They say once you meet her, you’ll never leave her. Now, this is a statement that I cannot negate. New Orleans is easily one of my fave US cities!! The music, the food, the atmosphere, and the culture, they all possess this mesmerizing force that I can’t seem to shake, not that I’d want to. There is so much to do and see in New Orleans. However, it seems that every time I go, Bourbon St. finds a way to hold me hostage, but not this time!!
The people who accompanied me this go round were newbies, so of course we spent a good amount of time on Bourbon St. We grabbed some hand grenades and walked until our feet got tired. When we got hungry, we grabbed a bite to eat at Willie’s Chicken Shack. This place has never let me down. Every time I have a little too much to drink, Willie’s always comes through for me!! Speaking of restaurants, I highly encourage you to eat outside of the French Quarter if you can for two reasons. 1) the wait times are ridiculous, and 2) a lot of the chefs aren’t from New Orleans and they put their own twist on the dishes. With that being said, some of the dishes served in the French Quarter may not be authentic. This is what we were told by one of the locals dining at the Ruby Slipper. The food at the Ruby Slipper was delicious, but the wait times were outrageous. We actually had to come back the next morning because we were all hungry and refused to wait that long. I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you download the app nowait, you can make reservations at the Ruby Slipper and other restaurants to avoid long lines and wait times.
Another restaurant that comes highly recommended is ACME Oyster House. If you love oysters, this is the place to go. Now, there is a location in the French Quarter, but do not, I repeat, DO NOT dine at this location if you don’t have time to spare. The line for this particular location was wrapped around the corner. Because we were all starving, we skipped town and headed to the Metarie location. We were seated as soon as we walked through the doors. They have an oyster bar where you can observe oysters being shucked, and if you sit at the bar, the fellas will occasionally slide you a raw oyster or two. Something interesting that this restaurant served was oyster shooters. An oyster shooter consisted of an oyster, cocktail sauce, and vodka in a shot glass. I took a rain check on the shooter, but I did try the chargrilled oysters. I’m no fan of oysters, but the way these oysters were seasoned and garnished, I almost forgot I was eating oysters. The oysters came to my table in a herb butter sauce with cheese. This was just the beginning. My boyfriend and I ordered The Captain’s Platter as our entrée. We were not ready for what came to our table, a mountain of seafood that reached about 6″ if not higher. I’m talking shrimp, craw puppies, oysters, a soft shell crab, fish, fries, and onion rings. I think I remembered everything.
When we weren’t busy stuffing our faces and avoiding the sweltering heat, we were in and out of uber vehicles. One place in particular we visited was Armstrong Park. Armstrong Park is situated in Tremé, the first black neighborhood in New Orleans. There was a gentleman sitting outside the park selling waters, and we chatted with him about the history of the city and Big Chief Tootie. We visited Congo Square, an area of the park where slaves gathered to sing and dance. I’m not sure how often this occurs, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, but locals still gather at Congo Square to play drums, dance, and socialize. We returned that night to find the Armstrong Park arch illuminated with lights. Over the next few days, we jumped on the trolley and rode it to the garden district and visited the Voodoo Museum and Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. I have never seen so many voodoo dolls, wishing stumps, and altars in my life! Gifts in the form of money and jewelry adorned the stumps and altars as offerings to the Gods. One God’s shrine was decked with cigarettes, candy, and rum because he was supposedly a jokester. In spite of what you may have read, did you know that voodoo is rarely used for evil?
Since I have been to NOLA countless times, I did not elaborate on every dish I’ve tried or every restaurant I’ve visited. You can, however, find a list below. I will be returning to New Orleans in the near future. What recommendations do you have for me?
- Camellia Grille
- Cafe Du Monde
- Cafe Maspero
- Harrah’s Casino Buffet
- Willie Mae’s Scotch House
- Crawfish Etouffee