Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

Back in Louisiana — follow me on social media!

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I’m back in our next-door state, Louisiana, for a statewide media tour all this week, so I won’t be posting here for a little bit. Buuuut, you can find me chattin’ it up on social media till I’m back in Big D. Follow my adventures throughout the state on Twitter, Instagram and my Diva Facebook page. I’ll be knee-deep in some of the best food, drink and attractions the state has to offer, so stay with me as I eat, drink, visit cool corners and, in general, laissez les bon temps rouler!

NOLA: Cafe Adelaide and farewell …

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Within mere minutes of the above scenario going down (ahhhh!), my cohorts and I were sauntering through the French Quarter on our way to the lavish Loews New Orleans. You’ll recall it was the sizzling-hot hotel I stayed at on my last NOLA visit, in March. I also was treated then to a spectacular lunch at the hotel’s Cafe Adelaide, which is where us three were headed for Saturday brunch this fine day.

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NOLA Day 3: Biking with booze

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Friday in New Orleans started out bright and beautifully, just beckoning us outside. Good thing we’d be spending a good chunk of time outdoors with a much-looked-forward-to excursion that spoke to our inner lushes: Confederacy of Cruisers’ cocktail history bike tour of the French Quarter! It’s like we were made for each other! But first we had to breakfast!

A spot I’ve come to loooove visiting on my trips to New Orleans is Le Croissant d’Or, on a quiet stretch of the FQ.

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NOLA: How to take it (Big) Easy

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So after our first night in NOLA, which featured the Tales of the Cocktail welcome party and two bar stops after that, nothing could’ve gone wrong in terms of our well-being the next day, right? WRONG.

I woke up feeling fine and dandy, but sometime during breakfast at Roux, the resto inside our super-fab hotel, my condition took a turn for the unfantastic. Detroit, in fact, started out in unfantastic mode from the get-go; it was clear we’d have to take it easy today. Well, us ladies would — Dimples looked as fresh as a spring day. Envy.

After some downtime in our hotel room, Detroit and I opted to hit what was supposed to be a Dallas-centric affair — a house party thrown by High West Distillery, a spirits maker out of Utah. We arrived to a nondescript Bourbon Street address wayyyy away from the party hub, thank goodness!

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My NOLA hotel: Bourbon Orleans

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This go-round in New Orleans, I was quite pleased to stay right in the pulsating heart of the French Quarter at the Bourbon Orleans hotel. I was quite excited to stay in this lovely bastion of FQ style, knowing its rich history of hosting some of the city’s most lavish social events in its grand ballroom. Ahhh, the romance!

Location-wise, it was perfectly situated on Bourbon and within walking distance to all the glories (oy, and trouble) one can get oneself into in the Big Easy. Despite being right on party street central, however, I never heard any of the revelry or raucousness on the boulevard from the hotel room. Yay for that!

For any ghost hunters out there, the Bourbon Orleans has you covered with four reputed spirits known to haunt the expansive space, including kids (burned-down orphanage) and a nun (suicidal nunnery dweller). Happily, we didn’t encounter any of these visions face to face, praise Jeebus, buuuuut, me, Detroit Diva and Dimples all had our share of quirky happenings in the elevator, such as pressing the down button only to land on the top floor and having the conveyance stop at every floor after having pressed only one button (cue creepy spooky music). Mischievous kiddie spirits or odd mechanical malfunctions? You be the judge!!

All ghosting aside, I loved the comfortable luxury of the Bourbon Orleans, from the view of the street from its restaurant, Roux, to the heated saltwater pool that inspired hours of sunbathing and swimming. Ahhhh, the relaxation!

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I could’ve stayed in the pool for at least an hour, but, alas, I was only managed a half-hour stay pre-Saturday brunch. Speaking of waterworks, my bathroom shower was another refuge — I could’ve lingered in that shower for days!

