New Orleans was our best travel experience of 2016. We stayed at a cute hotel in the French Quarter and had enough time to really get to know the area. It was a great way to finish up the year.
This was my first trip to Louisiana and I think we managed to pack a lot in. We visited three local breweries, walked around Loyola and Tulane, explored the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, went to the World War II Museum….
We also tasted tons of local (or at least Southern) flavors – pralines, divinity, snowballs, beignets, pimento cheese, etouffe, grits, chicory coffee, milk punch, and hurricanes.
Here were some of our best bites…
♥Pralines. They were everywhere and the smell was amazing.
♥Hurricanes. We went to Pat O’Brien’s (<– yuck!) and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.
♥Frozen daiquiris, this one was eggnog!
♥This pecan pie soda was actually horribly disgusting, but it was fun to try!
♥Snowballs. NOLA served me the best snow-cones of my life, I had one every day. This was wedding cake (a blend of vanilla and almond) and egg custard topped with sweetened condensed milk.
♥Breakfast at Café Du Monde. This was a must-stop for us, it was actually the only activity I had planned when I booked our tickets. The beignets did not disappoint and neither did the chicory coffee café au lait (served on crushed ice).
♥Breakfast at District Doughnut. We got a Nutella doughnut and a biscuit with pimento cheese.
Plus yummy Vietnamese coffee and an iced coffee with cola and chocolate milk (<– delicious and infinitely better than it sounds).
♥Brunch at Willa Jean.
I had the shrimp and grits – gulf shrimp, etouffee gravy, grits, and slow poached eggs with cheddar biscuits on the side.
Cookies and milk for dessert. With a beater of dough and vanilla-infused milk.
♥Flights at Abita. <– one of our very favorite breweries They had our old favorites and some fantastic limited edition flavors including vanilla Turbo Dog and a key lime gose. We had beers, Zapps chips, and a root beer on draught and were in absolute heaven.
♥Lunch at Cochon. They had house-made eggnog.
We split a variety of small plates – a roasted carrot special with mint, Louisiana blue crab rice, and whole fried shrimp with pickled mustard seed hot sauce. The fried herbs were aromatic and wonderful and the best bites were a mix of everything at once.
♥Dinner at Brennan’s.
Insanely creamy Caribbean milk punch with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Mt Gay black barrel rum, cream, and vanilla bean.
Ridiculous foie gras “sweet potato casserole,” with sweet potato puree and candied pecans.
I had the cheddar risotto for dinner. With Cherokee Rose cheddar, smoked maitake mushrooms, collard green puree, and a brown butter sauce.
♥Dinner at SHAYA. <– best meal of the trip and also best meal of the year
That’s a halvah cappuccino. I also had a Pearl Diver – vodka, labneh, vanilla, and lavender bitters.
We shared a trio of appetizers – Moroccan carrots with chermoula and mint / baba ganoush with green garlic / tershi = a creamy pumpkin spread with crispy garlic and chili oil. All with fantasmic pita bread and herbed olive oil.
Also foie gras with rose tahini and carob molasses on challah toast (omg).
I had the matzoh ball soup for my entrée. With slowed cooked duck, dill, charred leaks, lemon oil, and a cinnamon-scented broth. Best matzoh balls of my life! Adam had slow cooked lamb and the bites I stole were truly the best thing I’ve ever tasted (fyi I don’t typically eat mammals but I’ll have a taste occasionally if I know the meat is humanely-sourced and Adam says the flavor is worth it).
Dessert(s). We basically rolled away from the table! Chocolate babka with halva ice cream and labneh cheese cake with burnt honey ice cream.
It was a wonderful trip!
P.S. No post coming from this weekend, it was the husband’s birthday and I was in celebration-mode versus blogger-mode. And now we’re both back at work.. womp wah. Have a great week!