Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Big Easy

Way back when, before we knew our baby girl was moving to South Korea, before we knew our baby girl would be having a baby in this calendar year in South Korea, we made plans to spend a long weekend in New Orleans with college friends.

And even though we're trekking across the world later this fall we still spent an extended weekend in New Orleans last week because why not?

Several in our group hit a milestone birthday this year and we wanted to mark the occasion(s) with a fun trip. Some of us (me included) had never been to New Orleans before but we did have one friend with us who had an office in the city so he steered us in the right direction in terms of where to stay, what to eat, and how to enjoy.

First things first..it was hot. We have humidity in the Palmetto State, but yowza this town takes it up a notch. They pretty much take everything up a notch in NOLA including the butter, the cream, the cocktails, and the crazy, but the humidity is for real y'all.

We stayed in the very lovely Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter and it was a great location for accessing all that we wanted to do.

And by 'do' I mean eat. I was looking through my pictures and more than half are snapshots of my plate with some delicious something or other front and center. Case in point-waiting on their BBQ shrimp in the photo above, and my baked apple with a praline oatmeal topping from our breakfast at Brennans below-

A whole wonderfully delicious fish at Emeril's restaurant (NOLA)-

Sampling one of the famous hurricanes from Pat O'Briens-

Too sweet for me (the Pimms at Bar Napoleon is more my cup of tea), but I'm pretty sure the law says you have to taste a hurricane while you're here.

The law also says you can pour the leftovers in a to-go cup and walk around town with it which seems kinda crazy, but hey that's New Orleans. 

Speaking of crazy, let's talk crazy good and pause for a moment to give the beignet it's due. Not sure there's such a thing as a perfect food, but the beignet has got to be awfully close.

The food in this city is fabulous and many well known chefs got their start here. We were a group of ten so booked our dinners in advance and most of the nicer restaurants offered reservations. 

There's always some sort of celebration happening in New Orleans which means the town is hopping and the restaurants are busy. If you go, book ahead for the more well known venues. My favorite was Commander's Palace which is something of an institution here. They still like for men to wear jackets and boy do they know how to celebrate a special occasion.

We had five birthdays in our group and there were balloons on the table and big hats for the honorees. The service is five star and the food wonderful. I ordered their famous bread pudding souffle for dessert and was not disappointed. Hey, how about a picture?

In other foodie news, we all signed up for a cooking demo one morning at the New Orleans School of Cooking, and this I highly recommend. So much fun! Our chef (Harriett) was funny and had a wonderful way of engaging the audience in what she was cooking.

We ate as the morning went along starting with a delicious corn and crab chowder, pralines, a shrimp creole and the grand finale-bananas foster, which came to fame at a New Orleans eatery.

It was okay I guess.

Harriett  managed quite the flame and then sprinkled cinnamon on top which caused it to sparkle. We definitely plan to try this at home, but will likely do ours outside.

Six of our group also spent a day trekking out to Oak Alley Plantation and really enjoyed the visit. It's about an hour outside New Orleans, but our bus driver was really good in sharing information about the city and it's history as well as the surrounding area.

My first time driving over the mighty Mississippi.

We took a guided plantation house tour (after we hydrated because did I mention the heat here???) and they do a good job contrasting the hard life of a slave to that of plantation owner.

The slave quarters are still on site too and you can peek inside several buildings.

We walked the grounds afterward and spent the rest of our visit in awe of the giant oaks. They're beautiful!

Such a fun weekend! Besides all of the above we also managed a short visit to the WW2 Museum (really well done), a walk around the Garden District, a trolley ride, and as always happens when we're together, lots and lots of belly laughs. Cheers to 40 years of friendship!

And here's to 40 more!


  1. Looks like you did it all, and had a great time. I do think you could have worked in the game at the Superdome though, even though my qb is nursing a hurt thumb. :) Thanks for the great recap. My mouth was watering just reading it! Love me some NOLA.

  2. Oh, so glad you and your group had such a great time in our fair state. We have really cooled down the past couple of days and the humidity has too. Y'all did so many great things to get a "real" taste of "Sin City." So glad you had such a good time. South Louisiana is like a foreign country compared to North Louisiana. :o))

  3. I am so glad you had such a great time in NOLA!! Joe and I love it there and have been four times. The beignets are a must and NOLA is our favorite Emeril's restaurant. So much to see there and so much good food!! Thanks for sharing your friends and fun with us!

  4. New Orleans is on my wish I could go there list. Our DIL worked there before she married our son and he spent time there too. They loved it. One day....
    Glad you had such a great time.

  5. We love New Orleans... the food, the music, the people... just an awesome place to visit!

  6. How neat that you all got together to celebrate birthdays and years of friendship. My mom was recently in Charlotte with 10 of her classmates. They got together to celebrate turning 75 this year. Ten was a pretty good turn out for a class that only had 65 or so members!

  7. I've never been to New Orleans but I find it surprising that you had never been! Your meals all look delicious. Sounds like so much fun. The cooking class sounds like fun too. I love all the photos. I'm so happy you had that time together. We recently had to miss our 50th class reunion and that really bummed me out.