New Loves in New Orleans

Happy Mardi Gras! It only seems appropriate that I choose Mardi Gras to share my most recent trip to New Orleans, even if it was a little more than a month ago now.

Most of my trips back to the Crescent City these days focus on weddings, and this trip was no different, for Lauren and Will’s nuptials. Dinner was covered with wedding activities each night, but we took the chance to try some newer places for brunch each day.

IMG_9406We started Saturday my favorite way in the Quarter, with a frozen Irish Coffee from Erin Rose, as we walked down to Marginy to meet Lauren (high school BFF, not the bride of this specific wedding) and her mom for brunch. Paladar 511 opened last year and was on Lauren’s list to try, so we were more than happy to discover it with her. The lofty space and well-designed minimalism let the food shine while creating an inviting atmosphere to chat over a coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at night. Pizza is the center of the menu, cooked in wood-burning ovens in the open kitchen, but the Korean Steak and Eggs may have been our favorite item. We shared way too much food but left satisfied and ready to recommend this spot. It’s a local haunt but just outside of the Quarter, making it accessible to visitors who aren’t venturing too far away (though you totally should make it to other areas of the city, given the chance).

IMG_9475 IMG_9478 IMG_9480Sunday morning we woke up, licked our wounds from the night before by the piano at Pat O’s, and grabbed a coffee before heading to brunch at Willa Jean, also a recommendation from Lauren. Everything on the menu looked fantastic, but we had been eating nonstop since Friday night and couldn’t swing trying as many menu items as we would have liked. However, we both welcomed some lighter options that still packed in flavor. I opted for the avocado toast and Johnny enjoyed the smoked salmon, though I eyed everything that passed on to the other tables.

IMG_9490 IMG_9486Our flight home was later that evening, so we rounded out the trip by meeting my friend Rebecca at the Carousel Bar to watch the remainder of the Saints game. She lives near the Quarter and has gotten to know one of the oyster shuckers at Felix’s, so we decided to belly up to the bar for fresh oysters and more football. I lost count of how many oysters he shucked for us, but he kept them coming and we made them disappear. Hands down the best way to enjoy fresh gulf oysters!

I came home and ate salad for a week, and went to bed at 8:30 that Monday night, but the trip was a blast as always (and that doesn’t even capture all of the wedding events!). You truly can never see, or eat, enough in New Orleans.

And for the record, I’m insanely jealous of all my friends who have been living up Mardi Gras these past few weeks. I’m holding down the fort with a few others in Dallas, reminding ourselves to laissez les bons temps rouler!

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