I recently had the chance to spend a long weekend in New Orleans for a bachelorette party. It was my first time visiting the city and Mother Nature was on our side with sunny skies and perfect temperatures. Our group had a great time celebrating the bride to be, Becca!
Three of us arrived in town one night before the others and we spent our first night in The Saint Hotel, a boutique hotel in The French Quarter. For our second two nights in town, we stayed in a great rental house off of Magazine Street that was full of character and perfect for nine girls. We managed to fit in good amount of sightseeing over the course of just a few days. I’ve included a few of the weekend’s highlights below.
We arrived into town around dinnertime on Thursday evening, and we decided to check out some classic New Orleans cuisine. We landed on the Gumbo Shop, a spot on Saint Peter Street that according to the restaurant’s website has won the Best Gumbo category in the Best of New Orleans poll every year since 1999. My favorite thing I tasted here was the chicken andouille gumbo, a combination of chicken, andouille sausage, okra and seasonings simmered in chicken stock. Our meals were served with a warm and fresh baguette, and dipping the crusty bread into the flavorful gumbo was a winning combination. I’ve never tried making gumbo at home before, but you can bet I’ll be giving it a shot sometime in the next few weeks with this recipe as my guide.
Brunch at Josephine Estelle
One of our first meals of the weekend was brunch at Josephine Estelle, a new restaurant housed inside the Ace Hotel. The atmosphere was a great combination of chic and comfortable, and brunch here was the perfect way to kick off an action packed day. Our side of the table started off our meal by ordering a delicious pastry board which came with a delicious compilation of treats that included a massive cinnamon roll, a croissant, and a savory shortbread.
Per usual, I had a hard time deciding what I was going to order for my main course from the menu and was lucky that Laura, the bride’s sister, was having the same problem and deciding between the same two things. We ended up sharing the Canestri pasta, the restaurant’s take on cacio e pepe, and the hoe cakes, which came served with ham, creamed spinach, a poached egg and calabrian hollandaise. Our dishes were on point – perfectly flavorful and generous portions.
Cafe du Monde
I couldn’t visit New Orleans without building in a stop to the famous Cafe du Monde, and it was so good, I actually managed to go there twice! As you might recall, I’m not a coffee fan so I can’t speak for the cafe’ au lait, but I could talk ALL day long about those beignets. Good thing I was with friends or I could have easily scarfed down an entire order by myself, which would have been especially easy to do considering an order of three of the french doughnuts only puts you back $2.73.
If you go, don’t be discouraged by the long line, as it moves quickly and the service is pretty efficient once you’re seated. Pro tip: wear clothes that you don’t mind getting powdered sugar all over. When they say the beignets come covered with powdered sugar, they aren’t kidding, and there’s really no avoiding it so I recommend just embracing it!
The original location at 800 Decatur Street is open 24-hours a day for your beignet eating pleasure. There’s a great gift shop across the street where you can pick up some goodies to take home, and you know I had to snag a box of beignet mix to stuff inside my suitcase!
Garden District/ Lafayette Cemetery tour
We did a self-guided version of the Garden District / Lafayette Cemetery tour (shout out to Sarah who acted as our tour guide!) and it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. It was a great chance to get a feel for the history of the city while ogling at all of the beautiful homes, including quite a few with Hollywood connections, like the residence of Sandra Bullock. The great thing about doing a self-guided tour is that we could call it quits when we were tired, but this was a great way to spend a sunny day.
Piano Bar at Pat O’ Brien’s
Located on Saint Peter Street, Pat O’ Brien’s is one of the most famous bars in New Orleans. When we first arrived we enjoyed a few drinks in their courtyard area before making our way to the piano bar. The piano bar at Pat O’Brien’s is well known for its two copper pianos and the dueling piano players that guide the crowd in signing throughout the night. Our group had a blast enjoying classic tunes and this is definitely a place I would revisit on another trip to the area.
Those are just a few of the highlights of a quick trip to New Orleans. Next time, I’m going to make sure I get to ride on a streetcar!
If you’ve been to New Orleans, I’d love to hear your favorite places to eat and see in the comments below so I can make sure to include them on my next visit!