“In America, there might be better gastronomic destinations than New Orleans, but there is no place more uniquely wonderful. … With the best restaurants in New York, you’ll find something similar to it in Paris or Copenhagen or Chicago. But there is no place like New Orleans. So it’s a must-see city because there’s no explaining it, no describing it. You can’t compare it to anything. So, far and away New Orleans.”
— Anthony Bourdain (this one’s for you)
New Orleans welcomes tradition and new beginnings. They don’t call it the Big Easy for nothing. Just seven years ago, I landed in New Orleans for the first time. It was the 2011 Annual Conference. I instantly fell in love, flew back to New York, then packed my car with 2 cats to venture to the city I call home. New Orleans has my heart. I’m honored to share my love with you.
When you think of New Orleans, what comes to mind? Food? Drinks? Yeah, you right.
The Food, oh, the Food
You may want to bring loose pants. I’m not going to keep you downtown. We are traveling around the city and keeping it local. Let’s start this food adventure.
You can head to Café Du Monde or Morning Call for beignets. If you are lucky, crawfish will still be in season. Check out Bevi Seafood, Big Fisherman, or even Cajun Seafood. You can find a Po Boy anywhere and you can’t go wrong with any place, but I love Parkway Bakery and Parasol’s. Gumbo, all the gumbo… Seafood, chicken and sausage, duck, oyster, with okra, no okra. Check out Coop’s Place or Parasol’s. I know… Parasol’s twice!
If you want to sit and dine around, make your way to Commanders Palace for lunch and order yourself 25 cent martinis. Get mac and cheese at Emeril’s Delmonico. Visit Dooky Chase, they have been serving delicious fried chicken, po boys, gumbo, and red beans and rice since 1941. And we mustn’t forget Jacquimo’s.
New Orleans has a large Vietnamese population which has made an impact on our culinary scene. Magasin, Lily’s Café, and Pho Tau Bay Restaurant will satiate all your pho, banh mi, and spring roll dreams.
This city is intoxicating… in more ways than one.
Not only do we enjoy food, we enjoy our adult beverages. If you indulge in libations, this is the city for you. Our drinks are strong. Our bars are open late… Or never close at all, so keep this in mind if you are waiting for the last call. You may never hear one.
You may be familiar with hurricanes or hand grenades, but New Orleans has more depth than that. We are home to Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC), an annual festival which educates in spirits and supports the service industry. New Orleans is also home to local breweries (NOLA, Urban South, and the Abita Brewery if you are looking for a day drive over Lake Ponchatrain). There is a watering hole for everyone.
You can drink on the street, but no glass! Grab a frozen Irish coffee from Erin Rose or Molly’s at the Market. If you don’t get dizzy easily, go to the classic carousel bar in Hotel Monteleone. You can hang out at the Ace Hotel, drink cocktails, and capture memories in the only film photo booth in the city. Journey to the Marigny. Rbar has free seafood boils on Fridays for bar patrons and $10 shot and haircut deals. Mimi’s in the Marigny serves up delicious tapas and drinks.
Remember, to pace yourself, drink water, be safe, but have fun.
Supporting local businesses is important to me and they support librarians. Some of my favorite local restaurants and bars are welcoming librarians with specials and discounts during our conference.
Who doesn’t love a deal? Take advantage of their specials and check back for additional businesses!
- Company Burger– (2 locations) @companyburger
- Cure – (James Beard Award) @curenola
- Stein’s Deli–
- Swizzle Stick Bar– @cafeadelaide
- Kin– @kinfordindin
- Cochon Butcher– @cochonbutchernola
So let the good times roll or as the locals would say Laissez les bons temps rouler!
–Katy Hepner for the Local Arrangements Committee
(Editor’s note: minor correction made at blogger’s request)
Donald B. Reynolds, Jr.
Any N.O. restaurant list that doesn’t Galatoire’s is seriously suspect. Go for the best!