Yesterday Jon and I returned from a quick visit to New Orleans, a first visit for both of us. There was a great southwest deal that we couldn’t pass up. We were there for less than 72 hours but fit a lot into our visit without feeling overly busy. We had tons of input from people about what restaurants we should try and places we should visit. I am breaking the trip down into days to cover all the hits and misses. While it makes sense to write about what we liked, I hope to help others decide what to do in New Orleans and have a place to reference if we go there again in mentioning what we didn’t like.
We arrived in NOLA around lunch time on Saturday. Our first stop was our hotel, Place D’Armes Hotel, to check in and drop off our bags. We only booked our hotel about a month in advance not realizing there was a Saints home game this weekend. Most of the places we wanted to stay were booked so we kind of settled on Place D’Armes. The one thing I liked about it was the location – it was right on the corner of Jackson Square in the French Quarter so it was within walking distance to almost everything we did. I also found each bell services worker to be friendly and helpful. Everything else was sub-par. The front desk attendants were never friendly and you walked past them each time you left or returned to the hotel. The room was a ‘balcony’ room – this was a bit of false advertising. The room had windows that over-looked the shared, narrow, balcony that all rooms had hallway access to on the third floor. The balconies on the second floor were larger and private which is what a ‘balcony’ room would be to me. I would definitely make sure you knew what floor and what room you had prior to booking – they apparently have some ‘windowless’ rooms. Another weird thing about the room was the bathroom. The doors were more like window shutters then doors – meaning you could clearly hear everything taking place in the bathroom, in the bedroom. Enough said. The room was a good size with an exposed brick wall, which I liked. If we went back I would most likely not be staying there again though as I did not find the price equal to service or expectations.
Our next stop was ACME Oyster House. Jon picked this for lunch since he wanted to get some raw oysters. There was a bit of a line out the door when we arrived which made me nervous. The line went way faster than expected since there were just two of us and we said we would sit at the bar. So glad bar seating was an option! The oyster shuckers actually serve you at the bar – in addition to shucking all the oysters in front of you. It was fun to watch and talk to the shuckers! Supposedly they make upwards of $100,000 a year…I will let you fact check that though 🙂 We split an order of ‘boo fries’ which is the same thing as poutine if you are from Canada (although I preferred Acme’s to the ones I tried in Canada, sorry Jon!). Boo fries are french fries covered in roast beef gravy and cheese – and they were my favorite part of Acme. I am not a gravy lover, but if you end up at Acme do yourself a favor and try the boo fries! Jon had a half-dozen raw oysters and the peace maker po’ boy – both of which he devoured. I had the New Orleans medley which was chicken gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice and grilled smoked sausage – I thought this was okay.
Next we ventured to the infamous Bourbon Street. I am going to just go ahead and get this out – yes, Bourbon Street does in fact smell. Does it smell good? No, not at all. It smells like…well you know, the two things associated with drinking way to much. The atmosphere is great though! The street was so lively no matter what time of the day we were on it. In addition to tons of bars and little shops, there were all kinds of street performers, tarot card readers and psychics. Jon found out the hard way that the street performers did not like photos being taken if donations were not made – reference below tap dancers that are not smiling at Jon. Probably the craziest thing we saw were a few ladies naked with body paint from the shoulders to their waist – sorry no pics of that for you guys.
We ended up at Tropical Isle as it was recommended to us as the place for the famous hand grenade and also since the recommender – one of Jon’s co-workers – saw me drinking a fruity drink and said I would love the tropical itch. It was also playing the Florida football game which was a plus in Jon’s book. As recommended I enjoyed the tropical itch while Jon tried the hand grenade…which ultimately let to the demise of his evening 🙂 All the drinks came in fun plastic glasses and had something fun in them (besides the alcohol). Since mine was the tropical itch it had a mini back scratcher.
We enjoyed talking to some Florida fans we met at the Tropical Isle. Jon even tried to teach them a ‘parlor’ trick involving placing your head on the bar and lifting bar stools we learned from a bartender in Savannah. There were a few people who came in and tried to use a fake id – so fun to watch when you are over 21!
Word to the wise – hand grenades are way stronger and tastier then they appear. Your night may end early and in this fashion: