5 Favorites in New Orleans
1. Mimi's In the Marigny. Mimi's was a tapas place we visited in the Marigny district in New Orleans, and we still haven't stopped dreaming about it. The bartenders were great at recommending wine that paired well with the food. And speaking of that.. OH MY GOD THE FOOD. It was amazing. Our favorites were goat cheese croquettes (basically fried balls of goat cheese topped off with honey and caramelized purple onion -- it was even better tasting than it sounds,) and we loved the patatas bravas too. We ate here twice on our most recent trip and I would eat there everyday if I could afford it.
2. Haunted Ghost Tour. Okay hear me out. Yes, this tour screamed, "I'm a tourist, look at me!" But we had so much fun. Our guide was a lady named Cindy who looked witchy in the best possible way and wore a wide rimmed black hat with thick black rings on several of her fingers. We walked around at night visiting famous haunted destinations, and Cindy provided us with a ton of information about each one. Halfway through, we even stopped at a haunted bar for drinks and I carried a cup of wine with me for the rest of the tour. We even had an interaction with a ghost on that tour. I'm serious. It was creepy and I didn't sleep at all that night.
3. The Dauphine Orleans Hotel. Okay, I normally am not a huge fan of writing about hotels, but I absolutely have to write about this one because our stay here was nothing short of incredible. It probably had something to do with the fact that our bed here was a king size Tempur-Pedic mattress, but also it is just a great place in general and I wish we had stayed there for longer. There was a small courtyard in the hotel with a pool and lounge chairs, but the hotel bar was the real charmer. It's called May Baily's place and it used to operate as a bordello in the old red light district of New Orleans. The interior was decorated with portraits of "madames" as the hotel describes it on their website, and had a gorgeous bar with ornate carpets and wallpaper.
4. Frenchmen Street. Frenchmen street is leagues better than the disaster that is Bourbon Street (sorry to anyone who likes Bourbon Street but it's definitely not for me!) There's an outdoor art market here, as well as big bands that play on street corners to huge dancing crowds, and plenty of jazz to listen to at every bar up and down the street. It's a short walk from the French Quarter if that's where you're staying, and worth staying up late for. Unfortunately, I'm a sleepy baby when I travel and couldn't stay out as late as I wanted to, but when we did I had a blast dancing through the streets with my cup of red wine before heading in for the night. Bring some money for the art market too, it's all local artists and filled with some amazing stuff!
5. Jazz Festival in Louis Armstrong Park. Unfortunately we weren't in New Orleans for Jazz Fest this year, but we did stumble upon a smaller high school jazz band competition taking place in Louis Armstrong park and it was mind-blowing. Everyone all around us was dancing and clapping along to the music (and don't get the wrong idea, these high schoolers were young, but had some amazing talent) while we sipped on fresh strawberry margaritas and people-watched. To eat there was gumbo, rice and beans, fried catfish, beignets, small pecan and sweet potato pies, and crawfish all sold from little stalls on the corner. The smell wafting through the air was nothing short of incredible. As we listened to the music, we watched a group of acro-yogis in the park and our friend paid money to the poet in the park to have a poem written especially for her. We finished the day by relaxing on a grassy hillside in a patch of sun. Heaven.
So that's it! Our 5 favorites from New Orleans. Bonus points are awarded to the food truck that sells apple lemonade, beignets and chicory coffee (NOT from Cafe du Monde,) Cosimo's, and to that good old southern hospitality everyone who lives in Louisiana seems to possess. Without it, our trip wouldn't have been nearly as charming as it was.