A New Orleans Vacation

And just like that, another New Orleans vacation comes to an end.  I was there last February but it felt like I hadn’t been there in SO long.  And this trip was extra special as it was Joey and I’s first solo trip to my favorite city.  It’s amazing how easily I fall into a routine once I’m back in NOLA.  Morning strolls to the local coffee shop for a quick breakfast, festival hopping (that city has more festivals than I’ve ever seen anywhere else!), seafood feasting, French Quarter exploring, porch lounging and family time spending.  It never gets old and while I still rely heavily on my family to do most of the tour guiding and I am always learning something new about the city, it truly feels like a home away from home. IMG_4917 IMG_5008 Sleeping in every morning, then walking over to Nola Beans for an iced latte and a muffin felt like a treat.  Mostly the sleeping in part 🙂  I think 9 AM was our average wake up time, which is pretty unheard of in my normal non-vacation life. IMG_4919 IMG_4940 Our first full day there, we drove ourselves over the Causeway to meet my aunt for lunch.  I treated Joey to some bridge trivia while we made our way across.  In case you didn’t know, the Causeway is the world’s longest continuous bridge.  We actually got to see the bridge raise to let a couple sailboats through and it was really cool.  Colorado may have some majestic mountains, but we definitely don’t get to see water like New Orleanians do.  We ate lunch out on the patio at a restaurant in Covington that had goats and turtles roaming around. IMG_4932 IMG_5002 After lunch we went to a tour at the Abita Brewing Company.  Believe it or not, this was the first brewery tour I’ve been on since I turned 21 and the first tour I can actually remember ever going on (I think I may have been to Coors when I was little?).  The actual touring of the facility took less than 10 minutes, but they allow you to pour yourself beer samples for about an hour.  I tried a pecan-flavored beer and actually really liked it.  Also, there were two guys in scrubs there drinking and I sincerely hope their shift was over for the day… IMG_4939 We ended the day at the Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest (hey look, Denver, New Orleans has their Oktoberfest in…OCTOBER!  Imagine that!).  There was German food — I now know the difference between bratwurst, knockwurst and weisswurst — and beer and German music and lots of lederhosen and those funny hats with feathers.  Plus it was lots of fun! IMG_5004 We spent a majority of Saturday at the Louisiana Seafood Festival.  Turns out, coordinating a trip to New Orleans with a good festival is extremely easy and although we had our pick of the BBQ Festival and Voodoo Fest and who knows how many others, we thought the Seafood Fest sounded the most delicious exciting.  Colorado isn’t exactly the place to go for good seafood.  It was HOT, so we parked it in the demo pavilion and watched as a bunch of well-known New Orleans chefs cooked up a huge batch of something then raced to get in line for a free sample.  We probably didn’t even need to spend money on the crab ravioli and BBQ Bourbon shrimp po’ boy we bought earlier in the day, but I needed something to go along with my lunchtime daiquiri.  Obviously. IMG_5005 photo The first picture is Michael Sichel from Top Chef cooking a seafood version of deviled eggs.  I’ve never seen the show (or eaten at Galatoire’s) so I guess his fame was kind of lost on me but he seemed extremely nice and knowledgeable.  He whipped up an aioli from scratch and I was so impressed.  But I think my favorite demo dish was this BBQ shrimp from Glen Hogh.  He was nice enough to pass out copies of the recipe, but I somehow don’t think any shrimp I can get in CO will compare to what they have in New Orleans. IMG_4951 One of the most amazing things, to me, about New Orleans is how proud everyone seems to be to live (or be from) there.  The city has such a unique culture and everyone there seems to know it and flaunt it.  When I talk to someone who’s never been there about how much I love it, the message seems to go over their head, but when I’m in the city, everyone gets it because they feel it too 🙂  I think I have a point, just wait for it.  This is the crowd of LSU fans set up in front of a big screen TV watching the game at the festival.  