I’ve said it before, I am a planner. If I’m embarking on a trip I like to know where I’m going, where I’m staying and what I’m doing. I mean I like the idea of spontaneity…. but most of the time not knowing what is going on gives me anxiety. So naturally MVK likes to surprise me as much as he can and enjoys keeping me on my toes 96 percent of the time. So for my 24th birthday he told me to book a week off work and pack my suitcase. Have I ever mentioned how much I love that guy?
Anyways let me tell you something, going through US customs telling the agent you don’t know where you’re going is pretty suspect. But after a bit of sweet talking MVK had explained the situation and we were off to who knows where via Denver. Well eventually I learned that our mystery destination was New Orleans, Louisiana or NOLA as it’s also affectionally known and I couldn’t have been more excited!
New Orleans is one of the few places I’ve visited in America that is brimming with culture and oozes personality. No offence America but I don’t really think of you and think culture…. but NOLA totally proved me wrong. Going into the city basically blind was a refreshing experience. I had no expectations, and was so blown away by everything! But mostly by the FOOD! And the drinks if I’m being honest. We ate our way through the city, a few times over! So without further adieu this is my foodie tour of New Orleans.
The street that never sleeps. Honestly this place is wild. I think we went for the first time in the middle of the week and it was packed! People hanging out of balconies, booze, boobs and beads everywhere!! You can pop in to any bar and grab a drink in a to-go cup and continue strolling the street soaking in all of that craziness. Do yourself a favour and stop by Pat O’Brien’s and grab a hurricane. I mean how can you go wrong with a drink with four ounces of rum in it? So now that you’ve seen the infamous Bourbon Street it’s time to keep moving!
Bourbon is a blast but it’s largely full of tourists. We wanted to experience a more authentic side of NOLA nightlife so we went exploring and we stumbled upon Frenchmen Street. Still brimming with all the personality of Bourbon Street but without all the drunk obnoxious tourists. Win. We decided to grab a bite to eat and by chance we picked The Marigny Brasserie. AMAZING. Seafood seemed to be a pretty big deal in New Orleans and anyone who knows me knows that seafood is high on my list of food I will not eat (right under ketchup) but somehow, under some kind of creole spell I was talked into getting oysters. Oyyyy. I know. Okay well they were oysters, but they were also cooked. Baked or broiled (I honestly can’t remember) in their half shell, with some kind of delicious spice medley and cheese. I’m pretty sure they were covered in cheese. Okay sometimes I still dream about those oysters, that’s how good they were. Once we were finished we headed over to The Spotted Cat Club for beers and live jazz music. So good.
Café au lait & Beignets
The one thing I did know when I went to New Orleans was that Café du Monde was not to be missed. Usually they say the longer the line the bigger the tourist trap but this is definitely the exception. This place is popular by tourists and locals alike. The coffee is served black or au lait, which is half coffee and half hot milk. Get the au lait, trust me. You also have to get the beignets. I insist. Again coming from a girl who doesn’t really like doughnuts, these little fried pillowy squares of heaven are blanketed in a perfect layer of powdered sugar. Served in threes, you won’t want to share so get your own. Another amazing spot for café au laits and beignets is the Morning Call Coffee stand. We went to the location in the city park on a drizzly morning. We slowly sipped and furiously ate while enjoying our view of the park. What I wouldn’t give for a beignet right now!!
This historic district is known as the art district. Home of amazing galleries and world-class museums and amazing… you guessed it, delicious restaurants! We came to this neighbourhood in search of the Crescent City Farmer’s Market but we were so enthralled we spent almost the entire day! We meandered through the streets, took in the WW11 museum and rubbed elbows with celebrities. Well one celebrity, but whatever I’ll take it. We lunched at a restaurant called Pêche Seafood Grille. A beautiful restaurant with a modern approach to old world cooking methods. As we were enjoying out lunches Emma Roberts who was in town filming American Horror Story walked in and sat 3 tables away from us!! I may have needed out a little, I mean Aquamarine! Anyone…?
A trip to NOLA would not be complete with a poor boy or po boy as they are more often known. It’s basically a submarine sandwich on crack. I don’t know where the best place to go for po boys is, but I do know that we went to Parkway Bakery and Tavern and it was ridiculous. This restaurant is off the beaten path located on Hagan Avenue. We walked and walked and walked to find it and it was so worth it. There was a bit of a wait as this place was packed at lunch time mid-week so if that gives you any indication of how good it is…. I had the roast beef po boy and a cup of turkey and alligator gumbo. My lord. I have never eaten so good on a trip before. It was the best. So yeah definitely eat a po boy if you find yourself in New Orleans. Better yet go to Parkway Bakery.
I need to stop myself or I would walk you through my holiday bite by bite. We packed so much into that week yet it never felt rushed. We took in a Saints game and tailgated our butts off (the Saints won)! We visited a plantation and drank some of the most amazing mint juleps ever. And by some I mean a lot. We ate at a local pizza joint called Theo’s. We trolled the grocery store and asked a local what we should buy, spoiler alert we came home with nearly ten pounds of creole seasoning. We walked all over the city, and when we couldn’t walk anymore we took the trolly. We ate our faces off and then went home to our traditional shot gun style house.
New Orleans completely blew me away. The flavour of the city is intoxicating and draws you in. If you have the chance to head down to Louisiana you need to go. Eat as much as you can and drink as much as you can and soak up every second of it. It is high on my list of places I will return to one day!
Until next time NOLA…..