As many of you lovelies know, I went to none other than The Big Easy for my birthday fest last weekend, and it was QUITE the experience. I'm obsessed with birthdays, and it was so fun celebrating my 21st in a new city ... again.
I had never been to NOLA before, and I must admit it took a while for it to grow on me, but I left LOVING IT. The city is a unique juxtaposition of beautiful and weathered. It was breathtaking and haunting all at once, and I've never been anywhere else quite like it.
The aspect that excited me the most about this epic city was the f-o-o-d. Yas please. Y'all know I love food, so checking out of all the best New Orleans eats was at the top of my to-do list. We ate at several places in the city, and these were the highlights. I took like 32943729 pictures while on location (lol am I shooting a movie?), so I divided the trip into two posts. You're welcome in advance.
Oceana - Seafood
The first restaurant we tried was Oceana.
Ok, let's back up for a sec. Actually, it's kind of a long story how we ended up here.
This is our first night in NOLA, and we don't really have any specific restaurant we want to go to, so we take the popular advice of locals and walk across the French Quarter to hit up Coop's. Well, suffice it to say that it's interesting journey. We get lost like 11 times, pass a possibly dead (hopefully just inebriated) homeless man, and see some other things I wish I could soon forget.
We FINALLY make it to the restaurant and—of course—there's a line. It's hot af outside, so we're not exactly thrilled, but at laaaast we finally make it to the front ... only to realize that my stepdad didn't bring his ID, so we can't get in. Please keep in mind that he is 60, so being mistaken for someone under 21 is a non-issue. The guy at the door was just super mean about it. *eye roll*
So0o0o after that little set back, we are literally STARVING. We are walking around the Quarter aimlessly and a little dazed. I have the brilliant idea to Yelp high ranking restaurants in the area. Mistaaaake. We end up in an hotel restaurant (???), but we are so hungry by now that we are like "eff it," so we order random things off the menu, and everything is literally grotesque.
We leave this restaurant sad, hungry, hopeless. We're wandering around Canal at this point, trying to find something that isn't gross. We ask a bellhop for a food rec, and he hands us a flyer for Oceana.
I have never heard of this restaurant, so I am kind of hesitant because of our recent rando experience. We decide to try it, so we walk across the French Quarter again.
We make it to Oceana to face yet another line. This one takes way longer to move than the one at Coop's. Finally, at around 8 p.m. (this journey began around 5), we are seated at our table.
The ambiance is super New Orleans-esque. It's dimly lit and heavily decorated with a total elevated dive bar vibe.
We begin our order with some delish crab cakes and transition into the entrees. My parents order a tour of New Orleans dish, and I go with the Mardi Gras pasta. It is the perfect mix of seafood and sauciness—exactly what I need to not commit a hunger-induced homicide.
We end the meal with an experiment because why tf not. The dessert list looks lit, but I choose something maybe a little too random. It 's a bananas foster ice cream cake situation, and if I had to do it over, I prob would have gone for something a little more traditional.
Despite it not being remotely Instagrammable because of the lighting, I loveee Oceana, and I highly recommend it to any NOLA local or tourist.
Cafe Beignet - Breakfast & Beignets
This was my first trip to NOLA, so I knew I wanted some beignets fa sho. Cafe Du Monde was the obvious choice, but apparently everyone else thought so, too, because the line was crazy long. The crowd at Cafe Beignet was much more manageable, so we snuggled into the quaint little shoppe to indulge in some decadent iced coffee, savory croissants, and fresh beignets.
Full disclosure: I don't love beignets. I did want to try them because I've never had a "real" one, but it wasn't anything I would fly to NOLA for (looking at you, Kim). The coffee was exactly what I was craving, and the sandwich was super delish, so I would definitely go back next time I'm in town. We also ordered a seafood omelette, which was unusual but intruguing. I'm not a huge omelette fan (eggs gross me out), but the crawfish gave it a nice twist that was super NOLA.
The Original Pierre Maspero’s - Traditional NOLA
Loved it. I checked in in the Yelp app, so I got a free appetizer (hollaaaa). We ordered the highly recommended fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade. I'm not kidding when I say it is one of the best dishes I have ever had. The fried green tomatoes were fresh and the perfect balance of crisp and juicy, and the remoulade added the most amazing tang and creaminess. I hate myself for that description because now I want more. Ughhhh.
As you can see, I ordered the crab cakes, which were to diiiiiie. Literally. Like, I almost died afterward because I was so full. The crab cakes were v rich, so I would recommend splitting them with a friend. Otherwise, RIP. We also ordered crawfish etouffee, which was good but nothing compared to the crab cakes tbh. This joint is pretty touristy, but it's worth the stop for the app and the crab cakes bc holy moly.
The Court of Two Sisters - Jazz Brunch
There are no words to accurately convey how much I LOVED this restaurant. I'm not a buffet kind of girl, because ew. But don't let that description fool you. IT IS AMAZING. Literally everything on the menu is divine.
We dined here for the jazz brunch on my actual birthday, and it was by far my favorite meal of the trip. Every item was more delicious than the last, but my faves were the crawfish salad, duck à l' orange, and the crawfish louise. The breads and desserts were also life changing. I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this restaurant because there is no way to oversell it. The service was impeccable, the music was delightful, and the food was addictive. 10/10 would go again.
What's your favorite restaurant in New Orleans? Have you tried any of these? Stay tuned for my next NOLA post covering everything from checking out creepy cemeteries to drinking on Frenchmen Street!