In honor of Mardi Gras next week, we wanted to bring you as special edition of Barbara’s Best with tips for visiting New Orleans. We will pick up again with Vienna Part 2 next Friday! Whether you make it to NOLA for Fat Tuesday or not, these hot eateries are the places to go any time you travel to this fascinating Louisiana metropolis.
WHERE TO EAT:
Watch this video from CNN to learn more about this classic Mardi Gras dish and its origins. King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season, but have different variations across the world. If you are in Pittsburgh celebrating and want a taste of the King Cake for yourself, order one from local baker Prantl’s.
Travel off the beaten path for traditional Creole cuisine with a fresh twist and dine with locals at Clancy’s. Though fairly unassuming from the outside, plan to dress in business casual for dining. In order to avoid missing this spectacular dining experience, be sure to plan ahead. The restaurant is always full, so plan on calling exactly 30 days in advance for your reservation at (504) 895-1111. Be sure to order the Lemon Icebox Pie from the dessert menu.
Café du Monde
Some tourist attractions live up to all of their hype, and Café du Monde is no exception. Visit the original (established in 1862) in the heart of the French Quarter and order the classic café au lait and beignets, the delicious powdered-sugared puff pastries named the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986. Try 8:00 a.m. to avoid the crowds and start your day off right, however Café du Monde is open 24/7 for your beignet fix.
Ranked by New Orleans Magazine readers as the “#1 Favorite Place for Brunch” and as a Top 100 Best Brunches in America by Open Table, Red Gravy is a sure bet for an incredible breakfast (Tip: try the Florentine Eggs).
As a true New Orleans institution established in 1938, Mother’s Restaurant provides the perfect comfort food for breakfast. Located in the Central Business District, Mother’s boasts the “World’s Best Baked Ham” and offers several other savory meats in addition to their “Famous Ferdi Special” Po’ Boy. Not sure what to order? Check out Mother’s recipes and dictionary to get you started.
If you’re in need of a break from seafood and Creole cuisine, try Teddy’s Burger at Teddy’s Café in the Roosevelt Hotel. Located just off the Grand Lobby, Teddy’s specializes in delicious lunches and the coffee-making tradition in New Orleans. Sample some of the café’s own coffee blends and specialty chocolate and sweets while taking a break from the bustling New Orleans streets.
Instead of waiting in line at the Central Grocery on Decatur for a New Orleans classic, visit Napoleon House to try the Muffuletta. Created to pay homage to Italian immigrants, the sandwich is stacked with cured meats, cheese, and olive salad dressing, heated on a sesame-crusted Italian loaf for maximum flavor and perfect for sharing. Sit and have an enjoyable lunch while sipping on Pimm’s Cup, a classic New Orleans cocktail.
WHAT TO DO:
Ride the Charles Streetcar
The Charles Streetcar is a popular tourist activity, but is often difficult to ride due to long lines. To avoid this, get on the streetcar at Canal and Carondelet: it’s the first and last stop, so while other tourists are getting off the car, you can get on and skip lines at other stops.
Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone
For 65 years, the Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone has been treating guests to the city’s only revolving bar. The best way to get a seat at the carousel is to arrive when it opens – when it New Orleans, drinking early is no problem! However, if you can’t get a seat when the bar opens, a seat can open up in the evening.