Weekend Foodie Warriors – Take 34! *New Orleans Trip*
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you had a fantastic weekend! This week, we’re taking you on our big break in the Big Easy, from exploring the French Quarter, checking out museums, and eating as many classic New Orleans foods as we could! Join us for our NOLA adventure🎉 💜💛💚
Ya’ll know how much we love breakfast foods here on this blog, so what better place to start than the most important meal of the day? 🙌😍
This was not my first time in New Orleans. Slight sidetrack – on St. Patty’s Day week in 2016 & 2017, I traveled with the American Marketing Association (AMA for short) to NOLA for its Annual International Collegiate Conference. AMA chapters from around the world gathered for a three-day event full of seminars, t-shirt design contests, and business pitch competitions – with prizes of course! There is a picture floating around on LinkedIn somewhere where I was the featured image for a seminar I attended at one point.
In those two years (and with help from my trusty Google Maps food bucket list) I was a great help and tour guide for Jamie, as it was his first time in the Big Easy.
First stop was one of my favorite brunch places I discovered on my first trip to NOLA – Monty’s on the Square.
Not wanting to stand in a line that wrapped three times around the building for Cafe Du Monde, finding Monty’s right across the street was a happy little accident.
Being so close to Mardi Gras, King Cakes feature prominently in that holiday. They were orignially a cinnamon and sugar brioche cake in a bundt cake shape, frosted with the green, gold, and purple that NOLA is so known for. It’s tradition to hide a tiny plastic baby (to symbolize baby Jesus) somewhere inside the cake, and whoever finds it in their piece is said to have luck and prosperity!
Monty’s created a beignet inspired by that cake, with their “Kings Cake beignets” – stuffed with gooey cinnamon sugar filling, dusted with a mountain of powdered sugar (very custom for beignets),
& finished with Mardi Gras colored sprinkles!
We didn’t want to start our morning on a complete sugar rush, so we also got the full breakfast – a biscuit with hash brown potatoes, two fried eggs, and a country fried piece of chicken with gravy 😋 By the time we split everything we were both super full! Absolutely recommend this place to get one of the best breakfasts NOLA has to offer (and still get to try beignets!).
Auction House Market was our coffee pick me up stop, kind of reminded me of a Swamp Rabbit Cafe and grocery vibe. There were different food vendors set up in little booths around the room, including a few plant sellers and product makers too.
The coffee place we went to was called Coast Roast (great locally roasted coffee!), and we got to check out the awesome french macaroon place next door called Mac & Moon – all their cookies were vegan and dairy-free friendly 💜 There was Elysian (a raw oyster bar), an empanada place called Empanola (love the play on words/location), and The Mayhaw – a bar in the middle too! We could’ve spent all afternoon there trying all the dishes. I feel like this spot would have felt right at home in Greenville. Great place to hang out and there’s something for everyone to try there!
Willa Jean’s is one of those really special places that I was so excited that I found a few years ago on my first trip to NOLA.
We had actually first went to Domenica’s, a little pizza place off of Canal St., and they gave us mini versions of what would become my favorite cookie- the Brutti ma buoni.
This cookie is a dark chocolate espresso cookie, which takes two days to make! I actually have the recipe and have made them at home quite a few times, however, there’s nothing like the original.
I was so excited to eat them, I didn’t even take a picture in the bakery and waited until we got home and it was in a Tupperware container. 🤦♀️ If you go anywhere for baked goods in New Orleans, it’d be a crying shame to miss checking this gem out. While you’re here, try their hot chocolate with whiskey if the season is right – decadent and really puts a fire in your belly.
Our last breakfast stop was this cute little French inspired cafe Jamie found called Cafe Fleur De Lis (which fun fact is the national flower of Switzerland actually).
We had both never tried a Bloody Mary before, and since it was wayy too early to be drinking hurricanes, we went with this drink!
I ended up finding out I’m not a huge fan of them, but Jamie is the more savory taste lover between the two of us. My sweet tooth was happier once breakfast came around, with a sweet potato benedict!
This wasn’t something NOLA specific, however, I’d never had a sweet eggs Benedict before and this was a great one! It was slightly spicy and played off the flavor of the sweet potato really well!
Super cute spot close to Canal Street, great for people watching and taking in the sights too!
Felix’s Oyster Bar and Acme Oyster House are right across the street from each other. I’m not sure what their history is or if the restaurants are known as friends or more competition; but it’s funny that the first time I came to NOLA, we tried to get into Felix’s and couldn’t get in, so we went to Acme. This time around, we tried to get into Acme and couldn’t, so we went to Felix’s instead!
The atmosphere is so fun and unique and the oysters Rockefeller there were amazing! We sat at the bar and watched the people behind the counter shuck oysters until they brought out our fried oyster po-boy as well. Absolutely one of those classic New Orleans restaurants you have to check out on your travels here.
After spending a day walking around museums, we wanted something close by for dinner, so we walked up the street to Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar and Seafood House.
This place felt more like a family restaurant than some of the more hipper places we checked out, however, we got to speak to some really sweet bartenders over dinner and watched them grill the oysters we were eating!
This restaurant definitely had some of the coolest appetizers on our trip, with Oysters Rockefeller topped with crawfish, alligator jalapeno poppers, and finally, crab-stuffed savory beignets (probably my favorite of the three). It was a really relaxed restaurant with great food and we’d definitely go back next time we were in town!
One of our favorite new spots we discovered on the trip was Lula Restaurant Distillery, only a few blocks from our hotel in the Garden District.
They distill their own rum and vodka, along with having a super creative menu featuring fusion cuisine and plenty of locally inspired farm-to-table dishes and ingredients.
We started off with their crab and mango curry avocado dip w/wonton chips (such an awesome substitute for tortilla chips, absolutely love those things), and tried their fried pickles with homemade chili ranch dipping sauce. We were eyeing splitting an entree after that, however, dessert and drinks were calling our name! Jamie got a rum and ginger beer with their in-house rum and locally brewed ginger beer, and we opted for the flour-less chocolate torte, which was absolutely decadent and had the consistency of fudge. We contemplated going back for another night or meal that weekend because there were so many awesome sounding menu items we wanted to try! This was such a cool place, definitely check it out for all my foodie and hard liquor fans.
My first two pro tips when traveling around NOLA – prepare to do a lot of walking, be smart and buy yourself a three-day “Jazzy Pass”. This is an all-access 36-hour set of tickets for under $20 that gives you access to all the trolleys, buses, and public transportation you can jump on in the city. The only thing that ever slows it down are 5ks and parades! We found that out the hard way our first Sunday there when every trolley was shut down for the 5k that took over most of the French Quarter and Garden District to the west (where our hotel was).
We ended up walking to Monty’s on the Square for breakfast our first day in town, passing by Jackson Square to our left, the waterfront to our right, & St. Louis Cathedral in the process.
They had one of those “love locks” where people would leave love notes and locks on this gate, which I believe originally started in France or Italy if I remember correctly. The paddle boat would ferry you across the river and we watched as little tug boats pushed massive freight liners as we walked by.
Next on our trip was museums, there was a ton to see! We had choices between a few art museums, the Civil War museum, but landed on two – The National WWII Museum (Jamie’s pick) and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (both of us were pretty excited for that one)! Since we couldn’t take pics inside the WWII museum, I included pictures of a dog we spotted behind a gorgeous wrought iron fence instead! 😂😍🐶
The best part of the Southern Food and Beverage museum was the cooking class we got to take with the Director of Culinary & Garden Programming, Jyl Benson. She was so knowledgeable about all things New Orleans food! We were walked us through the differences between Creole and Cajun cuisines and how the availability and use of ingredients in recipes depended on who was ruling the area in history. That ended up shaping the modern day dishes we know from New Orleans today.
Also fun side note, my family loves Piggly Wiggly (a southern grocery store) and their pig logo is adorable! See pics in the slideshow for more of those.
During the class, we started with a warm tomato and okra (almost) tapenade on french bread (also not pictured here), followed by a jambalaya using locally made andouille sausage, and finally, bananas foster with ice cream (sans the ice cream for me of course). There was also a 150 year old reserves bottle of Tabasco sauce to add to our jambalaya, which was super yummy!
If you’re a foodie, this is definitely a must see place on your NOLA bucket list, and spring for the cooking class if you can! They’re also in the process of expanding their kitchen spaces, adding more classes, and starting up a podcast, so stay tuned for more from them!!
We wanted a cool bar to hang out at for a few drinks after all our adventures and found Claret down a cute side street near our hotel!
It had a really cool vibe and the cocktails were super creative! The space was really cool too and reminded me of a couple bars here in Greenville we’ve been to before. Definitely a fun place to hang out, with some great outdoor spaces too during the warmer weather. A must see if you’re in the Garden District!
We loved our trip and hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures too! Stay tuned for our next weekend trip coming up in a few months – New England! 🙌
So how was your weekend Foodie Friends? What’s your favorite way to experience the local food of a new place or get around a big city? Sound out in the comments below or let us know your suggestions of what dishes or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