May 22, 2013

Cross-Country Drive: Biking, Dining and Music in New Orleans, Louisiana

What is there to say about New Orleans? It is one of my favorite cities in the world. The architecture, food and music somehow make me feel at home there even though I have only visited it twice. Our arrival to New Orleans coincided with the annual Essence Music Festival which takes places at the Superdome. What this meant for us was that everyone was at the Superdome during the day while other areas of the city were oddly quiet. 

We wanted to venture away from the Marginy for the day to explore the French Quarter. Our inn, luckily, had bicycles that we could borrow, so we went on a fun ride for the day with lots of stops along the way to appreciate the architecture. 

I absolutely love the wrought iron balconies that can be seen all over the French Quarter. It feels so romantic and charming. 

Along the way, we came across this group of musicians playing with some dancers on the street. *sigh* 

We also saw signs that the French Quarter is a tourism mecca with such establishments as Rev. Zombie's Voodoo Shop. 

Our first stop of the day was Pat O'Brien's to get some adult beverages. I started off with their famous Hurricane, which I still think tastes like Hawaiian Punch. We later ventured out to the courtyard and enjoyed the beautiful weather. If you have ever been to Pat O'Brien's at night, you are sure to be familiar with their fire fountain. Unfortunately, it was still early in the day so there was no fire yet.

Next we visited the world famous Preservation Hall. There weren't any shows scheduled while we were in town, but we got to poke our heads in to the venue. One day, I will get to see some live music there!

Lunch time creeped up on us so we enjoyed some amazing dishes from Coop's Place. Their seafood gumbo and Cajun pasta (shrimp, crawfish, oysters, tasso, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms in a spicy alfredo sauce) made us super happy!

What could make us happier? Iced coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde! I have fond memories of my first New Orleans visit, where I stumbled to Cafe du Monde at the end of every night I was there. Still as fun as last time.

After stuffing our faces, it was time for us to bike back to the inn for some rest before our dinner date at Arnaud's.

Arnaud's is one of those super, super, incredibly old school, white table-clothed restaurants that still exist in New Orleans. It has been around for almost 100 years! There are a few others, but we found ourselves at Arnaud's this night.

I ordered the Shrimp Arnaud (Gulf shrimp marinated in Creole Remoulade sauce) and the Crabmeat Karen (crabmeat and mushrooms baked in the most adorable puff pastry). We shared the bread pudding for dessert.

Arnaud's is so old school that they do bananas foster tableside! Fun to watch even though that wasn't our dessert. 

Located within the restaurant is also a small Mardi Gras Museum, which showcases some intricate costumes of Mardi Gras Balls past. 

After dinner, it was time to put on our brave faces and walk along Bourbon Street. Since this was Raisin Bread's first time in the Big Easy, I felt like he had to see all of the craziness. He had enough after about two blocks and seeing some things that are definitely not for children!

Instead, we spent the remainder of the night in a more laid back part of the city: Frenchman Street. We were able to enjoy some great live music at The Spotted Cat Music Club and the Apple Barrel Bar.

I love NOLA, but we had to continue on our way the next morning!

Pat O'Brien's
718 St Peter Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Preservation Hall
726 St Peter Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Coop's Place
1109 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Cafe du Monde
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Arnaud's Restaurant
813 Bienville Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70116

The Spotted Cat Music Club
623 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

The Apple Barrel Bar
609 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

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