The city has two faces
“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”- Tennessee Williams
Today we are going to share with you a short city trip in New Orleans. To visit one of the oldest cities in America, 300 years of history (Older than the independence of America) full of vibrant characters waiting for us to explore. So many fun things are going on in the capital of jazz, like the time we walk on the street and spontaneously see a parade for Christmas, so alive, and full of rhymes.
If you ask me how’s the city like, I will tell you it’s a city with a rich historical background, where the music never stops, the street view is exotic, probably the most exotic city in America, and the multiple cultural influences make it so interesting, the net effect is a unique city you have to visit once in your life!
So… What brings us to the city? mostly gourmets food. Cajun and Creole are something we always go back to. From gumbo, po-boy to dirty rice… I can’t stop thinking about it when the words cross my mind… and there are not many Cajun restaurants in San Diego yet, sadly. Hence, we decided to spend a lot of time, enjoy authentic Creole/Cajun foods.
There are three main areas you can find restaurants: Frenchman street, Magazine street, and Bourbon street at French Quarter. As our experience and talk to locals, Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts, the best restaurants are at French Quarter but not exactly on bourbon. We tried several from breakfasts to dinners and here are our recommendations:
Breakfast and dessert:
Cafe du Monde
The oldest cafe of the city- Cafe du Monde, their simple menu just stick onto the napkin box.
Beignet (French donuts), usually come three of an order, as they said, either is three or nothing! the freshly deep fried plain donuts top with copious amounts of sugar powder, order it with a coffee au lait or hot cocoa, that’s the proper way to start a new day!
this place is the home of the original New Orleans beignet, they have been serving customers since 1862. they serve traditional beignets 24 hours a day, seven days a week (except for Christmas Day).
Here is a video made by my love Fabio Arciniegas, a lovely visit at Cafe du Monde
authentic po-boy in New Orleans style!
This restaurant was recommended by our Uber driver, he said it’s one of the best Po-Boy in town. We just ordered an eggs Benedict po-boy since it’s our second breakfast after Cafe du Monde. :p Stanley’s hollandaise sauce is so well done, gives the poached eggs a beautiful moment. By the way, they have pretty good Chicory coffee, another famous coffee shouldn’t miss at the region. Chicory coffee tasted as slightly woody and nuttier than regular coffee. Can’t say enough about how well it matches a nice rainy day!
Lunch and Dinner
Muriel’s Jackson Square
This place just right at the corner of St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. they don’t have an obvious sign, so it’s easy to be passed by, the whole outlook is also much private, however, the time we try is at early dinner time, they serve lighter food and drinks. BUT, it was totally a winner! they are famous for the French, Cajun & Creole. we ordered their gumbo and turtle soup plus a shrimp gnocchi. If you have been following my new food project, you may know I am pretty into the 19-century foods recently. Muriel’s completely nailed it! The food all contained seriously authentic signatures, the seasoning, the cooking way are really retro. It’s my first time tasted real turtle soup (my own turtle soup is a nice variation of chowder) it’s so good, and the topping with sherry was so delightful! highly recommend! At the end of the meal, the waitress was very nice and told us about the history of the building and feel free to visit the second floor. That was completely fun, first of all, a table for two ghosts around the corner of stairs. then The Séance Lounge is a joy to visit and to show off to visitors, very much like the movie, took many pictures there. That made our visit to Muriel’s more than just a dinner, it was an experience, gourmets, and history!
Yes, Yes, Yes… this place is so legit
It’s right at the heart of the French Quarter, nice environment and has a patio. For sure the best crawfish Étouffée in this trip! we ordered crawfish Étouffée, fresh crawfish tails simmered in a spicy sauce of onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic, cayenne pepper. They serve with warm bread and it was totally heart filled. After a long day walking around the city, the taste was beyond words! Highly recommend it, and wish we could visit it more.
This place is not at French Quarter, it’s at Mid-city neighborhood. When the day we planned to visit the New Orleans Museum of art and City park, we stopped by this place for lunch. They serve Cajun and Creole, but with a modern interpretation. It’s a nice environment to dine, the outdoor place is cozy. We ordered Dirty rice (You can have the recipe from my old post), Boudin Balls, Shrimp Poboy, and Gulf Seafood Couvillion. Totally love their Boudin balls and Gulf Seafood Couvillion, it is so new to us. The shrimp po’boy is tending to the sweet side, because of the fritto misto, but it could be good to try in hot days.
This place was recommended by our Airbnb host. Famous place for locals to hang out. And it is totally true… the night we visited was a huge rainy day, we have to wait in line for a while. But it is totally worth it, the place is not big, they have a bar area, which is a lot of people like it. We saw locals were happy and talk loudly, you can feel the South’s vibrant characters completely in here. they have nice Cajun foods, fresher and modern way of cooking. we order seafood gumbo, jambalaya, Cajun Fried Chicken. Recommend this place if you are visiting the French Quarter.
