end the meal of a good note. 

Overall, I was disappointed with Acme.  I’m not sure if this was due to how much great anticipation I had from television, but it simply wasn’t good.  This restaurant is a prime reason for why I write ‘Pop Culture Cuisine.’  It’s a perfect example of a “hot spot” that gets rave reviews and has been featured on show after show is all hype and falls flat in person.  First off, I was not impressed with the ambiance or the service.  Aside from where we were seated, we rarely saw our waiter (I think he forgot about us in the back) and the hostesses were really short with us at the beginning.  Of course, they did have a signature dish…duh oysters.  As I said, I thought they were good, but they did not blow me out of the river water ;).  They are not a dish I crave to this day or really care to try again; and to be fair, not just at Acme. 

As for taste, besides the chargrilled oysters, the other items we got were just plain awful!  And while we are discussing things we didn’t like, we were shocked when we got our bill!  If you remember, we ordered a pitcher of beer, 2 appetizers, and one platter to share.  I would say that does not sound like a whole lot of food, but when our bill came it was almost $70.  This, if you ask me, is ridiculous for what we got.  I hate to say it…, but I really was not impressed with Acme; and we will not be revisiting there when we head back to New Orleans in May (which won’t be hard seeing that our New Orleans native friends that are joining us also think that Acme is not very good).  So although I’m happy to be able to uncover the truth and reveal those places that television has put up on a false pedestal, I’m sad that one of these places had to be Acme Oyster House, and I regret to give them a pitiful review of 1 1/2 Little Piggies 🙁

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