Are you on your way? Has the sound of brass bands and the smell of gardenias, beignets, and fresh strawberries called you home to New Orleans, yet? We’re down here living our best days and it only makes sense if you join us!
It’s Jazz Fest season and it feels like the city is swelling with visitors. The vibes are good, the river is movin’ fast, and the flower beds are healing from that bully of a winter frost.
Here are a few of my favorite things in the city right now – mostly food related because, well… what else would you expect from me?
I hope you’ll come experience this city for yourself soon. Come for the Louisiana strawberries. Come before the curtain of heat and humidity descends upon us and only the most willfully relaxed survive. We’ll keep the daiquiris cold and comin’.
The truth is, some of the best stuff in New Orleans happens tucked behind unassuming double shot gun front doors, or outside of neighborhood coffee shops on a Saturday morning.
The best way to know what’s going on in cozy dining rooms, outside local coffee shops, or tucking within overgrown backyards… well, take to Instagram.
These are my favorite flower growers, produce growers, dinner makers, and bakers in the city. You’ll find that they’re out and about in the city spreading the good of New Orleans heart and soul, earth and passion:
Levee Baker, and Jamboree Jams, and Port City Pantry.
And of course – The Bakehouse is my cooking workshop space and we’d love to have you in for a class!
Also follow Visit New Orleans for city inspiration.
I have two favorite breakfast places in New Orleans.
Paloma Cafe in the Bywater is my almost everyday good coffee / great breakfast. It’s great for a solo magazine or laptop situation. It’s also fantastic with a breakfast date or small group. The food is simple but exciting, delicious, and so fairly priced PLUS their lunch and wine list is supreme! Can I also just tell you that they make homemade tortillas for their breakfast tacos? But listen – just save me a seat because this is my go-to.
Brunch at Jack Rose Restaurant in the Ponchatrain Hotel is an unstoppably fun weekend brunch spot. The dining room is totally over the top irreverent (and dang fantastic), the menu has the most delicious savory brunch staples, they have CHAMBONGS (which is exactly what you thing: champagne, beer bong style), and don’t you dare leave the restaurant without order at least two items from the dessert menu because their pastry chef Erin just have the most delicious imagination in the city.
If you want to know where I’m eating dinner this spring the answer is Marjie’s Grill. The fried catfish (pictured above ON A FISH PLATE!) is literally the best I’ve ever had, the house cocktail is delicious, the patio is perfectly sweet and if you’re in town and want to step away from the usual suspects – hit up Marjie’s for southeast Asian + southeast American, uniquely delicious cuisine!
And more good news! Pizza and wine at Echo’s in MidCity makes for a pretty perfect early evening! They use fresh milled flour from Bellegarde, their pizza crust is just lightly sour, their tomato sauce is super bright and pleasing and it’s dang good wood-fired pizza so don’t miss it!
This Spring in New Orleans is revealing itself to be such a stunner. It’s walking weather… and sure, while the humidity will sneak up on you, it’s absolutely gorgeous out. If you’re in town, take some time to walk the city and find all the blooming magnolia and gardenias. We’re all as love-drunk as the bees.
Some other fine walking destinations and places you might want to pop-in include:
Oleander on Royal – an incredible new art gallery in the French Quarter.
Porter Lyons – beautiful jewelry in the French Quarter.
St Claude Social Club – a boutique for the coolest ladies.
Century Girl Vintage – a beautiful and feminine vintage boutique, plus look for pieces from Marrow Creative!
• For inner peace: Reyn Yoga and Nola Yoga Loft.
• My favorite sandwiches: Turkey and the Wolf – the fried bologna (seriously) and the braised collard green (double seriously)
• For a bottle of wine and maybe a bit of cheese: Farbough Wines and Keife and Co.
• Where locals eat on a Wednesday: probably Houston’s or Juan’s Flying Burrito
• My favorite sunset cocktail space: Hot Tin (the rooftop bar at the Ponchatrain Hotel. Take the elevator on the right to the Penthouse… you’ll see what I mean.)
• Best healthy salad bowls and smoothies and juice: The Daily Beet (in the CBD or St Roch Market)
• Best place for a lady sprucing: Buff Beauty Bar (for hair and nails), Paint’d for cute nail designs, Mad Nails for one of a kind nail art by Morgan.
See you here soon!
Yay!! I think we are coming… will you be doing another Things-to-do-in-New-Orleans post soon? We are planning to come in November. Maybe some fall recommendations?
Thank you thank you thank you for the Paloma cafe rec!! My first good coffee and meal since I’ve been here (I’m vegetarian and from the PNW and therefore have been struggling with everything being fried and meaty everywhere we go). My espresso and breakfast at Paloma were to die for – just sad I only discovered it on my last day in town!! Now I’ll have to come back to make it to the rest of your recs!
woo! i’m headed to New Orleans for the first time next month! i’m going for work but hoping to have some time to explore. and did you see Crime Con is going to be there next year?? i already have my tickets.
I’m getting married at the end of June and if we can scrape together enough cash after the wedding, the plan is a NOLA honeymoon in October! Not traditional, but I’ve wanted to go for as long as I can remember and my fiance is 100% down. We’re far more into local favorites than the traditional tourist spots and I’ve bookmarked all of your posts over the years knowing that I’d make it there someday. I’m crossing my fingers that one of the Bakehouse workshops will fall during our trip, since they look so fun :) Anyway, I’ve followed your blog for the last 9ish years and have to say thank you, especially for sharing your awesome experiences in New Orleans since you decided to call it home – it’s made me even more excited to eat, drink and walk/dance my way through this amazing city!
I love New Orleans music,.. and would love to try food as well… keep up the great work!
Yusssss! Happily here for my 5th round of Jazzfest with my ma, looking forward to checking out some of these.
Timely and awesome!!! Will be there over the 4th of July :) Can not wait to feel the heat, humidity, love and spiritual vibe…Flea
And now all I will think about, for the rest of my days, will be the Collard Green Melt.
It really is that good!
I want to throw in a vote for R&O’s Restaurant in Bucketown for an excellent Po’Boy! It is a little out of the way and totally untrendy (read: dive) but their Shrimp Po’Boy is my absolute favorite of all time. Make sure to ask for tartar sauce and don’t be shy about loading it on. P.s. the Roast Beef Po’Boy isn’t half bad either ?? I can’t wait to try all the other places you mentioned!
Thank you Jamie! I’m definitely going to R&O! Extra tartar sauce, always.
See you Wednesday! I can’t decide where my first Po boy will be from, Parkway Tavern, Domilise’s, Guy’s, or the Parasol!!!!!
I agree, Guys!
Giiiirl, get that Domilise!
Perfect timing Joy! I’m visiting in a month and you have become my go to guide! Where is your favorite place for a po boy in the French Quarter?
Johnny’s has a great fried shrimp poboy and Verti Marte is a good bet, too! And if you want a Muffaletta, I think Central Grocery on Decatur Street is still the best.
I really like a spot just down the way from the Quarter in the Marigny called Gene’s!
I’m headed to NOLA next month and your post got me even MORE excited, if possible! Thanks for the insider info, we may bump into you at one of your spots!
Thank you for this! All of these sounds wonderful!
We were in New Orleans in March. Still thinking about the fried bologna sandwhich from Turkey and the Wolf. Can’t wait to come back and try your other suggestions!
I’m going to be in town for a conference in August (gulp), so hopefully we’ll get a follow up with some more great recommendations for after the curtain of heat and humidity descends!