Our honeymoon. That is the last time my husband and I have been on a trip together. That was in 2015. It was time. We are both busy. Our day to day lives are full of logistics. We needed to reconnect. When my husband first proposed this trip I asked was ObieQ coming with us? I knew he would be in perfectly capable hands with my family but Damn, 4 days.
In order to make this happen we needed to be savvy. Use points accumulated from my husband’s work travel. A place we both loved. Where we could relax and felt totally different than Chicago. After a short discussion we both agreed on New Orleans.
We visited NOLA before. Before we were married. Before we were parents. Before our lives felt so complex. I wanted to go back. Back to get that feeling. I shared lots of our trip on IG stories and the most request I received was for a day by day breakdown of our activities. Well, asked and answered.
I do a lot of research before I travel. I don’t overplan down to the second, but I like to have lots of options. I take all my findings and make a google spreadsheet with a lot of fun columns, so I can filter it how I like it. Obie and I make the perfect match. He reminds me to go with the flow. I find us interesting places to visit, with both of our interests in mind.
Enjoy the breakdown of our Baecation and please share any recommendations in the comments!
Day 1: Saturday
This is my first stop off the plane. I have actually been known to show up with my luggage still in hand. It is important to go to Acme in non peak times. There will always be a line outside but you want you wait to be as short as possible. When Obie and I show up we get in line but I let the hostess know we will sit at the bar, preferably the oyster bar. This flexibility gets us seated right away. Sitting at the oyster bar gives you a chance to talk to the heart and soul of this establishment, the shuckers. These guys have been there 20+ years and Lawd do they have stories to tell. Hollywood is my favorite and usual oyster guy but this visit we met “Stormin Norman”. He reminded me a bit of grumpy cat from ObieQ’s books. Once we cracked his shell, he kept us entertained with crazy stories and kept the oysters coming.
What I ordered: Chargrilled oysters by the dozen; seafood gumbo to keep me company while I waited on my oysters
What he ordered: Chicken and andouille sausage while we waited for oysters.
Drinks of choice: Anita Andygator Beer for me. Obie is drinking water in preparation for tonight
After we stuffed ourselves full of oysters we felt like a walk. Obie wanted to take a walk down Bourbon before it got crazy. Too late, it was already poppin at 2p. We stopped and got him a hand grenade (none for me. I would never touch that. We are in a intercocktail relationship) before we escaped Bourbon. We took a walk to Congo Square. Which holds so much history for the African American community of New Orleans. Often you can visit an there will be art fairs, music, etc. Today it was pretty quiet so we strolled around and headed back to the hotel.
I love getting off the beaten path so I am always looking for cool cultural happenings in the city. Studio Be was high on that list. Since the studio is closed Sun-Tues, we had to go today. Just a short car ride away, was one of the experiences that would be a highlight to our trip. This 36,000 sq ft gallery is breathtaking. It’s the hard work of public artist Bmike. This exhibition has murals and room size installations that you are going to love. My husband and I went totally different directions, drawn to different pieces. That is the beauty of art. It speaks to each person differently. They haven’t announced a closing date yet, so check to see if it is open during your visit and GO!
Full transparency, we tried to go to another restaurant, Morrows, but there was a 2 hour wait. Since I get hangry, that was NOT an option. So we went back to the Quarter. It’s Sat night and everything was full. I hopped on the OpenTable app and found an open reservation. That is what led us to Red Fish Grill. The food was fine. The service was GREAT. The signature appetizer was the BBQ Oysters and they were great. I am actually still thinking about those.
What I ordered: The Wood Grilled Redfish & Sautéed Lump Crabmeat
What he ordered: Sautéed Gulf Shrimp & Grits
Drinks of choice: Red Wine for me. Obie had the Bourbon Street Car Cocktail
Frenchman Street is where we go for that New Orleans type of feeling. You know the one you see on TV. You THINK it’s on Bourbon St. No girl, that’s not it. Head on over to Frenchman street to hear live music. One of my favorite brass bands, Soul Rebels, was in town so this made this visit that much sweeter. The didn’t go on until 11p so we knew it was going to be a late night. After the show we happed from bar to bar hearing soulful music along the way. We were up until the wee hours of the morning, dancing and drinking and dancing and drinking. What a perfect way to end our first night
Drinks of choice: Mezcal margaritas for me to start. Eventually this switched to Hendrix & Tonic. Obie had Crown Royal on ice all night. If you know my husband this should not be a surprise.
Day 2: Sunday
Sunday Jazz Brunch was on the top of my must do list while we were here. My first choice, Atchafalaya Restaurant,was booked. Apparently you need to reserve at least 3 weeks in advance. I decided on a classic, old school type of feeling. White tablecloths, waiter wearing a tie, jazz trio playing. Palace Cafe was right on point. We had a great time and the food was SO GOOD. I have to talk about the Bloody Mary bar here. They have a long list of house infused vodka here. From cucumber to crawfish boil! There is a gentleman there to talk to you about your flavor profiles and create the perfect drink for you. Then you can add all of the garnish your heart desires. That and the crawfish cheesecake (yep you read that right) will have me back for sure.
