If you didn’t know, Molly is from Baton Rouge, which is about an hour outside of New Orleans. She grew up visiting New Orleans frequently and continues to visit two to three times a year. She made our planning for this trip so easy. We thought it would be fun to share with you all what we got into while we were there!
We booked a 4-day, 3-nights trip. The flight from Houston to New Orleans is under an hour, which was so nice!
This time, we stayed at:
JW Marriott, which is centrally located in the City. This was our first time staying here and it appeared as if it was newly renovated.
In the past, we have stayed many different places, but will list our favorites:
Henry Howard Hotel located on Prytania Street. This hotel was built in 1867 as a double gallery townhouse by famed architect, Henry Howard. It was recently renovated to be an 18 room, boutique hotel. This hotel is a great alternative to the French Quarter; it is quaint, quiet and surrounded by beauty.
Hotel Monteleone, a beautiful, iconic hotel located in the Quarter. The home of the ever famous Carousel Bar. It is a family owned and operated hotel in the French Quarter. It was built in 1886 and remains a historic landmark. The hotel has 570 guest rooms, including 50 suites. If you are wanting to stay in the quarter, this is a beautiful spot.
The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. If you happen to find yourself in New Orleans for Christmas, I highly recommend staying here and if not staying, just checking out the Hotel Lobby and having a drink!
Now to the fun stuff, eating & drinking!
Thursday night we made reservations at Jason’s favorite restaurant, and an award-winning staple in New Orleans, Commander’s Palace. The waiters here are always phenomenal, and the food is exceptional. Their wine list is more like a wine book! They have a separate building where they store all of their wine and carry an impressive number of vintages as well. Here, we enjoyed a 2009 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape with our meal. We highly recommend their Shrimp & Tasso Henican, the Turtle Soup, the Creole Gumbo, and the Pecan Crusted Fish.
After dinner, we walked over to Hot Tin Roof at The Pontchartrain Hotel, which we highly recommend! At night, Hot Tin Roof offers the best views of the brightly lit City. We are always suckers for a good cityscape at night, so this is one of our favorite places to pop in for a drink! Housed below Hot Tin Roof is the famous Jack Rose Restaurant, home to Ashley Longshore’s Lil Wayne painting. Grab a photo and a champ bong while you’re there!
On Friday, we spent the morning and early afternoon wandering around the French Quarter. Molly’s husband was adamant about getting a muffuletta sandwich, so we made our way over to Napoleon’s House for one of the city’s famed sandwiches! Although Molly think’s Central Grocery is home to the best muffuletta in the city, she always pops into Napoleon House for at least a drink, as her husband loves the history behind the place! You will want to get to Napoleon House early, as it filled up rather quickly.
To walk off the heavy lunch, we would recommend art shopping on Royal Street or making your way down to the stunning St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. At the square, they usually have street performers and artists selling their beautiful work! If you’re ready for a treat, this is where you’ll find the famous Café Du Monde, known for their beignets.
After some wandering around, we headed to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Lafitte’s is located in the Quarter at the corner of Bourbon and St. Philip. The house is believed to have been built between 1722 and 1732 and is the oldest structure, in the United States, to be used for a bar. Stop by here during the day while walking around the quarter or drop in at night to catch a live piano show!
After Lafitte’s we headed for drinks at Hotel Monteleone where the well-known Carousel Bar is located. This bar turns while you are seated at the carousel! Another place you will want to get to early to snag a seat at the bar!
For dinner we were debating between La Petite Grocery or Gris-Gris over on Magazine St. We had never tried La Petite before, so we went with that (another James Beard Award winner!). I am pretty sure we ordered one of every appetizer for the four of us! Their Blue Crab Beignets were amazing. We would also highly recommend their Roasted Chicken Breast. I am never one to order Chicken, but my goodness this was fantastic! Great priced wines as well.
After dinner we made our way over to Bar Marilou in the Warehouse District for drinks; be sure to make a reservation! This is basically a bar in a former library with small plates and creative cocktails. The atmosphere is unique and intimate. Would be great for a date night spot or place for drinks with a small group of friends.
