New Orleans is often touted as one of the best foodie cities in the country and with good reason. It’s home to a wide variety of locally created dishes thanks to its proximity to salt water, fresh water and plenty of farmland.
The city has a reputation for debauchery, but the real New Orleans is steeped in history. The best way to avoid the tourists and melee is to avoid Bourbon Street, but take a peek walking past on your way to any number of restaurants. Or take a quick walk on the famed street after visiting the famous Pat O’Brien’s, home of the Hurricane. The sweet, rum-based cocktail was invented during World War II when it was difficult to find whiskey but there was a surplus of rum. The drink is named for the glass in which it’s served, with the appearance of a hurricane lamp. Enjoy an afternoon in their courtyard or sit outdoors in the evening listening to live music.
There’s no shortage of excellent dining in New Orleans. Some restaurants are iconic like Antoine’s and Galatoire’s with their respective innovations of Egg Sardou and Oysters Rockefeller. Some are steeped in history like Napoleon House and Broussard’s, with their own variations to classic Creole fare like jambalaya and gumbo. More than a dozen iconic dishes were created in New Orleans, such as Central Grocery’s muffuletta, Bananas Foster at Brennan’s and po’boy variations at many local eateries. New Orleans chefs are so consistently delicious it’s difficult to make a bad decision.
Beignets are well-regarded as a tasty New Orleans treat, and the most popular place to get them is Café Du Monde in the French Market. The location is easy to spot with its green and white striped awning and generally a long line down the street. For an alternative without the wait, try Café Beignet and enjoy your beignets in their outdoor courtyard with a cup of coffee. The deep-fried dough is covered in powdered sugar and usually sold in orders of three or six.
Where to stay
The JW Marriott New Orleans on Canal Street is at the edge of the action and steps away from streetcar stops. The hotel has outstanding service and modern amenities.
The Hilton Riverside is across the street from the casino and also within a short walk of the French Quarter and right beside a streetcar stop. Most rooms have great views of the city or the river.
Another option is to stay in the heart of the action at the Holiday Inn French Quarter. Because of its location and narrow streets, parking can be tricky but the boutique hotel with courtyard and pool offers a nice balance between relaxation and fun.