In my last post about the Colorful City of New Orleans, I mentioned that there is no shortage of colorful food in both aesthetics, culture and flavor. The roots of the cuisine here go way back. You will find creole cuisine, gumbo, crawfish, and the famous New Orleans oysters and po’boys. More than you could ever eat. Some of the restaurants here date back as far as 1840!! On our journey, we have made an effort to make as many meals at home to save money, but we agreed that this would not be the case in New Orleans! You simply cannot eat at home, it’s New Orleans! Go crazy!
On our first night, we walked over to Frenchman Street, and since the wait times for the restaurants there were too long, we pulled up Yelp and found a local spot down the street called Paladar 511. On the walk there, I felt a little uneasy because there was not much around, but abandoned buildings and graffiti, until we found the brick building that housed the restaurant. We got a seat at the chef’s bar, where we got to watch our food being made! It was so fun watching the chefs cook in an open kitchen environment and being able to chat with them when they weren’t running around like mad. True teamwork! We each got the Linda Collins and the Old Fashioned which were excellent. We also got the homemade raviolo, arancini, and a pizza each, which were all so unique, delicious, and surprisingly not too expensive!
Afterwards we decided to venture over to Bourbon St. because we figured that it was early enough, so it couldn’t be too crazy! We were right….for a little while, then the night just got crazier and crazier. Bourbon Street is one of those places you have to do at least once. Kind of like Times Square in NYC, or 6th St in Austin…you just have to experience it at least once.
They shut the entire street down, except for the cross streets. The streets flood with people, street performers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and people willing to flash strangers for some beads! New Orleans is one city where you are allowed to carry open containers, so you can imagine the streets get a bit crazy! Some famous drinks to get on Bourbon St are the hand grenades at the Tropical Isle, or the hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s, but I can’t promise you won’t hate yourself the next day! Even if you aren’t interested in indulging on this street, I recommend just going once after 10, especially on the weekend!
New Orleans Coffee
After a night of indulgence on Bourbon Street, we decided to hit up Café Du Monde for some café au lait and beignets. Some other great places for coffee and place to work are French Truck Coffee, Satsuma Café, and Floras Gallery and Coffee. All of which I visited to blog and plan the rest of our NOLA trip.
New Orleans Oysters and Po’Boys
Per recommendation of a friend, we headed over to Acme Oyster House for some charbroiled oysters, oyster shooters and raw oysters too! All great! Another great spot for oysters was Antoine’s, which we went to after our ghost tour one night with a nice couple we met from Long Island, Tommy and Rena. This is famous, old place dating back to 1840, with their famous Oysters Rockefeller and oyster po’boy. If you aren’t looking for a fancy sit down, do what we did and grab a seat at the Hermes bar which is attached to Antoine’s.
One last great recommendation was to go to Gene’s for a daiquiri (even though the night we went was freezing!) but we also stopped in for a po’boy. This is out of the French Market, in more of the “hood” where many locals eat, but I really recommend it! They even have a little gambling room inside!
A must do is heading to Napoleon House for a Pimm’s Cup! I’m not a gin drinker, but this was amazingly refreshing. The fun part was our bartender Mario had a fabulous mustache! The cool part of this place is that the original owner, back in the 1800’s had opened his home to Napoleon while he was in exile. He never made it but the name remained! Another classic spot to grab a cocktail is Sazerac bar at the Roosevelt. Just to warn you, it is pricey, but worth it. We got America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac, enjoyed the bar munchies they give you, and moved on!
My sister in-law, Nikita, fell in love with NOLA, and gave us several great recommendations. Our favorite spot was probably Cochon Butcher! Cochon is a regular sit down restaurant, but a little bit further down the street is their “Butcher” which is more of a deli feel with a bar. My goodness this place was to die for. We got head cheese (I was grossed out but it was really good!), boudin sausage, duck pastrami sandwich and a pork belly sandwich. You just gotta come here!
Another place she suggested was Red’s Chinese which we tried after full day of day drinking, oyster eating, music and sports. OMG! She was right! This place is AMAZING! We spent way too much and had food for days, but MAN this place is good. It is a New Orleans, American spin on your traditional Chinese, excellent!
Per a recommendation from our Airbnb hosts, Caroline and Aaron, we walked over to Bacchanal Wine one night for some wine and cheese. This is a really cool place. It started as a wine shop, and they expanded to a bar, restaurant, and outdoor music spot. You walk in, pick out your wine, cheese and/or meats, and they prepare a nice plate for you. They included breads, nuts, cornichons, and jam, and you head outside to enjoy their ramshackle backyard area to listen to live music.
On one of my solo days, I stopped into the French Market, and got a peanut butter, banana and Nutella crepe! It was all rolled up into a cone that you could carry and eat…but it didn’t make it any less messy! I totally rocked a Nutella beard for a while before noticing!
If you are looking for a great dive bar, head over to the Lost Love Lounge. They also have a Vietnamese kitchen inside, so you can get the best of both worlds! They had a great deal on Mexican beer and a tequila shot for about $5. Sweet!
On our last day, we stopped into The Joint for some amazing BBQ. We actually walked by it on our way home from Bacchanal. Tiago said, “This looks like a great BBQ Joint…wait…it’s called The Joint!” For about $15 each, you can get 2 meats and 2 sides, and eat your heart out! It is everything a BBQ joint should be!
Random dog walking marching band outside of The Joint!
Since we didn’t have a car, we walked everywhere for the most part. There were two grocery stores that we would pass on our adventures to pick up some items. Rouses Market was great for a beer to go, but they also had a great selection for a tiny corner store, including fresh produce, meats, and more. The Mardi Gras Zone was quite the experience! It is a super store for Mardi Gras stuff, but it is also a grocery store with a lot of locally sourced, organic foods!
Thank you to our friends, Nikita, and our hosts for some excellent recommendations on places to eat and drink! We didn’t get to our entire long list…..so we will just have to come back another time! You just cannot get enough of the New Orleans oysters and po’boys!