Hey Everyone! I am posting days 4 and 5 together as the last day was a quick half day on our way home.
My husband had to go to the convention center for a quick hour to wrap up some business. Which gave me a good amount of time to shower then grab coffee across the street and finally start packing up our room!
Once he got to our room, he reminded me that the restaurant we were headed to later for lunch had a strict dress code. Which meant, I had to change out of my shorts and into a dress. I swear I changed my outfit like three times a day on this trip! I felt bad for him however. The dress code for men was very strict with no jeans and needing to wear a suit jacket. It was about 90°F out with full sun! Luckily, he brought a lightweight suit jacket and it ended up being breezy along our day out.
We walked around the city for a little bit then grabbed a Lyft to our lunch reservations. We were off to The Commander’s Palace. The Commander’s Palace is one of those old-school restaurants that seem stuck in time but serve award winning food. The service is of the highest quality and you are treated like the most important guest in the room. We were seated upstairs on the second floor by the grand window. Neither one of us have been there before, obviously, but our waitstaff did a great job acclimating us and giving us insight to the best dishes offered.
If this restaurant sounds familiar it’s because this is where Emeril Lagasse made his start, and also Paul Prudhomme, Jamie Shannon and a handful of others. Oh, and it’s featured in one of Anne Rice’s books. Got that checked off my list!
We started off our meal with martinis, cosmos. This restaurant offers martinis for $.25 if you order a meal, and there is a three drink maximum per person. Unheard of right? Then we ordered the soup course; my husband ordered the turtle soup, yes turtle. At first I did not want to try it, because if you follow me on social media you would have seen that a few days before I left for this trip I found a baby turtle in my yard. Which stared at me soulfully for a long while. What beautiful eyes. So that’s all I could think about when I heard he wanted to try the turtle soup.
But then we got the soup at the table.
I did try it. Interestingly enough, the dish tasted like and looked like a rich lentil soup. The pieces of turtle were cut fine, and I took like two bites, which one was just the soup covered over the spoon. So I’m not sure if turtle would be rubbery or dry or whatever because the bites were like lentil soup… that’s the best way I can describe it. What happened next is how you know service is of the utmost importance to a place. Our waiter, the lead, checked in on us with the soup. When my husband said the soup was ‘good, but not out of this world’. Our waiter took the soup and came back with a chicken gumbo. He told us that even though we were OK with the soup he wanted us to be beyond satisfied and brought us a new soup.
And that gumbo was the best soup. So I’m glad he took it upon himself to switch out the dish. haha
Then we grabbed another round of martinis, the citrus blue ones below, just as our main dishes appeared. I ordered the white gulf shrimp and my husband ordered the catfish. Our main dishes were excellent. The care for these entrees was apparent. The shrimp was cooked perfectly along with the tomato sauté and the catfish was fried so delicately that it was a true joy to eat. We then ordered another round of martinis, back to the Cosmo. We had to make it a martini afternoon trifecta!
There was a bit of time between the meal and our dessert. We ordered the bread pudding soufflé with whisky sauce and the strawberry shortcake with Chantilly cream, which we had to order along with our meals because they took about 30 minutes to make. Holy fantastic! I am not a big dessert person and I don’t know what I was thinking ordering strawberries because I’m not a fan of strawberries. But the waiter described that it had my favorite cream, which is Chantilly. I grew up eating that in all my birthday cakes. Also, I am not a fan of bread pudding either. Haha Well, what amazing food. I have never had a biscuit like that ever in my life. The strawberries, the cream, the presentation… it was all superb. My husband’s dessert of the bread pudding, having that warm whiskey cream sauce poured inside, made it so special.
I would go back to New Orleans just to have those two desserts!
We made our way to magazine street. This area has a ton of art galleries, interior design stores, antique shops, just real eclectic shops just the whole way down. My husband is a really good guy, and one of my favorite things about him is he does like to go shopping. Even if it is to just browse, he will go into almost every store with me. So we weaved our way through all of the stores that we could, taking a rest here and there, but making our way to grab a Sno-Ball. These are New Orleans versions of a snowcone. Shaved ice flavored with a syrup but the way that they shave ice it comes out fine and fluffy versus a snow cone which has bigger granules of ice.
It’s kind of funny, how this area was set up with these places. Magazine Street was a straight shot of businesses, but it was in the middle of a highly residential neighborhood. Then on a corner rich with homes there was a restaurant, like the Commander’s Palace. Then the Sno-Ball hut, it was smack dab in the middle on a residential street. It was just interesting to realize now that I am typing it out.
