Hey ya’ll! I am down in New Orleans, Louisiana! It is quite incredible down here; especially the food and craft beer scene! The heat is intense – something I am not used to at all. When you go from a dry area of 24 degrees, feeling like 24 degree to NOLA of 32 degrees, feels like 45 (what!? I know!), it’s a shock to the system… and hair…
I have been here for two days so far and I have so much to share already! So let’s get started!
We landed in NOLA Thursday afternoon and checked into our hotel, the Hyatt Regency. Nice hotel with lots of restaurants onsite! We were hungry right away so we unpacked and went down to the Borgne for happy hour. They had tapas on for $5 and 1/2 price craft beer on draught. Win!
For the tapas we ordered the catfish sliders, white shrimp dumplings and the turkey necks! On their menu beside the turkey necks, the chef wrote “trust me!” and we are glad we did! They won the show of the three tapas we ordered! The meat fell off the bone… the crab boil made it salty… the pepper jelly added sweetness… just amazing! I am not going to lie, we went back the next day for more! The catfish sliders were very tasty as well with a really nice crunch and tarter sauce and pickle to compliment, and the white shrimp dumplings were nice with a savoury broth loaded with mushrooms!
Now onto the beers. I ordered a Parish Brewing, Canebrake, Wheat Ale and Eric had the Abita Amber Lager. I didn’t take much time to complete the “proper” beer tasting but did mentally jot down a few notes. The wheat ale poured clear and was crisp and refreshing with a nice balance of bitterness from the light hops. The amber lager has a great caramel flavour that makes the beer rich with flavour but still light and refreshing.
After our tapas and beers, we decided to take a stroll down to the French Quarter. We walked around for about an hour, taking in the buzzing scene and decided that we needed more beer and another snack, so we stopped into Ole Saint. We both had a pint of NOLA brown ale which tasted like toffee, chocolate and coffee. It poured dark brown with a rich tan coloured head. A really nice malty beer! Then we shared the sausage platter which came with local sausage, beer cheese and hot soft pretzels! All awesome!
Now that we were extremely full, we walked around the French Quarter a little more and then made our way back to the hotel and basically crashed by 9:00 pm. I have to note that we were up at 2:45 am to get ready for our flight…. so it was indeed a long day… that’s my excuse for crashing so early!
Day 2! Up at 7:00 am! We got ready and headed out straight to the French Quarter – straight to Café du Monde for some coffee and beignets! By the time we got there, we had zero desire for hot coffee! (still not used to the heat and humidity of NOLA!) so we had beignets with iced café au lait! The beignets are amazing … when I received my package of three large, hot, square donuts, covered in icing sugar I didn’t think I would be able to eat them all, being a non-donut and non-sweets fan. Let me tell you, I had no problem at all eating that entire bag!! The iced café au lait was a nice cool down as well. I do wish I could have handled a hot black coffee at that time as I really wanted to taste their coffee so I am going to have to buy some and bring it home with me!
Next we walked… and walked… we basically covered all of the French Quarter including the French Market and the Moonwalk along the Mississippi River. We popped into a bar (I can’t remember which one unfortunately!) and grabbed two Voodoo Juices to-go (lots of rum, little juice) and kept walking and exploring.
After much walking we felt more food and drink were in order so we stopped into the Gumbo Shop for some authentic NOLA gumbo! Eric ordered a Cajun Bloody Mary and I the Sangria. The Bloody Mary was good, but a little different since we both were expecting it to taste like a Caesar (oops, Canadian mistake!)! Sangria is made in house at the Gumbo Shop and was nice, sweet and very refreshing! Next for our meals, Eric ordered the Seafood Okra Gumbo and I had the Chicken Andouille Gumbo. Oh my… both were incredible. Salty, rich, filling, yum!
Our next mission was to explore the Garden District and I am so glad we spent as much time as we did down there. The architecture of these houses is incredible. Just when I thought I was seeing the most amazing house ever, the next one was just as amazing, in a totally different way! This is also where we explored the Lafayette Cemetery. The age of the tombs in this cemetery is alone fascinating. We walked around for about 1/2 an hour looking at all of the tombs… some with a few family members, others with up to 37 members! Quite an amazing place.
Lastly, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up as we wanted to head out again for more food (diet clearly not on the radar here in NOLA!) and to explore the French Quarter at night! We were told by a few friends and a local blogger (Swanky Recipes) to check out Mother’s. Mother’s is a small place with fantastic food and since we read online that they are known for their po’boys we knew that was what we were ordering! We ordered one Ferdi Special (baked ham, roasted beef, debris and gravy, shredded cabbage, mayo and pickle) and the fried catfish, and a side of Mother’s Red Beans. I cannot even explain how unbelievable the food here tasted. We devoured both HUGE po’boys and the red beans… and washed everything down with Abita Amber Lager.
After a decent walk down around the busy, rowdy, loud, exciting Bourbon Street, we headed back to the hotel. Since Eric is here for a conference, we knew we were set to be up at 6 am the next morning. Not as early a night as the first one, I am proud to say, but we were catching some z’s by 11:00 pm. That’s NOLA in two days so far! More to come soon!! Check out my Instagram for more pictures everyday!
Have you been to NOLA? I still have 5 days here; where else should I eat and what should I drink?!