If you're planning a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana then you already know you're in for a real treat! Notorious for its Mardi Gras celebrations, jazz music and historic architecture, New Orleans is home to hundreds of local street artists gathered around Jackson Square.
Shopping meets sightseeing in the French Market and you’ll find a unique and exciting experience around every corner as you stroll through historic neighborhoods and cemeteries. By night, Bourbon Street is overflowing with clubs, entertainment and musicians of every kind.
But perhaps even more stimulating than the sights, sounds and aromas of one of America’s most culturally and historically-rich destinations, is the incredible food New Orleans has to offer. In this city that lives to eat, I hit up several major food staples you won't be able to resist.
Here's a list of 7 spots you don't want to miss when you're in the Big Easy:
1. Café du Monde
This original French Market coffee stand serves up café au lait (try it iced) and hot beignets 24 hours a day, year round. YES, 24/7/365! If you’re standing around waiting to be seated, don’t hold your breath as a cool draft bowls the subtle scent of fresh beignets your way. Grab a seat at the first empty table you find and someone will be with you shortly to take your order. Oh, and if you're one of those people who can never decide what to eat (ahem, please don't judge us!), no need to fret -- there's only one thing on the menu. Why? Because they're just THAT good.
Tip: You can add a souvenir mug to your coffee order for a few extra bucks, if you're into that sort of thing!
This cute and dainty space is your one-stop-shop for all things sweet! Choose from exquisite handmade chocolates, creamy gelato and high-end pastries -- you can't go wrong!
My pick: A box of macarons! With the adorable packaging, it makes for the perfect gift to take home and share with the fam.
3. Ralph & Kacoo’s
Dinner and a live dueling piano show? Let me in, y'all! This restaurant is truly New Orleans-style dining at its best. The live entertainment, delicious cajun seafood, and dimly lit atmosphere makes for a perfect evening with that someone special or a night out with your besties!
I recommend: The Ruby with a side of cajun rice and the Crawfish Étouffée (a must-try New Orleans staple!)
I stopped in for an early breakfast at this cute little cafe before heading out and about. Score a table in the corner next to the set of doors with big windows and you'll catch a great view of the dining room as well as the foot traffic passing by outside.
The french toast sticks are aesthetically simple, but absolutely delicious. And paired with (my new favorite) chicory coffee, it was a great way to fuel up first thing in the morning!
5. Croissant d’Or
Serving fine, authentic French pastries, this little shop is located in the heart of the French Quarter. They sell an excellent chocolate croissant–perfectly tender and flakey, with just the right amount of chocolate.
6. Johnny’s Po-Boys
Also in the French Quarter, you’ll find the city’s oldest family-owned po-boy restaurant. Get ready to wait in a line that continues out the door, but for good reason. This place is worth every minute. I highly recommend the Shrimp Po-Boy!
7. Leah’s Pralines
Quaint and cute, this little praline shop is tucked away in the French Quarter. A sweet delicacy of NOLA, these pralines are smooth, creamy candies made completely by hand, the old fashioned way! Created fresh and on the premises daily, they come in an assortment of flavors (old-fashioned creole, chocolate, and peanut butter to name a few) that just melt in your mouth.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking to visit a place with great music, culture and architecture accompanied by delicious food: New Orleans has it all.