Wednesday, November 28, 2012

72 Hours in New Orleans

This year we got weird and spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans. My brother Todd lives there, and a bunch of family members flew down to spend the holiday together with Todd in The Big Easy. I hadn't been to New Orleans since high school so it was a treat to be back. Justin had been about 11 times just this past year for friends' bachelor parties, but he was happy to be off Bourbon Street this time around. We experienced the best of both worlds: Todd showed us the local uptown hangouts, and we also toured the downtown touristy area. The weather was a perfect mid-seventy-something the whole time. I would definitely recommend visiting NOLA in the fall. Some tidbits from our time there:

We arrived last Tuesday night just in time for a late dinner of oysters, Po' Boys and beers. Todd took us to Cooter Brown’s Tavern, a huge sports bar which serves oysters by the dozen along with a full NOLA-style bar menu and lots of delicious beers. Justin had the Abita Turbo Dog. My drink of choice throughout the trip was Nola Blonde Ale

On Wednesday Justin and I explored “the hippie area,” as dubbed by Todd, on and around Maple Street. I absolutely loved it! We brunched at Satsuma Cafe. The food was fresh and really the only semblance of healthy fare we experienced in The Big Easy. After eating, we browsed the many resale/vintage shops on Maple. At one point we spotted a bookstore with two adjoining buildings, one designated for “new” books and one for “used.” Very cool.

We reunited with the fam for a late lunch at Johnny’s Po’ Boys. (Yes we were eating just about every second spent in NOLA.) Johnny’s has typical New Orleans food: Po' Boys of all kinds, etc. Justin crushed a muffaletta, which is the New Orleans equivalent of our Italian sub. The muffaletta is a must-try. 

For dinner we went to Jacque Imo’s. The vibe was very relaxed and the décor was colorful and eclectic. We dined on delicious comfort food. The restaurant is known for its fried chicken so that’s what we ordered (among many other items). I loved the mashed potatoes in particular. My fellow diners were all really into the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake. (I, not the most adventurous eater, passed.)

After dinner Todd took us to see live music at Maison on Frenchmen Street. The band playing, called the Upstarts, was awesome.

On Thursday we had Thanksgiving dinner at Luke. It was fabulous. The restaurant served a special Thanksgiving turducken dish, which Justin enjoyed. I ordered Herb Roasted Local Chicken with Farmers’ Market Vegetables & Whipped Potatoes. For dessert: Brendan’s Bread Pudding with vanilla bean ice cream & hot buttered pecan sauce. Overall NOLA experience: YUM.


P.S. If you’re headed to NOLA with a big group, i.e. for a bachelor or bachelorette party, I would recommend Cooter Brown's (uptown) or Desire (downtown) for oysters/lunch/watching sports. If you’re going to New Orleans for a more low-key fun/romantic getaway, I would suggest perusing the antiques shops (there are TONS) and also strolling along the Mississippi River.

P.P.S. More NOLA pics:

[One of the many makeshift bands stationed on the French Quarter sidewalks.]
[I loved this (mindful) coffee shop note re: napkins.]
[The - rather extensive - liquor selection at the local drugstore, Rite Aid.]
[A spot-on tee-shirt in a kitschy tourist shop in the French Quarter.]


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