Crawfish. Jambalaya. Gigantic Gulf Shrimp. Grits. Fried Chicken.
Sorry, I was just thinking back to my trip to New Orleans and got lost in the moment writing this thang!
I was finally able to make it to NOLA with my bestie for a summer trip! It was the first time I would be away from the nugget for more than a day, so why not make it in a city I could get lost in … Lost in the FOOD, lost in the SOUL of the city, and lost in the wonderment of NEW EXPERIENCES.
Our hotel, the Aloft Downtown, was in the heart of downtown New Orleans. We were super close to the French Quarter, Riverwalk, Frenchman Street, Bourbon Street, and the Superdome. It was nice to be able to learn our way around the city on foot while we also had access to good ol’ Uber for other occasions!
I wanted to take in New Orleans while keeping in mind that BALANCE was the key to me not keeling over from too much amazing cuisine! Being an avid Yelp Elite, I did want to get off of the beaten path and truly taste the food that was what everyone [including my bestie roomie] was raving about. One of our first stops was a little joint called Willie Mae’s. Tat couldn’t stop going on and on and on and on and on about their fried chicken and southern comfort food. I cringed at first, because we all know that I have been working off the baby weight. I knew how to enjoy food, and that we would share so that we didn’t go overboard!
They have the most AMAZING fried chicken I’ve had in a long time! My mom is my go-to comparison when it comes to fried chicken, so for me to say that is a stretch. They add amazing flavor into their batter so that the chicken is not only crispy, but also has a kick to it as you steal a little of the skin to taste while the chicken cools off – it’s served fresh out of the fryer! Their fried okra and sides were bomb.com also and I would come back just for them!
Beignets. They’re all the rage when anyone talks about what to eat when you visit NOLA. Being a huge sweets girl, I knew that I would be all about going all out on these … I couldn’t NOT, right? My bestie, Tat, was such the comedienne that she thought it would be a fun little experiment for me to try the ‘not-so-awesome’ version of them at a random bakery before heading to the mecca of beignets: Café Du Monde.
Let’s just say it worked. I had a whole new appreciation for Café Du Monde after having their imposter counterpart. We knew to find a seat in the café area, at the location off of Poydras Street, so that we could get quick service before heading back out. Their 3 beignets were under $3 and we each had a Café Au Lait for $2! Talk about a steal for a yummy sweet treat. CDM’s beignets were fluffy and light, making the mess from the powdered sugar an afterthought. I’m usually not a coffee person (it’s a vessel for all things sugar for me, so I stay away) but their Coffee that is blended with Chickory [iced] was so refreshing and light
We made our way ALL AROUND NOLA, enjoying their unique cajun and creole cuisine. Some of my other favorite ‘eat the heck out of NOLA’ spots we checked out were:
Ruby Slipper is a bangin’ place to nab brunch with many sorts of mimosas to pick from along with eggs benedict variations.
The Daily Beet was a breath of fresh air as a local juicery and healthy eats joint. I had their quinoa bowl with a fried egg on top with the NOLA greens juice blend. #DETOX.
Our last stop was Willa Jean. I honestly found it when we were at The Daily Beet. It was on Google Maps showing a high Zagat rating, so I peeked inside to be pleasantly welcomed by the smell of fresh pastries and a uniquely trendy feel in their decor. We decided to come back for dinner and share lots of plates to nibble on the whole menu.
My favorite dish was their BBQ shrimp on toast + their “Frozen Dranks” menu. I had the FRose which was a pleasant frozen delight and made me giggle at the same time.
All throughout New Orleans is a sense of history and pride in the city. The locals are so sweet and friendly; I loved learning about their lives and the history of the city.
We made our way all around town to see and remember the story of NOLA since Hurricane Katrina. The broken levy, the water marks on the signs … to see how uplifted everyone was happened to be even more appreciated knowing all that the city had been through.
The brand new World War II Museum was our last stop on the last day. I have been to my fair share of museums and was pleasantly surprised as how neat and interactive this one was for adults and kids alike.
Gary knows that I’m ready to see the city once again in the future with him by my side.
… I will, of course, have to fast for a week before and after …