Great Things to Do in NOLA
It seems like there are so many things to do, places to eat, shopping experiences, and history for the taking in NOLA that I can hardly remember the ones I have already written about, and intended to tell you about. This will probably be my last NOLA Tips article before Scaling starts, although I will be writing some other articles on ‘favorite sessions’ (other than my own) and some vendor highlights, but for all you wanting to explore “the Big Easy”, here it goes:
For You Foodies:
In Louisiana “the trinity” refers to onions, celery and bell peppers that kick off nearly every Creole and Cajun dish. New Orleans means food (not literally of course) but certainly figuratively. It is a history, a culture, a culinary wonderment that includes gumbo, red beans and rice, and the abundances of the bayou including shrimp, crawfish, oysters and seafood to the extent that you will be ‘seeing food’ in your sleep. So here are 3 more great places to 'see food' in NOLA:
Oxalis – is a restaurant with a whiskey-focus in NOLA’s Bywater Neighborhood at the corner of Dauphine and Louisa (3162 Dauphine Street). Chef Jonathan Lestingi’s New-American cuisine centers on social plates meant for sharing. The menu has been designed to complement their extensive whiskey list, as well as their wines and twist on classic cocktails. One of my favorite apps (they call them social plates) is the “Beet Bruschetta” (you won’t find that just everywhere). Then order up the Cauliflower Steak (from their ‘Large’ menu), and settle into conversation at a communal table (even if you are with a group of friends). Happy Hour 4PM – 7PM daily, Food Service 5PM – 11PM, the Bar remains open till 2AM on Friday and Saturday nights. [PS – their “Duck Pate” is another great social share ice breaker.]
You have heard me ‘rave’ about the beignets from the Original Café Du Monde Coffee Stand, but let me put a twist on your early morning dining, especially if you are arriving early or staying after the conference and plan to do some shopping. I mentioned the “Magazine Street” shopping area, well tucked away is a little café down there called District Donuts and Sliders (2209 Magazine Street). If you are looking for something sweet that offers a real ‘pop’ (kick) in your mouth then you have to try their Maple Sriracha Donuts, yes that is what I said “Maple Sriracha”. It’s the perfect mix of yummy sweet and spicy that your mouth will love on an airy treat, I guess you could call this one “Heaven meets Hell with a Hole”. Hours: 7AM – 9PM Daily [They have all kinds of Croquenuts, their version or a grilled sandwich but made with donuts – the Dulce Cubano is to die for as you can tell from this photo.]
Mr. B’s Bistro – The Brennan family’s gastronomic dynasty began in New Orleans in the 1940s. Many of NOLA’s greatest Chefs (heck, really the worlds’ greatest) have graduated through the Brennan kitchens. Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter at the intersection of Royal Street and Iberville (201 Royal Street) is a landmark known as the original New Orleans gourmet bistro with a focus on fresh regional products prepared in traditional and ‘modernized’ Creole cuisine.
I suggest you start with the Duck Springrolls or pan seared jumbo sea scallops, or maybe share their ‘1-1-1’ Appetizer of Jumbo Shrimp, Fried Oyster and Duck Springroll. If you eat enough appetizers you won’t need anything more than desserts like S’More Ice Cream Sandwich, or Profiteroles w Chocolate Sauce, or the Brennan family recipe Bread Pudding. You definitely want to make reservations by calling 504-523-2078. Hours: 11:30AM – 2PM (lunch), 2:00PM – 5:30PM (bar menu), 5:30PM – 9:00PM (dinner) Mon – Sat (also Dinner on Sunday); Jazz Brunch served Sundays from 10:30AM – 2:00pm [OK, so you want dinner, then try the Mr. B’s Barbequed Shrimp or the fried Louisiana Soft Shell Crab.]
Be on the look-out for Snakes in NOLA (NOT):
Louisiana is bayou country, and snakes are not uncommon….No I’m not trying to scare you, I just need a worthy opening for something W.C. Fields once said, “Always carry a large flagon of whiskey in case of snake bite….And furthermore, always carry a small snake.” In other words, NOLA is an excuse for some 'sippin whiskey' if you ever needed one.
Attention Shoppers only in NOLA:
Check out Krewe du Optic where Stirling Barrett designs super chic sunglasses in his French Quarter shop (800 Common Street), naming the frames after spots around the city. Hours: 10AM – 4PM Mon –Sat
Söpö is Finnish for ‘cute’ but that’s not all this Mid-City (629 N. Carrolton Ave.) shop is known for, this place is pure ‘Southern Posh’ at its best. Among the wide variety of treasurers, you will find ‘masculine-scented candles’ and leather-bound journals. Hours: 10AM – 6PM Tue - Sat (Check out that 'darlin' of a blue hat at the top of this article, it's from Söpö, now doesn't she look easy going as well as stylishly summer; after all "it's the Big Easy Darlin'!")