New Orleans Dining 05: Cafe Maspero

Cafe Maspero on Decatur ST in New Orleans
On Thursday, my trade show let out early and I had a chance to wander the French Quarter during the day. Before the sun goes down, it's a vibrant exciting area. After dark, Bourbon ST and maybe Decatur ST are really the only places that seem "safe". The rest of the area is dark, all the stores are shuttered, and there is a thick desolation on the streets.

After wandering the neighborhood during the day, I stumbled across Cafe Maspero on Decatur. Like many inexpensive places in the Quarter, it's a bar with a restaurant. If you go, bring cash. Because they don't take American Express. Or Visa. Or MasterCard. Or Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Fortunately, a good meal doesn't require much cash. For my late lunch, I ordered Red Beans & Rice and a Muffaletta.

Red Beans & Rice is a traditional New Orleans dish. Despite the name, of course, it is not a vegetarian dish, and includes sausage or other meat. It was good, but not outstanding. If I go back here, I will probably skip this dish.

I also had a Muffaletta. Fortunately I didn't read the description ahead of time. All I remembered was that a Muffaletta was a popular sandwich in Louisiana, and that I should have one if ever I go.

The Muffaletta is a giant sandwich. The bread is round, instead of submarine style. The heart of it is the olive salad in the bread. I generally don't like olives. Sure, I appreciate a good olive oil, but I still pick them off my frozen pizza.

In addition to the olive salad, it was loaded with meat, including pastrami. In some respects, it reminded me of the giant pastrami sandwich I had at Roxy's Deli in New York.

I planned to have a decent lunch and later go out for a light dinner. But this lunch kept me full until I got to the airport the next morning.

I enjoyed the decent sized Red Beans and Rice and the giant Muffaletta sandwich. I was there in late afternoon so there was plenty of space. No one looked at me strangely when I pulled out the notebooks computer on the ancient, deeply gouged wooden tables. Service was good as well.

Over all, the food was good, but not great. But it was cheap and plentiful. So it may be worth a slot on the latter part of your New Orleans itinerary.

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