Courtney in New Orleans, LA
If you hadn't heard New Orleans is a food town. I didn't have the pleasure of visiting until 2016. Since then I've visited a handful of times for work and fun. The food made such an impression on me that I even visited a handful of spots multiple times (with a several new ones thrown in, of course). In this post, I wanted to mainly share the restaurants and dishes I came to love, and also let you know where we stayed and a few activities we enjoyed.
First up, Jacques-Imo's - "real Nawlin' food". It's a funky place in the Uptown neighborhood near Tulane University. We started with the Shrimp and Alligator sausage cheesecake ($9.95) which was unexpectedly delicious. I should also note that they served us complimentary cornbread muffins that had the most amazing herb honey topping.
At this point, prepare yourself for the rest of the feast ahead. You will get a lot of food. Each entree comes with a house salad and not one but two sides! I went with the Blackened Redfish with crab-chili hollandaise ($27.95) and had to go with the classic red beans and rice with country greens as my side dishes.
My husband went with the Fried Chicken ($19.95) largely because the waiter raved about it. With over ten side dish choices, he went with two different ones than I did so we could try each other's sides. See below shoestring fries and the corn maque chow (traditional Louisiana dish with peppers and spices).
If you're looking for a view and a solid breakfast with a reasonable price point, head to Stanley in the heart of Jackson Square. I've tried several things here including the Omelet Sandwich ($10) - they had me at pecan smoked bacon and spicy mayo. However, the Eggs Stanley ($16) and the Bananas Foster French Toast ($14) were extra special.
Cornmeal-crusted oysters and let's face it- dessert in the form of French toast. Amazing.
For something a little different check out the awesome food hall, St. Roch Market. It was raining when we went but the outdoor patio is adorable. Inside the hall, there are 12 vendors lining the parameter with plenty of seating in the middle. We were drawn to Elysian Seafood and Bittersweet Confections but everything looked and smelled fantastic.
Perhaps one of my all-around favorite eateries is Willa Jean in the Warehouse District. I went for breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The bright and modern interior is adorable with oversized whisks as lights above the bar seating. I was in a classic mood and also wanted to try all.the.things. so went with the plate of eggs, bacon, cheesy grits, and one of the best freshly made biscuits (it says "U Need A Biscuit" on the wall) with their jam and butter. Simple is good. Though the table next to me ordered the artfully decorated avocado toast and I had food envy. On the way out, I also grabbed a piece of their banana bread from the delectable looking pastry case.
A place I absolutely had to try was the French Quarter establishment- Central Grocery - "home of the original muffuletta". I even walked several miles in the pouring rain to get a taste of this iconic sandwich. Inside it's crowded with shelves of olive oil, pasta, and cheese among many other delightful grocery items. You order the sandwich at the counter either as a whole 10" round or half round. We were able to snag some of the bar stools strewn about the 'dining area'. I had high expectations for this sandwich (served cold) and it didn't disappoint. It wasn't life-changing but was indeed delicious with the perfect sesame bread and layers of freshly sliced meats, Provolone cheese, marinated olive salad, and pickled veggies.
Top left: Acme's oyster shucking bar; Cafe DuMonde (Go to the French Quarter location for the experience! Also tried Cafe Beignet and like Cafe DuMonde better.); Camellia Grill pecan pancakes - love the retro vibe with friendly staff. Also the omelets were so fluffy and they get this way simply by mixing the eggs in a blender!; Killer Po Boys @ 219 Dauphine - the shrimp po boy was memorable; District Donuts.Sliders.Brew - perfect example of the best of both worlds, incredible blueberry yeast donut and fresh green juice; and last but not least, Cochon with the tastiest wood-fired oysters with chili-garlic butter. Not pictured: Peche - this seafood focused restaurant with the same owners as Cochon. I had the baked drum with ginger-coconut broth and a side of fried brussels sprouts with chili vinegar. I am a sucker for chili vinegar or chili oil.
- Goes without saying, French Quarter exploration - Bourbon, Canal, and Royal Streets
- Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral
- French Market
- Frenchmen Street (smaller section with lots of live music, bars, and there was an open-air art market when we went)
- Ride the streetcars (it was convenient to download the app to my phone and pay for streetcar rides that way)
- City Park (we loved getting out of the hubbub and exercising outdoors by running the trails and stand up paddle boarding on the lake)
- The Roosevelt - about a mile away from the French Quarter which I liked being in a 'quieter' area. Old historic hotel that is very beautiful. Apparently many famous people had roamed the space throughout the over 100 year history. The guest rooms were very well kept. Nice fitness center and spa.
- Wyndham New Orleans - in the French Quarter at the intersection of Royal and Canal Streets. Convenient location for sightseeing in the French Quarter and close to streetcars. The fitness center was ridiculously small. It was being renovated when we stayed a year and half ago, and unfortunately our room hadn't been renovated yet. I would believe it's much nicer now.
- Hyatt Regency - right next to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, and Champions Square. Also very close to one of my favorite breakfast spots, Willa Jean! Spacious hotel with an amazing 24-hour fitness center. Bonus points for having a Starbucks on-site. I enjoyed the breakfast buffet at 8 Block Kitchen restaurant in the hotel.
I hope you get to travel near and far, and often!