Exploring our son’s new city: New Orleans

With Conor heading to New Orleans for his summer internship in a couple of weeks, Jon arranged a weekend getaway for the three of us to help get him acclimated to the city. We leaned on our close friend and New Orleans expert, Clay Cockrill, for a list of restaurant suggestions. The minute he mentioned “muffuletta,” among other foods that New Orleans is known for, we started getting hungry. We flew in early Saturday morning and went straight to the French Quarter from the airport.

Central Grocery

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The very first place we hit was Central Grocery, famous for creating the muffuletta sandwich. We had never tried a muffuletta before, but all we needed was Clay’s endorsement. Needless to say, it’s an awesome sandwich of cold cuts flavored by a variety of fresh olives, and apparently Central Grocery makes the best, judging by the non-stop line of people that wound out the door and down the street. 

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Central Grocery’s world-famous muffuletta

Like us, there were muffuletta newbies who were standing in line to try the sandwich only because someone had recommended it.

vanilla bourbon pecan pieIMAG7306

We walked around the French Quarter and stopped by Louisiana Pizza Kitchen for a margarita pizza for Jon. He finished his lunch with a vanilla bourbon pecan pie which was amazing. We’d only been in the city for about an hour, and already we were in foodie heaven.

Conor pointed out the skyscraper where he’ll be working during the summer months, and we decided to walk in that direction. It looked like it was a lot closer than it was, and after walking through the French Quarter to the Central Business District, we started feeling the heat and humidity. But, we were so excited to be experiencing New Orleans that we just kept walking. The building was closed since it was Saturday, but it was still very cool to get a visual of where he’ll be spending his work days.

We walked back through the business district to the waterfront and did a little shopping before heading back to the condo. By then, we were exhausted after walking for more than four hours. Conor and I were in flip-flops, which are definitely not the greatest for a long walk. It was good to put our feet up and rest for a while before dinner.

We were staying at a condo within the Hotel Provincial on Rue Chartres in the French Quarter. Ross and Carla Grimball were very kind to let us stay in their lovely condo where we were close to everything in the heart of the city.

Bourbon Street

Once we’d recovered from our “marathon” walk through the city, we headed out to Bourbon Street to explore and figure out where to have dinner. Bourbon Street was definitely alive and crowded with much to take in. Basically a non-stop party.

IMAG7348Conor seemed to really enjoy walking around the area on a Saturday evening, with all that was happening around us.

We checked out several restaurants as we explored the Quarter, and Conor spotted one that looked interesting, and boasted a really cool-looking menu, called Tony Moran’s.

It was kind of tucked away, with a nice outdoor courtyard that was semi-private from the busy street. The menu was comprised primarily of Italian dishes, with plenty of New Orleans-style food as well.

Caprese salad
Caprese salad
Andouille sausage gumbo
Gumbo

Jon started with a Caprese salad while Conor tried gumbo for the very first time. He shared the gumbo with me, and it was amazing. We were seated in the center of the restaurant, which was beautiful, with walls covered in paintings of various European scenes. The food was wonderful, and Conor and I took advantage of the terrific New Orleans seafood while Jon enjoyed a filet. The pan-seared redfish topped with crawfish and with a side of rosemary potatoes was an extraordinary entrée.

Filet with rosemary potatoes
Filet with rosemary potatoes

The only thing lacking was the dessert menu.There was one, but it was a little sparse. Plus, we were all extremely full and decided it would be a good idea to walk around for a bit before we attempted dessert.

pan seared red fish rosemary potatoes
Pan-seared redfish

So we hit Bourbon Street again and then walked down towards the riverfront.

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, and since Jon had loved their vanilla bourbon pecan pie so much, we went in to check out the rest of the dessert menu. And it was difficult to decide what to get.

bread pudding Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
Bread pudding with caramel – Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
key lime pie Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
Key lime pie

Conor went for the pecan pie, Jon had the key lime pie and I absolutely loved the bread pudding.

We’d waited for nearly an hour for our desserts since the restaurant was so packed, so afterwards we were beginning to feel tired and ready to head back to the condo. We watched part of a movie and it wasn’t long before we all crashed after our fun first day in New Orleans.

Sunday morning, Conor slept in while Jon and I went for a run along the riverfront and then through the business district. The humidity was definitely affecting us, so we didn’t get as far as we’d wanted, and ended up walking part of the way back to the condo.

beignets coffee
Café du Monde coffee and beignets

IMAG7363IMAG7361By then, Conor was awake and we headed out to Croissant D’Or Patisserie, just around the corner. He started his breakfast with a piece of chocolate cake (why not?), and then moved on to eggs and bacon. We each enjoyed our breakfast, but I really wanted to check out Café du Monde after hearing much about it from Clay.

We walked over to it and ordered their famous chicory coffee and beignets that were topped in mounds of powdered sugar. In fact, the floor was fairly well dusted in powdered sugar as well.

The beignets were wonderful and slightly reminded me of very fluffy sopapillas. Just the right amount of caffeine and sugar we needed to get the day going. The day was spent finding the house where Conor will be staying during his summer internship while exploring other parts of the city. We came upon the gorgeous Audubon Park in Uptown later in the afternoon, just across the street from Tulane University and Loyola University.

The day flew by, and we spent our last evening of our New Orleans adventure with our hosts, Ross and Carla Grimball, who had driven from their home in Baton Rouge to hang out with us. We had dinner at Tommy’s Cuisine in the Warehouse District, and it was truly amazing.

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Black drumfish and shrimp with corn and sweet potato fries – Tommy’s Cuisine
Soft shell crab
Soft shell crab w/ linguine – Tommy’s Cuisine

We left the condo the next morning way too early in the morning, but we were able to make a Starbuck’s stop in our terminal before flying out. Our flight back home was spent reminiscing over the previous couple of days, and we all felt even more excited about Conor’s upcoming summer experience. I’m sure Jon and I will be visiting him there very soon.

2 thoughts on “Exploring our son’s new city: New Orleans

  1. You guys should try Irene’s the next time you’re there. It’s our favorite. Ross and Carla are great hosts, we always enjoy their company when we see them.

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