When someone says New Orleans, one of the top things that people think of is the food. There are so many iconic dishes that the city is famous for, like gumbo, po-boys, muffaletta, beignets, pralines and jambalaya. It’s possible to plan a culinary adventure in the city, eating at iconic restaurants like Antoine’s, Galatoires, Brennan’s and Emeril’s and then hitting the spots claiming to have the “best” this and “world famous” that. We easily could have planned our trip totally around where we were going to eat but we didn’t do that. To my chagrin, I didn’t plan anything for the trip (besides setting up to have our parade). I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s ever done this and I thought I’d share what I learned from our make it up as we go along New Orleans adventure.
We didn’t hit anywhere too fancy because we didn’t bring the clothes for that and we’re not the type to go somewhere if we’re not going to be dressed appropriately. I’m also sorry that I don’t have many pictures of food, except for one location, because I’m not one to take a picture of everything I eat.
We arrived in the afternoon and after getting to the hotel and unpacking, we were hungry. It was around 5PM so we looked for somewhere close to the hotel. I pulled up Yelp! and saw a familiar name at the top of the list. Extra benefit, it was only a few blocks away from our hotel, the W New Orleans French Quarter.
Open since 1910, the Acme Oyster House is famous for what else, oysters. There are no reservations and it’s very casual; perfect for us. It was early on a weekday so there were only a few people in line in front of us to get in but I’ve heard the wait can be quite long if you go at a popular time.
After about 5 minutes we were brought inside with another group of 5 women. Not being familiar with the seating policies of the restaurant, we were shown to a long table that seated 8 people. I looked and said that we weren’t all one party but I was assured that this is how they do it. OK, problem being that the seats were really close, like I was sitting RIGHT next to the woman from the other group (Sharon had the one empty seat at the table next to her). It made for an uncomfortable start to the meal as you couldn’t have a conversation without the other group hearing you.
I ordered a half dozen each of raw and chargrilled oysters while Sharon ordered a bowl of gumbo.
The oysters were really good, fresh and simply prepared. I did find some small pieces shell in some of them but this place is about speed and volume so I wasn’t worried. I was a bit underwhelmed with the chargrilled ones. I don’t know what I was expecting but that wasn’t it.
The service was quick, we were done with drinks, food and had the check in less than 45 minutes. I had the feeling that they wanted to turn the table as quickly as possible. No problem, as we wanted to head out to look around town.
We walked around Bourbon St. and saw the activities. After a few hours (and a few drinks) we were hungry and needed something else to eat. ICE CREAM!
Sucre is a restaurant/candy shoppe/ice cream parlor. When we stopped in the restaurant was closed and that was fine, as all we wanted was the ice cream and it was GOOD ice cream.
It was our first full day of New Orleans sightseeing and we needed to start the day off with coffee. Our go-to place when traveling would usually be Starbucks but I heard several friends who know New Orleans talk about a local coffee chain, so we went to check it out.
For a morning coffee, this place really hit the spot. I’m an iced coffee person and this one was really good. Sharon also finished all of her coffee so I know it was good (since she’s a bit of a coffee snob). The breakfast bun was just OK but it filled me up so it fulfilled its purpose.
Part of the way through the day, we got caught in a torrential thunderstorm. It was towards the end of lunchtime so we needed a place to eat and stay dry that was hopefully within 10 feet of where we were standing.
I already wrote about this location when I reviewed the bars we visited in New Orleans. The menu here is full of classic Cajun specialties. As an added bonus, when I checked in on Yelp, there was an offer for a free appetizer so we started out with the fried green tomatoes which were the big hit of the meal.
I ordered the Crescent City Combo which included Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffée and Chicken & Andouille Gumbo. I can’t remember what Sharon ordered but it was a large plate of food and and our friend from the U.K. ordered a burger (she was visiting the U.S. and wanted a burger and fries…who were we to stop her?).
I’m not an expert on New Orleans Cajun dishes but my sampler platter was really good. Since it was the only classic dishes I had the whole trip, I was completely happy with my experience here.
The thing about New Orleans food like jambalaya and étouffée is that they’re really filling. Like “sit in your stomach for hours like a rock” filling. I didn’t want to eat anything else for hours and neither did anyone else. Eventually I was hungry again but by then it was too late and no one else wanted dinner. They wanted ice cream. Guess where we went back to visit?
The ice cream so nice we went back twice. I was getting hangry and needed food. Luckily besides sweets, they still had sandwiches to order.
For breakfast this morning, I checked out SoBou, the restaurant at the W New Orleans, to take advantage of the free breakfast we get for being Marriott Platinum. The breakfast was really good (and they even provided me two cups of coffee to go so I could bring one to Sharon in the room) but once again I realized that I don’t appreciate hotel breakfasts no matter how good they are.
