The New New NOLA: Munching Through The Big Easy!
Food & Wine
New Orleans (NOLA for the better acquainted.) I am no stranger to this town, this was, I believe, my 6th visit to the true city that never sleeps (or rests to be exact) and as to be expected it didn’t disappoint. NOLA is a special place. I’ll fast track the specifics because if I were to recount in full detail all the magic that occurred over the course of the week, this guide would be three-parts steamy. Let’s start with the obvious, the food and oh, THE FEWDD – seafood gumbo, crawfish étouffée, po-boys and andouille in just about everything, enough beignets to feed a small army, the whisky, whisky and more whisky. Then there is the music! This subject alone requires its own guide. Everything you could ever imagine the energy to be, it is and more. Music and New Orleans are twin flames. Sounds at every turn, horns, strings, and trumpets— it’ll go on and on. Intoxicating Jazz humming through every window or around any corner or the street performers just passing along their vibration. Neighborhood "Midnight In The Garden of Good & Evil…" inspired fêtes in some of the most gorgeous French colonial homes from the Garden, this is a romantic town! And if you're lucky enough to catch a Second Line on a Sunday afternoon, that's as good a testimony as any! Take a stroll with me as we eat though a city made of delicious sin.
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Where to stay in New Orleans, Louisiana
Virgin Hotels New Orleans
Chic property nearby Bourbon Street with upmarket rooms.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Hotel Saint Vincent
A place of refuge in the 1860s, this boutique hotel was resurrected with psychedelic-patterned wallpapers and an Italian modernist interior.
The Pontchartrain Hotel
Posh all-suite hotel from 1927 with sophisticated rooms and suites offering views of St. Charles Avenue.
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Things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana
Morning Run- Sit for breakfast at Ruby Slippers in the Bywater or grab a coffee and beignets from Morning Call and head straight to Studio Be, City Park to the New Orleans Museum of Art or Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme.
Afternoon Run- 87 degrees in the shade at 11am found me sprinting to The Country Club for an afternoon oasis in one of the city's best kept secret's. Lush gardens, yummy bites and round-the-clock cocktails. The private club offers day passes for visitors and membership for locals. P.S. (on Sundays they host a drag brunch and show - a sought after experience that fills up quickly. Advance reservations strongly recommended.
Additional suggestions to remix the afternoon/early evening:
Places to eat & drink in New Orleans, Louisiana
Cane & Table - Prime location in the French Quarter. Over a sumptuous bowl of Arroz Verde and several rounds of ‘Luck I’ve Had’ (a mezcal infused craft cocktail,) I found myself partaking in a lengthy conversation with the bar chef about wizardry, spirits, the afterlife, ya know, the usual jargon when in that neck of the woods.
Herbsaint - French-southern fusion w/ hints of rustic Italian. Pasta is made fresh daily at this staple on historic St Charles Ave.
Restaurant R'evolution - Five words: "A Tale of Three Fishes." To dine here and not order would be criminal. The Jambalaya hits all the way home.
Peche - The oysters...so fresh and so clean, the prawns are SPICY, the catfish is a literal party in your mouth and the drinks are wet. And this is just for starters.
La Petite Grocery - A local jaunt that uptown.
Dian Xin - I love a great Chinese restaurant and this one has panoramic views in the French Quarter.
Mukbang Seafood - Vietnamese take on a cajun seafood boil. Arrive with an empty belly and no pretensions because it's gonna get messy but it's oh so goody.
Bar Marilou - Corridors hidden behind bookshelves lead to a cove for dining but the true gem is upon entry in the red hued lounge that would would easily be cast as a location in Miss Saigon or In the Mood For Love. This is a diamond in the city.
Hotel Saint Vincent - Think The Ned Nomad x Nine Orchard meets Soho Beach House in New Orleans. Sexy tuck-aways throughout the property and libations that could lead to situations that should stay in Vegas.
The Chloe - 14 room boutique hotel w/ a vibrant pool scene, two bars on site and great program and special events calendar.
The Ace Hotel - A standard within the hotel group's portfolio.
Preservation Hall- Quintessential New Orleans Jazz venue for the purists at heart.
Sazerac House - Multi-floor, multi- media interactive bar, museum and distillery in one.
Cure - James Beard award winning bar serving classic cocktails and reimagined bar bite namestays.
Need to Know
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New Orleans.