48 Hours in NOLA
Last week I spent 48 hours in New Orleans which is also known as NOLA, the Big Easy and N'awlins. The city is famous for tons of things including its jazz music, festivals and of course the FOOD! I was going to attend a work conference and asked my husband to come along for a quick getaway.
We left on Sunday morning which gave us time to settle in our hotel, explore the city and get my bearings before the conference started on Monday morning. We stayed just outside the French Quarter at The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The 1893 hotel is historic and elegant at the same time featuring a rooftop pool and bar, full service spa, fitness center and restaurant/lounges for entertainment. The customer service was spot on from check in to concierge assistance.
Our first stop was Felix's Restaurant and Oyster Bar located on Bourbon Street and Iberville. This spot has been a staple in the French Quarter for more than 70 years. First box to check off the bucket list was to try a char-grilled oysters. They were smothered in buttery goodness and the tastiest sauce. They were amazing, I've never tasted anything like them before. If you don't enjoy raw oysters, these may be the ones to try! We also ordered a bowl of Jambalaya filled with shrimp, Italian sausage, chicken and smoked sausage. The meal was amazing!
My husband had been to New Orleans before and had dined at a spot in the garden district called Commanders Palace. I have absolutely zero idea of how we ended up getting a reservation (booked out months in advance) luckily we did and this was the highlight of my trip! The landmark has been serving up the best dining experience since 1893. It's award winning with seven James Beard Foundation Awards and has had a trail of renowned chefs in it's kitchen. Commanders Palace not only has amazing food and ambiance but requires a dress code which we LOVED. Business attire is required, collared shirts required and jackets preferred for gentlemen with closed toe shoes and jeans are discouraged. We sat in the garden room which was a second story window filled room providing a view filled with trees and greenery. Menu Items: Turtle Soup au Sherry, Commander's Creole Gumbo, Bronzed Gulf Fish & Crawfish, Pecan Crusted Gulf Fish with prosecco poached crab cake, Creole Bread Pudding Souffle and Cheesecake.
Obligatory visit to Cafe Du Monde met all my expectations and more. We ordered iced coffee and beignets. The coffee is made with chicory root which added a chocolate rich flavor. The beignets...OMG the beignets. Unlike fried dough they are packed with tons of layers (not hollow) and smothered with powdered sugar which made them taste like a dream! We took a stroll on the river walk to get some steps in. The entrance is right by the cafe. Tourists and locals can find a seat on the steps that overlook the Mississippi River and watch the boats pass by. You can quickly cross the street and find yourself in Jackson Square. If you time it right, you can find yourself surrounded by tons of artists and paintings displayed on the fence around the St. Louis Catherdral. Art was one of my favorite things to look at, the paintings drawings and sculptures are everywhere and they are beautiful.
The rest of the trip was filled with exploring and slurping tons and tons of fresh oysters. We had the best French onion soup, gumbo, shrimp po boy and crab cakes. The architecture is intricate and it's easy to get lost in restaurants and shops. We were even able to see some local spots where our current favorite show Your Honor is filmed.
Three days is the perfect amount of time in New Orleans, enough time to check everything off your to do/to see list, explore the beautiful neighborhoods and eat all the creole, gumbo and seafood you can! Staying outside the French Quarter was quiet and allowed us to escape the chaos of the day/night. I would recommend it. If you are someone that wants to be in the middle of the chaos there are tons of hotels right in the French Quarter that you can stay out and immerse yourself in all the NOLA vibes.
Some additional things to keep in mind: (1) Bourbon street has lots and lots of day drinking tourists, if you want to party..this is your spot (2) The weather can get humid depending on the time of year you visit, my hair wax stick came in handy and dress in layers! (3) It doesn't have to be Mardi Gras for you to find yourself some beads because again, people party at all hours. (4) Amazing food, something for everyone to eat whether it be fresh, fried, sweet and savory!
Happy I was able to finally check New Orleans off my bucket list. As the keynote speaker of the conference said, everyone should experience NOLA at least once in their lifetime and "laissez les bon temps rouler" let the good times roll.
X0 - Katie