New Orleans

No, not heading down there to watch Louisville clobber UK [update: fail] but for an actual non-Mardi-Gras-related vacation. Might Baji get a chance to read a book, listen to her own music, go on a swamp tour, die of an overdose of powdered sugar? Stay tuned and find out!

My hyperbole-loving friend compiled a list of recommendations which I will reproduce here so I can look it up easily and thank/berate him later.

Dinner spots

  1. Commander’s is a classic and is absolutely incredible and worth going to
  2. Jacque Imo’s. Almost certainly my favorite restaurant in New Orleans with a super bizarre set up that you won’t find anywhere else
  3. Cochon. Might be a problem because it’s named after the pig but this place is incredible and run by one of the best chefs in the city, Donald Link
  4. Restaurant August. Let’s just say that you’ll need to be ready to spend but this is John Besh’s flagship and we ate there for the first time on our most recent trip – simply incredible food. Among the best restaurants I have ever eaten at
  5. Luke. Another John Besh place and more low key but similarly incredible.
  6. Sylvain. New place we just tried and absolutely awesome – located in the Quarter with a great menu.
  7. Herbsaint. Another one of the best restaurants in NOLA and also a Donald Link place
  8. I’d recommend Antoine’s or Galatoire’s but you’re not going to go there so no sweat
Lunch spots
  1. Parkway. Many people say they’ve got the best po boy in town
  2. Domilise’s. Others prefer this place for po boys (I think I agree)
  3. Mother’s. It’s a must – an awesome place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  4. The Joint. Awesome bbq
Breakfast
  1. Camelia Grill. Strangely, their website is down but this is a classic
  2. Ruby Slipper. Delicious
One comment on the beignets – you actually have to do du Monde. It’s a super cool location and you just grab a table and listen to the street performers. Yes, some will say that there are better beignets but du Monde ALWAYS lives up to the hype.

Clearly, I could go on for days but those should get you started. There are also tons of awesome things to do – if you want a real local vibe, head over to Magazine Street, where we’ve loved a few restaurants like La Petite Grocery and Ignatius. It’s a cool walking street. I lived on Freret and we had an awesome time there recently (street used to suck) with places like Dat Dog and Company Burger. You definitely have to ride the Street Car from downtown to uptown and get off at Tulane/Loyola – cross the street and walk around Audobon Park – you won’t regret that. Be sure to take in the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, where you can grab some super cool art. From there, Royal Street is far more awesome than Bourbon (but you’ll have to walk Bourbon too). If you’re feeling adventurous, head down through the Quarter to the Marigny, which is kind of the hipster spot down there. I’d recommend a bunch of bars to you but you wouldn’t go – if you’re there at night, duck into the Spotted Cat (often featured on Treme) and you can hear some great music.

The Quarter is such a neat place and if you head Uptown or to Magazine, you can wander leisurely. Trouble is that getting from the Quarter to those places will require either the streetcar or a cab – definitely farther than you’ll want to walk.

Also awesome is doing a swamp tour or one of the graveyard ones. We’ve only wandered in the cemeteries but they are really something to see and I’m sure the tour guides would crush it.

Most of the art galleries are on Royal and those are really fun. One of the more iconic ones now is Rodrigue (he makes the Blue Dog) and his new studio is AWESOME.

Also – if you’re looking for Vietnamese, head over to the West Bank and go to Pho Tau Bay. NOLA has a huge Vietnamese population and you would live like a local.

Also a cool local thing if you’re looking for dessert: Angelo Brocatto’s for ice cream

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