Where do I start? Well, three nights in New Orleans is both nowhere near enough time, and more than enough time. Bars don’t really close and you can put your drinks in go-cups, so you find yourself partying like you would in Vegas but NOLA has one million times the charm in the daytime and some of the best food in the world, I could’ve stayed two more days easy. Was this my first time to NOLA, no…but the last time I was there it was 1999, I was 18, and that was obviously pre-Katrina. My mom chaperoned our Junior Olympics Volleyball tournament, we stayed right off of Bourbon Street, and besides playing volleyball we just drank frozen drinks, much to my coaches dismay and went on a bayou gator tour. I remember LOVING it, because, well, duh, it’s magical, but also I was 18 and they let me drink! What kid wouldn’t love this place?!
This time is different, I’m an adult, with a bank account and foodie friends. We stayed in Bywater, which is a controversial (because of gentrification) place to stay, not far from the 9th Ward, like Mississippi Ave in Portland but the gentrification wounds are much fresher. We were walking distance from some great places like Bacchanal, N7, Elizabeth’s, Satsuma, and Pizza Delicious to name a few. Our Airbnb was cute, nothing too fancy, your typical shotgun-style house popular in New Orleans, but perfect for us.
I got in late our first night but ready to go, I was on West Coast time. So we hit the town Wednesday night around 1 am, technically Thursday morning. Our first stop was Vaughn’s which we heard was a staple and it was cool. #Protip if taking a weekend trip I’d start your weekend Thursday or Friday and stay until Sunday. Wednesday was dead everywhere. Vaughn’s was cool, we got Dixies and talked to some locals that told us what to check out, then we wandered over to J & J’s which was more of a sports bar, then to Big Daddy’s where we ended up realizing we were starving, the bartender there told us to get food at Buffa’s, yet another dive, and by the time we got done eating we were spent. CONSENSUS: al the bars pictured below are basically the same. Maybe just pick one that has live music and stay put.
Waking up the next day we had heard nothing but good reviews of Turkey & the Wolf. So we went and we were not disappointed. It won Bon Appetite’s restaurant of the year, and while perhaps we were a bit perplexed by that award we agreed it was REALLY good. Fried pot pie with slow cooked chicken, cabbage salad, wedge salad, deviled eggs with fried chicken skins, and the most delicious collard green melt I've ever head (also the only one I've ever had.) After that, we caught the streetcar (which you can't not do, so fun especially on a hot day) up to Magazine street and wandered around until dinner. We wandered into some great shops all close to each other in the Canal/Garden District. DNO (Defend New Orleans) was especially cool and worth checking out.
After that it was Parasol’s, a place known for their po' boys, but we were too stuffed to try them. We got some frozen Irish coffee’s and chatted with an amazing woman who had been living in New Orleans for 25+ years and before we knew it, it was dinner time. We were heading to a place called Marjie’s which all of our restaurant industry local friends had told us was the best Thai in NOLA. It also didn’t disappoint. All the flavors were wonderful, I might venture to say it was as good as Pok Pok if not better, plus you can smoke at the table! After that it was French Quarter time. A place called Cane & Table which for lack of a better description was a high-end tiki bar, I would highly recommend. (THEY HAD THE GOOD ICE!) Then we made our way to R-bar, which also had one of the hipper vibes in the area, and is coincidentally a hotel with reasonable weekday rates. I might try to sty there a night or two next time I’m in town. Before we knew it it was 4 am and we were at Verdi Marte eating po-boys on what we would lovingly refer to as our stoop since we ended up back on it the next night as well, eating another shrimp po-boy, ho boy. CONSENSUS: Turkey & the Wolf - must. Cane & Table - Must. R-bar - MUST. And Verdi Marte - MUST MUST MUST!
First things first on day two we grabbed a coffee at Solo Espresso, another cute place walking distance from our place that serves Panther Coffee. If you’ve read my review of Miami you’ll know Panther Coffee is a PPpick. Here I caught up with my friend, so you ever do that? Take a trip with someone and forget to see how they’re doing? Sometimes a long coffee or breakfast is so important to a trip, especially a one on one trip right?!
Soon after we called a Lyft to take us strait to the NOMA. This is something I wouldn’t want you to miss if it’s your first time in NOLA. The sculpture garden at NOMA is so fun AND FREE! They had pieces by local New Orleans Blue Dog creater George Rodrigue, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtentein and so, so, soooo many more… After that we lyfted to Parkway Po’boys and split a sandwich, then decided to walk to our next meal, fried chicken, at Willie Mae's. We stumbled upon all sorts of goodies on our walk. A love potion and candle place called F&F Botanica that I would highly recommend to you but sadly it’s just recently closed. That’s the thing about walking around when you’re a tourist, we would’ve never seen this place had we not stumbled upon it. And come to find out it was quite a famous spot, but not one New Orleans recommendations article I read even mentioned it! Other amazing stumble was a warehouse called “The Mardi Gras Spot” full of, well beads mostly, but some of those beads were penis shaped! It was clearly a place for people making floats for Mardi Gras but you better believe we spent some serious time in there! We rounded out the afternoon by cruising Bourbon Street whilst drinking frozen bevies, eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde duh, and of course, getting our palms read. Why is doing this in NOLA such a spiritual experience? Maybe it’s just ‘cause you’re hungover and emotional? But I swear everyone I talk to that does this gets hit strait in the heart! CONSENSUS: You gotta see the NOMA sculpture garden and get your palm read.
Just a few more pics below to give you the vibe of the place around Halloween, god I loved it, take me back right now! These trips really do mean the world to me...Courtney and I already have plans to go back next Halloween, this time with all of our girlfriends! CONSENSUS: make time in your life for these special trips, try not to spend your money on stupid shit. And NOLA is fucking magical, duh.
UPDATE: Courtney is pregnant and we will NOT be going back this year. See what I mean about making time for these trips?! Time is precious. I love you Court, congrats!