Hi! I went to New Orleans last weekend for a quick 3-night getaway with my sister, Kylee. First off, sister trips are the BEST. No one knows me better than my sisters. Kylee and I shared a room for freaking 14 years, and we’ve shared pretty much every little detail of our lives with each other. The sister bond is deep, and road tripping with her is wonderful.
You know what else is wonderful? NOLA! I hadn’t been since 2006 (13 YEARS AGO?!) when I went to do Katrina relief work. Needless to say, this trip was entirely different. New Orleans has a style that is all its own. There’s no comparing this to any other city in the country.
Here’s how we spent our time:
We road tripped the 8ish hours from ATX -> NOLA (fun story: I got an AMAZING deal on flights, booked them, and then realized I had bought them for the wrong weekend in March!! NOOOO. Has anyone else every done this? So frustrating. Thankfully I was able to get a full refund, but I couldn’t find other tickets that were even close to the same price, hence the road trip.)
We had a super late lunch at Guy’s Po’boys. We were the last customers to order before they closed, and I’m so glad we managed to sneak this one in. Everything was fresh and tasty. I wish we had more Po’boy options in Austin!
We stayed at the Ace Hotel, which was absolutely gorgeous and so enjoyable. We were upgraded to a large room on the 4th floor that overlooked downtown.
After checking into the hotel, we had just a few hours of daylight left so we walked about 10 minutes to the French Quarter. First stop: Cafe Du Monde for beignets!
I know, I know. It’s super touristy and the lines are crazy long. But what’s not to love about dense, hot pockets of fried dough doused in powdered sugar?
If I lived in New Orleans, I’m pretty sure I’d feel the same way about beignets at Cafe Du Monde as I do about queso at Torchy’s Tacos in Austin: it’s ridiculously addicting and I’m not going to try to pretend that I’m too good for it. Me and all the tourists love it. 🙂
I loved having a Stumptown Coffee in the lobby of the hotel! When Kylee and I travel, we love to spend quiet mornings in coffee shops journaling and reading. On this trip, we just had to walk downstairs and start the morning there.
Willa Jean’s was high on my list to visit, and it stood up to every expectation! It’s highly instagramable and the branding is adorable, and everything I tasted was exceptional.
A friend on Instagram told me to order the avocado toast, so I did! It’s always nice to start a vacation in a healthy way.
Of course, I also had to grab some pastries…. Willa Jean’s pastry chef has been nominated for a James Beard award 4 years in a row! I grabbed a slice of the Strawberry coffee cake, and Ky got a chocolate croissant. Be still my soul….
All Day Sunday:
We spent nearly the entire day on Sunday at the National WWII Museum. I actually had no idea the National WWII museum was in New Orleans until I was doing some research for this trip, but upon a little more digging around, I found out it’s ranked as the 4th best museum in the country!
Friends: this museum was EXCEPTIONAL. I’ve been to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, and both of those are in-depth looks at European side of WWII (mostly Germany) with a heavy emphasis on the Jews and other groups who were persecuted and murdered. Both of those museums are important and worth visiting.
But this museum focuses more on the United States side of the war, which honestly, I knew very little about. I learned a ton during the 5 hours we spent here.
We decided to upgrade our tickets to include the “Beyond All Boundaries” 4D film. It’s 48 minutes long, narrated by Tom Hanks, and so well done.
Phew! After that was over, I was emotionally and physically spent! After a little rest time, we headed out for a night out.
Dinner was at Napolean House, a historic restaurant in the French Quarter where we had a casual meal of Muffalletta sandwiches and Jumbalaya.
Sunday was St. Patty’s day, and y’all know me well enough to know that Bourbon Street is NOT my jam, haha! But we braved the crowds to make it to the Jazz Playhouse, a small Jazz club where we enjoyed a few hours of drinks and music.
There’s no cover charge, just a 1 drink per set minimum. We listened to Germaine Bazzle sing with a jazz trio. So fun!
More coffee at Stumptown to start the day…
And another chocolate croissant for Kylee… This girl can put them down like no one’s business. We went to Paris together for a week in 2015, and she ate 3-4 pain au chocolat every single day. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s unreal.
I was in the mood for donuts, so we went to the Garden District to grab a couple donuts at District Donuts. Um, yum.
I grabbed a funfetti (because #instagram) and a glazed (because I like to try the classics wherever I go), and I was so impressed with these donuts! The glazed was my favorite because it was sooo fluffy, covered with a thick coating of glaze, and just $1.50!
We bopped around the city in the afternoon, stopping at City Park (HUGE….omg. It’s like Central Park, minus all the skyscrapers around it) and Saint. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to see the above-ground tombs.
There were so many restaurants I wanted to try, and not enough time! So we stopped by Emeril New Orleans for a pre-dinner drink of Sazeracs and wine. It seems to be a lovely restaurant with friendly service, and I hope I get to dine there next time.
And then we walked a few blocks over to Cochon for our dinner reservation, and this was my favorite meal of the trip. Cochon is from the Link restaurant group (we also had a lunch at La Boulangerie, another restaurant from the same group). Cochon specializes in pork dishes and imaginative cajun fare.
I mean….all the yums. I loved everything we ordered! Fried alligator bites, rabbit and dumplings, macaroni and cheese casserole, and shrimp + deviled egg gumbo. I desperately wanted to enjoy something from the dessert menu, but my belly was stuffed!
Mornings with Stumptown. 🙂 We are creatures of habit on vacation.
We had just a couple hours of time, so we wandered around the French Quarter and stopped by a couple shops.
I guess I didn’t realize that pralines were such a big thing in NOLA, but they’re EVERYWHERE! I tried a few and realized I don’t like them as much as I thought I would (they just taste like sugar to me without a lot of other depth of flavor), but you know what I’m all about? Fudge.
Yes, please. Give me all the fudge. I brought back a half pound for Nate!
A quick walk through Woldenberg Park, and then it was time to check out of the hotel and start the drive back to Austin.
I’m fascinated by the history and culture in New Orleans. The pride in this city is STRONG. I suppose it has to be in order to continue growing and bouncing back from the horrors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
I’ve never seen a city quite like this. It feels the most “European” out of any US city that I’ve visited so far. I love that the streets are small and a little rickety, the giant houses are old, and so many of the restaurants hold historical significance.
This is a RICH city. Can’t wait to go back and do more exploring!