I have been booking holidays for Kirit and Arathi since 2014. Fellow foodies and travel enthusiasts, they never fail to provide me with comprehensive and valuable feedback on their return.
I hope that their blog from their recent trip to New Orleans, aka NOLA, inspires some of you, as it did me…
Jo organised seven action packed days in New Orleans for us and as first timers we could have spent more - there really is just so much to do and experience.
We travelled from London to New Orleans with Virgin. It's an indirect flight but we love the Virgin service and find the short transfer time is a welcome break to stretch our legs.
The trip was a special occasion – it was our 25th wedding anniversary and we certainly got VIP treatment from both Virgin and at the Roosevelt Hotel - very nice touch! The hotel concierge service was amazing and helped arrange all our trips and find the best places to eat.
Our first full day in New Orleans was Sunday and we started with a healthy breakfast at the Daily Beet. The Saints were playing their local rivals on that day and so there was a great buzz around the town. We toured the French Quarter on our own using a self-guided tour we found recommended on Tripadvisor.
On Monday we went on a plantation tour visiting both Laura and Oak Alley Plantations. This was one of the major highlights of our trip. You can still feel what went on in those days and what life must have been like. We also tried our first beignets, from Café Du Monde - they were divine and not to be missed.
On Tuesday we visited Mardi Gras World. If you can't be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, then this is the next best thing! It's a fantastic photo shoot opportunity. For dinner we ate fried oyster burgers at the Roosevelt Hotel. We really enjoyed them and finished the meal with caramel ice cream - we were given six scoops!
On Wednesday, faced with some unexpectedly cold weather, we chose an indoor activity in the form of the WWII Museum. We thought it might be a 'filler' but how wrong we were! The experience is amazing with the audio and video tour. Make sure you go and plan to spend at least four hours. We ate dinner at the Palace Café where the creole menu is a great try and if you have a sweet tooth the banana foster is a must. Everywhere you go, it is clear the locals are very proud of their cuisine and their culture as well as being amongst the most-friendly Americans you will find anywhere.
On Thursday we decided it was time for a spot of shopping. We walked to the Riverside Mall. In fact, we walked to most places and when we didn't walk, we took an Uber. The drivers all have stories to tell - we found out so much about life during the Hurricane Katrina period whilst sitting in Ubers. In the evening we went to the Jazz Playhouse on Bourbon Street where we listened to an amazing band, until the early hours, called the Brassaholics. Be sure to check them out if you are in town.
Our last complete day was Friday and we went on a Voodoo tour in the evening. We had our very own guide and certainly felt quite spooked by all the stories. We had the best burritos ever at Juan's Flying Burritos and washed them down with super strong margaritas! We even managed to cram in a cooking session at the New Orleans School of Cooking.
Thanks to Jo for a memorable celebration trip.
Kirit & Arathi Solanki