Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun in the Big Easy

This past week, my family and I decided we had had enough of winter and took a short trip to New Orleans.  When we arrived on Saturday, the skies were overcast, but it was warm...and there was no snow!  Grass was green, trees had leaves, and flowers were in bloom everywhere.  Such a welcome site after the lack of spring we've had up north.

If you have never been to New Orleans, I can't express enough how wonderful the food is!  Every place we dined was amazing...not a bad meal, or even a mediocre meal, was had.  I think I had fresh seafood everyday we were there!

Our first stop was to the Royal House in the French Quarter for some lunch.  We enjoyed sitting by the street with the doors open and the smells and sounds of the French Quarter wafting in. We started our meal with some absolutely delicious Alligator Bites.  The breading on them was amazing.  The meat, mild and tender.  The oysters in this place looked amazing.  I don't care for oysters, but if I did, I would have ordered some! I've heard their chargrilled oysters are something that should not be missed.

While the rest of my family enjoyed Po'boys, I opted for the St. Louis Crab Salad.  The crab meat was tempura battered and it was delicious. 

We spent the day checking out the French Quarter.  During the day, portions of Royal St. are blocked off and all kinds of street performers come out. The street is lined with art galleries showcasing local artists and some really beautiful works of art.  Local artists also work and sell their pieces all along Jackson Square and in the French Market.  Bourbon street was crazy at all hours of the day and night.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure why, I didn't get any pictures on Bourbon Street.

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit (or three) to Cafe Du Monde.  This cafe is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and has been serving hot beignet, cafe au lait, coffee with chicory, orange juice and hot chocolate since 1862.

If you aren't familiar with beignet, they are fluffy pillows of dough, deep fried and piled high with powdered sugar and served warm.  You get 3 to an order for around $2.50 from Cafe Du Monde.  They are definitely hard to eat without getting powdered sugar everywhere!

We stopped at the French Market and discovered that Fifth Annual FoodFest was in progress. 

We were still full from lunch and dessert, but we found room for some Alligator Sausage and Baked Alaska.

FoodFest had booths from restaurants all over the country serving all kinds of cuisine and offering up small portions to sample for a reasonable price. A food blogger's paradise!  lol

Inside the market were treasures galore!

The following day, we awoke to enjoy a Jazz brunch in the courtyard of Court of the Two Sisters.  One word, amazing!  The courtyard was covered in blooming wisteria and we were serenaded by a three piece jazz band while enjoying the phenomenal buffet.  It was perfect.  It was here that we discovered grillades and grits and I had a perfectly poached egg on my Eggs Benedict. 

We enjoyed a riverboat cruise on the Natchez, where, even there, the meal was delicious!  They served us fried catfish, shrimp creole, red beans and rice, slaw, and some amazing bread pudding. The boat ride down the Mississippi and back up was so relaxing and enjoyable.  Sitting in the sun and watching the paddle was almost hypnotic. 

Of course, we had to do a carriage ride through the French Quarter...

and a Haunted History Tour at night!

We also took a day to tour the Garden District uptown.  The Garden District is just beautiful with it's million dollar homes.

Our tour also included visiting one of New Orleans famous above ground cemeteries.

And then we stumbled upon this little gem of a restaurant, Coquette...

where they serve you hot bread baked on premises and a menu that changes daily and focuses on seasonal and local ingredients.  I ordered the salad, catfish, and the chocolate tart.  My youngest son got daring and tried the pork cheek.  He said it was one of the most delicious things he had ever eaten.

 We finished off our trip with a visit to Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World.

This place is very cool.  It's here that they build the floats and the props for the extravagant Mardi Gras parades.  Above are the drawings and the start of one of next year's Mardi Gras parades! 

We had so much fun in New Orleans!  For me, it was about all that delicious food and the chance to get inspired in my kitchen again!  My youngest LOVED all the art and music that seems to be everywhere.  My middle son enjoyed the steamboat and he also loved the food.  My husband, he enjoyed visiting the WWII Museum ( yes, we did that too, but I'm not a war buff, so I didn't really take any pictures there).  So our trip had something for everyone.  We missed a huge early spring snow storm while we were there, and I'm thinking, that might have been the BEST part of the whole trip!!


  1. What an awesome getaway and your timing was perfect. This weekend looks like we may be finally heading towards spring. All the food looked so go, I would love to try alligator! I have a few friends that live in New Orleans but, I have not made it down there yet. I would love to visit though. Like you, I would be into the food the most :) Have a great Easter Renee!

  2. I am so glad you got away and had such a wonderful time! I loved seeing all the photos and the food looks amazing! I was only there once as a kid but would love to go with hubby one day. It looks so relaxing and fun and then of course there is the great food!

    Hope you are having a great weekend. :)

  3. Now you are a lady who knows how to keep the winter blues away. What a fabulous way to beat the ice and snow.It sounds like you had a fabulous time. I hope you had a great Easter weekend. Blessings...Mary


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