When my firstborn, Amanda, suggested that we travel to New Orleans to celebrate our spring birthdays I quickly said “Yes!” Because hers is in late March and mine is mid-May, we decided that April would be a great meet-in-the-middle time to go.
Plus, the French Quarter Festival was scheduled to be held during the second weekend in April, which was the perfect time for us to visit.
Whenever we travel we each designate two or three things we “must do” at our destination, ensuring that we’ll experience some of our bucket-list items.
My top two desires: Go on a swamp tour, and walk around the French Quarter and take photos. Amanda’s two wishes were to visit a plantation, and to experience the food for which New Orleans is famous.
We checked off all four items, and in a future post I’ll talk about the swamp tour (meh) and the plantation tour (wonderful!).
But first, I must talk about the amazing food we enjoyed while spending a week in the Big Easy!
We Did Our Homework
One of Amanda’s coworkers, Jay, grew up in New Orleans and he was a great resource for places to visit and foods to try. In addition, I knew a man who had lived in (and loved) New Orleans, and he had plenty of suggestions as well. And, of course, I did my own research in advance.
So armed with the “New Orleans Official Visitors Guide 2015,” notes jotted on a bar napkin, and a bit of online research, we were ready for a taste of New Orleans!
First Night – Dinner in the French Quarter
Amanda’s coworker, Jay, happened to be visiting family in New Orleans at the same time we were there on vacation, and he volunteered to be our guide during our first evening in town.
It was late (after 9:00 p.m.), we had been traveling since before sunrise, and we were very hungry.
Jay suggested we walk down Decatur to one of his favorite restaurants, The New Orleans Seafood & Hamburger Co. Great suggestion, but bad timing as there was a 30-plus minute wait that night. [We returned the next evening and discovered why it’s a favorite!]
So we continued along Decatur and just as we were ready to turn back around, the most delicious smell wafted out from a corner restaurant.
“Oh, that smells wonderful! Let’s stop here!”
“Here” being The Original French Market Restaurant and Bar, with its shrimp boil cooking in the window and enticing patrons to come in.
And following our noses, we found our dinner!
Catfish and Shrimp Boil and Fried Green Tomatoes, Oh My!
Feeling adventurous, Amanda ordered the Boiled Jumbo Shrimp with spicy corn, potatoes and sausage.
I ordered another classic, Red Beans and Rice with Blackened Catfish.
Jay had the house special, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and Grits.
We started with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes topped with a sweet pepper crawfish sauce,
and a local, seasonal beer – Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager.
In a word, DELICIOUS!
We shared bites with each other, and Every Mouthful was Oh.Em.Gee Amazing!
A New Orleans Classic Dessert
Full, but not quite ready to return to our hotel, we walked across the street to a New Orleans landmark: Café du Monde, where of course we had beignets – those powdered-sugar-covered pieces of fried dough that, when accompanied by chicory coffee, make you feel as though you’ve died and gone to heaven – fat and happy!
As you can see, our first meal in New Orleans was a feast!
And there would be more delicious meals to savor over the next few days.
(To be continued ….)
Although the tables at the Original French Market Restaurant were closely situated, I am confident the wait staff could have made room for wheelchair access if necessary. However, the restrooms were upstairs and not easily accessible.
Tables at Cafe du Monde were likewise close together and, again, could have been moved to accommodate a wheelchair. The on-site restroom, however, was not accessible. There is a public restroom about a block away.
All Photos: ©2015 ImagesByRJM
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