A few weeks I had the pleasure of heading down to the big easy – New Orleans – for a four-day getaway.
While the reason for my trip to NOLA was to attend a conference, I made sure to find time to to eat, drink, and explore the wonderful city.
We stayed at the Hilton Riverside, which of course in right on the river, and was convenient to the French Quarter. It was an extra busy weekend in city with the French Quarter Fest, that featured live music and local food.
We spent our afternoon wandering the French Quarter and stopped for frozen Irish coffee at Erin Rose, and shrimp poboys at the attached shop, Killer PoBoys. The frozen Irish coffees were one of my favorites from the trip, dangerously delicious!
Of course, we couldn’t waste any time and headed promptly to Café du Monde for beignets before the end of our first day.
That evening we went on a ghost, voodoo, and vampire walking tour that I would highly recommend. Tip: booking through Trip Advisor saved quite a bit of money. The tour was creepy, filled with interesting local history, and our whole group really enjoyed it.
Over the next few days we ate some truly wonderful NOLA food. We grabbed lunch at Cochon Butcher, were we feasted at Muffulettas, a traditional local sandwich. One early morning I grabbed a juice and scone from Pulp & Grind, a lovely little corner coffee shop.
On Friday evening, my colleagues and I spent several hours drinking and dining on the patio of Evangeline, where the crawfish and grits it THE DISH to order. If you can get a table on the patio, plan to stay a while.
Perhaps my favorite afternoon was spent dining at Shaya. Their lunch menu is much more affordable than the dinner menu, and everything sounds so delicious it is difficult to choose. My friends and I shared two of their delicious hummuses – asparagus and cauliflower. By the way what is the plural of hummus? Hummuses? Hummi? Google was of little help to answer this question.
Anyway, the fluffy, warm, hot-out-of-the-oven pita at Shaya was divine. We all ate way to much pita and hummus but still enjoyed our selection of sabich, chicken schnitzel with the crispiest fries, and shakshouka. Shaya is set in the garden district of New Orleans, so after an indulgent lunch
I spent the afternoon wandering through the neighborhood, stopping into local shops, grazing at the amazing historic homes, and checking one of the oldest cemeteries in New Orleans – Lafayette Cemetery #1. It was such a nice walk, and well worth spending the time just in the neighborhood.
The food scene in NOLA is rivaled only by the party scene, with night life as well as day time jaunts a plenty. For something more relaxed, I highly recommend happy hour at Willa Jean. Skip the frose (frozen rose) and go for the frozen Irish Coffee. The section of appetizers is incredible, we loved the cornbread, pimento cheese, and artichoke dip.
Sucré, known for their amazing sweets, absolutely go there for dessert! Also has a small restaurant upstairs in their French Quarter location, another great spot for happy hour with food and drink specials. I tried a French 75, a cocktail made with gin, champagne, and lemon juice, for the first time.
It wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans without a trip to Bourbon Street. To be honest, I am not into wild and crazy night life, nor am I into super touristy things, so Bourbon Street was not the place for me. It’s located right in the middle of the French Quarter and certainly worth taking a stroll down at night, just to take it all in, even if it isn’t you pace.
Somewhere along the way we heard that Frenchman street is a more popular night life spot with the locals. We had to check it out and it was packed!!! Bars were filled to the brim, many with life music, and the streets were packed too with jazz performers on every corner.
It you aren’t aware, open container alcohol is legal in NOLA, and it is everywhere. You can grab a few beers from the market and take them right out onto the street, people even drink openly at the airport gates – I found this strange since I’m not used to seeing people drink all everywhere but it certainly speaks to the culture of having a good time.
After a ton of fun in the big easy we ended up experiencing some travel woes on our trip home and arrived home the morning after we were supposed to. Despite the travel issues, it was a great trip!