John and I recently visited our favorite city, New Orleans, during St. Patrick's Day weekend for the first time since our wedding in November 2015. Our first year of marriage was a hectic one and we couldn't seem to find the time to get back down there. But man, was it worth the wait! We enjoyed every moment and were filled with such wonderful memories of our wedding weekend.
WHERE TO STAY
We absolutely adored the newly remodeled Ponchatrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue- it's mid-century modern meets 1920s decor is beyond. Birds of Paradise at every corner, a friendly staff and great food & drinks were just some of the charming details. I definitely recommend a drink at Hot Tin on the rooftop even if you're not staying at the hotel- the drinks are top-notch and the space is perfect for well-lit pics.
Other hotel options:
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
John and I make it a priority to try newly opened restaurants that have received high praise quickly in whatever city we're visiting. So we definitely wanted to try some new spots while on our weekend getaway. But before trying the new hot-spots we had to drive straight to an old classic upon our arrival into the city, Pascal's Manale- John's favorite lunch spot. We both ordered their signature dish, the BBQ shrimp sandwich- I started with the house salad and John had the turtle soup. The sandwich is famous in New Orleans and is made by hollowing out the end of an entire French bread loaf and pouring peeled shrimp and their addicting BBQ sauce which is loaded with black pepper and butter inside. Their gin martinis are top-notch as well :)
That night we had dinner at one of my favorites, La Petite Grocery. Our meal was great but I will say that I prefer their lunch menu and atmosphere more. The steak tartare was delicious and I would definitely recommend it. Make sure you check out the resto for lunch.
On Friday, we started St. Patrick's Day off right at Willa Jean for the most delicious breakfast. We began with the griddled banana bread and it was perfection- crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. After our scrumptious appetizer with coffee and o.j. we dove in to our main dishes. I had the sausage, fried egg and pimento cheese biscuit and John had the BBQ shrimp toast (which was killer). I would definitely recommend Willa Jean to anyone looking for a fresh take on brunch in NOLA! They also have an amazing selection of pastries, pies and baked goods at their bakery counter.
We somewhat skipped lunch on St. Patrick's Day and chose to go to Antoine's for a drink instead. The Hermes Bar at Antoine's was a must-visit for us (Antoine's first floor is where we had our wedding reception). We both had a French 75, their best drink, and then toured the rooms that held so many memories for us. It was so surreal being there together again. After our drinks, we just spent some time walking and taking in the energy of the city.
The highlight of our culinary expats was our dinner Saturday at Seaworthy in the Ace Hotel New Orleans. From beginning to end, it was pure perfection. We started off with two fabulous cocktails, the Holywater and Sherman's Cup, alongside our dozen chef select Gulf and West Coast oysters (so fresh and not in the slightest bit fishy).
After our round of oysters we shared the Brandade of warm smoked amberjack, shaved truffle, compressed cucumbers, chervil, with grilled baguette soldiers and the clove glazed Berkshire Pork Belly with grilled apples, ricotta, and pickled onion scapes- both, very delicious. As compliments of the chef, we shared the créme brûlée with homemade beignets. Definitely a dessert that I would order on our next visit. Aside from a lovely meal, the staff was beyond kind and attentive. Seaworthy was an overall excellent experience and you have to pay them a visit when you're in town.
We left New Orleans on a high note with a classic brunch at Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter. I of course had to start off with one of my all-time favorite dishes, the Baked Apple. If you haven't tried it, catch a flight to NOLA immediately and head straight to Brennan's to place your order. John had the Creole classic, Veal Grillades and Grits. I ordered the same dish I order every time I'm there for brunch, the Eggs Sardou, which is a bed of creamed spinach topped with two deep fried large artichoke hearts, two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Killer. Killer. Killer. The French press coffee tops it all off. We made our final walk around the city and then headed back to the country!
WHAT TO DO
On Friday we spent about 3.5 hours of our day at the National World War II Museum. This was John's first visit to the museum. The archives are astounding and it truly is incredible to see so much history in one place. If you haven't had the chance to visit the museum, definitely make a point to visit it next time you're in the Big Easy. It will change your life.
WHAT TO WEAR
If you've ever been to New Orleans then you know all about heat and humidity. Luckily for us, the weather was lovely- mid 70s during the day and low 60s at night. We were able to wear jeans and a long-sleeved shirt and feel comfortable while walking the city.