This is a must go to place. It was my first visit to New Orleans and I now know why it has been coined “The Big Easy”. What an exciting, eclectic place … filled with all sorts of shops and cheap liquor – such as fishbowls and hurricanes! Stroll the streets with drink in hand with all the other visitors. You can bring your drinks with you and drop into any of the myriad of bars that are offering up all types of music. As my time was limited I focused on Bourbon Street. There are live musicians on the street and the quality of music is excellent. I had dinner at Deanie”s and then returned to Bourbon street to visit several bars, dance and soak in all that lively atmosphere. Everyone … and there were lots of people for a Monday night … was having a blast. People were dancing in the streets and yes I did have beads thrown at me. I plan to return for one of the best party times of my life.
I suggest that you try to make enough time to enjoy a New Orleans breakfast- that is if you aren’t too hungover! Take a carriage ride and eat a beignet from Cafe Du Monde.
While in New Orleans I decided to dine at the renowned Deanies. Lucky for us we got in just before the dinner rush. This place has all the charm and bustle that one would expect of a New Orleans restaurant.
The bar was packed but we got a cocktail there while waiting for our table. People were flooding in the doors to wait for a table. People were friendly and the atmosphere was buzzing.
Beside me enormous plates of assorted deep fried seafood were being served.
Once at our table we were served up complimentary dish of seasoned mini red potatoes- that was a first. They were uneven in size and so they were not cooked evenly. There was no sauce just packaged butter pats. I ordered the artichoke plate and my companion ordered the barbecued shrimp. My artichokes were cold and I sent them back- deep fried food waits for no one.
As for the famous bbq shrimp – there were 5 medium shrimp in a flavored oil- heads on- be warned. The sauce was not a real bbq sauce but more of a seasoned oil. Bread was served with the shrimp to sop up the oil. For the main we shared the crawfish etoufee. The dish was served with rice and it could have benefited from being warmer. The crawfish were perfectly cooked -the sauce had the depth of a great seafood broth and it was delicious.
Deanies is an experience … I would return for the etoufee- other than that it is a very busy kitchen that has a hard time getting the food to you while it is hot. The same goes for the service … at times it was hard to get the attention of a busy server.
Hilton Garden Inn French Quarters
I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn while in New Orleans.
The hotel starts on the 11th floor and you valet park your car for around $30.00. I found the hotel online and it was a real bargain for a great room in the heart of The French Quarter. I was hesitant about the check in with the lobby way up in the sky. Hence I decided to reshuffle my suitcase and just bring the bare essentials with me to the room. Check in was efficient and there was a nice spot to have a light bite to eat and a drink.
The room was very large and there was a furnished lounge area … it could fit at least four people. I will admit that the room was a little worn with respect to carpeting, paint and furniture.
The amenities were top notch- all neutrogena bath products. The coffee maker was a keurig! … much better than the average coffee makers that I find on my travels.
The washroom was very large with lots of hot water. It could have used a few more large towels. The shower head and controls were dated and the bathroom needed to be painted.
It felt great to be in such a spacious room – especially after so much travel in a car. I felt very relaxed. This hotel had full array of satellite channels and a high end television with great definition. The room was equipped with both a mini fridge and a microwave- a feature that I always look for. The location was fantastic …a few minute stroll to where the action was and it was near some interesting shops.
From my suite there was no view- that would have been nice. If you decide to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn request a room with a view. This was a great room to come back to after a night of strolling through Bourbon Street!
The next morning the valet had our car ready very quickly- there was no waiting at all. I cant wait to return. It is Mardi Gras all week. Enjoy!!
See my 24 hours in New Orleans condensed into a 3 minute video here on ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V8dFDgL04A