When I am visiting a city I always google: “City + Festival Calendar”. This is an easy way to give you the feel of a city. We were super lucky the Oak Street Po’ Boy Fest was happening this weekend. This free fest gave us a chance to try all of the best Po Boys in the city at one stop. Our Niece is a college student in New Orleans so we invited her to hang out and eat food that wasn’t from a cafeteria. We spent hours there walking, talking and enjoying local beer. We went back to the hotel for a quick nap….You know how that ended.
What I ordered: Soft Shell Po Boy and it was FIRE. I also split a BBQ fried shrimp po boy with my niece. I finished it off with fresh roasted corn, YUM!
What he ordered: Obie had a friend catfish po boy. .
Drinks of choice: Port Orleans “3 day weekend” beer. It was only okay. It’s a hibiscus lime beer, better for a hot summer day
Day 3: Monday
This restaurant was right in the lobby of our hotel. It was a convenient and delicious choice to start our day. Service was great and it was the perfect street view to people watch.
What I ordered: I decided to go the “healthy” route: Farmer’s Market Vegetable Frittata. In true NOLA fashion there was a little something extra. It sat on top of delicious melted Brie. It tasted decadent.
What he ordered: The Riverboat Breakfast. It was a traditional breakfast with a few twists. My favorite was the crawfish boil smashed potatoes!
It was a Monday and my email inbox was lighting up like the 4th of July. I tucked myself into this shop for a couple, tbh, a few hours. It was the perfect workspace. Free WiFi, good music and a great chai. This would become my work homebase.
With work behind me, I was hungry …AGAIN. We wanted traditional food so we stayed in the quarter and chose a restaurant that has been around for years, Royal House. Here I was able to do something I have never done on all of my trips to New Orleans. We sat on the balcony, overlooking the street. It was amazing. We ordered chargrilled oysters before we could even sit down good. I am glad we did because they were the warm up my tastebuds needed.
What I ordered: Half dozen of chargrilled oysters, crab claws, crawfish etouffee. All were delicious and I would eat right now if it was in front of me.
What he ordered: Taste of New Orleans: Jambalya, Etouffee and Gumbo
Drinks of choice: I had a DELICIOUS gin drink. I can’t remember the name. I guess it was THAT good.
We needed souvenirs and we knew exactly where to find them. The French Market is an open air, multi vendor market. We go there to get those cheesy items that are perfect to bring back kids in your family. I am on a mission in places like this.. We were done shopping by the time I finished my rum daiquiri.
Brand Jordan x Be Mike Pop Up: A sistafriend of mine saw how much we loved Studio Be, so when she saw the artist was having a pop up she tagged me in the post. We immediately put it at the top of our list. THIS is where we bought our souvenir. Limited edition collab merch. Yes Please! The staff was mad cool. Hooked us up with stickers for ObieQ. Showed us around, including a behind the scenes look at the in house screen printing. They were having a watch party later and invited us to pull up…but we couldn’t we had plans.
Under an expressway, in a backyard, musician drinking a cold beer in between the lines of him singing his heart out. We felt right at home. Y’all, we had so much fun here. First of all, my husband was eating red beans and rice out of a community pot the staff was serving out. That should have been a hint that they were going to treat us like family. We stayed there singing, dancing and drinking until late in the midnight hour. The night ended with a selfie with Kermit and us promising to come see him next time he is in Chicago. Look how blurry that picture is, you KNOW we had a great time.
Drinks of choice: EVERYTHING, smh
Day 4: Tuesday
Let the other visitors go home. These beignets taste just as good and fluffy on a Tuesday as they do on the weekend. We walked right up, no line, and ordered the best beignets in New Orleans. Don’t @ Me.
I am a sucker for a great mural, so I had to make it to the “Greetings from NOLA” wall. It did not disappoint and was worth the trip out the French Quarter. I took my obligatory blogger pics and a nice stranger took a great pic of us.
We were just a block away from here and fried seafood sounded like a great fit for lunch.. This place had more of a chain vibe but that didn’t stop us. We knew this was our last meal in NOLA, so we took our time.
What I ordered: Crab Boil. I couldn’t resist their lunch special of 6 crabs and all the fixings.
What he ordered: Fried seafood sampler. Their signature dish. The breading was really good so I was dipping in his plate too.
Drinks of choice: I had a Dixie beer
After we checked out of the hotel we went to end on a high note.. We sat in our exact same seats while Stormin Normin served us the same meal. Only changes were, I added a ½ dozen of fresh oysters and Norman smiled the entire time.
Happy Hour and final email check. We had about an hour before heading to the airport so we enjoyed happy hour at our hotel. Even though it was happy hour, the bar staff was still very committed to craft cocktails. We enjoyed well balanced cocktails at half the price.
Our car came and we headed to the airport. Four days was enough of being away from our little guy BUT not enough for us to cover everything. Places like Elizabeth’s, Bacchanal’s & Morrows are still on my list. I wanted to visit more craft cocktail lounges. But I don’t stress, this just gives me a reason to come back.