We left off with TechGod and the Diva roaming the streets of New Orleans after a blissful musical eargasm courtesy of Tanya and Dorise
Dinner at Red Fish Grill
For Sunday dinner, I was invited to eat at Red Fish Grill, a Cajun cuisine hub that’s part of New Orleans’ venerable Ralph Brennan restaurant family. The menu was packed with myriad tasties from the Gulf, and I couldn’t wait to dig in!
I opened the proceedings with the alligator sausage and seafood gumbo (above), a rich, mildly spicy stew ladled over white rice. It was the perfect way to kick off dinner, as it literally warmed up my tummy for more!
And “more” meant the Redfish on the Half Shell (below), a bevy of sauteed crawfish tails sprinkled over a fillet of blackened redfish and served with mustard greens. AND it was strongly suggested to me that I add crab. And if that wasn’t enough, spicy chili butter was drizzled over … well, I don’t know, maybe the entire dish and the silverware, too, but you know what? I was prepared to eat it all, because it’s chili butter, y’all!
The fish itself was cooked to juicy flakiness, and the greens added a touch of zesty bitterness that contrasted beautifully with the entree’s spices. Big, fat plate of yum.
TechGod, who thoroughly avoids spicy stuff, opted for a simpler dish of grilled Gulf redfish and shrimp over spinach with crab thrown in for good measure. Because life needs more fresh crab, chickadees!
Red Fish Grill fosters a festive atmosphere evident from its decor and vibe as soon as you walk in. Totally apropos, as the resto is located right on Bourbon Street. So bring your beads with you as you stop in for dinner and drinks!
Late-night French Quarter stroll
After dinner and a quick stop back at the hotel, we set out to partake of one of my favorite activities in NOLA — aimlessly wandering the streets. Oh, and drinking. Definitely drinking. First stop was the Erin Rose Bar. How have I missed this Conti Street dive in the past?! Oh, right — I was probably tipsy.
Erin Rose had not only a ton of personality — as evidenced in this witticism seen in the ladies’ loo …
Despite the intake of food several hours before, we were feeling snacky by the time we got to one of my favorite late-night hangs in NOLA — the Deja Vu. It is an absolute must to order the fried green beans there, no matter if your stomach is telling you it’s full. LIES! Once these crisp and snacky babies arrive at your table with a side of ranch, you’ll be powerless to refuse them. And after one bite? Fuhgeddaboutit — the entire tray is going down the hatch. Happily, the Deja Vu kitchen stays open 24 hours a day, so when the noshing bug hits you after a
dozen couple cocktails, you can sate your appetite in the wee hours. Oh, and did I mention this joint has a full bar, too?!
Two hours and five songs on the jukebox after our arrival, it was time to keep on moseying through the French Quarter. I showed TechGod some of my other favorite haunts like Oz and Lafitte’s. But as we rounded the corner of the latter, good ol’ Daylight Savings whooped our butts again, and we realized it was past 4 a.m. EGAD!! We had a lunch reservation at the Loews’ Cafe Adelaide before noon … time for some beauty rest.
Up next: Louisiana lunch goodness and … a giveaway!!Read the rest
After my Baton Rouge adventure, it was time to skedaddle on to New Orleans, yay! But no trip is proper without a good meal to kick it off, and with that in mind, TechGod and I headed to a popular BR brunch spot to eat.
Sunday Brunch at Mason’s Grill
Mason’s Grill is known for decadent breakfast dishes with a Cajun spin — perfect for launching a day of further Louisiana exploits, if you ask me! Keeping with my gorging-on-fresh-seafood theme whilst in the Red Stick city, I opted for a crab cake benedict …
With a side of hearty breakfast potatoes and a mimosa to wake up my senses, this brunch had me ready to sail. And we kind of did, driving as we did on the looong bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.
