Dylan and I always try to take some time away for our anniversary. For our 8th anniversary in November (or what we like to call our 9th honeymoon), we went to New Orleans. We had lots of friends visit and had great things to say, so we gave it a shot! We definitely ate too much food, but every bite was worth it! While most people travel to see/tour places, our favorite thing when we travel is trying all the yummy food and New Orleans did not disappoint!
We drove to New Orleans on a a Thursday. It was a longer drive than we had anticipated due to construction in Baton Rouge, but we made it safe and sound. After checking into our Air B&B, which is part of a hotel in the French Quarter, our first priority was dinner. We had trouble finding the place we had intended to go, but stumbled upon Legacy’s Kitchen’s The Tackle Box and are so glad we did! I couldn’t decide what to eat (because I wanted to try ALL of it), the server suggested the chicken and waffles because “when are you gonna go through the trouble to make it at home?!?” I couldn’t agree more and it was a fabulous suggestion!
(Before you go much further: please know that these are mostly iPhone photos. I don’t like carrying my fancy camera around in big cities.)
Then, we wandered around Bourbon Street. If you’re going to go to New Orleans, you have to at least try it, right? Every local we chatted with said that they avoid it at all costs because it’s so dangerous. They probably know best, so we didn’t go back at night. We are glad we had the opportunity to say we went! A few friends said we “had to have” a hand grenade, which is a cocktail found there, so we did! We also listened to Jazz that night.
On Friday, we started our morning at Palace Cafe, which is a Brennan family restaurant. They’re a restaurant family legend. More on them later, but we ate at their locations many times during this trip.
There is a bar in New Orleans that is set on a working Carousel. That was a must-do, so we went! This was my drink there.
Our big thing for Friday was a four-hour food and cocktail history tour. It was wonderful. I don’t remember everywhere we went, but I can share a few with you. We met the group at the Oyster Bar of Red Fish Grill. It was named one of the top five seafood restaurants in New Orleans. Here, we had ALLIGATOR BOUDIN BALLS and ALLIGATOR SAUSAGE & SEAFOOD GUMBO. I think this was my first time to try Alligator, but since my grandma is from Louisiana, I may have had it as a child and don’t remember. Fun fact: I spent a week with my grandparents by myself in Louisiana hanging out with my grandma’s siblings and their old church friends and LOVED it! Back then, I hated all seafood, so I had french fries and hush puppies for a full week! That’s the joy of grandparents, though, right?
Since it was a food and cocktail tour, our next stop was to order a frozen Pimm’s Cup Daiquiri from Saint Lawrence. It was yummy! It was fun to hear about local beliefs/legends there. As we were leaving, there was a salt line at the front door. The bartender said they didn’t put it down. Salt lines across a door/entry are believed to keep unwanted spirits from crossing into the building. If you step on it, however, you break it’s power.
We stopped by a hot sauce shop, Pepper Palace, where you can try as many as you like. It isn’t a local shop, which is kind of sad to us, given ALL the great local places in New Orleans. We didn’t buy any hot sauces, but we did leave with a bottle of Bloody Mary mix, since that is Dylan’s favorite drink. At least, he said it was up until this trip, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We then headed to Longway Tavern, where the five couples on the tour shared family style appetizers, including calamari and pork belly home fries with caviar. I was MOST impressed, however, with my husband for eating fried squash and LIKING it! He’s not a fan of veggies, so this was kind of a big deal!
We went to Tableau next and this is where Dylan was introduced to the French 75. It is now his favorite drink and he’s now a fan of champagne. It was a lighter drink for our heavy meals in New Orleans. Some say that the cocktail was invented in New Orleans, so this city definitely loves their drinks!
We stopped at Cane & Table for appetizers before going next door to Trinity. That’s where the night ended with the entire group, pictured below. We were able to pick from two different cocktails here. The Sazerac is a new favorite of mine! We actually stayed here with some of the people in this group listening to their life stories (people really open up after 4 hours of friendship and more than 4 cocktails) for a few hours. Then, Dylan and I walked to get Beignets from the famous Cafe Du Monde.