On Saturday we walked to Willa Jean for breakfast, which we would highly recommend! They have delicious coffee, fun and fresh alcoholic beverages, and amazing farm-to-table breakfast with a southern flare. My favorite drink at Willa Jean is the frozen blackberry and mint daiquiri. They did not have it on this last visit, but be sure to ask if they have it while you are there. Also, get in line on Yelp before you walk over, there is always a wait and the restaurant is always full!
We decided to spend our day over on Magazine St., which is a beautiful long street of shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants. This is typically where Molly chooses to spend most of her time while visiting. It has a very different vibe from the French Quarter. First, we had drinks at the Columns Hotel, which was another favorite spot of ours. Stunning white column building with an equally stunning lobby where you can escape the hot summers with a cold beverage! This is typically where you will find Molly during Mardi Gras!
We ate lunch at an Israeli restaurant, Shaya. This is Molly’s favorite restaurant and I absolutely see why. I am still dreaming about their hummus. I think she visits New Orleans multiple times a year just to eat here! I know this isn’t your quintessential Cajun restaurant, but just trust us on this one! Shaya is absolutely incredible. I recommend the Salatim (I recommend the 5 for $25) , the Fried Chicken Hummus and the Lamb Ragu Hummus. Just go! You will thank us later; I promise!
After Shaya, we headed to The Bulldog for a quick cocktail and spent some time on their dog-friendly, shaded patio! If you have never been to the Bulldog, you should check it out!
Before heading back to the hotel to change for dinner and more drinks, we headed to Cavan for some more champagne and cocktails. Cavan is a beautiful House located on Magazine. The inside of the restaurant is just beautiful! Highly recommend stopping in for drinks when you are on Magazine.
For dinner, we went to Paladar 511 in the Marigny neighborhood. Again, I think we ordered every small plate on the menu because everything looked (and was) delicious.
After dinner, we walked over to Frenchmen Street after dinner to enjoy some live music! Finally making our way back to Gold Mine for a couple more Flaming Dr. Pepper’s before ending our trip!
We clearly came to the city to wine and dine, but you honestly do not need a set itinerary to enjoy New Orleans, but absolutely pack a good pair of shoes! It is so fun to wander and enjoy the endless culture around every corner.
Other noteworthy places Molly typically visits:
French Truck Coffee. Looking for a good cup of joe? French Truck uses the best and freshest ingredients. They buy the best beans they can find, roast them in small batches and serve them up as soon as possible, making it one of the freshest cups of coffee in the City!
Molly’s Rise and Shine is a breakfast spot from Mason Hereford, the chef behind Turkey and the Wolf. The menu is fun; it consists of a Grand Slam McMuffin, Deviled Egg Tostada, Carrot Yogurt, Breakfast Burrito, Fried Chicken Biscuit and more! If you are craving breakfast drinks, make sure you bring some champagne and vodka with you; it’s BYOB!
Gris-Gris opened in 2018 and quickly became one of my favorite spots in New Orleans. It nails southern cuisine, is casual and comfortable and dining on the first floor at the dining counter that wraps around the kitchens makes for a unique, fun and intimate experience!
Coquette is a great dinner option. Try the tasting menu with wine pairings or order some small plates with the fried chicken entree. Either way, you cannot go wrong.
Galatoire’s is an iconic restaurant in the Quarter. It has been known for its legendary French Creole fine dining since 1905! It is a New Orleans staple and an excellent experience!
Central Grocery is home to New Orleans’ best muffuletta. Grab yourself a sandwich or some olive tapenade to take home with you!
St. James Cheese Company. Looking for some good cheese and wine? Look no further! St. James Cheese Company has happy hour Thursday-Saturday from 5 to 8 pm!
Bacchanal Wine is home to a great patio. It is a wonderful place to grab a snack, have a glass of wine and sit back, relax and listen to some live music!
The Elysian Bar at Hotel Peter and Paul is precious. The building in which it is now housed is an old Church. It is a wonderful spot to stop for a drink and snack, admire the beauty of the once Church or enjoy a cocktail in their courtyard.
My last thought is: when do I get to go back?