Lovin’ the Loews New Orleans Hotel
It was a cloudy start to the day, but at least it was fairly warm. Soon we were rolling into the Crescent City, ready to check out our fabulous NOLA HQ, the Loews New Orleans Hotel.
I can’t say enough about the phenomenal amenities and service at this palatial building on Poydras Street. From the moment I stepped inside, I felt like every care and need was taken care of, or could be. As our luggage was whisked away, we had to rush upstairs to make our spa appointment at the hotel spa; the front desk representative assured us that not only would our bags be delivered to our luxurious room, but our hotel key cards would be dropped off at the spa during our treatment. Now THAT is service!
Happy spa times at Balance Spa
When they learned of the Diva’s pending arrival, the lovely folks at Loews treated me to the Girlfriends Getaway package, which includes a two-night stay (I could only stay for one, alas!), complimentary valet and cocktails in the hotel’s famed Swizzle Stick bar, gift cards for patio-and-hurricanes haven Pat O’Brien’s and beignet beacon Cafe du Monde, a 10 percent discount at the spa AND super-fun feather boas, just for kicks! Loves it!
Added bonuses from the lords of the Loews included a beautiful gift basket full of NOLA-tastic treats aaaaand a credit for at the Balance Spa. A relaxing, reinvigorating massage and session in the hot tub later, I was ready to hit the city!
Welcome drinks at the Swizzle Stick Bar
After the rest and relaxation fostered by Balance Spa’s wonderful services, I did the very opposite of post-spa hydrating and hit the hotel’s phenomenal little Swizzle Stick Bar, which has made a name for itself in NOLA for expertly created craft cocktails. You know your Diva had to sample the signature drink — the Adelaide Swizzle (above left)! Named after the aunt of the Ti Adelaide and Lally Brennan — the proprietors of New Orleans’ legendary Commander’s Palace — the Adelaide Swizzle is a flavorful blend of rum, lime, bitters and a secret ingredient, according to the recipe in the Brennans’ book “In The Land of Cocktails.” My palate didn’t give away the secret, trust me — I was too busy savoring the splendor of the drink to focus on guessing!
Post cocktails, we hit the street to use the Pat O’Brien’s voucher from Loews before our dinner reservation. Strolling up Royal Street, we came across performers Tanya and Dorise, whose evocative, emotional music interpretations grabbed my attention on my last NOLA visit.
Standing there listening to their stirring rendition of “Over The Rainbow,” I nearly cried — and plenty of folks paused from their hustle up Royal Street for a moment of pure bliss. Keep on keepin’ on, ladies — hope to see you in NOLA next time! Chickadees, check out the violin-and-guitar duo’s music here!
Stay tuned for the rest of my NOLA adventures!!Read the rest
Dearest chickadees! Forgive my delay in continuing to share my travels in the Red Stick city, Baton Rouge. You know how life and time just get away from you? Well, this Diva’s birthday month just sailed past, like sands through the hourglass, but I’m jazzed to bring you the rest of my recap — voila, my second day in Baton Rouge …Read the rest
Earlier this month, I traveled to Louisiana as a guest of Baton Rouge to check out how the “Red Stick” city rolls. I had an exquisite time, and found the capital city to be full of charming corners, good eats and drinks and fun things to do. And no wonder — in the last few years, the city has poured resources into revitalizing its compact and very walkable downtown area. There’s a handsome new greenspace called the North Boulevard Town Square, at the heart of downtown that entices folks to walk around or grab a table for lunch. A classic trolley runs through some popular stops in town, including the town square. A stretch of 3rd Street offers nightlife options aplenty, and sites such as the Old State Capitol and the riverfront’s USS Kidd Nautical Museum and Louisiana Art & Science Museum make for supremely interesting visits.
But what kinds of trouble did I get into? Read on!Read the rest
In case you didn’t catch it live or via one of my social media profiles, check out my TV debut last week on D Living TV here talking with co-hostess Hilary Kennedy about travel jaunts. And let me know what you think!Read the rest