Saturday was spent in The Garden District. We started with brunch at Lula’s Distillery, known for it’s all you can drink vodka bar.
We also wandered the Lafayette cemetery. It was beautiful.
We also just enjoyed looking at all the beautiful homes in the Garden District. I definitely want a Southern Belle home that looks similar to this style when the time comes for us to build.
That night, we took a vampire and ghost tour. It’s not so scary as much as it is storytelling and where those stories come from. The guide told us some bad luck superstitions, so, at the end of the tour, I asked him to tell us about GOOD luck superstitions. He told us about a saint from a local church, so we made sure to go touch the church building – you know – just in case. After that, we headed to NOLA for dinner, which is one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. Here, Dylan basically drooled while he was eating BBQ shrimp. The photo below is from the bar we stopped at during the tour. They had an apple cider cocktail with Fireball and you know I loved it!
Sunday was our last FULL day in New Orleans. Our first priority of the day was brunch, of course. We heard lots of great things about The Ruby Slipper, which is named for the great homecoming feeling when New Orleans locals were able to finally return to their city after Hurricane Katrina. Their sign says: “Well, Dorothy said it best… “There’s no place like home.” We feel that gratitude everyday for our home.”
This is definitely a top breakfast EVER for us! My favorite brunch item is eggs benedict and they had a sampler of them! I think Dylan and I probably ordered all 6 of their variations between the two of us and they were all good! Also, they have a bacon-infused vodka bloody mary. Let me repeat that: Bacon-Infused Vodka Bloody Mary. If you’re wondering if this place is worth it, the locals recommended it to us and there was a two hour wait every day we walked by. On Sunday, we used their call-ahead system to get on the wait list from our hotel room as soon as we woke up.
We spent the afternoon wandering around City Park, one of the oldest urban parks in The US and 50% larger than New York’s Central Park. It’s also where you can find the oldest grove of Live Oak Trees in the world, some of which are 900 years old! They’re dripping with Spanish moss and have fern growing on them and it’s beautiful. My only regret is not scheduling an anniversary photo session here while we were there. We decided on New Orleans, officially, maybe a week before we left, so there wasn’t much time to plan for it.
The Park is home to the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
Just because my husband is the hottest man on the planet. You’re welcome.
That night, Dylan arranged for us to have dinner at Commander’s Palace, which is a food mecca! It was named The Restaurant of the Year for 2018. It’s also part of the Brennan Family Dynasty. This is where Emeril trained. There is a Netflix documentary about Ella Brennan, if you’re interested. It’s called Commanding The Table.
I liked that they had an option where you could try all three soups, instead of having to decide on just one. We LOVE food and want to try everything and this offering allowed me to do that with the soups! It was a great anniversary dinner! Look how handsome my man is! If you go here, it is a fancy place, so gentlemen are encouraged to wear jackets.
After dinner, we went to Frenchman street to listen to live music. There was a marching band in the street (pictured below) that was so fun! I don’t think I’ve ever closed down a bar (like EVER) until this night – with my husband celebrating 8 years of marriage. I just adore doing life with him!
The Plantation tour was saved for Monday, since most of them are about 45 minutes outside of New Orleans. We figured we’d catch them on the way home, so that’s what we did. We went to Oak Alley Plantation, which is GORGEOUS! My tree photos don’t even begin to show the beauty of this place. It would be so cool to photograph a wedding here!
It didn’t rain at all for us our entire trip until we got to the plantation. New Orleans is supposed to be a city with lots of rainfall, but we didn’t experience it.
We drove the rest of the way on Monday, so we could spend our actual anniversary (Tuesday) not in the car. If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, I hope our adventures help to get you excited about your time there! If you’ve been and think we missed something (that we should DEFINITELY try on our next visit), please tell us in the comments! We love to travel!
– Mylah Renae