Today, in honor of Fat Tuesday, I’m talking all things New Orleans! What an incredible place filled with history, ghost stories, around the clock nightlife, live music and amazing food. Where creole cuisine, Po Boys, Bananas Foster and Hurricanes were all invented. If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway, never underestimate NOLA! A long weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend in the Big Easy. I recently had the opportunity to spoil my mom and take her along for the ride. Follow along while I share with you where we ate, where we drank and what we did.
Where We Ate
Oceana is known for their classic New Orleans fare and laid-back dining. We tried the Blackened Redfish, Luisiana Crab Meat Cakes and the Taste of New Orleans, which includes a sampling of Creole Jambalaya, Crawfish Étouffée and Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage. Their hurricanes are served in mason jars and were definitely delicious!
The Court of Two Sisters
The Court of Two Sisters is known for their daily jazz brunch. What’s better than brunch on every day of the week? Nothing! Be sure to sit outside to enjoy the live jazz band while you brunch.
The Napoleon House is a circa-1914 house with a palm tree filled courtyard. Home of the signature Pimm’s Cup, a refreshing cocktail that visitors come specifically for. I enjoyed a quarter Muffalatta, which is the quintessential New Orleans sandwich.
Cafe Du Monde
You can’t complete your stay in New Orleans without checking out Cafe Du Monde. Their Beignets are out of this world and their coffee and chicory is made with a mix of half and half and hot milk. It is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. Cafe Du Monde is so good we ate there twice! The second time I tried their Ice Coffee which was just as delectable.
NOLA – An Emeril Lagasse restaurant that’s full of class. We celebrated my mom’s birthday here and received incredible service. For appetizers we got the Aged Cheddar Cheese Popovers and Sticky Char Siu Pork Ribs, both were so good! My mom and I shared the Mama’s Stuffed Chicken Wings and Rueben Pizza for dinner and Ed had the Steak Frites. Everything was unique and impressive. For dessert we got the Rum Punch Sorbet, Drunken Monkey Ice Cream Sundae and Pineapple Rum Cake.
Willa Jean is a retro-chic cafe full of southern cuisine and a large bakery selection. I had Avocado Toast, my mom had the WJ Granola & Yogurt with a Chai Latte and Ed had the Sausage & Egg Biscuit.
Where We Drank
Pat O’Briens is known for the strongest Hurricanes in all of New Orleans! You can really get into trouble in this place! I know I did! Pat O’Brien Hurricanes are the strongest in town and an absolute must when visiting.
Tropical Isle is great for a quick stop while bar hopping. They are known for their Hand Grenades, but don’t ask what’s in them because the bartenders won’t tell you!
5 words: BUY ONE GET ONE BLOODY MARY’S! Need I say more?
Bourbon Heat is a multilevel bar serving up a variety of cocktails and featuring live music. Visit the courtyard in the back some fun ambiance. If you are visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras this is the place to stake out early for a good balcony spot. Their second floor has a 50 foot balcony overlooking historic Bourbon Street.
Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe
Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe is a coffeehouse plus a full service bar. The Beetlejuice which was a black and white mocha with Kahlua and Baileys was the perfect coffee cocktail to get my day going!
What We Did
The Ultimate 5-in-1 Haunted Tour Experience
The easiest way to get the most out of touristy places is to take walking tours! We did The Ultimate 5-in-1 Haunted Tour Experience, by The Voodoo Bone Lady Haunted Tours. This tour was very cool and I learned so much about history. Brian, our tour guide was the best! He taught us about lagniappes. Which in essence means “a little something extra.” Tours are offered during the day but way better if you take the tour at night!
Sidewalk Food Tour
Another walking tour we took was the French Quarter Sidewalk Food Tour. Sidewalk Food Tours offers several different types of New Orleans food tours as well as food tours in other major cities. Check out Groupon for a discount. It was a 3 hour walking tour stopping at 6 award winning restaurants. It was the perfect way to try out the most famous New Orleans dishes while learning more about traditions, history and cultural experiences from our incredible tour guide.
Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World offers a behind the scenes look at Mardi Gras traditions. An hour long tour that takes you up close and personal to see artists in action while they build floats. It takes a year to build the 1,061 floats used in the Mardi Gras parade!
The Market Cafe
The Market Cafe is an open-air patio in the French Quarter with live music. It was a fun place to sit back, drink a cocktail (or two) and enjoy the live music.
Crescent City Cooks offers a three course cooking demonstration with one of New Orleans top chefs. We watched the chef make Seafood Gumbo, Étouffée and Bananas Foster. And ate every single bite of it all! We learned the difference between Cajun cooking and Creole cooking and where it all originated from.
WWII Museum – Ed is a war buff. He loves anything that has to do with WWII so we had to make a point to check out the WWII Museum. This museum was incredible. Everything was state-of-the-art! It was interactive, fascinating and I truly learned a lot.
I hope this helps even just one of you plan a trip to New Orleans! I wanted to share what I enjoyed and would love to hear if you’ve checked out any of these places! Or if you have any questions about the French Quarter please reach out to me. Comment below or on my latest Instagram post here!