On the Road Eats: New Orleans

I have something to share with you.

Have you been to New Orleans?  I just visited for the FIRST time.  And I am sure as a 20-something, I would have loved the bars on Bourbon Street but as a 40-year old, I was most interested in the old neighborhoods and the restaurants.  This was a super FUN weekend!

The Roosevelt Hotel – Waldorf Astoria
My husband surprised me with this trip to New Orleans for my birthday and I was not involved in any of the planning(HOW NICE IS THAT!).  We “übered” our way downtown from the airport(Thanks Solomon) and arrived at the Roosevelt.  We were upgraded to a suite(good to be a Hilton Gold Elite) and found the hotel and location to be great.  Thanks to Don, the awesome concierge and his great recommendations!

Old Absinthe House
IMG_0546We stumbled upon Old Absinthe House on our first walk down Bourbon Street and my husband recognized the name and said we must go in.  What is absinthe?  I googled – a potent green aniseed-flavored liqueur, originally made with the shrub wormwood.  Hmm…I think I will pass since potent is not my thing but I had a great cocktail at the bar and loved the atmosphere.  It was not a “younger and wild” spot – much more adult which is why I enjoyed it so much!  We met a nice couple who was super friendly and gave us some great recommendations of where to go later that evening.

Le Foret
IMG_0556A few blocks away from the Roosevelt Hotel is Le Foret serving traditional New Orleans French cuisine.  We arrived on the earlier side so we could eat and still enjoy the rest of the evening.  It was a quick walk from the Roosevelt, the service was almost perfect(the server was weird when we didn’t order dessert) and we both enjoyed our meals.  The shrimp appetizer was great and the tenderloin was wonderful!

Ritz Carlton – The Davenport Lounge
IMG_0560The concierge recommended we stop by the Ritz for drinks and music and I must say, I am glad we did.  We were lucky to get seats at the bar(the place was packed) and our bartender was from Jamaica (we got married in Montego Bay and had a nice chat with him)!  We loved the music and the adult atmosphere of this spot and between the drinks and the surprise dessert from the bartender, we definitely enjoyed this spot!  This is a must visit the next time we return!

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Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
IMG_0570 I am so glad the couple we met at Absinthe bar recommended this spot.  Take a LONG walk down Bourbon Street and there appears this great spot with a fun energy and a fantastic piano sing-a-long in the back!  I think this was one of my favorite spots of the weekend!  Nice people, great drinks and far enough away from the chaos of Bourbon Street.  I will definitely go back here the next time we visit New Orleans.  Now if only I could carry a tune and sing with the guy playing the piano.  Oh well, a girl can dream!

Camilia Grill
Ok – this spot took me back to college where everything was greasy and salty and well, deliciously bad for me.  We took the green line from our hotel, waited in line outside for 25 minutes and then inside for another 15 and finally got two stools at the counter.  Marvin, our fantastic waiter dressed in his bow-tie, ordered us some fabulous omelettes and coffee. This was definitely the spot to be on Saturday AM.

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Galatoire’s
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I cannot express enough how much I loved this restaurant.  Not only was it a special spot to me because the entire restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me, but the service and the food were both fantastic.  We started with bread(you break bread over the table, no plates required) and then the gumbo and the fried oysters.  Best gumbo of the whole trip!  Then we shared fish topped with Étouffée and the cauliflower gratin.  We finished with the bread pudding and a special candle for my birthday.
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Cafe Du Monde
Of course we had to go here.  How do you visit New Orleans and NOT visit Cafe Du Monde?  The Cafe Au Lait was wonderful and the beignet was a great treat at midnight!IMG_0634 IMG_0641

Mr. B’s
Since the trip was not planned months in advance, we were not able to get a reservation at Commander’s Palace.  But the concierge recommended we try Mr. B’s jazz brunch.  We were able to get a reservation and although we were not near the musician’s during our meal, we could hear the music and it was quite enjoyable.  Plus, I wanted to eat light so I would have room for lunch and we really enjoyed our meals.IMG_0647 IMG_0649 IMG_0651

Deanie’s Seafood

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We asked the concierge for a recommendation for great oysters and great po’ boys.  He said, walk over to Deanie’s and you will get both!  I loved the seasoned potatoes they serve at the beginning of the meal and both the raw and chargrilled oysters were great!  IMG_0673IMG_0659

At the end of the weekend, I knew I wanted to return as there were so many more restaurants I had to try and places I wanted to explore.  Commander’s Palace is top of the list but it is a long list.  Any recommendations??

 

Remember to Celebrate You!

I have something to share with you.

40th-happy-birthday-cakeI turned 40 last week. And just to get it out of the way, let me answer the questions – No, it doesn’t feel different, It’s not scary, I feel great, no, I don’t feel old, I’m not moving slower due to age, it’s lack of sleep.

I was super excited to turn 40 but was not sure how I would celebrate the occasion. After all, when was the last time I planned something for just me?  I plan parties for my daughter, my husband, the holidays and sometimes for friends. But for my 40th, there was no plan. Dinner with the family, nope – wait, we have open house that night at school, so quick dinner out with the family, cards in the morning, maybe lunch with coworkers?

And then my husband surprised me with a trip away for the weekend.  Just the two of us. No schedule, no plan, just a weekend of whatever we wanted to do.  Now, I will admit it was hard to pack since the location was A SURPRISE.  But he did a smart thing(go honey!!)…he called one of my girlfriends, told her where we were going and she helped me pack. Now I was ready to go!

I have never been to New Orleans(crazy with all the work travel I do), and this weekend was for us to do anything and everything.  Wait – no schedule, no rushing from place to place, no making sure everything was kid-friendly????  I could just eat and explore, maybe shop, maybe even sleep in?  We only had one reservation so other than that, there was no plan.  Wow – this would be weird BUT wonderful!  I had one request…..I wanted to blow out a candle for my birthday so I could celebrate my birthday like my daughter celebrates hers(after all, you only turn 40 once and it is a big one)!  And I got a surprise even better than that!!!

IMG_0604Saturday night we went to Galatoire’s, a New Orleans institution on Bourbon street and after the meal, I had the most wonderful 60 second experience!  The waiter came out and asked the entire restaurant to join him in song to celebrate my birthday.  THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT SANG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME – and I got to blow out a candle with the amazingly delicious bread pudding I ordered for dessert.

This post is a gentle but important reminder – Celebrate You.  Whether it is a 60 second experience or an entire weekend of doing all the things you like to do, Celebrate You……we are worth it!!!

 

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