NOLA, baby

Here's my comprehensive list of recommendations for all y'all coming down to the Big Easy! 

To see the year in a life of a dietetic intern in New Orleans, check lavieliNOLAda.

NOLA foods to try:
  • Red beans and rice - best comfort food ever, served everywhere on Mondays
  • Jambalaya - chicken and sausage sauced up rice
  • Gumbo - okra based seafood or chicken/andouille sausage stew with rice
  • Char grilled oysters - grilled oysters topped with parmesan and butter
  • Po-boys - french bread stuffed with fried seafood
  • Beignets - fried dough topped with dusted sugar
  • Shrimp Creole - shrimp in a tomato based sauce over rice
  • BBQ shrimp - whole shrimp in a dark flavorful roux (best served w/ a rosemary biscuit!)
  • Crawfish etouffee - a creamy crawfish stew over rice
  • Boiled/fried seafood - shrimp/ crawfish/ crab/ oyster depending on season
  • Blackened redfish - local gulf fish grilled with lots of peppery seasoning
  • Muffaletta- a glorified Italian sub, note to New Yorkers: the bread to meat ratio is very high, so do not expect a deli style sandwich

NOLA cocktails to try:
Sazerac - absinthe
Ginger mint julep - whiskey
French 75 - champagne
Hurricane - rum
Bloody Mary - vodka
Pimm's cup - my favorite! spiced fruit liqueur

Local breweries/beers to try:
Abita - Amber, Purple Haze, strawberry (seasonal), Andygator
NOLA Brewing - Blonde, Hopitoulas (IPA)
Great Raft - Southern Drawl (blonde), Reasonably Corrupt (dark)
Covington - Pilsner

Explore the French Quarter!
  • start at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street and visit Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s grave
  • go into all the antique shops on Royal Street
  • get a drink at the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street
  • try all the different praline companies (especially Southern Candymakers or Loretta’s)
  • enjoy and support at local art and artists around Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
  • visit Faulkner’s house/bookstore in Pirate’s Alley
  • get beignets and cafe au laits at Cafe du Monde
  • walk along the Mississippi River
  • listen to live jazz on Royal Street or in Jackson Square
  • get a muffaletta sandwich from Central Grocery
  • buy souvenirs at the French Market
  • get a fresh fruit rum smoothie at Organic Banana or a frozen Irish coffee at Molly's
  • make your way down the river to Crescent Park to catch the sunset

  • Stanley’s - right by Jackson Square, one of my fave brunch places
  • Court of Two Sisters - Bill’s favorite restaurant. They have a beautiful courtyard with live jazz (on weekends) and a buffet brunch
  • Brennan’s  - recently renovated old school restaurant famous for their eggs benedict and for inventing the banana foster’s
  • Cafe Amelie - beautiful courtyard with modern New Orleans cuisine
  • Green Goddess - outdoor seating in a charming alleyway, great sweet potato biscuits and vegetarian friendly
  • Cafe Fleur de Lis - casual breakfast spot serving all the essentials with morning cocktails
  • Camellia Grill - all counter seating serving eggs, thin waffles, giant pancakes and omelets, hashbrowns, pecan pie, and old school grill classics

  • Acme Oyster House - I bring visitors here for the chargrilled oysters and the Peacemaker po-boy. Warning: there's always a long line.
  • Royal House Oyster Bar - great for classic New Orleans seafood dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, oysters, and fried gator.
  • Napoleon House - if you want a sit down place for a muffaletta, this is a great spot and it has some NOLA classics like red beans, and jambalaya.
  • Mr. B’s Bistro - a nicer sit down restaurant with lots of great flavorful Creole food
  • Central Grocery- the most famous muffaletta in town. Buy it here, enjoy it along the river or in Jackson Square
  • Killer Po-boys - not your standard fried everything po-boy. The roasted sweet potato is vegetarian friendly and my top pick
  • Coop's Place - also gets very crowded, but perfect for fried chicken + red beans.
  • NOLA - Emeril's restaurant in the quarter. Modern menu with some of his classics
  • Irene’s - for a classier, intimate, sit down Italian inspired dining experience
  • GW Fins - one of the best modern fresh seafood restaurants in town

Late Night:
  • Verti Marte - hot food display case and hot sandwiches, cash only. My favorite spot for shrimp creole and dirty rice in the city
  • Clover Grill - 24 hr burger and breakfast joint. Hashbrowns well done, please!
  • Buffa's - live jazz, serving everything from grits to gator balls
  • Camellia Grill - pecan pie, old school grill classics
  • St. Lawrence - gouda mac and cheese, frozen Pimm’s cups

Bourbon Street: public drinking is legal in New Orleans. Don't be shy to ask for a to-go cup!
  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop - oldest building in the United States to be used as a bar
  • Tropical Isle - hand grenades
  • Daquiris, fish bowls
Frenchmen Street:
  • Art Market (Thursday-Sunday nights from 7pm - 1am)
  • Cafe Negril, Blue Nile, Maison, Vaso - my favorite live jazz bars
  • American Aquatic Gardens - sitting right on the edge of Marigny, this garden store will blow your mind

Eating beyond the French Quarter:
  • Willie Mae’s - yes, go for the unforgettable fried chicken.
  • Luke - great oyster bar that you should definitely stop by if you like raw oysters. $0.75 oyster happy hour is between 3-6pm.
  • Compere Lapin - if you appreciate good food, then you'll thoroughly enjoy Chef Nina Compton's Caribbean Creole cuisine
  • Apolline - my favorite chargrilled oysters in town, classy intimate uptown restaurant
  • Willa Jean’s - great place for breakfast/brunch with a bakery and buttery biscuits
  • Bacchanal - Bywater wine garden with amazing cheese plates, live music
  • Capdeville - truffle mac and cheese.
  • Balise - great and easy escape from the French Quarter and traditional New Orleans / Louisiana food for brunch
  • The Country Club - boozy brunch options in a beautiful Bywater house. Actual country club with optional day pool passes, drag brunches on some Saturdays.
  • Emeril’s - get a taste of what Emeril’s all about with his bbq shrimp and truffle fried chicken
  • Crabby Jack’s - my favorite spot for classic po-boys (fried shrimp + oysters)
  • Blue Crab - lakefront seafood restaurant with boiled seafood, outdoor seating, and live band
  • Mopho - Vietnamese fusion by City Park, get the wings and a snoball next door
  • Elizabeth’s - Bywater brunch spot serving many eggs benedict variations, praline bacon, and sweet potato waffles
  • St Roch's Market - Bywater food court with vendors serving everything ranging from tacos to raw oysters to Korean wings

Can't go wrong with the fried chicken and red beans at Willie Mae's

Other attractions:
  • Go on a swamp tour in the bayou to see the alligators
  • Take the green street car up St. Charles Avenue to visit the lovely oaks at Audubon Park
  • Go shopping/explore boutiques, antique shops, local bars and restaurants on Magazine Street
  • Leave the city to visit Oak Alley and Laura Plantations
  • Explore Jean Lafitte National Park by foot at the Barataria Preserve
  • Take the red Cemeteries street car to City Park for canoeing, the botanical garden, Morning Call beignets, mini golf, and the sculpture garden
  • If you like history, take the Creole Queen river cruise down the Mississippi to the Chalmette Battle Field
  • Rent a bike and head towards Crescent Park for a perfect view of downtown New Orleans and the sunset

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