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Exploring New Orleans Through Food

New Orleans is a cultural melting pot with beautiful architecture, distinct music, southern hospitality and unique food that bring together one of the most important culinary cities in the world.
By July 19, 2018 No Comments
A guide to where to eat and stay in New Orleans

New Orleans is a crazy awesome place. If you read no further, I can tell you that New Orleans is by far one of the best food cities anywhere in the world. If you are a foodie, you definitely want to add NOLA towards the top of your must-visit cities list.

From bachelor parties to exploring with a young toddler (I’ve done both); there’s something for everyone. This was my second trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. After my first visit, I was looking for any excuse to back with the family.

Where to Eat in New Orleans

There are literally hundreds of amazing places to indulge in diverse food and imbibe with a refreshing cocktail in New Orleans. Heck, you can even grab a “go cup” and take your favorite beverage along for the walk while you see the sights. The French Quarter, where the famous Bourbon Street runs is a great place start for New Orleans food. Venturing outside the French Quarter is where you can start to experience some of the more modern and trendy dining spots.

Domenica

Try the whole head of fire roasted cauliflower, squid ink pasta with crab, lemon cream pasta, campanile white bolognese. Stop by for happy hour for half off pizzas and other specials. 

Josephine Estelle

Southern-influenced modern Italian cuisine that is all about seasonal ingredients and homemade pasta.

CellarDoor

Grab a cocktail for dinner at the former longest running brothels in one of the most unique buildings in NOLA. We sat in the back library area to enjoy some drinks before heading to dinner. 

Cochon Butcher

Perfect lunch spot in the Warehouse District for at a pork focussed butcher shop with delicious sandwiches and beer. I tried the pork belly sandwich, which was lightened up with some minty pickled cucumbers. 

Willa Jean

A contemporary bakery that we ended up visiting twice for a quick breakfast before exploring the city. 

Peche Seafood Grill

Located in the Warehouse District. Reservations are almost always needed and it’s best if they are made more than a day in advance.

Bourbon House Seafood

We were hosted at Bourbon House for dinner with refreshing cocktails as part of our stay at the Astor Crown Plaza on Bourbon Street. We enjoyed delicious craft cocktails and Creole-style seafood. The broiled oysters (pictured below) are a must try.

District Donuts

We stumbled upon District Donuts when we were wandering the streets of the Garden District.  We indulged in flat top burger and crispy fried chicken sliders with waffle cut fries and some pretty amazing donuts for dessert.

Café Du Monde

A historic must stop for beignets. I’d recommend grabbing a bag to go and walking across the street to Jackson Square for an even better view. To be honest, we had better beignets elsewhere, but it’s still something you have to do.

Auction House Market

A beautifully designed food hall that’s worth stopping at even if it’s just for a beer and a dozen oysters.

Acme Oyster House

Probably the most touristy place we visited. Great place to get some fresh oysters on the cheap and watch a game. There is usually a line, but it moves pretty fast.

Willie’s Chicken Shack

We popped into this local chain for some fried chicken and shelter during a pretty severe thunderstorm. There are quite a few locations throughout the city and it’s worth trying if you are in the mood for some fried chicken.

New Orleans Dishes to try

Many cities (or countries) have a few unique dishes that they can call their own. New Orleans has more of those unique dishes than anywhere else I have been, and it can be difficult to get to them all.

  • Oysters (on the half shell and broiled)
  • Po’ boy sandwiches
  • Fried Chicken
  • Beignets
  • Bread Pudding
  • Praline
  • Gumbo
  • Jambalaya
  • Barbecue Shrimp – There’s actually no BBQ involved. These are Gulf shrimp cooked on the stove in butter, garlic, white wine, and Worcestershire sauce.

This list is missing a few NOLA staples, but I just wanted to include dishes we actually tried during our visit.

Places we didn’t get to visit that we wanted to

Where to stay in New Orleans – Hotels

With all the wonderful areas in New Orleans, it can be difficult to decide on a location. We stayed at two different locations during our week visit, and both were great for different reasons.

Staying in the French Quarter

There’s something exciting about staying right where the action is. A quick elevator ride downstairs from your room and a step outside the lobby right into the action is what you get when you stay in the French Quarter.

Astor Crown Plaza in the French Quarter

We were graciously hosted by the Astor Crown Plaza for 3 nights during our visit. All opinions are always my own. 

The Astor Crown Plaza hotel is located right on the corner of historic and lively Bourbon and Canal Streets. It was a clean and comfortable stay with a view of Bourbon street right from the pool, which Benjamin enjoyed watching.

The concierge was so friendly and helpful in making reservations and getting us set up with activities that were toddler-friendly.

 

Hyatt Regency New Orleans

Our first 4 nights in NOLA were in the central business district (CBD) at the Hyatt right next to the Superdome. This was the conference hotel and the location is close to other restaurants and is perfect if you will be attending a Saints football game. One of the downsides to the hotel is the long walk from the room to get outside the lobby doors, which is much longer than most hotels.

9 Things to do in New Orleans

While you really go to New Orleans to eat (and drink) your way through the city, there are tons of other activities to keep you and the family entertained throughout the day and into the early morning.

Most activities involve moving your feet, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes.

  1. Walk the French Quarter taking in the sights and sounds (with a drink in hand).
  2. Take a Swamp Tour and hold an alligator.
  3. Hop on Hop off bus to see the city from a higher perspective.
  4. Grab a beignet from Cafe du Monde then hang out in Jackson Square.
  5. Take a plantation tour.
  6. Walk the beautiful Garden District.
  7. Take a walking cocktail tour to get the history while you imbibe.
  8. Visit The National World War II Museum
  9. Step into a Jazz Club or just about anywhere that has live music

Kid Friendly Activities and Museums

  • Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • Audubon Zoo
  • Audubon Aquarium
  • Insectarium
  • Mardi Gras World
  • Steamboat Cruise

How to get around NOLA

Your two feet are definitely the best way to get around New Orleans. I didn’t get in a car or have the need to for the first 4 days of our visit. My feet were my vehicle and it really gives you a chance to see the city, plus get your steps in with all that you will be eating.

Lyft and UBER are all around if you need to go a little further.

There is a historic Trolly and bus service. We had planned on buying a trolly pass but ended up never needing it as walking didn’t take much longer. The trolly could come in handy when it’s super hot or raining.

The Hop on Hop off bus is a great way to get to all corners to the city while getting some knowledge at the same time.

DON’T RENT A CAR. Unless you are planning on doing a lot of day trips, renting a car in New Orleans isn’t worth it. Parking at hotels is super expensive and you will probably find that you never want to drive. The tours that you take outside of the city have the option to add transportation, which will likely be less expensive than a car rental plus parking.

The best time to visit New Orleans

New Orleans can be a very hot and muggy place in the summer months. Weather is best from February Through May. You can get the best deals on flights and hotels from September through January, but you will probably see rain during your visit.

Exploring New Orleans Through Food. New Orleans is a cultural melting pot with beautiful architecture, distinct music, southern hospitality and unique food that bring together one of the most important culinary cities in the world. #saltpepperskillet #neworleans #nola #louisiana #travel #travelguide #vacation

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