About three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans for our annual meeting. It was a ton of work in the weeks (and months) leading up to the event, plus I had my Bachelorette(!) the weekend beforehand, so we were all exhausted going into it. On top of that, days were LOOOOONG… like, 12 hour work days. Nevertheless, we were determined to make the best of our time in the French Quarter. The last time I was in New Orleans was 10 years ago, right before Katrina hit and a while before my 21st birthday. I was very excited to eat and drink away my free time in this city!
We got into town around lunchtime and decided to walk over to Mother’s for our first taste of a true New Orleans’ Po’ Boy. This place was a bit chaotic but had lots of character! I ordered the shrimp and oyster Po’ Boy and was a bit meh about it. I love SAUCE and this sandwich was definitely lacking. There was, however, plenty of freshly fried seafood piled on it (thank goodness, considering the $18 price tag)! Everyone else loved their sandwiches and entrees. I’d recommend it to tourists looking for a big meal, southern food and some casual, New Orleans character. (And apparently they have great Bloody Mary’s!)
That night, we had dinner at Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar and Fish House. This was around the corner from our hotel, so super convenient after an evening of conference setup. I went a little weird and ordered a double house salad (after a day of travel, I needed raw vegetables!). Along with it, I also got a cup of seafood gumbo and a side of crawfish etouffee to try those dishes out. I surprisingly loved them both! I don’t like peppers and was worried the gumbo would be full of them; but it wasn’t so. Both were creamy, salty and helped me sleep soundly that night.
I got up at the crack of dawn to take a walk and get some necessary breakfast/coffee. I ended up at Stanley’s, located in one of the corners of Jackson Square. They had great service, great iced coffee and one amazing breakfast sandwich: Eggs, American Cheese (I subbed out for Swiss), Pecan Smoked Bacon, Ham (I kept this off), Grilled Sweet Onions, and Spicy Mayo on Toasted Multigrain Bread.
We went to Cafe Beignet the next morning and got breakfast sandwiches for everyone (how we resisted the beignets, I’ll never know). Sandwiches came on a choice of bagel or croissant and had TONS of bacon on them! Thumbs up for the iced coffee too. It was only a few blocks down from the hotel, which was great.
Mr. B’s Bistro was across the street from our hotel, which made it the ideal place for an early dinner before our ghost walk. We got an appetizer of oysters and I split the filet with a co-worker. No complaints.
During the ghost tour, we stopped at Napoleon House for some drinks. The Ramos Gin Fizz was recommended, so (as a Gin lover) I went with it. A true Ramos Gin Fizz is a mixture of gin, citrus, orange flower water, egg whites, sugar, and cream which is shaken for several minutes until uber-foamy. What a bizarre drink! But the building was so cool… very haunted looking!
On my second to last day, I finally decided to guiltlessly venture over to Cafe Du Monde for a breakfast of beignets and a frozen cafe au lait. Worth every tablespoon of sugar I consumed… #typicaltourist (Perk of going EARLY—like 6:30AM—is no line!!!)
On more than one occasion, I stopped by the famous Carousel Bar in our hotel for a drink (but never quite could score a seat at the carousel). The first mixed drink I tried, I stuck with because it was THAT good: . I know you should “bourbon” when in New Orleans, but that’s just not my preference—far from it, actually.
Out last night’s dinner was at Tableau. It’s 1/2 off wine on tap for happy hour, plus some food specials which we gladly partook in: bacon-wrapped oysters and fried eggplant fingers. I ended up straying away from seafood for my entree and went with… veal scallopini? I honestly feel a little bad about it. But it was very, very good and came with a spicy-pecan popcorn rice that I needed. The only time i’ve had veal was on a middle school trip Europe and they lied, saying it was chicken, so we’d all eat it. I figured it was about time to have it (and enjoy it) knowingly.
Dinner was followed by a walk down Bourbon Street with a frozen Hurricane in hand. Followed by a stomach ache, some beer and a few hours in Pat O’Brien Piano Bar. THE BEST.
We’d considered trying K-Paul’s Louisana Kitchen for dinner, but the menu was just a little too pricey for us. Lunch there was reasonable, though, and casual (you order at the bar and they bring it out to your table). After a long morning of shopping and walking on our last day, it was nice to just SIT and soak up the AC as we waiting for our food. I got the oyster Po’ Boy—one more before hitting the road! This one had a lot more spunk to it than Mother’s. Also: the ranch with the side salad was homemade. Mmm.