Have you ever visited a city and thought to yourself: I could live there! That is exactly what happened to me back in June 2000.
I was fresh out of undergrad on a road trip from California to New York (for graduate school) when I made my pitstop in New Orleans. I had been accepted to graduate school here… but I had my mind set to head up north to New York for my MBA, after a fun summer in the South. A month in this city and I knew this is where I would stay, attend graduate school…and make it home.
Today, I’d like to take a little detour from my usual family food posts and show you why it’s so easy to be enchanted by this city. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a New Orleans Getaway weekend thanks to the Hilton HHonors and see the city, 13 years later, with fresh eyes… and a much better camera. Remember when we had film? Yeah, I tried to find my old photos somewhere… but no luck.
One of my favorite places to enjoy coffee is Cafe du Monde. I’ve sat many afternoons by myself (prior to having kids) doing a little “people watching”. It’s a blast. Traditional New Orleans coffee is robust, strong and rich in flavor. The New Orleans blend is mixed with chicory and it adds that robust, your-spoon-will-stand-up-it’s-so-thick quality that caffeine addicts like myself can’t get enough of.
Cafe du Monde serves beignets. The French word for “fritter”, doughnut, fried dough…the traditional European way without a hole. This French tradition was brought to Louisiana back in the 18th century by French colonists. They are now served dusted with powdered sugar and enjoyed with a cup of Cafe au Lait, or, coffee with milk.
If you take a quick walk through the French Quarter and you’ll see how easy it is to fall in love with this city. The place is full of details that clearly show the city’s individual characteristics. It’s all in the details…
…hanging plants, hidden courtyards, unique shutters and doors, lots of rod iron… these are the kind of things authors write about in novels.
If you are into wine, you can wine taste at Swirl Wine Bar and Market. From local wines to international wines there is something for every taste. One of my favorites is called Double Shotgun. The label alone tells the story of a popular style house here in New Orleans.
You should definintely walk through Jackson Square, visit the St. Louis Cathedral (at day or at night), and take a detour through Pirate’s alley onto Royal street. Royal street is famous for its antique shops, unique clothing stores and beautiful galleries!
I should tell you that the French Quarter is only 6×13 blocks wide. I say “only” but you could stay in it forever and eat like a King since it’s also home to some of the best restaurants in the city. And if you know anything about New Orleans… you know that we are famous for food! Gumbo, Beignets, Muffulettas… they are part of what I love about New Orleans.
Let’s not forget the people here…. many restaurants are owned by the same original family, continuing the same traditions from when they started. Like Antoine’s for example. Six generations later, they are still serving with the same care and attention to detail as they were back in the 1840s. One of my favorite dishes there is the Louisiana Gumbo with blue crabs, oysters and gulf shrimp. Yum! Tradition, love for good food and treating clientele like family is one of the reasons why they continue to be the oldest family owned restaurant in the United States.
A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without a Pat O’Brien’s stop. Order the hurricane, sit in the outdoor patio or sing along in the piano bar. Most importantly, sit, relax, sip, and enjoy.
Some of the other places you should visit during your New Orleans visit are: Arnaud’s for it’s Shrimp Arnaud, Desire Oyster Bar for its oysters and turtle soup, Leah’s pralines are made daily, Tujague’s beef brisket (they are also the 2nd oldest restaurant in the city), the red beans and rice inside Creole Delicacies, and the charbroiled oysters at Dragos —for starters. So many great places to visit, so little time!
Even though I only live one hour north, sometimes it seems like New Orleans is very far away! When in fact, it’s just a quick ride and I always have a great time when I visit.
I can’t thank the Hilton HHonors enough for giving me a little escape and letting me be a tourist in my own city. You can also win your very own vacation by entering The Great Getaway Giveaway going on now until August 4th. You can enter to win a trip just like mine by entering here The Great Getaway Giveaway.
This post was written in participation of the HiltonHonors ambassador program. The recipe and all all opinions are, as always, my own.
Thank You everything you do for families specially busy moms..are you currently living in New Orleans?
I sure do! I live an hour north of New Orleans.