09 May 2010

New Orleans recap: food, music and lots of photos

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food, music, travel

Happy Sunday everyone. I am BACK from my first solo vacation to New Orleans…and am totally worn out. Thank goodness I took today to recover before going back to work. I needed it.

Before I left, I was a little nervous but excited. And then I arrived and got really excited!

Seriously, is planning and going on vacation is that easy? I used to think it was so taxing and time consuming but it’s really not and it’s so worth it. And going by myself, while nervewracking, was awesome. I don’t know what I was so scared of.

And having a break from email, computer, TV and Blackberry (mostly) was awesome.

Normally, I’m a planner but I went to Nola with ideas and a list of things to do but with nothing nailed down. I was trying to be…somewhat spontaneous, which I rarely am. And I got to do some cool stuff.

Touristy stuff:

I mentioned Thursday that I loved wandering the French Quarter and that was my favorite part of the trip. I spent a lot of time doing that, taking photos of the architecture and streets. You can see a lot of crazy stuff there that it was fun to just take in the history walking around.

I also took a cemetery and Katrina tour. The former was really interesting. And despite it being 90, sunny and humid, it was amazing to wander through the above ground graves, seeing how gorgeous and ornate they are.

The Katrina tour was tough, as expected. I felt awful sitting in a van, driving through areas still devastated and not rebuilt five years later, but it was important to see. I saw the coverage originally from my computer, shocked by the images, but seeing it in person was still tough. We saw homes missing from neighborhoods, the levee that broke and the areas being rebuilt by Brad Pitt and Project Home Again.

Food:

No lie, I was really excited about the food. I am trying to be more adventurous with food and Nola is the perfect place to step out of my comfort zone.

And I did!

Here are some of my food faves:

Fried green tomatoes (with crawfish)

Very tasty and light and slightly sweet

Blackened alligator

REALLY tasty and spicy. Tastes like calamari, not chicken :)

Charbroiled oysters

I love regular oysters but this was taking it to a new level. Really tasty and delicious

Bananas Foster

I’ve grown to love banana desserts and with a tip from EP and tableside preparation, this tasted like heaven on the cloud

Muffuletta

This is one HUGE sandwich. I only got a quarter size and it was huge. The mix of ham, pastrami, salami and housemade olive salad was delish!

Strawberry Balsamic gelato (thanks Renee for the tip!)

I could talk about the food porn for days but seriously, it was amazing food. I could not get enough!

Entertainment:

Street entertainment is awesome in Nola. There are always people dancing, singing, playing music or posing as art in the streets. And the music there was incredible. So rich and fun. I was blown away by the talent.

I also got to check out Preservation Hall for some old school jazz and despite it being 90 and no AC, the sound was incredible. What a great setting.

Now tomorrow starts a new week back at work and the countdown to Vegas continues! I still need to get used to traveling alone but I’m really proud of myself for tackling a two of my fears: traveling and dining alone. Big pat on the back for me.

How was your weekend?

Review blog update: No movies this week but I did find a great SPF lotion from CVS I loved and used on my trip!

31 Comments

  1. E.P. says:

    Aww, I’m SO glad to hear you had a fantastic time and were able to check out so many things! And I’m happy you were able to have the bananas foster — since I’m allergic to bananas, I only hear of its goodness. (:

    And reading this really makes me want to go back to New Orleans. Like, pronto.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Looks like you had a blast! Good for you! And all that food looks absolutely amazing!

  3. katelin says:

    seriously those pictures are awesome and glad you had so much fun. now you have to come to mom 2.0 next year since it’s in nola!! :)

  4. lbluca77 says:

    Looks and sounds like you had a blast. The alligator
    looks so good. one day I would love to try that. Same with the fried green tomatoes.

  5. oh wow! seems like things went fabulously!

    and yay you enjoyed some solo-travel, isn’t it awesome!

    and love the pictures!

  6. Glad to know you had such a good time! Sounds like you got a good sampling of Nola. Let me know when you want to come to Tennessee :)

  7. Lil' Woman says:

    Sounds like an awesome trip!!
    I would love to be able to visit there one day!