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Too, my bed, with its sink-into-me mattress and sumptuously pillowy covers, made it hard to get up and at ’em each day. Happily, the sun filtering through the plantation shutters woke me up thoroughly every morning.

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While I would’ve liked the option to pull some blackout-type shades over the windows to achieve a darker room, it wasn’t exactly a bad thing that the sun tugged us out of bed for more fun and revelry in the Quarter. That’s what we come here for after all, right?

NOLA, Day 1: Have I got Tales for you!

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So I landed in New Orleans this go-round right as the huuuuge spirits-education fest Tales of the Cocktail kicked off — sooooweet! With Detroit Diva covering it officially, our group got some inside scoopage on parties and special events happening alongside the event.

But one of our first endeavors upon arriving to town was dinner at Dominique’s, a farm-to-table-centric resto along the offbeat, funky Magazine Street neighborhood.

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I loved the classy-cool, easy elegance of the eatery, with its clean decor and open layout. Beyond the main dining room was an intimate patio area adorned with candles. We sat indoors and soaked up the sweet ambience. We opted for a mix of starters, including a duck leg confit, a crab and celery root salad and this tasty pork belly and watermelon skewer …

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I feasted on a Morgan Ranch Wagyu beef coulette — a cut between the sirloin and filet — filled with a Creole cream cheese and sided with a potato galette and fresh carrot flan (below). Simply fantastic — I requested a medium-plus preparation, and it arrived cooked to light-red perfection. Home run!

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Detroit Diva dived into a pan-seared flounder with pappardelle pasta and greens (below) — a just-caught, flaky delight.

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Dimples enjoyed a pan-sauteed soft-shell crab (below), which I did not try because of my fear that soft-shell crab bodies will sprout to life and attack my face … but here’s a pic!

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After our supremely yummy stop at Dominique’s, it was time to get to partying — we were on the list for the Absolut Welcome Party for Tales, so it was off to Arnaud’s in the French Quarter …

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… which is where this happened. Arnaud’s was transformed from genteel Southern dining haven into room after room of carnival-themed merriment and wonder. Epic!!

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In the main dining room, mini-boats had been filled with boiled shrimp, and dishes of bananas Foster awaited sweet-toothy guests. Meantime, cocktails poured forth from old-fashioned fountains — I opted for a classic Corpse Reviver as Detroit Diva and I moved on. Upstairs, one room featured a popcorn dispenser and carnival performers, while around the bend, another chamber was bedecked in birthday finery to celebrate the anniversary of the Cosmopolitan (above). Best. Bday. Evah. We filled our to-go cups with Cosmo and headed back downstairs as the party wound down.

(Thanks heavens for to-go cups in NOLA – no need to guzzle your drank, just bring it with you on the street!)

We met up with Dimples and ditched our cups to hit up the Erin Rose, one of those fantastic locals bars scattered throughout the Quarter if you look hard enough. You’ll remember my visit here in March; I hearted its spirited, no-frills vibe from the get-go.

Unlike my last visit, though, the Killer Po-Boys window in back was open! Even though we were still stuffed from dinner, Detroit spotted a pork belly po-boy on the menu and decided it had to be hers (the girl has a pork belly addiction like I’ve never seen. Send prayers and pork belly in her direction.).

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Having lost Dimples for the evening (let’s just say our group has a vicious habit of losing cellphones in NOLA), Detroit and I weren’t ready to tuck the night away, so we walked to a bar I’d been dying to check out — mixology haven Bar Tonique.

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Located on Rampart Street, which divides the Quarter from the Treme neighborhood, it exudes underground neighborhood openness and cool. LOVED it. Though it had the look of a dive, it’s earned a rep as one of the best mixology spots in town. Yay for my taste buds! A must-visit for you!

Suffice it to say that at this point, your Diva couldn’t recall what was ordered, though I will always remember really falling hard for the carefree vibe at Bar Tonique. Detroit and I stumbled home to our hotel.

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