Wow, it's been a while, but I'm finally catching up, and I've got some great stuff to share with you. My husband, Tom, and I decided to go to New Orleans for our vacation this year. As you may know, New Orleans is a great town for eating! I'm going to break our trip up into a few multi-part posts (If I did a full post on every place we went, I'd be writing about our trip to New Orleans until this time next year.) I'll probably do the same for my recent work trip to Dallas as well. Let me know if you like the format.
Where to Stay - Maison Perrier
For our excursion to the Big Easy, we stayed at the Maison Perrier. If you're looking for a bed and breakfast that's not in the French Quarter (but only 5-6 minute drive or short street car ride), I'd highly recommend this one. Maison Perrier is a lovely, two-building facility in the heart of the Garden District. It was quiet and plenty of street parking (and one of the few hotels in New Orleans that doesn't charge for parking).
They take good care of you here. Homemade breakfasts every morning. There are platters of cake and brownies set out in the evening. There is a wine and cheese mixer on Friday and Saturday evenings, but the coolest thing was the honor bar.
(Look! Abita on tap!)
This was a series of refrigerators filled with soft drinks, wine and beer. Soft drinks were $1, beer $2, and wine $3. Whatever patrons take from the refrigerators, they just sign off on a pre-printed list and settle up upon their departure.
One quick caveat, I would avoid the Desiree room. It is right off the kitchen and can get a little noisy quite early as the chef begins preparations for the day and travelers start coming down for breakfast.
What to Do - New Orleans Tours
When looking for entertainment, I booked through Viator. It really was a one-stop shopping as far as fun tours and things to do. We chose 3 of the options, and I don't think any of them disappointed.
(Mansion in the Garden District)
We started off with a tour of the Garden District. I really enjoyed this one because we got to walk around and really absorb the feel of this expansive neighborhood. We saw plenty of beautiful mansions, the Lafayette Cemetary and we even learned a few things (Do you know where the phrase "dead ringer" originated?)
(Cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking)
We also really enjoyed a great cooking class/demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking. This was a really fun, high energy cooking class where we learned a great deal about the history of New Orleans and its food. (Do you know the difference between Cajun and Creole?) Our class was early afternoon, so they started us off with coffee and biscuits and molasses (Ya'll know the way to my heart is with a soft, fluffy, biscuit) Then we watched as our teacher prepared authentic jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding and prailines. When all the hard work was done, we got to sample hearty portions of all of the dishes (and some ice cold Abita). We also received a recipe book with all of the days recipes and a discount to the gift shop.
(Absinthe at a pirate bar)
The tour that I would most recommend would be the French Quarter cocktail walking tour. I really enjoyed this one because we got to go to four different bars and have four signature cocktails (Note: They do give you one drink at the start of the tour, but you have to pay for any additional drinks after that). We got to try absinthe, a sazerac, a bayou bash and a garden district. Each was interesting in not only the taste but also the history behind it. I have to admit that my favorite was the bayou bash from the Court of Two Sisters. It was really refreshing on such a hot day.
In my next post, I'll talk about the stuff you really want to hear about - the food!