5 Days in New Orleans + Eating Recommendations

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It felt so good to be back in New Orleans, if only for a few days. I love the city even more now that I have children. Growing up less than an hour from New Orleans, with much of my extended living family living there, I was lucky enough to be heavily influenced by the cities rich culture, strong tastes, sounds, and sights. “Having” (poor us!) to fly in for a good friend’s wedding was a great way to kick off our annual Summer out of a Suitcase and I’d say we did so with a bang.

New Orleans may be notoriously known for Bourbon St., Mardi Gras, and a place for drive-thru daiquiris and jambalaya but there is so much more to it. The historic homes, the hospitality, the energy, the Spanish moss that hangs from the ancient live oak trees (what I miss the most living “north!”), the rotating smells of beignets, Tony’s Chachere’s or unwelcome sweat – I just love it all.

One thing that I’m most excited about is the burgeoning food scene (for non-traditional New Orleans food that is) that’s come to New Orleans in recent years. For someone who grew up on Southern/Cajun food and cooks it often at home, I’m not necessarily looking for those dishes when I travel there. I will say however, I could sit in the courtyard or balcony dining room of Brennan’s allll day. With the help of my cousin and sister, I was so happy to discover some non-New Orleans-y places to eat that I can’t wait to return to next time. I’ve listed them below along with some pictures from our trip, and a few other tips for anyone traveling there soon with little ones. Enjoy and thanks for reading! -Addie

Non-touristy places to eat in New Orleans:

  • Bearcat Cafe for Breakfast-whatever you order make sure you order the potatoes as your side!
  • 1000 Figs for Lunch– most beautiful and inventive, yet authentic, Mediterranean food I’ve ever had. The small space and light airy setting will make you feel like you’re at a friend’s for lunch.
  • St. James Cheese Company– Any time a restaurant has cheese in the title, I’m there. This is a great place for lunch or just an afternoon snack. Well-curated salads and sandwiches, not to mention a varied selection of artisan cheese. The girls enjoyed their very own chef’s board.
  • Reginellis for pizza to-go– If you’re ordering take-out this is a great option, just make sure you call the location nearest to where you’re staying!
  • Auction House Market for Dinner– Another awesome food hall in New Orleans where you can order a drink then choose from a variety of different dining options including Indian, sushi, empanadas, dessert and more. It has a great atmosphere with the sassiest bathroom I’ve ever seen.
  • District Donuts for breakfast or dessert.
  • Cochon Butcher for lunch or gourmet food items to go.
  • Dung Phuong in New Orleans East (or Little Vietnam) for French bread, pastries and a superb Banh Mi. This is a bit out of the way but has a scenic drive of old fish camps, bridges, and beautiful marshland. The spot recently won a James Beard award and while I’m not thrilled about having to possibly wait in line for some take home French bread, I’m so happy this family-run, long-time New Orleans business got some much deserved recognition.

A few other travel notes on the city if you’re bringing children….

  • You could trek to Cafe Du Monde and maybe have to wait in line, or you could head to City Park and have beignets at Morning Call.
  • Take the kids for a ride on the streetcar along the riverfront and hit up the aquarium (make sure to find the white alligator!) as well.
  • Storyland at City Park is a must.
  • We rented this adorable shotgun VRBO and can’t say enough good things about it.
  • This time of year, water, hats and sunscreen are essential!

That’s all folks! Thanks for tuning in and happy summer!

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Let’s stay in touch…

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-Addie

Santee State Park, South Carolina

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A few weeks ago, we rented a cabin at the Santee State Park in South Carolina with some of our best friends Emily and John. Emily and John hadn’t met Charlotte yet and we were all itching to see each other. We originally tried to meet up in a beach town between North Carolina and Florida, but every place we looked was booked or too pricey. Hoping to still be around some form of water and nature, we found this state park and it was perfect! The park is situated on Lake Marion, South Carolina’s largest lake. The Spanish moss, which hung from much of the trees at the campground area, added a nice low country touch and the views of the water reminded me of home. There were multiple playgrounds, a public pier, and a little mini “beach” that Grace couldn’t get enough of. While the adults thought the “beach” could have been a little cleaner, Grace seemed to care less. She could have spent the entire weekend running up and down the small shore and gathering little fresh water mussel shells.

