NOLA

Back before COVID-19, we did something called “traveling”. We went to a place that we didn’t live and saw the landscape, absorbed the culture, and, most important to this blog, tried the food. At this point, I’m sure most of you are itching just like we are to be able to travel again, but so long as we have this pandemic going on, the best we can do is look back at our past trips and recall those great memories. We took a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana back in November of 2019, and WE ATE WELL. Take a look at our 9-day trip:

Day 1 – Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

We got up at the crack of dawn to head to the airport. We flew through O’Hare with the shortest layover we felt comfortable with (about an hour). We didn’t have enough time to get anything substantial, but we did grab a chicken salad sandwich from a Farmer’s Fridge vending machine that was phenomenal. I know it sounds sketchy, but it was a local food vending machine that they filled each day with fresh-made items like fruit cups and sandwiches. It was the perfect little bite to hold us over until we landed at Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans at 1pm. From here, our first stop was a Walmart Superstore to pick up groceries for our stay (because you can’t eat EVERY meal out for 9 days straight). We rented an Air BnB house, so we knew we would have access to basic cooking implements. We picked up some bagels and peanut butter for breakfast, and some bananas, clementines, and granola bars for quick on-the-go snacks. After unpacking and settling into the house, we went to Pizza Delicious for dinner before heading down to the banks of Lake Pontchartrain to watch the sunset.

Day 2 – Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Our first morning in NOLA, we ate breakfast at the Air BnB before half of our group went on a Manchac swamp kayak tour. Meanwhile, Erik and Kayla went to the French Quarter and stopped in the New Orleans Historic voodoo museum, Earth Odyssey, and Leah’s Pralines shop. We then headed to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for lunch. We took a walk at the City Park, where we got to see an extensive model railroad. We hung at the Air BnB for a while before heading to dinner at Port Orleans Brewing Company. From there, we headed back to City Park where we played a round of mini golf at City Putt Miniature Golf Course before grabbing some cookies and gelato at Angelo Brocato and calling it a night.

Day 3 – Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Thursday, we began the day aimlessly walking around the French Quarter, stopping at Cafe Beignet and Cafe du Monde, both on Decatur Street, for a beignet taste test. We determined that we preferred the Cafe Beignet beignets better. From there, we got an early lunch of muffalettas at Central Grocery. We found that muffalettas are very polarizing – you either LOVE it or HATE it – our group was split half and half. We also stopped in Loretta’s Authentic Pralines just to browse to buy time before our scheduled walking tour of the French Quarter. Despite the heavy downpour of rain for most of the tour, it was an excellent tour! We went to the St. Louis Cemetery where we saw Marie Laveau’s burial place and Nicolas Cage’s future burial location. Dinner was takeout from Heard Dat Kitchen, which was the most amazing comfort soulfood. We all slept well after that meal!

Day 4 – Friday, November 8th, 2019

Friday breakfast was at the Ruby Slipper Cafe where we got some amazing Biscuits and Sausage Gravy and Raspberry Nutella French Toast. We didn’t have time to do much between breakfast and needing to leave to get to the Whitney Planation, which was an hour drive from our Air BnB. On the way, we made a quick stop at Whole Foods to grab lunch from the hot bar (we got grapes leaves, hummus, babaganoush, pita chips, beet hummus, and carrot hummus for a Mediterranean feast, plus some PBJ bites which were an impulse buy at checkout – would not recommend them). The Whitney Plantation tour was led by a man named Ali, who gave the most amazing presentation of the awful past. We would highly recommend it to everyone. Three hours later, we were headed back to the Air BnB when we discovered a place called Sweet Soulfood, which is a vegan cafeteria. We stopped here for dinner, getting everything from vegan mac n cheese, to vegan gumbo and jambalaya, to vegan red beans. It was amazingly delicious, and you would not have known it was vegan just by tasting it.

Day 5 – Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Saturday, we boarded the Creole Queen for a ride down and back the Mississippi river, stopping to turn around at the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery Visitor Center. On the way back, we got a powerful recollection of the damage of Hurricane Katrina. From the dock, we walked to PĂȘche Seafood Grill for lunch. We didn’t really have a plan for the last half of the day, so we decided to walk around the Garden District, admiring the ornate houses and decorative fences. Once we got tired from walking so much, we grabbed some ice cream from the Creole Creamery instead of a real dinner.

Day 6 – Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Sunday breakfast was at Willa Jean. Oh my God, Willa Jean was amazing. We got a hot breakfast of Griddled Banana Bread and a “Hangover Bowl”, plus a peanut butter hot chocolate, and also grabbed a box of pastries to take home for breakfast the next day (we got a “poptart”, a scone, and a sticky bun – the most delicious sticky bun we had ever tasted). Later in the afternoon, we went to the New Orleans School of Cooking for a cooking class. This was an experience in itself, so we have a separate blog post about that here. Once we had finished out cooking class, we knew we would not be eating dinner, so we went to the Audubon Aquarium before heading home to the Air BnB.

Day 7 – Monday, November 11th, 2019

For Veterans’ Day, we wanted to go to the WWI Museum, but decided that we would save that for our last day in NOLA. So instead, we went on a Cajun Encounters Tour. We ended up seeing a few alligators (which was surprising, as the time of year we went was a little cold for the alligators to be out and about) along with swamp pigs (that the Cajun Encounters folks had lovingly named Kevin Bacon and Peppa, among other fitting names), raccoons, snakes, and birds. Lunch was at Liuzza’s By the Track, where we got shrimp poboys and the most amazing red beans and rice. We took a brew break at Big Easy Bucha before heading to Kern Studios, where they work on the floats for Mardi Gras. To buy some time before going to dinner at the Gumbo Shop, we did a little more walking around the French Quarter. The Gumbo shop was ok, and very noisy – so while highly reviewed and recommended, we wish that we had picked a different spot for dinner.

Day 8 – Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Tuesday morning, we headed back to Willa Jean in the hopes of picking up another sticky bun, but they weren’t serving them that day. We then went to fill our reservation at Brennan’s for breakfast, where we were sure to try the New Orleans Style Coffee, which is French pressed and made with Chicory, with our breakfast of an apple oatmeal with caramel sauce and vanilla scented French toast – both of which were specials that day. From there, we headed to the National WWII Museum for most of the rest of the day. We were able to get tickets to the 4D “Beyond All Boundaries” which was narrated by Tom Hanks – truly an amazing experience that we would recommend to mature audiences only. Dinner that night was takeout from Sukho Thai.

Day 9 – Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Wednesday was our travel day back. We departed at 5:30am from Louis Armstrong Airport, flew through Newark where we got lunch at Little Purse (yes, we spent way too much on airport dumplings, but they were SO delicious), and then were back home in VT by 5pm.

So there you have it, our 9 day visit to NOLA. We highly recommend it to anyone, as it seemed to offer something for everyone. Food, art, music, history, it’s all there. Once, of course, travelling is safe again. Share your travels with us on Instagram using hashtag #economicaleats!

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