“There is no other place on earth even remotely like New Orleans. Don’t even try to compare it to anywhere else.” -Anthony Bourdain
New Orleans always offers up new adventures along with trusty gems and go-to spots, and most recently I traveled back down south for a friend’s wedding in the Crescent City. The crew that traveled from Dallas was nicely mixed with David who is from Houston but went to LSU; Johnny and Julie, both Dallas natives who went to Texas schools; and Megan and me, both from Baton Rouge – a nice balance of past Nola experiences.
Friday night we went to Restaurant R’Evolution, a newer establishment in the French Quarter from Chef John Folse and Chef Rick Tramonto, barely open a year. Louisiana fare meets fresh culinary techniques from names who know Cajun and it shined through every dish we ordered – which was most of the menu.
Saturday lunch was at Sylvain, but not before a frozen Irish coffee from Erin Rose Bar. A low-key bar and restaurant with a high-quality menu, Sylvain was recently recommended by some Dallas friends who are passionate about food. Sean McCusker, a native from Milwaukee, paired up with Alex Harrell, a local Nola chef, to create offerings rooted in the south. You won’t find red beans and rice or jambalaya, but the soul is as thick as the street performers on every Quarter street corner. And the drinks add to the flare. Try one of the specialty cocktails or let the bartender whip something up, and don’t shy away from egg whites in your drink – trust me.
One of my go-to spots on every visit to Nola is the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone. We chose to grab a drink before walking down the way to the wedding ceremony. This is a true local and traveler’s staple, and I always run into folks I know. I’ve stopped in early evening before dinner, late morning before brunch, and plenty of times in between – there is always time for a spin around the bar and a French 75.
Post wedding and Sunday morning I had to have my fix at Café Du Monde. If you’ve never had beignets and café au lait from this famous spot, be prepared to wait, but know the line moves fast and to keep an eye out for that hidden table in the back. The staff won’t tell you when or where to sit, and I like it that way.
Next I needed a po-boy. Something authentic with thick French bread that’s soft inside it’s crunchy shell, loaded with shrimp, and fully dressed with mayo, lettuce and tomato. Per the recommendation of my friend Lauren who lived in Nola for many years, we headed to Johnny’s Po-Boys for a muffeletta and a shrimp po-boy. Just like she said, this place was “no fuss” – and excellent.
From high-dollar to low-dollar and everything in between, hands down Nola has some of the best food; and like Mr. Bourdain says, “There is no place on earth even remotely like New Orleans.”