Fried chicken and grits, too much booze, local musicians busking on every corner and dancing in the street, welcome to The Big Easy.
This was my first time in New Orleans and I knew of the debaucherous tales – which to be honest – got me a little excited to see if it lived up to its reputation. It certainly did but it lived up to so much more – the vibe, the music and surprisingly the food all exceeded my expectations. As someone who likes to eat clean (most of the time) I was slightly concerned about this leg of the trip as the common foods New Orleans is known for are not exactly the best for you. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when we dined out at some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Yep, you heard right…. EVER!
We were in New Orleans for three nights and the first night we arrived late and had to go for quick, easy and traditional – Mother’s where you can get everything from Po’ boys, beans and rice, gumbo, fried chicken, creole, jambalaya and grits! It was delicious but my tummy wasn’t quite used to handling all the rich, heavy foods – especially in 30 something degree heat.
The following day we explored all the streets had to offer – from live buskers to quaint cafes and of course we had to treat ourselves to delicious beignets from Cafe Du Monde – a must when visiting The Big Easy.
Later that night after too much talk of grits and sausage gumbo I popped on the perfect black dress for the New Orleans heat and we headed for a bar/restaurant called Comperelapin, which is where we began our new favourite trend of sitting at the bar.
We discovered all over the United State if a table wasn’t ready for you, you could sit and wait for one at the bar. This soon became eating the entire meal at the bar as well which is where we would have some of the best conversations with locals and meet some really interesting characters. The cocktails here were brilliant but there was one dish that stood out – Curried Goat and Sweet Potato Gnocchi. My boyfriend and I have a saying regarding who picks the best dish – we call it the ‘Roger’ after my dad who has the ability to always pick the best meal when we eat out despite not being a massive foodie. Well, this dish was the ‘Roger’s’ of all ‘Roger’s’!
An absolute must when in New Orleans is booking a cruise on the Mississippi River in an old school/traditional River Boat. You’re fed all the historical facts as you sail along the river and many cruises include lunch and a jazz band so you can really participate in a true Big Easy experience. Definitely a highlight for me!
Another highlight was our final dinner before departing the following day. We went and listened to some amazing live music and then stumbled upon an incredible restaurant, Paladar 511. Once again, we sat at the bar which was amazing as it was an open kitchen and we were able to watch all our food be prepared and ask questions about which dishes to order. Hands down, if you ever have the privilege to go to this restaurant, order the Fried Arancini – a huge ball of fried risotto goodness SMOTHERED in parmesan cheese. This was the perfect accompaniment to the Pan-Seared Snapper and Ensalata Tri Colori – again a salad SMOTHERED in parmesan cheese. Are we sensing a theme here? 😉 Yum, yum, yum is what pretty much sums up The Big Easy!