*Note we went to New Orleans a couple of years ago, obviously pre Covid-19. I have finally found the time to document our trip and share it. When things settle down again, be sure to add NOLA to your list of places to visit.
There is only one word to describe New Orleans and that is magical. Sounds real dramatic, but to visit NOLA is to love NOLA. The city is rich in culture, full of the friendliest people, heartfelt jazz, and the most amazing food. I can honestly say of all the places I have traveled, there is no place like it. It has the feel of a beach town, but without the beach! Also, the architecture and landscape are just beautiful! I am not one to even notice things of that nature, but there you can’t help but to take in. The shot gun houses and star jasmine growing every where was interesting.
There are two reasons why I believe New Orleans is such an amazing city. First, it does not shy away from it’s complex history, it embraces it 100%. From slaves, to the French, to the practice of vodoo. While you are there you are reminded of that history everywhere, but you can also see where the city and the people have evolved to be so much more than that. That brings me to my second reason why NOLA is a city worth visiting, the people. There are a lot of passionate people in NOLA who are honing in on their craft and then sharing it with you. NOLA attracts people who love art and culture. This draw is maybe due to the city being so abundant in history that it gives people the inspiration and freedom to live their best lives. And when you are living your best life and doing what you are most passionate about, there is no doubt that you transfer that into the goods and services you provide. There are many artisan small businesses there that are completely unassuming. When you walk in to a shop you are constantly surprised by the level of craftsmanship that you are being offered and this applies to everything, not only with food and shops, but live music too.
If you or someone you know says they did not like NOLA, I would ask “Well did you see more than just the French Quarter”? The French Quarter is synonymous with NOLA, but that is the place we actually spent the least time. We traveled a lot on foot which helped us really get to know the other areas of NOLA, like the Garden District, Bywater, and Treme. We also took the bus and the trolley around, which a local was very surprised by. Apparently, most visitors don’t get around that way, maybe due to the rise of Uber and Lyft. Getting around the way we did really allowed us to take in NOLA and appreciate its beauties and its flaws. Not going to lie, NOLA has a bit of grit to it and can be a little rough around the edges, but what major city does not? If you like your city clean, rich and white, then go to Charleston or Nashville. If you like a city that is diverse, and full of personality then you will love NOLA.
Below is where we stayed, what we did and what we ate. Guess which is the longest list?
Where we stayed:
Located in the Central Business Distinct, this boutique hotel was pretty enchanting. It completed our NOLA experience, as it was nothing like staying in your standard run of the mill chain hotel. The rooms have brick walls, hardwood floors and beautiful art. Downstairs in the hotel is a cafe, art gallery and the famous Compere Lapin restaurant. From everything I have read, Compere is a must, and sadly we did not make it there for dinner. Nina Compton, Chef at Compere won the JBFA for Best Chef 2018, she won shortly after we visited
What we did:
This hole in the wall is where you can listen to live Jazz artists and have a drink. There is no cover, you only have to buy a drink to listen and showtimes are twice a day. The band we saw put on a really great show, I am sure you cant go wrong with whoever you choose to see. Seeing a live jazz show was really the icing on the cake for our trip, it helped us really feel immersed in the city’s vibe. Bring cash.
When visiting New Orleans you should definitely walk around Rouses Market. It is a local grocery store chain, that carries local brands and specialties of New Orleans. You can also buy cooked crawfish there (that were actually very good) self serve in a large cooler. When I saw that I thought “only in NOLA”!
Where we ate:
Hands down our favorite restaurant we went to in NOLA. This restaurant has a very Parisian vibe, intimate and unpretentious while serving incredible food. The food draws from French and Japanese influences, so there will be a blend of those two cultures all through the menu. The also serve a pretty decent list of tinned (canned) seafood, which is fairly common in Europe. Canned seafood may sound unappealing, but when it is done right it is delicious and N7 is persnickety about their purveyors. Overall the most memorable dining experience we have had in a long time.
This dining experience really helped us understand what NOLA is all about. When you walk in the door you feel like you are in someone’s home, all the tables are communal and the design has that southern charm. Upon entering we were offered a selection of natural wine or cocktails, both list very well thought about it. I would also like to mention that I had my very first natural wine here and fell in love. The food was delicious and all Cajun. When we booked the meal, I was really not happy with the fact we would be eating dinner with complete strangers. 30 minutes into the evening at Mosquito Supper Club, my mind changed. Even though we were all strangers, the one thing we had in common was our love for food. This made for great conversations centered around food. The food, the drinks and the company made for a really memorable evening!
An upgrade to southern food like Burrata Toast with BBQ Shrimp (so good) and the most delicious Monkey Bread I have ever eaten. Also, served there is a plethora of homemade desserts and baked goods. Highly recommend for brunch.
The most amazing fried chicken and southern staples are served there. Nothing fancy, just comfort food.
This is a laid back wine bar, a place you can hang out for hours. They have a large outdoor patio with a stage and live music. At night it becomes so romantic because of all the hanging outdoor lights. They serve food too!
The best beignets! They really were better than the other places we tried beignets. Be sure to order a cafe au lait too. Bring cash.
A fun bar that serves un-traditonal, but delicious Poboys!
Food with a lot flavor and personality can be found here. You either love it or you hate it.
Go there for the whole grilled fish (catch of the day) served with a salsa verde. Delicious but pricey!
Can’t wait to plan our next visit, this was a memorable trip!