  8. Nora says:

    Love it! Also love that you did a lot of what I did when I was there last summer. I did my own cemetery tour and a ghost tour! It was definitely spooky. I still want to do a plantation one someday.

    If you ever need/want a travel buddy, let me know :) I’m always up for an adventure.

    Glad you had such a lovely time!

  9. Ray says:

    Looks like you had a great trip, I am so jealous. Congrats on the solo travel as well, way to be a fearless female!

  10. Erin says:

    Glad you had a great time AND conquered some of your fears! Sounds (and looks) like a great trip.

  11. Marjolein says:

    It’s great to hear you had so much fun!

  12. sounds like an amazingly successful solo trip!! that picture of the french quarter is gorgeous and fried green tomatoes? love them. There is a restaurant here in Charlotte that makes the most delicious fried green tomato appetizers.

  13. A Super Girl says:

    Huge pat on the back for you! Sounds like a great time :-)

  14. Ask Alice says:

    Looks like you had an amazing time! That sandwich looks so delicious!!

  15. Allison says:

    See! Don’t you love that city! I’m an idiot because I would’ve told you to go to Iris in the Garden District. It’s a restaurant that was an old house right off the main street. It was such an amazing meal.

  16. I love that you stepped out of your comfort zone to go on this trip. And what a wonderful set of experiences you’ve come home with. I’m not sure I could go on the Katrina tour, mostly because I’d feel like I’m letting the tour operators manipulate a tragedy to line their own pockets (now, if all proceeds went to rebuild the city, that might be something different). But, I also get that it’s different to see these things up close versus on TV. Anyway, really awesome you went on this trip and fried alligator? Sounds scrumptious!

  17. Hal says:

    I’m so glad the trip was a success! When I went the graveyards were my favorite part! Everything was so pretty in them. And I loved that there were trees with Mardi Gras beads in them!

  18. That gelato looks sooooo good. I could really use a taste of something like that right now for a bedtime snack.

  19. steph anne says:

    Welcome back and awesome solo trip! The only kind of oysters I like are smoked oysters but I can’t eat it by itself. I love eating it with RITZ crackers, cream cheese & sweet pickles. Oh yumm!! You should try that.

  20. Lucy says:

    Welcome back! Looks like an awesome trip!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    It is so cool that you did this all on your own. I’m craving a solo trip, but I’d feel guilty spending the money right now, so I’m living vicariously through you!

  22. Jessica says:

    Yay for your first solo trip! I’ve never done one and it honestly scares me a bit. Guess I have some more growing up to do.

    Your pictures are amazing! Makes me want to go to NOLA. I literally spent a few hours there when I was 15. It was fun though, I want to go back!

  23. Kyla Roma says:

    Congratulations on the solo trip! It sounds like it was such a success! And the food looks amazing, but I’m not surprised, you seem to have kinda impeccable taste =)

  24. phampants says:

    I’m so glad your solo trip was a success and you had a lot of amazing food.

  25. Lollygagger says:

    Yes! I’m so proud of you! That looks like an absolutely amazing and unforgettable trip. Glad you enjoyed it so much!

  26. Lisa says:

    I’ve heard wonderful things about traveling alone. And honestly, when I think about what stresses me out about vacation, it’s usually the people with me! That sounds horrible, but sometimes traveling with people is just stressful.

    OMG, the food. Your food tweets have been killing me all week. That all sounds and looks delicious. I’m drooling all over my keyboard.

    So happy you had a great trip!

  27. Maki says:

    Aw I’m so glad that your vacation was filled with great food, entertainment and surprises. I’m SO proud of you!!!

    xoxo

  28. Erin says:

    Your trip sounds amazing, and I think it’s so cool that you took a solo vacation! Glad you had a good time and ate so much yummy food.

  29. Melinda says:

    I knew you would love traveling alone. No one to agree with about what to do next, or where you want to eat. Thank you for sharing your adventure.