Thursday, January 15, 2015

NOLA for My Mom's Birthday!

While this post is a few weeks behind schedule, I figure it's never too late to talk about my mom (or me in Vietnamese)! The weekend after Christmas we celebrated my mom's birthday by going to New Orleans for the weekend! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Me, Micah and my mom haven't been to NOLA since before Katrina -- that's too long of a time! 

My two cousins also joined us on this trip and it was fun to share the city with them since they've never been. I much prefer to visit NOLA during the winter time rather than the sticky stench that is summer.

In front of the Christmas tree across from Jackson Square
I made the biggest mistake on this trip: I forgot to bring my camera! I fail at life. Thankfully everyone else in my crew took some photos for me!

On our first night, we celebrated my mom's birthday with dinner at Jacques Imo's. My boss told me about this place and the 1000+ reviews on Yelp indicated this place would be a fun place for dinner. I made a reservation a few weeks in advance and the only time they had open on a Friday was at 5 p.m.! We showed up at 5 p.m. and it was already packed!

While our food was good, nothing was AMAZING, except for the cornbread. That cornbread must have a stick of butter in each bite! The watermelon mojito was also a treat -- I think I'm stealing this drink for my next summer party! For my mom's birthday, they brought out a fabulous bread pudding that had great texture and wasn't overly sweet (which some tend to be).

On the second night, we ate at Deanie's Seafood in Bucktown. I've actually been to this restaurant before and really enjoyed it. Their BBQ shrimp is so decadent and flavorful. My mom loved the sauce so much that she poured it over a bowl of white rice! So Asian.

We also had breakfast at the Ruby Slipper in Mid-City (food was good but the service was mediocre and slow)

Of course we had cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe Du Monde!

Cigar shop and a big ol' daiquiri
Walking around the mid-city area
Flight at NOLA Brewing. My face is not indicative of their beer offerings... it's just my face.
We were able to check out NOLA Brewing, which is in an industrial area southwest of the French Quarter. The NOLA beers we had at restaurants weren't very good but the selection at their actual taproom was great! We ordered 8 samples and settled in with some Jenga and Scrabble. Micah's fave brew was their Brettanomyces IPA. If you want a little dessert while you're there, they even have root beer floats!

We were also able to check out WINO, which was really close to our hotel. It's one of those self-serving wine bars (which we loved when we visited Paris). They have several dozen wines available and the prices are fairly reasonable. Unfortunately, we didn't love any of the wines they had on their roster.

Our favorite cocktails were had at Bar Tonique. Micah dragged us all the way over to this side of the FQ and I was going to be really annoyed if they didn't have good cocktails, but to my surprise, they had great cocktails at a very reasonable price! Everything we had was good: pimm's cup, moscow mule and several cocktails they made up on the fly! You can't beat that!

On our last day, Micah and I visited the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. It's $10 per person for the tour and tasting. They start you off with a lovely rum tea cocktail while you wait for the tour to start. While I'm not a huge fan of rum, I thought it would be fun to check out what the place had to offer.

Their spiced rum is very popular and it is indeed spicy!

They also have this new product, Gingergoo which is a rum cocktail mixed with ginger. It's already premixed so just add ice! If you like ginger beer, you would love this product!

Walking along Magazine Street
After being away from NOLA for so long, it was a great weekend trip to celebrate my mom's birthday and to revisit the city that has so much to offer! 

Where We Stayed:

I booked the Le Meridien Hotel -- which used to be the W Hotel. They just went through a renovation and now the rooms are super modern and stylish. I got a deal during Cyber Week at $100/night! The hotel is right across the street from the Harrah's Casino. I knew my mom would find her way to the casino, so I figured I'd make that slightly easier for her (not sure that was the smartest idea).

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