New Orleans is for lovers : a travel guide

by Lesley on April 29, 2013 · 7 comments

in travel

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Last week Jonathan and I spent three nights in New Orleans. It wasn’t originally planned as a “babymoon” although I guess since I was 28 weeks pregnant it technically became our last getaway before baby. I think most people plan babymoons to relax but this was certainly not a kick-your-feet-up trip.

I’m not sure how and why I added New Orleans to my list of must-see places. In college my girlfriends and I dreamed of taking a road trip to NOLA over spring break, which seems funny now. We would have been horrified by Bourbon Street and likely spent most of our time at the many sno-ball huts around town.

If you’ve never been to New Orleans before, you need to add it to your “someday” list. NOLA is a perfect city for people who love history, food and music….with an emphasis on food. Before we left, I read Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table so that I could learn everything about the local cuisine and best restaurants. We centered a lot of our trip on visiting some of the top dining establishments and dishes—none of which disappointed.

In the interest of not boring you, here are my trip highlights:

 

  • Riding the streetcar everywhere. On Thursday night we took it back to our hotel around midnight. The weather was warm and humid, with a very slight breeze. Through the car’s open windows we could hear the sweet and slow sounds of street music dancing to the rhythm of homes’ flickering gas lamps.
  • Walking Royal Street’s galleries at night, and stumbling upon the Hokum High Rollers.
  • Drinking virgin Hurricanes and mojitos.
  • Listening to the rain and thunder from our little B&B loft.
  • Making new friends with all the other B&B guests.
  • Trying my first beignets, po boy sandwiches, Sno-balls, and grilled oysters.
  • Dancing at The Maison to a really awesome 60s cover band.
  • Coming home tired but not too tired, and thankful my pregnant body gave me no trouble all weekend. I might look like I’ve swallowed a basketball but I don’t feel like it. *YET*

If you are planning a trip to New Orleans anytime soon, here are my recommendations:

Chimes Bed & Breakfast is the only place you should consider staying. It’s darling and homey and modern all at the same time, with simple but delicious breakfasts and kind hosts.

Casamento’s for the best grilled oysters and no nonsense service. This place is over 90 years old so it knows what it’s doing. We went here for “appetizers” and then took the St. Charles Streetcar to Acme Oyster House for a full dinner.

Acme Oyster House is a really popular joint near Bourbon Street where we had more oysters (of course) and a sample platter of all Louisiana’s best foods. (HUSH PUPPIES HOW HAVE I WAITED UNTIL 31 TO TRY YOU?!!)

Cafe du Monde for doughnuts 24 hours a day. We went at 10am and 1am. Both times were phenomenal. You should definitely order a few boxes of their doughnut mix off the website. Or come visit us because we came home with mix! Note: I do not normally like or eat American doughnuts. These are different. I promise.

Central Grocery to try the famous Muffeletta sandwich. It was raining when we went so we ate inside and watched Boston marathon suspect coverage on TV, but this sandwich would normally be be a perfect thing to grab for a picnic on the Mississippi River.

Commander’s Palace for a legendary dining experience that includes turtle soup and bread pudding. I might have ordered a half glass of wine. It might have been amazing.

Domalisis’s Po-Boy and Bar for, well, po-boys of course. This is a hole-in-the-wall, been-there-forever, line-out-the-door kind of place. Get the oyster option and coke in a bottle. Overheard: “This is mo’ betta’ than fast food!” After you eat one you need to walk over to Hansen’s.

Hansen’s Sno-blitz, recommended in Gumbo Tales, is a New Orleans institution. If you think you know what shaved ice is supposed to taste like, go here and be challenged. The softest and tastiest snoball you’ll ever eat.

Cochon was a dining experience completely opposite from Commander’s Palace. This place is trendy and the focus is pig rather than seafood. The best surprise at this place was their eggplant stuffing, and of course, a strawberry pocket for dessert.

Frenchman Street jazz bars including Three Muses, d.b.a, The Spotted Cat and The Maison. We saw so many types of performers from those who had us dancing and clapping, to quiet and slow melodies.

Other places we liked: the WWII museum, Garden District Historical Walking Tour and cemetery, the Saint Louis Cathedral, the Columns Hotel for drinks, and Magazine Street shops. I might have eaten a lot, but I also walked A LOT. We were busy!

But if you need proof that we enjoyed our desserts, here it is…Jonathan with a Commander’s Palace bread pudding soufflé  and Lesley with a peach sno-ball. Boom.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Do you have any summer travel plans scheduled? We usually like talking about “our next big trip” when we’re on vacation, but this time we didn’t. I think between a new baby, and trying to make smarter financial decisions, we may be homebound for awhile. So, let me live through you! Where are you going next?! 

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6 comments
Tim
Tim

Actually, spending my "time at the many sno-ball huts around town" sounds like my kind of vacation! That said, Jonathan looks so happy with his bread pudding that I'd probably add that stop to my list. And the beignets. And the oysters. And the ... well, and everything foodwise you mentioned. Did Jonathan happen to bring a piece of the bread pudding home with him?

Christina
Christina

So you had me at doughnuts! Sounds like a wonderful trip, and it is definitely on our list to visit sometime in the near future. You look really great by the way; happy, healthy and such a cute baby bump!

Andrea
Andrea

Oh, and I'm craving a beignet. STAT. Not to mention the other amazing food you referenced. Is it normal to salivate without seeing or smelling food?

Andrea
Andrea

I laughed out loud at the part about Elmo.

Laura
Laura

So Leslie... how did the new shoes work out? I am looking for cute, comfy shoes for our trip to Italy this summer...a pair that comes in 11 and that you can walk for miles in. Huge athletic shoes are just not going to cut it this time. Would you recommend the pair you got?

Malisa
Malisa

Thank you for this awesome recap, Lesley! I haven't ever had NOLA on the list of places, but now, I think we'll need to add it. Thank you for the recommendations.

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