Sunday, November 2, 2014

NOLA 2014

Back in September my sister, cousin and I took an impromptu trip to New Orleans. We all had never been plus we had heard the city had renowned food spots, booze happy streets, and a rich history that the residents took pride in. I mostly took pictures with my iPhone as tugging around a DSLR around became tiresome and there was so much to soak in, but here is what I have to share about my time there.

The place we stayed at was Hotel Villa Convento which I highly recommend. It was within walking distance of a lot of areas we planned to see and the staff was really helpful and accommodating. The room we stayed in was really clean and nice at a really affordable price.

We were told we had to try the Hand Grenade drink at Tropical Isle. It apparently is considered a dangerous drink as people will consume a lot of it without noticing it contains a lot of alcohol since it has no lingering after taste. I can vouch for the latter, but we practiced self control and didn't order many.

I loved the old buildings with their intricate wrought iron balconies with bushy greenery to spruce up the scene. And almost all the shutters around were painted in fun colors. Such a nice sight to see.

How could we turn down something listed as The Seafood Tower on a menu? Impossible. We picked that out at Pier 424 Seafood Market which felt a little "chain-like" so it definitely isn't a must try if you are in town. We also tried out Imperial Woodpecker Snoballs which was refreshing and not too shabby to look at. But again, not necessarily a MUST TRY unless you are a huge shaved ice fan.

I definitely recommend checking out Carousel Bar; it revolves as you sit! It was very neat. It spins slowly so you don't really notice it until you've been chatting up for a while and suddenly you are on the other side of the room. We had our first Sazeracs here, wowza that's a strong drink. If you like stiff drinks be sure to try it out. I personally needed to chase every sip with some water.

French Market was a couple streets away from our hotel so we stopped by to check it out. It was fun to see all the different seasonings, sauces, and other fares they had to offer. We walked away with some Cajun spices to take home.

Royal Street had a lot of street entertainment during the day. It also is the location of Cafe Beignet. We had some beignets and a muffaletta for the first time. The beignets were okay, I'm not a huge fan of the massive amount of powdered sugar. I did enjoy the muffaletta, though I have a sneaking suspicion that if you don't like olives (I love olives) you won't enjoy this NOLA sandwich. We didn't bother making it to the infamous Cafe du Monde this trip since we had our fill of fried dough.

So far, New Orleans has had the freshest seafood I have ever tried. The shrimp were always succulent, huge, and sweet. The bottom picture is Mr. B's Barbeque Shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro and it is by far the best shrimp I have ever had the pleasure of eating in my life. I was skeptical as this dish was heavily raved about in my food research but the hype is so real you guys.

A few thoughts on NOLA:

+ The weather is the strangest thing. It is hot and humid but it would also be stormy and rainy randomly for brief periods before clearing up and being sunny like nothing happened. And I thought the Midwest had wonky weather!
+ Everywhere you go there is ice cold AC blasting even if their doors/windows were open. I think they do this to entice you inside their business as the heat was pretty intense.
+ We didn't get to visit a lot of areas that I wanted to make it to. I definitely plan to go back to visit the Garden District, check out some jazz clubs, and to get a tour of the cemeteries.
+ If you are a seafood fan, make sure you plan to visit during NOLA's crawfish season. I didn't even know crawfish season was a thing, but it is and we missed it and were very bummed.
+ Bourbon street was not really our scene at night time. It would have been when I was in college, but I'm a bit of a grandma these days and it felt too "frat like" for my taste. We visited all the Bourbon street places during the day when we had most of the place to ourselves.

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