This crowd was 3x the size on Sunday for the Saints game.  Can’t say I’ve ever seen such team spirit in Colorado. IMG_5007 IMG_4956 My uncle and I took Joey out to dinner at the Velvet Cactus that night and it did not disappoint.  I think I was one margarita and an order of crawfish banditos (OH MY GOD!) in when I felt like I never wanted to eat again, but the shrimp tacos were too good to not eat — I feel compelled to order seafood everything when I’m in New Orleans — so I fit those somewhere.  Joey and my uncle got margaritas to go for the walk home though (Read: Why New Orleans is cooler than everywhere else). IMG_5009 IMG_5010 IMG_4969 On Sunday, we met up with my aunt and cousin for lunch on the lake.  Crab and redfish galore!  Plus how gorgeous is that view of the lake.  Joey and I are wondering if we can register for a yacht.  Afterwards, we went over to my cousin’s to meet her new family member, a French bulldog named Princess Fiona who is apparently a Saints fan.  I’m not much of a dog person (Huni doesn’t count :P), but I thought Fi was SO precious.  Especially when my uncle decided to take a nap on the floor and she woke him up by licking the inside of his ear.  I’m sure that was pleasant 🙂 IMG_5011 IMG_5012 The second half of the day was spent back at the seafood fest, where we watched Papa Grows Funk (we last saw them perform at Jazz Fest!), enjoyed seeing a bunch of drunken middle age dancers and took advantage of the 85 degree weather and sunshine.  We took a stroll around City Park to take in all the beauty of the native oak trees.  I love them!  We ended the day at the Bulldog watching the Cowboys game.  No wait, I wasn’t watching the Cowboys game but I guess Joey was.  We sat in the outdoor courtyard and I now have a billion mosquito bites ON MY FEET.  Not ideal for wearing closed toe shoes now that I’m back home. IMG_5013 IMG_4983 IMG_5014 IMG_5015 IMG_4994 Monday Morning Breakfast of Champions: Beignets and iced coffee at Café du Monde.  I know, so touristy of us, but when in Rome NOLA!  We were on our own for most of the day so we decided to ride the streetcar down to the French Quarter and hang out.  If I was a local and was actually using the streetcar for transportation, I’d hate all the tourists, but since I’m not a local, I adore the streetcar.  There’s nothing like riding this old timey mode of transportation past all the beautifully historic looking houses.  There is nothing I lust after more than those iron work and giant patio-clad houses.  If I ever win the lottery… IMG_4985 IMG_5016 IMG_5018 IMG_5017 IMG_5003 We took a stroll through the St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market (all decked out for Halloween) and past the Mississippi River before calling it quits and grabbing a late lunch and I even convinced my cousin Emily to leave work and join us.  New Orleans Food & Spirits is always so good!  Probably has something to do with those voodoo crawfish rolls (and the crawfish corn chowder, gah!).  Food coma ensued.  P.S. Check out that lizard on the front of the house behind Joey. IMG_5019 Then, Lord help me, we ate again.  But I swear it was several hours later.  Plus it was Monday, which means red beans were mandatory.  My uncle makes a mean bowl of red beans & rice.  I sent a picture to my mom just to be extra cruel. IMG_5001 We said our sad goodbyes to my uncle on Tuesday afternoon then headed to the airport and back home.  As always, he was the most hospitable tour guide we could’ve asked for. I lamented to Joey that he’s lucky to have all his family so close by.  Every time I have to say goodbye to mine, it feels so sad.  I guess a good way to ensure I get to see them all on my turf is to have a Colorado wedding next year, right?!

One thought on “A New Orleans Vacation

  1. Wow! What a fun trip! I’ve never been to NO before, but my mom went once and could not stop raving about all the sights, the sounds, and of course, the drive through daiquiri stands! Haha! I am a sucker for all things seafood (and a good margarita) so I’m sure I’d love it! Those crab claws! Oh my gosh, I had some of those when I was vacationing in Florida this summer and I could have eaten the entire plate! And those crawfish rolls look to die for!

    PS, Love the pic of you and your bling…er, I mean beignet!! 😉

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