A Bite Out of the Big Easy

A Bite Out of the Big Easy

When one of my best friends asked me to be her Maid of Honor for her upcoming September nuptials, of course I was thrilled.  However, more excited than helping her pick out the dress, I was looking forward to helping plan her bachelorette.  From the beginning, I had suggested New Orleans - a place that has a special place in my heart since I was raised in Louisiana.  I had been there for another best friend's bachelorette festivities, but it had been several years since I had visited.  Once my bride had decided that it was a go, with a little persuasion from me of course, the first things to cross my mind were "Where do we eat?" and "What do we drink?"

Luckily, those are two questions that don't have difficult answers in the Crescent City - everything is delicious and you basically have an endless supply of choices.  My two caveats for this trip were: 1) my bride did NOT want to get "Girls Gone Wild" drunk and 2) one of the girls attending was vegetarian / gluten-free.  I have to say - these two restrictions on a weekend in New Orleans can severely hinder a gal's plans. However, with much deliberation and careful planning, I was able to pick out some events {and restaurants} that tickled everyone's fancy and played on diet restrictions.  Here are my highlights from the trip:

Friday night - Ghost City Tours: Haunted Pub Crawl

  • If you book this tour - request John - he's the best! in fact, I think his photo is on the Haunted Pub Crawl homepage.  Super interesting cat, knows his way around the French Quarter, and loves ghost stories. Do I think he believes in some of the stories he spouted? Ha - not really.  Do I think he showed us to some awesome local faire where we could wet our whistles with delectable cocktails? Um, definitely.  First stop: Tujagues (pronounced "Two-Jacks")  - where a cross-dressing ghost likes to photobomb tourists. Unlucky for us, we didn't actually go in, we just convened outside while we assembled our whole tour group. Next stop: Pirate's Alley - the original absinthe bar where tasting 130% proof liquor isn't out of the the norm. After traveling all day with the girls to get to NoLa, on pretty much empty stomachs, we decided to play it smart and each split a glass with one of the other girls. Up next: Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, where the legendary Privateer Jean Lafitte and his brother Pierre started a trading post for the goods they "confescated." For us gals, we stuck to trading Hurricane drinks.  We then ventured to the home of Marie Laveau, New Orleans' storied Voo Doo Queen. From there - we ended up at Tonique, where the Blood & Sand and Sazerac's held up their end of the bargain. 

Saturday - SoBou in the W Hotel French Quarter

  • When you've got a large group of girls, it can be difficult to appease everyone's tastes and dietary needs; however, even though the experience started out slightly confusing/difficult (it was pretty busy in there), we had a delicious experience and were really impressed with the cocktail menu as well as the nibbles we both ordered, and that were gifted to us from the Kitchen.  Thank you to the sweet waitress who helped navigate our vegetarian friend through the menu and for Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez for whipping up something out of the ordinary for her - you guy were truly hospitable! 

Sunday - Jackson Square & Café DuMonde 

  • You'd think that with all the years I spent in Louisiana and with as many times as I've visited New Orleans that I'd have gotten to take in the spectacular history of Jackson Square and sample the unforgettable café au laît and beignets at Café DuMonde - but I hadn't. In fact, I had been looking forward to this day FOR SO LONG. I'm so thankful that my bride and our good friend Sarah were feeling up for the venture after such an "eventful" Saturday night! 

All in all, a wonderful time in NoLa.  I was excited to get to make this "party adventure" into a historical and culinary adventure as well. 

Until next time.