After we had our quick icy pick me up, we made our way further down the neighborhood towards the trolley line to grab a trolley. The website http://www.norta.com gives you live progress of the street cars by line, this is a great tool as you walk around. The stops are right on the street, just marked with a simple sign. It was kind of cool because we’re standing on this giant Boulevard waiting for the trolley and I look up in the trees to see sparkling beads hanging from the branches and leaves. When I google the street and routes for the Mardi Gras parade, I learn that we were on one of the main routes. So these beads, I start to realize, are in every tree going down the street. It really was something so specific to New Orleans! These glimmering trees.
Frenchmen Street is very different from the other parts of New Orleans where I had visited. It’s grittier. It’s sketchier. It’s dirtier. It’s more lively. I don’t know if that’s even possible, because the whole city is so lively. It’s so full of electricity, buzzing in every direction. People are everywhere, but in the most beautiful way enjoying what they are immersed in. This eclectic beautiful city filled with great food, beautiful music, and rich history. Gah,I just loved it!!
We made our way down Frenchmen Street, passing so many night clubs with brass bands playing jazz. You can’t help but smile walking down the street. The choices of clubs are numerous. Our first stop, however, is not a bar to catch music, we started over at the palace market. It’s a local market where artists sell their handmade pieces that you really won’t find anywhere else. I saw some really cool unusual pieces. I didn’t grab a picture of it, but there was a seated area at the end of the market. The market ends in almost like a cul-de-sac kind of circle. And there are pieces of chalk laid out for everyone to draw whatever they want on the ground. The artwork was amazing and I kick myself for not taking a picture of it!!
We had heard about a club named The Spotted Cat, and it just happened to be a few doors down from the palace market.
It is a Wednesday night. The street is pumping full of music, people, food, everything! We walk into that club to find a jazz band playing, Shotgun Jazz Band. So fun!, they kind of remind me of one of my favorite bands, just slower paced, the Squirrel Nut Zippers. The club has a one drink minimum, so we fly right to the bar to grab a drink. We got the drinks just as the band took a break. Haha But. As soon as they leave the stage we jump right to the front of the bar, better seats, and guess what? The band comes back on. This time with a woman leading the band playing trumpet.
The restaurant was hopping! We got seated in a quaint booth. Our view of what I thought was of the bar ended up being the kitchen. They have a predominant part of their kitchen in the middle of the restaurant, so you can watch them cooking. It was really fun for us because we are deep into conversation watching these people deal with all these dishes that they have to put together, we just had a really good time with our view.
The meal we had was fantastic! Great recommendation and I highly recommend it as well. After reading the menu we decided to get a few dishes to share, ie. our own tapas style. We started off with a round of drinks; my husband got a cider and I got a calva dorsa royale cocktail. Then we started our meal with the porcini cream raviolo, that was delicious. We also started with the tuna crudo, that had pistachio, fennel, avocado and pieces of mandarin orange with a lime cumin vinaigrette; it was so good. For our main dishes we split the mushroom pizza that had leaks and fontina, and, the pork saltimbocca that had grilled broccolini with the marsala sauce. The food really was fantastic. We ended up hanging out there until the restaurant closed.
It really was another perfect day.
Day 5- Our last day.
We woke up with the plan to hit some of the French quarter sites my husband was not able to see with me. Our flight back home was mid-day, which left us a few hours to eat, sight-see and get a car for the airport.
We packed up our room then made our way to grab coffee and beignets over at Café du Monde, another Anne Rice location crossed off my list! Café du Monde is one of those historic places you just read about and have to visit. It is located at the end of the market by Jackson Square. Their menu is not fancy, it’s pretty straight forward with a minimal coffee selection. We grabbed two lattes, which are chicory coffee with milk and an order of beignets. The coffees were nice, and creamy, but nothing I would consider craving. The beignets, however, were so darn good!. They are served hot with a mound of fine powdered sugar on top (and underneath). The fry on these is done perfectly, greasy enough, crispy enough, doughy enough. All just right. We ended up grabbing another order, because the orders come with three, and my husband really enjoyed them! We also grabbed two orders to go as a surprise for our daughters at home.
Did I mention we were away without our kids? hahah I know, I know, shut up.
From Café du Monde we walked over to Jackson Square then back past to the Mississippi River. We met some interesting people as we were there. Very interesting. Then we looped down the water over to the first cross street and we went shopping around the French Quarter to an area I didn’t get to before. Then the time got the best of us and we had to make our way back to the hotel to get ourselves going.
It was so sad.
Well, that is all I have on New Orleans! The Big Easy! 🙂
I hope all of you who are reading have had the opportunity to go or one day get a chance to go.