May 29, 2017
The Big Easy. Who Dat Nation. NOLA.
This city is exploding with history, culture and culinary genius. The people live by southern hospitality and will make you feel right at home. Everything in this city is meant for you to have a great time and enjoy life. From the street entertainment to drive thru daiquiri shops to the richly flavored food, there will not be a dull moment in New Orleans. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
My husband dancing at the French Market. He was born and raised in New Orleans. Can't you tell?
Where to visit
Located in the heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter is bustling with tourists and locals. It's common to see brass bands, metal painted figures, and dancers on the sidewalks of most streets. This is also where you will find many shops (local and big name), restaurants, cafes, and art galleries.
This open air market provides 6 blocks of shopping with various vendors. It is open daily 10 AM to 6 PM. Below is an example of a candle vendor. The scents are amazing and there are literally dozens to choose from. The company is run by a wife and husband duo. They have 2 tables set up with one at the front and one towards the back on the right side. They also offer scent blocks for your plugin burners, although these are not as high quality as the Scentsy brand.
Bourbon Street is easily one of the most popular party destinations in the world. This area is lined with so many bars and clubs that keep visitors out all night long. During evening hours, the street is only accessible by foot and vehicles are blocked away. Live band music and street bands keep the energy flowing.
This area celebrates the arts with dozens of art galleries and museums. Walk the streets and gallery hop to enjoy the creative talents.
This neighborhood is a lot less busier but still has much to do and see. The lovely neighborhood is lined with beautiful classic European style homes. It's like driving through a gallery of art. No wonder the Garden District has been featured in countless movie and films and has drawn celebrities to live there. There are also many restaurants and shops that draw even more attention.
Where to Eat
- Cafe du Monde - Open 24 hours, this cafe is always full of people. Hands down, they have the BEST BEIGNETS EVER! Make sure you bring cash since they don't accept other payment forms. There is an ATM nearby just in case. Order a chicory coffee to go with that bag of delectable fried treats.
- Mother's Restaurant - A landmark restaurant! Be prepared to wait in line that often times snake around the outside of the door. Go for all meals of the day but especially breakfast, which is served all day. Mother's Famous Buttermilk Biscuits are truly worth the carbs.
- Commander's Palace - Going strong since 1893, this restaurant is on many bucket lists. Commander's Palace is winner of 6 James Beard Foundation Awards and where world renowned chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme got to shine. It is truly a world-class restaurant with some of the most amazing food.
- Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar - It's definitely a brunch spot. The Bananas Foster French Toast and Shrimp and Grits are must orders. You'll love the funky, charming feel.
- Jacques-Imo's Cafe - Get some real New Orleans grub for dinner at this spot. Good to know: Reservations for 5 or more are required and sometimes takes up to 30 days in advance to secure your spot. It's that good.
- Li'l Dizzy's Cafe - If you're starving on a Sunday morning, go here for their brunch buffet ($18/adult, $9/child). Not only do you get the buffet, but the entire regular menu is included. The Fried Chicken and Seafood Gumbo on that buffet is worth the extra dollars. Be sure to order the French Toast. Customer service is not strong here but the restrooms are clean.
- Today's Ketch Seafood - The best crawfish is served here! They're perfectly seasoned. They also have awesome Po'boys and Fettuccine Alfredo.
- Hansen's Sno-Bliz - This is where I discovered the best snoballs! They have not your typical flavors like Honey Lavender, Hibiscus, Chai Tea, Cream of Nectar, Anise and Ginger. Get toppings like condensed milk, ice cream and marshmallow. I ordered the Cream of Strawberry with Crushed Strawberries and Condensed Milk. My only regret was not getting a larger size. Be prepared to wait in line since it's no secret that this place knows what they're doing. We waited about 45 minutes but it was definitely worth it.
- K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen - It's one of the city's most legendary restaurants. You'll feel like an honoree being a guest here.
- Emeril's New Orleans - You can't visit New Orleans without eating at this famous eatery. They serve to-die-for complimentary biscuits and the creamiest, most flavorful Barbecued Shrimp.
- Brother's Food Mart - Trust me! You have to get a Po'boy from here. Not only are they cheap but they're the real thing. The Fried Shrimp Po'boy is stuffed with shrimps falling out and the Hot Sausage Po'boy has the best tasting sausage.
- Rally's - Every visit to New Orleans usually starts or stops with Rally's for their famous fries. They're perfectly seasoned.
- New Orleans Original Daquiris - Start each afternoon by driving through the drive thru daquiri shop. My favorite is the White Russian.
- Copeland's & Cheesecake Bistro - Owned by the same company (and by the founder of Popeye's), these restaurants deliver on taste, consistency and authenticity. Go here for the best value on some great Cajun cuisine. A must order are the Red Beans and Rice and the Crabcakes and Shrimp Alfredo.
- New Orleans Food & Spirits - If you're looking for a quieter place away from the touristy areas, go here. They have some great, affordable items. Any of their House Specials will not disappoint.