New Orleans Vacation – Where to Eat, Stay and Things to Do

Last we took a last minute trip to New Orleans. Chicken Legs got a new job, so we wanted to get one last trip in before he started. We have been wanting to take a trip to New Orleans, so we decided to go for it!
We got in town around lunch time and decided to eat in the hotel restaurant.

The restaurant was beautiful. The whole restaurant is under a skylight.

These were the first of many Blue Dog pictures we saw on the trip.

I got the Cajun Chicken Sandwich. It was SOOOOO good!

Chicken Legs got the Hurricane Po-Boy.It was cornmeal fried gulf shrimp, southern slaw, bbq remoulade sauce, lettuce, tomato, and spicy pickle. He ate every last bite.
We left the hotel and walked off lunch. We explored the sights of Bourbon Street and Jackson Square before dinner.

Dinner was at Irene’s Cuisine.

They had a lady playing the piano while we waited.

It was really busy. It was a good thing we had a reservation.

We were seated in the main dining room. There are pictures of celebrities all over the walls. Hota Kotb, Lenny Kravitz, John Stamos, Tim Matheson to name a few.

The meal started with some bruschetta. It was great.

We got an appetizer of Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli. It was really good. It was made with fresh pasta. The red sauce was fantastic. 

Chicken Legs had the Soft-Shell Crab with Pasta and Crawfish Sauce. He loves soft-shell crab. He devoured this! 

I went with the Meatballs in Marinara. It was super delicious!

We got bread pudding for dessert. We ate this like we were piranhas. 
I wanted to lick the plate. SO good!

Day Two started at The New Orleans School of Cooking. 
We signed up for a demonstration class full of cajun cuisine.

Our instructor was Anne. She was a retired kindergarten teacher. She has been teaching at The New Orleans School of Cooking for 14 years. She was fantastic! SO funny and informative. She grew in in New Orleans and told us all about the history of the city and the food. She also gave us lots of recommendations on places to eat.
Here is Anne working on the Jambalaya. Everything smelled so good!
Once Anne was finished cooking it was time to eat!! 
The meal started out with Abita Amber Beer. 
I don’t like beer, but I LOVED this beer. So did Chicken Legs. 
I am sure we will be drinking this at a tailgate this season.

First up was the gumbo. It was full of andouille sausage and chicken. Anne doesn’t use okra in her gumbo. She said it is slimy and usually disintegrates by the time the gumbo is done.  
OMG! To-die-for! I had two bowls. It was the best thing we ate in New Orleans. 
It was no wonder it was so good. Anne used lard and heavy cream!

Next up was the Jambalaya. It was made with smoked sausage and chicken. 

Dessert was a bread pudding with whiskey sauce. Crazy good!
The last thing Anne made was a batch of pralines. I can’t wait to get in the kitchen and practice!!
The Cooking School was the highlight of our trip. I HIGHLY recommend it! 
I will definitely go back the next time I am in New Orleans! They offer hands-on classes as well as the demonstration classes. Hopefully I will be in town for a hands-on class next time.

No trip to New Orleans is complete without a trip to Pat O’Briens.

We went in the afternoon and it wasn’t crowded. 
I had the Hurricane. I love these! I only had one, but I wanted two.

Chicken Legs went with the Bloody Mary. He loved it, especially the spicy green beans.

On the way back to the hotel we ran into some musicians on Bourbon Street.

Dinner was at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse.

Dinner starts with some fresh bread and butter.

They also serve a crab toast.

Chicken Legs got the turtle soup. It was finished with some sherry. He loved it. He said it had a little kick. I had to trust him because there was no way I was eating turtle!

I got the chicken and sausage soup. Really good, but not as good as the gumbo at the cooking school.

Chicken Legs got the House Filet – a filet served with creamed spinach and Pontalba potatoes, topped with flash-fried Louisiana oysters and finished with bearnaise sauce. He loved every bite. 

I got the creole seasoned USDA Prime Sirloin Strip. YUM!

I got the Au Gratin Potatoes – potatoes with tons of gruyere cheese. 

Chicken Legs decided to get dessert, for the blog. He went with the Coconut Cake. It was heavenly!

Day three started out with lunch at a New Orleans classic, Felix’s Oysters.

We were the very first customers of the day.

Chicken Legs started out with a dozen oysters.

He ate every last one! 

Chicken Legs couldn’t decide which po-boy to get. He asked our waitress what she suggested and she told him to go with the Roast Beef Po-Boy. GREAT choice! It was delicious. I will be making a version of this at home. I wanted to steal his plate.

I went with a chicken sandwich. I know it is boring, but I don’t eat seafood. It was actually really, really good. I ate every last bite!

I am a hushpuppy freak. I had to try Felix’s. They were really good. They had a kick from the jalapeños in the batter. I almost ate them all. 
After lunch we went on a swamp tour by Cajun Encounters. We caught a bus and went over to Slidell, LA. We opted for the “small boat” tour. There was a maximum of 10 people on the boat. We lucked out and only had 6 total people on our boat.

We saw a gator as soon as we got in the water.

The guide tempts the gators with marshmallows and hot dogs. 

Our guide took us back into the swamp. This was part of the “small boat” experience. The larger boats won’t fit back here. It was really pretty.

We saw one last gator back in the swamp area. The guide named her Olive.
The swamp tour was really fun! We would definitely do this again. 
We had the swamp tour bus drop us off at Cafe’ Du Monde.

It is open seating at Cafe’ Du Monde. The menu is on the side of the napkin dispenser.

We got one order of beignets to split. They were gone in a flash!

Chicken Legs loved them!

We were worn out from the swamp tour, so we decided to eat dinner in the Davenport Lounge at the hotel. We also didn’t want to get back out into the oppressive humidity.

We got two appetizers for dinner. 
First up, Andouille Corn Dogs. I LOVED the presentation. They also tasted great.

The second appetizer we got was the North Shore Flatbread. It was a flatbread topped with tasso ham, andouille sausage, mushrooms, roasted garlic béchamel, and mozzarella. This was our favorite. 
I loved it so much that I got the recipe from the chef. I will be making this ASAP! Don’t worry, I will share the recipe on the blog.

Our waitress, Pam, arranged for us to have dessert. She brought us Baba Au Rum (their version of bananas foster) and Powder (their beignets with chocolate, caramel and vanilla sauce). 
We were STUFFED!
Before we started our drive back to The Ham, we stopped in at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street for breakfast. 
Anne, the cooking school instructor, told us that her favorite beignets were here at Cafe Beignet. 

We had to give them a try before we left. We liked them a lot, but we actually preferred Cafe’ Du Monde’s beignets. 

The last stop on our road trip was at Raising Cane’s in Hattiesburg, MS. My friend, Joy, raved about the chicken fingers on her blog. I made note of what exit it was on the way down at so we could stop for lunch on our way back.

OMG! BEST CHICKEN FINGERS EVER!! Seriously! I also really loved the skinny crinkle fries. I wish there was a Raising Cane’s in Birmingham. I would eat there all the time. Well, on second thought, maybe it is a good thing there isn’t one close by. I would weigh a ton!

We had a great trip to New Orleans! I am still full from all the amazing food!
I can’t wait to go back – in the winter! It was SO hot and humid on our trip. It was hard to breathe!
I already have a list of places to try.

Port O’Call – drink a Monsoon and have a burger
Palace Cafe – White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Mr. B’s – BBQ Shrimp
Arnaud’s – something with remoulade sauce

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  1. I've never been to New Orleans, but I have eaten macarons from Sucre, which were utterly delectable! Thanks for the lovely giveaway.
    sharonjo at gwtc dot net

  2. Cafe Du Monde and not sure of the name or if it is still there, the Central Grocery for the Muffaletta! Yummm. After seeing the pictures and reading your blog, will have to make a short trip to New Orleans and try some of your suggestions. It has been many years since we have been.

  3. Makes me homesick! (I'm a La. native living in AZ now) LOVE Cafe DuMonde, best beignets and chicory coffee, and Pat O'Brien's … sure miss those hurricanes!

  4. I have never been but I have heard such rave reviews from friends about Cafe du Monde's beignets; it would be one of my first destinations!

  5. I'd love to win! I love NOLA! I love the food, the culture, everything. I especially love Cafe Du Monde, the Gumbo Shop, I could go on and on!

  6. It isn't a restaurant, but no trip to NOLA is complete for us without a stop at Southern Candymakers! They have the BEST pralines!

  7. I LOVE New Orleans! Hubby nicknamed me "Cajun Baby" after my first trip in 1987. At the top of the list of favorites is Mother's…it's not uppity, but they have awesome food, and they pile it on, which my hubby loved!

    I SOOOO wish I'd known you were going to NO…there's a restaurant there (Copeland's) that serves a White Chocolate Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce, and it is TO DIE for! On my last trip, I brought back four servings! I've been wanting a foodie/blogger to try and replicate it. Maybe the next time you go down there, you can get some. And, it's not at the Bistro on St. Charles street; it's at the location across the bridge, and in Shreveport. You'll love it!

  8. I don't have a favorite restaurant in new orleans. I loved your photos, made me get a feel for what it's really like there. Looks like it was a ton of fun!

  9. My husband and I had our first escape to New Orleans about 3 years ago and we've been again. We plan on going again next year or the following year. There is so much to do, I am in love with that city!!

  10. It was so long ago I was in New Orleans, I don't remember where I ate. However, I loved the turtle soup at Brennan's when they had a restaurant in Las Vegas.

  11. Sounds like a good eating trip. I took a cooking class at NO School of Cooking when I was there. It was so much fun.

  12. I lived in Metairie/New Orleans for 38 years until Katrina. One of my favorite places to eat is Deanie's at the Lakefront for fried oysters and catfish. Also LOVE the charbroiled oysters at Drago's. Could eat a whole dozen by myself.

  13. It's been several years since I've been to NOLA, can't really remember the names of some if the restaurants I liked besides Cafe Du Monde. Maybe my husband and I should take a weekend trip!

  14. It's been several years since I've been to NOLA, can't really remember the names of some if the restaurants I liked besides Cafe Du Monde. Maybe my husband and I should take a weekend trip!

  15. I've never been to New Orleans but would like to go. Thanks for the wonderful article and some great ideas on where to eat.

  16. I've never been to New Orleans, but my husband has a few times. He said the bananas foster at Brennans was excellent, so I'd probably chose to go there!

  17. Can't wait to visit in New Orleans. Was just there in Dec for a wedding but this time no family obligations. Love it!

  18. I have yet to visit New Orleans but it is definitely on my short list! Your meals all sound (and look) amazing!

  19. Wow what an amazing looking trip you took! I am drooling over all the good eats you got to try!

    I have never been to New Orleans so I don't have a favorite restaurant (yet). But I definitely want to go!

  20. My husband was stationed in Hattiesburg, MS and we would do random trips to NOLA for the weekend getting to know a lot of the places you've listed and a few more. Cafe Du Monde has IMO the best chickory and cafe au lait. Cafe Begniet has the best bloody mary, hands down that I have ever had. For THE BEST oysters and roast beef po boy you have to go to Acme Oyster House, tell chicken legs to order the 10 napkin roast beef you truly need all 10 and then some.

  21. I've never had the pleasure of going to New Orleans, but definitely want to now! I'll be using your blog as my own personal tour guide if I do! Looks so yummy!!! Thanks for the great post and pics!

  22. I've only been there once but it was our port to go on a cruise. We only had time for coffee and beignets before getting on our cruise so we stopped at Cafe' Du Monde. I had powdered sugar for head to toe!

  23. I spent my honeymoon in NOLA 27 years ago. It would be too hard to pick a favorite. Muffaleta from Central Grocery, Camelia Grill, Court of Two Sisters. Loved them all. We also took the cooking class from Joe himself!

  24. I love NOLA! And I've eaten at Irene's and Brennan's Steakhouse before – loved them both. This post made me both seriously hungry and yearn for another visit to one of my favorite cities.

  25. I can't pick one! We lived there four years – 2 on either side of Katrina. I love the Palace Cafe (turtle soup), Parkway Bakery & Tavern (poboys), Mr. B's (BBQ shrimp and Drago's (oysters). Those are just a few. There are way too many great places to pick one!
    imjustbeachy@me.com

  26. Sadly, I do not know what my favorite restaurant in New Orleans is. I haven't been since I was a small child. I plan on going with my husband for a get-away when our son is a little older.

  27. We didnt eat out much while we were there but we did enjoy The Crazy Lobster. It was down on the water front. I had stuffed lobster and it was delish!!

  28. I have not been yet.I so enjoyed going along on your trip and it just has me wanting to go more.Warm Blessings!~Amy

  29. I so enjoyed reading about your trip, and drooling over the pictures! I've never been to New Orleans so I don't have a favorite restaurant, but of the ones you visited, I'd most like to go to Irene's Cuisine. It sounds like a can't-miss place, and the food looks delicious!

  30. There are many, many great restaurants in New Orleans, but I am only happy if I can get a muffuletta from Central Grocery!

  31. I have never been to New Orleans but everything that you had looked delicious!!! I have visiting New Orleans on my bucket list!!! 🙂

  32. Oh, your pictures brought back many memories of my trip! Too many restaurants, s much yummy food! No favorite!

  33. We've never been, so I don't have a favorite restaurant! But I hope to go some day, so I loved reading your post to know where to add to our list!

  34. I love New Orlean's and wish I was there! I have been to the Cafe du Monde and love it. Though my favorite is the Soft-Shell Crab with Pasta and Crawfish Sauce at Irene's Cuisine.

  35. Everything looks so good! I think the potatoes or the gumbo would be my favorite. Thanks for sharing! Do you ever feel awkward taking pictures of all your food?

  36. I have never been to New Orleans, we always vacation at a beach. You made it look like someplace I would like to go – we're all about dining!

  37. We always get the Goombay Punch from Port of Call, and I'm pretty sure that's just the large version of the Monsoon. I definitely recommend drinks at Port of Call.

    And if you like oysters, Dragos has 2 locations and has the best charbroiled oysters I have ever eaten.

  38. Hubby & I were working in the lower ninth ward, rebuilding a large store after Katrina and there was this small convenience store on W. Judge Perez Drive, that sold deep fried Boudin balls. They were to die for. We ate there every lunch for weeks….it's just really hard to find bad food in New Orleans.

  39. Wish I could say I have a favorite but haven't been fortunate enough to visit yet! Loved reading your post and hoping to get there one day soon! ????

  40. I'm headed to the Big Easy in October-reading this entry has me so excited to try out some of these restaurants, yum!

  41. I've never had the chance to go to NOLA even though we're only a few hours away. All the delicious food you posted really makes me want to go though!

  42. I've never been there sadly. BUT, if I did because I have a lot of friends who have gone and one who lives there, I do know my first stop would be Café DuMonde and then to Commander's for the Sunday Brunch.

  43. Each place you eat in New Orleans seems to be better than the last! Last time I was there we went to the same cooking school. So fun!! My favorite restaurant was probably Commander's Palace. But we did go to Mr. B's for bbq shrimp – so good!!

  44. I've never been to New Orleans but would love to go. I would love to try all the restaurants you went to. Yummy.

  45. And, I forgot! If you're ever in Baton Rouge, you should go to the original Cane's that is right off of the LSU campus. I spent a summer doing research at LSU in 1998, and have been a Cane's lover ever since. A couple of locations have opened here in Phoenix in the last two years, and I am so excited!

  46. My BFF lives in Metairie, so I always try to fly in and out of NOLA when I go home to visit and spend a day with her either on my way in or out of town. We usually eat at New Orleans Seafood and Hamburgers, Deanie's, or Quarterview Cafe, which are not near the Quarter at all. I have stayed in a few hotels in NOLA for weddings and vacations, andI love staying at Hotel St. Marie, which is in the Quarter, and is easy walking distance to everything, and is right off Bourbon, but somehow seems to be quiet and peaceful. If you have never stayed at Hotel St. Marie, I would highly recommend it. I have recommended it to several friends, and everyone has loved it.

    I was just there a few weeks ago, but I want to go back! I can hardly wait for my Christmas visit!

  47. I can't wait to see you soon so we can have some big time New Orleans talk! We spent our honeymoon there #%^#} years ago and have returned several times! U have been to NOCS twice and will definitely return. I wrote a post about Pascal's Manale and BBQ shrimp. I also have their bread pudding recipes. Can't wait to share that story with you! Thanks for the giveaway:). See you soon.

  48. I can't pick just one, so:

    Court of Two Sisters for brunch

    Johnny's Po-Boys for lunch

    Cafe Maspero for lunch or dinner

    Deanie's Seafood (in Bucktown) for dinner

  49. My in-laws live in NO so we visit frequently. However, we usually eat at home because my in-laws and friends are excellent cooks!

  50. Oh how I would love a trip there! It reminds me how hungry I am. I love the Cafe Du Monde. The cooking school looks like a real winner. I want to go!

  51. I've never been there — and now with my health conditions, I'm sure I'll never be able to go, but, girl, you sure made it come alive!! That cooking school would be my favorite!! Thanks for sharing your experience and giving someone an opportunity to indulge in some of the flavors! How sweet!

  52. Such a great visit! I love NOLA – I've been to all the places you went and since I love seafood, I would have gotten it everywhere! I make my Gumbo like Anne does – no okra! We have 2 Raising Kane's here in Norman and my favorite dish is their sliders made with Texas Toast! We eat them all the time during FB season and I even made a post about them – I just call them Texas sliders. They rock!

  53. There are two places I have to go to when I'm in New Orleans. 1) Cafe du Monde and 2) The Gumbo Shop on St. Peter's. Also Uglesich's in the Garden District has an awesome oyster brie soup.

  54. I wish I could say what my favorite NOLA restaurant is, but have never made it that far into Louisiana! Hoping to rectify that soon. Regardless, I do ♥ me some Cajun/Creole food!!!

  55. My European family and friends always ask if there is anything to do in Louisiana. I will definitely use your blog post to convince them that there is great stuff to do and eat in Louisiana, especially New Orleans. Thanks for providing evidence.;>))))) Linda @ Wetcreek Blog

  56. I've never been to New Orleans, but everything you posted looks SOOOO GOOD! I love cooking with Cajun seasonings and flavors, hope I win! 🙂

  57. BTW – I didn't JUDGE your choice of chicken sandwich at the restaurant. After all – it is just PLAIN CHICKEN – Right??

  58. I've never been to New Orleans, but of course I would have to try Cafe du Monde if I ever had a chance to visit.

    Also, that chicken purse is wild.

  59. I love this! I can't say what my FaVoRiTe NOLA restaurant is because we have never been. We tried to stay last year when we were taking a cruise, but a music festival kept us from getting a hotel within 75 miles of NO. ~We were really sad!

  60. Oh I LOVE this post and have been following your trip while you were there. We had just been the week before. Honestly the best meal I had was the Oyster and Shrimp Po Boy at Market Cafe. I had a shrimp one at Johnny's but it was not nearly as good, although more famous. Of course we loved Cafe' Du Monde. I would so LOVE to win this!! Thank you for the chance, Steph

  61. I've never been to NOLA, so I don't know! I'd be tempted to stop and every place I see, I've heard such wonderful things about the food.

  62. Your post made me feel like I had returned to New Orleans again!
    Love the beignets.
    Thanks for the post and the chance to win

  63. Original Pierre Maspero's the best!!! The alligator po'boy was the best. Great food and atmosphere! Want to go back soon.

  64. I've never been to New Orleans but my brother and SIL ate at NOLA and raved about it. Husband and I will go someday!

  65. Next time you go you HAVE to eat at Ralph's on the Park. It's the best food we had while we were there. And I'm glad y'all tried Canes… Now I'd like a plate for breakfast!

  66. I have only been to NO once and I was little so I don't remember it well. However, I want to go back and would love to try all the restaurants you went to! I do love beignets though. 🙂 Thanks. Rubber chicken purse? love it!

  67. I have never been to NOLA but would love to try the coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. : )

    Have a good weekend!

    Jennifer

  68. I have never been to NOLA but would love to try the coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. : )

    Have a good weekend!

    Jennifer

  69. That chicken purse is so awesome!! I want it so bad!! I love the idea of a New Orleans food tour. I am living vicariously thru your pictures. 🙂

  70. Have never been to New Orleans but we love some Cajun inspired food! Maybe one day we will make it there!

  71. We live about 45 minutes from NOLA. It is hard to pin down a favorite restaurant because there are so many good ones. But, if I had to choose one, you can't go wrong with Mr. B's. If Chicken Legs really loves oysters, go to Casamento's the next time you go–it is closed during June, July, and August. They don't take reservations, and they only take cash, but the oysters are to die for.

  72. I have always loved NOLA. Even if you're not from there, it has a homey feeling. The people are loving and the food is amazing!

  73. I have never been to New Orleans. If I ever make it there, I would prefer a local restaurant over a chain restaurant. All your food looked delicious.

  74. I love when you go on a trip! Your reviews are the greatest. You eat the best food! I always make notes of your restaurant finds…just in case. Glad your trip was a good one!

  75. Wow what a trip. I actually live in the New Orleans area and your post makes me want to head into the city and do a staycation! Great job and looks like you had fun.

  76. I've been to New Orleans in August also…and all I remember is the humidity and heat. Luckily I've been back since to truly enjoy the city,

  77. Sounds like you guys had an awesome time. I haven't been to New Orleans in 20 years. I don't remember the names os the different restaurants but there wasn't one that we didn't like. Even the little place in the mall that introduced us to muffuletta sandwiches. Yum!

  78. Oh! This makes me home sick! I grew up in Mobile, and used to go to New Orleans at least 3 times a month! After getting married and moving to Birmingham, that trips lessen to once every few months. Life threw me for another loop when my husband's job sent us to Dallas! That's 8 hours away from NO?! Did I mention he's an accountant?! So, in the 11 months we've been in Dallas, we've only been once. This is making my mouth water and tummy growl. It's hard to pick one favorite restaurant; however, if I had to pick one it would be Dooky Chase on Orleans Ave. it's not on Bourbon Street or the French Quarter, but its i amazing! And everyone loves the legendary cook, Leah!

  79. I gained weight just reading this post:) I was there a couple of years ago and saw lots of the same scenes! Enjoy your day dear friend, HUGS!

  80. Thank you for a great accounting. Very interesting and makes me want to go back. It has be years but I think I
    'Ll be going again soon!

  81. I have only been to Nawlins once, back in 1987 for a 3-day business weekend. stayed at the beautiful Monteleon hotel in the french quarter. was really busy with a trade show, but did manage to get seated at Antoine's the 2nd night – it remains my best restaurant meal/experience to this very day! the menu was all in french, so our waiter had to translate for us. I still remember my entree – Pompano Ponchatrain – so good! when we finished our meal, our water took us on a tour of the restaurant and even down into the wine cellar!

  82. I have never been, but would love to go and try out all the places you mentioned! Would also love to win your prize!

  83. The Bombay Club and the Café Giovanni in the French Quarter. They both have amazing food. Is it time for Mardi Gras so I can go back yet?

  84. I loved a little hole in the wall called Lakeview. It had shrimp or oyster boats (French bread stuffed with seafood) I don't think it is there post Katrina.

  85. I haven't been to New Orleans for a few years, but I liked every restaurant I went to there! Galatoire's Restaurant was great, as were some of the little hole in the walls in and around New Orleans!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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