Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spotlight on New Orleans

Due to limited vacation time, my husband and I like to do 36 hour trips. We take the first flight out Saturday morning and the last flight back Sunday night and explore a new city. A few weeks ago, we headed to New Orleans.  Here are the highlights:

We landed in New Orleans at 8:40 am. We grabbed a cab ($33 for two from the airport) and headed to the Intercontinental.  The hotel is in a good location - several blocks outside the French Quarter right on the trolley line. 

We were lucky that our room was available and we checked in. Then we hopped on the street car and headed to the Garden District. The Garden District is a historic neighborhood with some of the best-preserved southern mansions in the United States. We had about an hour before our Commander's Palace reservation so we wandered around the Lafayette Cemetery  No. 1 and used a self-guided tour from Fodor's to learn more about some of the houses near the restaurants.

 Then it was brunch time. Commander's Palace has a jazz brunch where a trio of jazz musicians walk around the restaurant planning classic songs and taking requests. Our meal was very good. We sampled the pecan scone appetizer, goat tamales, tasso ham and shrimp, bread pudding souffle and the strawberry shortcake.  

Bread Pudding Souffle

After brunch, we headed toward the French Quarter.  We visited New Orleans classics, a bar that turns, heard French Quarter musicians, discovered Frenchman's street, and found an awesome cocktail bar. 

Then we headed toward Emeril's for our 6 pm reservation at the Food Bar. The Food Bar is a counter overlooking the kitchen. It was so much fun to watch the chefs prepare the meal right in front of us. The highlights of the meal were the fish taco appetizer, the beef wellington, and the smoky kale salad.

Smoky Kale Salad 

Sunday we woke up to the sounds of the marathon. So we got an early start and headed toward Cafe du Monde.  We walked around the French Quarter a little more. I tried (and loved) PJ's King Cake blend coffee. Then we headed toward August - a John Besh restaurant. We got there a little early so passed some time on the slots at Harrah's.  We tried and really enjoyed all the classic dishes: Truffle gnocchi, Trout, Shrimp Etouffle, and deconstructed banana pudding.


After brunch, we boarded the Hop On/ Hop Off bus. I love these buses. I think you get a good overview of the city. It was a beautiful sunny day. We were really interested in the Magazine Street area near the Garden district and definitely want to explore there more on a future visit. 

We decided to hop off at Mardi Gras World. We weren't sure what to expect, but it was so interesting. It's a working warehouse that prepares floats for 22 out of 50 of the Mardi Gras parades.
Mardi Gras World 

We really enjoyed learning more about Mardi Gras and the float preparation. 

We took the bus back towards our hotel, had a great oyster Po'Boy at the Acme Oyster Company,  and had one last fancy cocktail at loa before heading to the airport. 

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