New Orleans. We’re back for the food and the drink. I’ll take your hand and lead you through the complex flavors of this gastronomic wonderland.
Let’s start on Decatur Street. The smells of freshly baked pralines float out the doorway of Southern Candymakers and spread into the humid air. A smell that cannot be contained. I promise you have never inhaled a better combination of butter and sugar in your entire life. Have a sample or buy a whole box.
We now follow the curve of the majestic Mississippi River along Decatur Street until the Cafe du Monde appears like a beacon of green awning-ed glory. This establishment was started in 1862 and people still sit at one of the simple white tables complete with matching chairs squeezed wherever possible. Grab a table, the waitress will be over shortly. The menu is small and requires no additions. Order a café au lait and at least one order of beignets. These fried fritters are covered in powdered sugar and taste of luxury and exuberance.
Your sweet tooth temporarily filled, it’s time for true sustenance. Whether it’s late in the morning or early in the night, people are eating and drinking everywhere. Unable to choose where to eat next, let’s choose them all. Oceana, recommended by our cab driver, has a delicious assortment of creole dishes (despite its tourist appearance) and David the waiter gives us the signature bread pudding for free. After dinner #1, it’s time for seafood. The line outside Felix’s does not deter us and soon we are sampling a variety of delectable oysters. Take any and all recommendations. The waiter will not lead you astray and the gumbo is delicious.
Thirsty? As you move through Jackson Square, take a left at the cathedral. Sample the Pimm’s Cup at Tableau on the balcony before heading over to Napoleon House, the legendary home of this beverage. Ready for a change? Leave Chartres Street for the refined Roosevelt Hotel complete with chandeliers in the lobby and handsome men at (and behind) the bar. You absolutely must get a Sazarac. As night falls, join the hordes of happy drunken lovers on Bourbon Street and b-line it for Pat O’Brien’s, known for flaming fountains and infamous Hurricanes. Drink, dance and repeat before stumbling home to your hotel. —-
Good morning! Upon waking up and taking a cold shower, make your way over to Mothers. You’ll be glad you did. The portions are huge, the eatery is cafe style and the ham is divine. Prefer white tables cloths for brunch instead? Try Antoine’s or Galatoire’s for an elegant way to start the day. Beware the waiter at Antoine’s with the shaky hands. He may just spill….
One more district to explore before your eating/drinking tour is complete. Grab the streetcar out to the Garden District home to a number of celebrities including Sandra Bullock, John Goodman and the fictional man-turned-boy Benjamin Button. Walk the tree-lined streets and admire the Southern beauty curling around the pillars and peeking from behind the flowering magnolia trees. Don’t forget to grab a shrimp po’ boy at Parasol’s and a drink at The Columns before heading home.
In tasting your first oyster and drinking your first Pimm’s Cup, the city makes sure you will return home happy and full, lacking in nothing except more time here.