Ah NOLA, where everyday can be Mardi Gras!
In honor of the start of Mardi Gras this week, I figure I would feature a great American city that could always use your help, and tourist dollars. But if you love food, amazingly sweet and brightly colored alcoholic drinks, and Southern charm, then New Orleans is for you!
First of all, this is a fantastic spot for those of us who only have Two Weeks to Travel. It’s south = warm (I went in mid January and was wearing short sleeves), it’s relatively centrally located, so no flight will be outrageously long, it has pretty much everything you want to see and do in a small area, so no need to rent a car, and has a great party atmosphere, which is perfect for a 4 day weekend type of trip. Only gone a few days at work, but you really feel like you’ve been on a great vacation!
For me, the #1 pull to New Orleans is the food. If you are a self described ‘foodie’ then you cannot get your card until you visit this place. The awesome thing is, you can go from white table service at Emeril’s old haunt, the Commander’s Palace, or Chef John Besh’s fantastic spot, August, to some of the most delicious things you’ve tasted – and let’s be honest here, this is not a place you go thinking about diets, so a caveat, NONE of this food is diet friendly, live a little bit here, people – that are only a few bucks. There’s Cafe du Mond, which I do admit, is kind of a tourist trap, but if you are as obsessed with powdered sugar as I am, it’s worth a stop, but first go to Central Grocery down the street and order a muffuletta, kind of like an Italian sub on steroids, take your gigantic sandwich, walk down to the river and enjoy the views.
Still hungry? I knew there was a reason I liked you guys, more food it is:
Domilse’s Po-Boys: has a menu that is approximately 80 years old, a ramshakle appearance and uses only paper plates, but makes some damn good sandwiches
Mother’s: I was instructed to go here by my father, who finds the less appealing a place is from the outside, the better the food is inside, I had shrimp gumbo with bread pudding, and managed to sneak in a pound or two of debris
Ok, by now, I think we’re all full of craw fish and spices, so another great thing about New Orleans, is that its a walkable city, with some really beautiful architecture, think about exploring some outside the French Quarter, try the Garden District, which has an amazing collection of old Southern mansions, or just hop on one of the street cars and take a ride through the city.
If you are into the whole Mardi Gras and party feel, a great place to tour is Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, full disclosure, this place is 100% tourist trap, but personally, I thought well worth it, it is pretty cool to walk around and check out all the things that go into floats, and since they kind of give you free range of the place, there are hundred of photo opportunities, and you get some beads with your visit, which could come in handy later!
For drinks, just follow the crowds, go up and down Bourbon street and you will find a place or two to have some drinks. That is the last thing I need to be a guide for!