We did some sightseeing that morning and had a reservation for the Natchez riverboat in the afternoon. We were looking for something quick to eat as we were crunched for time. We ended up here.
This is basically a local version of a Chipotle. You choose your order from the counter and then walk to the end of the line to pay for it. The main difference is that this restaurant also has a bar that makes a pretty good margarita, because New Orleans.
We happened to be there on National Taco Day so you could get a free taco if you asked for one.
The food was fine and it filled us up for lunch. Not anything I’d go out of my way to eat but if you’re nearby and want Mexican food, it isn’t bad.
After the river cruise, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around New Orleans and going on a ghost tour. At the end of the day we tried to eat at our hotel restaurant but we missed the last seating; who knew New Orleans restaurants closed up shop so early? We asked our hotel parking attendant where we could grab a bite to eat at 10PM that was nearby. He pointed us here.
This is another place that isn’t fancy. It just serves regular food in a non-assuming atmosphere. In a way, it reminded of of Acme Oyster House except we had our own table :-). I ordered a fried shrimp po-boy and Sharon had something with duck. I enjoyed my sandwich and felt I was having something New Orleans-y. Again, I wouldn’t say not to go there but it wasn’t anything extra special.
This was the day of the parade. We started the day as most tourists to New Orleans do. Standing in line.
There’s nothing more iconic that chowing down on one of the powdered sugar covered beignets at Cafe Du Monde. The lines are long, the tables are crowded together and they only take cash. As touristy as it is, we had to go.
After washing the sugar off of our hands, we headed to the the WWII museum and afterwards wanted to grab some lunch. Thanks to Andrew H. for recommending this place on our Facebook page.
Butcher is a butcher shop, a sandwich counter and a wine bar located next door to Cochon, an award winning restaurant from Chef Donald Link. The menu is basically an assortment of amazing sandwiches.
I had the Cochon Muffaletta, which was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted and Sharon had the BBQ pork. We shared a side of mac and cheese.
I mean, come one. Look at this sandwich. If there’s one place I want you to eat in New Orleans, it’s here!
After lunch we headed to our parade, which was amazing. Much of our group hung around afterwards and eventually we got hungry. We ended up back at our hotel in time for dinner.
It’s unfortunate I don’t have any pictures of our dinner because we were having such a great time. I’m not one to recommend eating at a hotel restaurant but this place was something totally different. I’d even say we enjoyed the restaurant more than we did the hotel.
The dishes were inventive but comforting. The cocktails were clever and tasty without having pretentious ingredients. No one had a bad meal and can you really say anything bad about a place with this on the menu for one dollar.
Pork Cracklin’ 1
Crispy pork skin… it is what it is
After a late night, we slept in and headed for our new favorite coffee shop, PJ’s Coffee, for breakfast. I was told on Facebook by Rachael R. that I needed to try their cranberry orange muffin and it didn’t disappoint.
From there, we did some more sightseeing before we met up with my friend from college and his wife, and went to the Treme Fall Festival.
I’ve was told that if you want to learn about New Orleans, you need to get out of the French Quarter. Well we did and it was well worth it.
Besides having some amazing music from Grammy Award winning artists, there was also the food. Here’s the menu from one of the stands.
That Jerk Chicken tasted as good as it sounds and Sharon had some amazing fried chicken from another booth. After we finished eating, we ate some more by trying some of the pralines from yet another stand. The street food was as good as anything else we’d eaten all week. If you’re in New Orleans and get the chance to go to a festival, DO IT!!!
Our New Orleans Adventure was almost done. We were heading home but we still were hungry when we got to the airport.
When we first saw it, Sharon’s first comment was “I didn’t know they did anything but make food in a box.” We should have known it was nothing but a tourist trap but we still went there for breakfast.
I’m looking up the restaurant now and it looks like the location is now closed, and deservedly so. It was truly terrible and deserved the 1 & 1/2 star review it received on Yelp. It would have been better just to go hungry and survive on the pretzels from our Southwest flight home.
So we didn’t get to eat at any of the fancy places you hear about in New Orleans. Guess what? We still had an amazing time and tried some awesome food. I was able to have jambalaya, muffaletta and a po-boy during my stay along with some jerk chicken. We found that the further you get away from the main tourist areas, the more likely you’ll find some great places. Are there some restaurants I wish I could have visited, of course there are. But that’s why you’re able to go back and re-visit places you’ve been before. I’ve long since stopped feeling bad about places I didn’t get to go and instead think on all the great times I had and how it couldn’t have been any better.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just two or three times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary