Our latest travels took us to New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a city full of historical heritage, an abundance of food & drinks and a cultural experience unlike any other. Come along as I share my 3-day travel log through The Big Easy.
Whether you refer to it as N’awlins, The Big Easy or the Crescent City (because of the bend in the Mississippi River), New Orleans has purveyed as a city that carries a rich history and a sense of loyalty of their heritage unlike any other. I’m lucky enough that one side of Sean’s family hails from this area of the south and have had the pleasure hearing stories of growing up in the neighborhoods, fishing in the bayou’s and eating decadent feasts all inspired by their childhood memories. I was eager to explore this great city as a true adult this time around as I previously visited New Orleans at the ripe ol’ age of 21. You can about imagine how that went (ahem … we never left Bourbon Street & I came home with a lot of beads).
We stayed at the beautiful, centrally located Omni Royal Orleans. We toyed with booking an AirBNB but because Jazz Fest was happening that weekend, options were pretty limited. I trusted Sean’s expertise on where to stay since he was familiar with the area and am really glad we stayed somewhere that was located near everything.
The Omni is quite grand, but the rooms are pretty small. We unfortunately had a room right off the elevator and it was pretty loud throughout the night. Granted, we never turned in sober so we were able to sleep through most of it. One thing I was really disappointed with is the lack of free wifi. They wanted $14.99 a day for wifi access. That’s absurd! Maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing because I didn’t end up working or editing any photos while we were there and explored instead.
The rooftop terrace at the Omni Royal.
Our first morning upon arrival we set out on foot (which you should plan on doing 85% of the time) to find breakfast in the French Quarter and explore Jackson Square. Since it was a weekday morning it was a bit quiter than on the weekends and we were able to wander amongst it’s beautiful gates, pristine landscaping and marvel at the large statue of Andrew Jackson. If you so wish, there are horse drawn carriages available, but we didn’t opt to partake.
There are great views along the Riverfront and we were able to walk along the Moonwalk (named for former N.O. mayor, Maurice “Moon” Landrieu) to see the large riverboats and get a better “photographic” spot of Jackson Square.
Note — on a previous trip Sean has taken this riverboat cruise & said it’s a great time. We didn’t have time to do it on this trip.
Walk amongst the countless vendors in the French Quarter market. Freshly shucked oysters anyone?
Of course there is the obligatory stop at the infamous Cafe du Monde for beignets. Did I mention my gluten & dairy free lifestyle held up all of 20 minutes in New Orleans? #musthavebeignets
Tip — the line during the day at Cafe du Monde was out the door. We came back at night at were able to walk right in and grab a seat. Who doesn’t want a big ol’ powered sugar covered doughnut before bed?
Wondering what to do in New Orleans? Explore.
And explore some more.
Set out on foot and let the city present itself to you. Don’t get me wrong, Sean had a LONG list of places to eat and drink, but we aimed in the right direction and then let the day unfold as it wishes. These were some of our best memories, the unexpected stops, the people we met and the countless beautiful buildings you’ll stumble upon.
John Besh is a famed New Orleans chef with countless cookbooks and restaurants. We stopped in at Johnny Sanchez for authentic Mexican cuisine. We ended up ordering a few margaritas and the chips and guacamole. So so so good! If you’re adventurous, you can add oaxacan chapulines which are fried grasshoppers. We decided to pass.
Remember how I mentioned to just explore? Well as we were trying to find the Victory bar (another must stop!) we came across LOUISE. Hello new favorite gem! Their chalkboard easel displaying a Happy Hour that was too good to pass up, we meandered in and were pleasantly surprised by this beautiful, bright cafe/cocktail bar with “Shaggy” tending bar (we didn’t come up with that nickname I promise). No joke, from 3:00-4:00 cocktails are $3.00, from 4:00-5:00 they’re $4.00 and so on. We got pretty well liquored up for less than $20 and they were legit, handcrafted cocktails.
This is post Louise with a cocktail-to-go.
Deanie’s is another local favorite. Crispy charbroiled oysters with fresh french bread. They tasted so good, but my stomach was starting to hate me.
Day two we had a greasy spoon breakfast at The Grill in the French Quarter and then set out on foot down Magazine Street. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, but you do end up at the The National WWII Museum. Honestly, this is a must stop. It’s so well-done and made me think of my Grandpa’s and the sacrifices they went through. Tom Hanks is a big contributor and has helped direct some great films at the end of the tours. We spent a good 3+ hours here.
Right by the WWII Museum is Pêche, a seafood grill that did not disappoint. Since we wanted to try out SO MANY different food & drink places, we only ate small bites throughout the day.
More exploring and more beautiful historical building. I mean, look at all these details?!?!
An obligatory stop was to Drago’s for their charbroiled oysters and spicy bloody mary’s. I’m not going to lie, I hate overly touristy spots and this was one of them. It was decent, but there are so many other spots that I would just forgo stopping here all together.
My FAVORITE building that we stumbled upon in the French Quarter. Gorgeous!
Ohhhhhh I cannot forget Cane & Table! Located on Decatur Street in the French Quarter you’ll likely walk by it a few times before actually realizing the ONLY signage are some small ones placed in the windows. They definitely have some original, unique crafted cocktails and the bartenders are incredibly experienced. I would highly recommend stopping in here for a drink or 3.
After Cane & Table we walked over to Kingfish which is located right near the Omni on the corner of Chartres & Conti. We had walked by it numerous times & was intrigued by the ambiance. Needless to say, this place DID NOT disappoint. They have a great cocktail menu, but the kitchen is where it’s at. My favorite jambalaya and gumbo were served here & I wish I had more days after discovering this place to come back for seconds.
We also had some really great dinners, but I didn’t bring my camera along for those. Right across the street from the Omni is the Royal Oyster House where you can indulge in local cuisine that’s quite delicious. We sat at the bar and ordered a few different plates to sample an array of their goodness.
If you’re wanting a classy, high-end steak dinner than you absolutely have to go to Doris Metropolitan. It was recommended to us by the bartenders at Cane & Table as the best place for steak in the French Quarter. Since dinner was only a few hours away, we didn’t have a chance to make a reservation (highly recommended) and opted to drop in & were able to find a seat at the bar. We enjoyed wine, beef carpaccio and a 31 day dry-aged beef tenderloin that was pure heaven. Honestly, worth every penny (and it’s definitely a few pennies). Don’t skip the olive oil cake at the end either!
In just 3 short days we saw and conquered quite a bit around New Orleans. The list is still plenty long and I’m sure a return trip is in the near future. The pull of the jazz music (best heard at The Spotted Cat), jambalaya and sazerac’s is too good to keep away for too long. If you have any recommendations for places to eat or drink, please send them our way!
Keep Living a Stylized Life.
Check out some of my other Travel Logs!