The highlight of the weekend for me (aside from the obvious fact of seeing Emily and John of course!) was eating at Lone Star BBQ & Mercantile, an authentic old-school style restaurant located just down the road from the campground. The food and atmosphere were incredible. Think tomato pie, stuffed crab, bread pudding, hush puppies and other southern comfort food. Even their simple cucumber and tomato salad tasted so refreshing and delicious (which could have easily been because of how hot it was out). The restaurant is made up of four historic shot-gun style buildings and set up cafeteria style. It’s pretty much a museum and restaurant in-one. There were all sorts of antique items lining the walls and hallways reminiscent of the past. I shared a picture on Instagram of Lone Star and one of my friends said it looked like a scene of out the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. It certainly felt that way. Thought you all might like to see some photos from the weekend, especially of our two little rugrats. Enjoy! -Addie

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La Crema in Rosemary Beach, FL

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It’s been one week since we returned from sunny, one-of-a-kind, Grayton Beach (sad face). To no surprise we spent our days at the beach and evenings indulging in seafood and family time. Additionally, we had free babysitters built in all week! Our trip was near perfect. If I can get organized enough to sort through the hundreds of pictures I took, perhaps I’ll share some. However, the idea of that is daunting and I am a pro at putting things off these days!

In the mean time, I wanted to share some photos of a superb cafe named La Crema in the picturesque Rosemary Beach, where we spent our last day of vacation. Judy, my mother-in-law (and most dedicated reader-hi Juju!) and I explored Rosemary Beach this time last year and discovered La Crema. All week I had been hoping we would have a chance to go back. Luckily we did! Rosemary Beach is at the tip of the famous, scenic 30A highway in South Walton Florida. It boasts charming Tuscan style architecture, narrow brick roads, shopping, dining and the same gorgeous perfect beaches that make up South Walton. You can enjoy everything by foot or more festively by bicycle. Dining at La Crema is a must if you find yourself in the area. It was the perfect way to end our week.

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The menu and ambiance at La Crema is inspired by the culture of Spain, particularly Barcelona and Madrid. The environment was airy, bright and comfortable. The service was great. The sangria and food were even better. Tapas, chocolate and al fresco dining? Sign me up. Tapas is all about the quality of the food you’re eating rather than the quantity. La Crema executes that perfectly. You’re encouraged to relax, take your time eating and enjoy who you’re with. Below are some snapshots of our experience.

We started with figs wrapped in pancetta, stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Much of the menu had red wine incorporated into it and I was totally alright with that.

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Next was lamb lollipops cooked perfectly to medium rare with grilled asparagus and a caper berry aioli. When in doubt, order the special of the day. You’ll likely receive the freshest and tastiest option on the menu. The lamb was a hit with all of us.

Perhaps the favorite at the table was the beef, pepper and cream cheese empanadas. The filling was rich with just the right amount of spice. The crust was flaky yet soft. Notice the sangria flask in the background? Chris has the exact same one in his lab. Apparently, chemistry can’t escape us. Not even on vacation!

My mother-in-law suggested we order dessert and I am so glad she did. We went with the Nutella chocolate molten cake, and salted caramel ice cream. Both were divine. The molten cake, baked perfectly with a piping hot and not fully cooked center, as it should be. I typically skip over anything on a menu that has caramel in it, not interested in something so sweet. However, their salted caramel ice cream leaned more on the salty side which paired perfectly with the sweet Nutella molten cake. I am now a salted caramel convert!

Grace tried little bites of our food and seemed to enjoy everything, especially the empanadas. She’s 9 months old people and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to afford her growing taste buds!

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Until next time La Crema and Rosemary Beach. You were such a delight!