Friday, August 11, 2017

New Orleans Trip Report 5.27-31.2017

We've been wanting to visit New Orleans for some time and never seemed to get around to it. So we finally booked something and went over Memorial Day weekend, though we quickly realized the weather was going to be quite warm and humid.

Our Delta flight from MSP was very good and we grabbed an Uber at the airport. The lady who picked us up had her son with her and he helped with our bags. Her car made me wonder if we were going to arrive in one piece though. She knew shortcuts around traffic and we did make it in spite of the odd noises her car made.
Astor Crowne Plaza exterior
We checked into the hotel and unpacked a bit and headed downstairs to the Bourbon House restaurant to grab some lunch. There was a wait for tables in the dining room but we found an open table in the bar area.
The  Bourbon House frozen bourbon milk punch was delicious and much better than expected. This was probably one of the best frozen drinks I had on the whole trip.
BBQ shrimp po boy
another shrimp po boy with fried shrimp
We wandered Bourbon Street a bit and it was under construction in a couple areas so it was quite a dirty stinky mess. We stopped at Pat O'Brien's to try the Hurricane cocktails.
It was a nice cool spot to get out of the heat, but the drinks were not great, and made quickly and in bulk.

Mississippi River view

We wandered into Toulouse Dive Bar, this is the doors to the bathrooms- a bit tricky to find your way in though!
We had booked the evening Cemetery tour though Save Our Cemeteries ahead of time online and I was glad it did not start until 7pm as the sun was going down and it was starting to cool off a bit. There are not many trees and little shade, so this would have been miserable during the day.

Nicolas Cage's future resting place

The cemetery tour was very interesting and the guide was excellent. I would highly recommend using  Save Our Cemeteries as they support the upkeep and preservation as well.
After the tour, we went to Broussard's for drinks and a quick dinner. We just sat in the bar area as we were not very dressed up. I tried a ramos gin fizz and John had Pimm's cup.
I had BBQ shrimp 
Pompano for John as per the recommendation of our Park N Fly driver in Minneapolis
After dinner we walked down to Beach Bum Berry's Latitude 29 tiki bar for a drink. They closed at 11pm, so we only had time for one drink. Too bad the tiki bar map is only decor and none of the glasses are available.
Navy Grog 
Latitude 29
We went to Stanley for breakfast Sunday morning, we had a bit of a wait for a table so we had time to look around Jackson Square. Lots of artists displaying their work around the park.
 pancakes and bacon
omelet sandwich 
After breakfast we wandered the French Market area a bit. We stopped at Molly's at French Market for a Frozen Irish Coffee.
We walked around the Outlet mall at the Riverwalk (cruise ships depart here as well) and found a Cafe du Monde location without a huge line. The beignets are OK, basically donuts with lots of powdered sugar, but the frozen chicory coffee wasn't great, too bitter tasting.
We took the ferry over to Algiers and walked around a bit. We stopped at Old Point Bar for one and headed back.
We saw some sort of photo shoot- a little hot to be wearing a mascot costume! You can also see how high the river was while we were there.
view of New Orleans from Algiers
 Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone
We had a drink, but the bar was mobbed and we could not get a spot on the carousel. 
 Had a couple drinks at 21st Amendment bar before dinner
 Dinner was at Red Fish Grill
mangrove snapper with Louisiana citrus sauce
more shrimp and grits for me

We made reservations, but that just got us seated in a back room off the bar, the service started OK, but went downhill and was quite slow. The food was very good at least. 
 After dinner we went to Tiki Tolteca for drinks and called it a night. 
Monday morning we went to Cafe Beignet for beignets. They lost our order so it took forever for them to arrive. After breakfast we rode the trolley up to the Garden District.
 We had lunch reservations at Commanders Palace, which I had made well in advance.
pork belly appetizer
fake birds on the wall
seared fish special- gulf fish I think
shrimp
$0.25 martinis at lunch- strong drinks too!
creole bread pudding souffle
The food and service were all excellent. It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

We liked around the cemetery across the street and walked around the Garden District a bit. We ended up grabbing an Uber back to the hotel. 
 Napoleon House exterior
Had a Pimm's cup, quite good actually.
Napoleon House interior
 NOLA restaurant Emiril Lasgasse


crab claws appetizer to start
scallops for John
BBQ shrimp for me. This version was one of the best I had, a bit spicy even with very rich grits. The service was very good all throughout our visit as well. It poured rain throughout dinner, we ran partway back to the hotel and stopped at Old Absinthe House for a drink, once it quit we went the rest of the way back.
 Tuesday we grabbed an Uber to Elizabeth's for breakfast as it was quite a distance from our hotel.
z
I had the praline bacon and it was amazing, so I think it was worth the trip for that alone.
The grits were quite good too.
lots of local art inside and out

It was a rainy, yucky day, so we went to the Aquarium of the Americas to kill some time.
neat outdoor area with birds you could feed
 We took the trolley from the Aquarium to the Jackson Square area
We went to Central Grocery for lunch and shared a half muffuletta. I can't explain why, but the sandwich was perfect and worth the trip. There was not even a line when we arrived. Paid to wait until after the weekend crowd left.
Central Grocery interior

 Crescent City Brewhouse before riverboat ride
We had booked a tour on the Steamboat Natchez. It turned out to be a good activity for a rainy day as we just sat under cover and watched everything go by. Shot of the Algiers ferry terminal above.

the other riverboat tour craft
really was a steam engine

Jackson Square from the river
 After the riverboat, we went to Cane and Table for happy hour.
The fried pork skins were magical- the sauce was spicy and sweet and the skins were freshly fried.
 We had dinner reservations at Cochon. It is a newer trendier place. 
gulf fish of some sort
the gumbo was fantastic 
beef brisket with potato salad- I should have stayed with seafood I think....
 Sazerac Bar at Roosevelt Hotel- the drink was not great to me.....
snacks at fancy bars are the best
We walked all of Bourbon Street and ended up at Lafitte's Blacksmith shop, which was pretty mellow outside on the patio, plus it was away from the other places on Bourbon Street. 
 Wednesday we had breakfast at the Old Coffee Pot. 

We wandered around a bunch after breakfast and did some shopping in the area.
Acme Oyster did not have a line when they opened at 11am, so we got some gulf oysters. It had been mobbed every time we went by all weekend. The gulf oysters are a bit sweeter than other oysters I've had before.
 We finally got a seat at at the bar at Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone!
It goes around very, very slowly, but it is rather entertaining. 

Finally, we went to Johnny's for fried shrimp po' boys. This was really good and quite affordable too!

We took an Uber to the airport, it rained heavily on the way, and slowed traffic a bit, but not too badly. Our flight was on time and uneventful.

Since I did not take notes, I'm going off photos and receipts, so I'm sure I left off a few things here and there. I know we stopped in at Harrah's Casino a couple times, as it was just a few blocks from the hotel, it was on the way to many places and was a cool respite from the heat and humidity.

I'm glad we finally made it to New Orleans, though I don't think we will be rushing to return. I think we hit a lot of the major attractions and we are definitely too old for Bourbon Street antics, but we really enjoyed the dining options and fresh seafood everywhere.