New Orleans Creole Cookery
This place was our last dine in New Orleans, we are so glad to end the whole trip in here. The dining place is quiet and elegant. The interior is retro with its own charm. The waiters are friendly and nice. We ordered Creole red beans & rice, Crawfish Étouffée, and Creole pasta. The red beans and rice are really great! Crawfish Étouffée was nice and quite a big plate, it’s said Creole food adding more vinegar than other cuisines, which we could find it here, it’s pretty interesting and make some punch, I like it. The Creole pasta is made with tomato and shrimp which is completely wonderful.
Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub
we end one night up at here to see a jazz performance, and it was totally great! it’s a small place but cozy, the musicians are very talented and funny. One of the oldest jazz pub in New Orleans. One of the best things is you just need to order one drink that you can enjoy the whole show. Highly recommend it!!!
We also visited Frenchman street for a short break, this is a place full of bars that locals love to hang out too. it’s not a big place once compared to French Quarter, and feel more ragged, but the live music is quite nice, we stopped by one bar to get a martini and beer, seeing lots of local couples in different ages hanging around, enjoy the music and foods. However, to us, we don’t feel like to just get a drink, so we off to French Quarter to eat after a short break.
Also, about the famous Bourbon Street, it’s really different from day to night… truly a people watching place. Bars, pubs and strip clubs, lots of visitors dance on the street. at late night the street is full of drunks, people called it small Vegas, but we feel that is much more than that…Although we are not much party people, we still had a short break at Oceana Grill, got some fresh oysters and Gator Tail Bites which marinated white meat gator tail served fried with remoulade sauce. It’s quite nice because we sit close to the window, got a pretty good people watching time.
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)
Aside from the gourmet food, we also had a great time exploring the history in New Orleans. Feeling pretty lucky we catch up the Orleans collection (on view to Jan 27 2019) at New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). they have many masters’ art works, such as Rubens, Rembrandt, and Poussin…etc. The nephew of Louis XIV, Philippe II expected to become king but a direct heir was born in the final years of his uncle region. before Louis XV inherited the throne in 1715, Philippe II serves as Regent of France for 8 years. The Duke was an avid patron of art, from theater to music and paintings. During the Duke’s guardianship, a newly founded city in New World- America was named after him, La Nouvelle-Orleans. therefore, there are so many streets were also related. Eg, Royal, and Bourbon, Philippe II belonged to the royal house of Bourbon, which ruled France from the 16 to 19 centuries. Orleans, Philippe II was given the title Duke of Orleans to indicate his proximity to the throne. Not only this collection was fascinating, but they also have nice collections of Oceanic art, African art, European, Baroque art. highly recommend visiting here at least 3 hours.
right beside the museum is the famous Sculpture garden, it’s free admission, open 10 am to 5 pm. It was totally a pleasant surprise seriously! we saw many artful sculptures, a nice green area for people to hang out. highly recommend it.
St. Louis Cathedral
The St. Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans’ most notable landmarks, its position overlooking Jackson Square, which easily leads you to the front because there are always some street performers acting. Since 1727 New Orleanians have worshipped in churches on this site. Truly, this is the heart of old New Orleans.
The historic neighbors Of St. Louis Cathedral, side by side, now is a museum of the history of New Orleans. We learned a lot of architecture style, jazz, and the lifestyle in old time of New Orleans, definitely recommend it!
The Presbytère’s two permanent exhibits tell two sides of the ongoing Louisiana story—one of celebration and one of resilience. Mardi Gras- It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana.
Living with Hurricanes- Katrina and Beyond exhibit tells of rescue, rebuilding, and renewal. It was a mixed feeling after the visit, surely one is knowing the history of Mardi Gras, the other is the heartbreaking story behinds Katrina, but overall still recommend it if you would like to learn these parts.
The 1850 house
Since I am so into the 19 century’s cooking history recently, I suggested my love to take a look at the 1850 house. It is a historical building at French Quarter, few places offer the chance to experience the lifestyle of ancestors. The 1850 House is one of those rare places, offering a glimpse of upper-middle-class life in antebellum New Orleans, the most prosperous period in the city’s history.
The 1850 House doesn’t represent any single family’s house, rather, it reflects mid-19th-century prosperity, taste and daily life in New Orleans. it’s not a big place but we recommend visiting! surely it will transport you back in time.
The French Market
Well, it was an unspoken disappointment since I am a huge farmer’s market girl… I love artisan stuff, but right now most of the vendors in the place are selling not so artisan stuff… still has one or two doing that, but you can tell the others are not so much. we talked to one of the artists who is set outside the old French Market, outside the main area, across the street and he also mentioned that the French market was mostly imported goods and suggested us to check the other side of the street with more local goods.
One of the two steamboats still activate in America, Steamboat Natchez is quite a beauty. although this time we have no chance to take a ride, we still highly recommend it, just better check the schedule and plan ahead.
Hop on a streetcar
The streetcars are one of the famous icons in the city, and actually, the story of The streetcar named desire was set at the French Quarter! So How can you not hop on one of them?
Overall, this short trip really brings us a lot of joy, feeling we know more about American history. Also, we did gain a few pounds… hahaha! that is not a surprise, isn’t it? the foods are truly great. Although is a low season to visit the city, but people there are friendly, maybe one day we will visit there again at the most Vibrant time- Mardi Gras, to see the floats! Have you been to New Orleans? please tell me about your experience!