48 hours in new orleans
we tried our best to do a 48 hours in new orleans this past weekend. actually, it was more like 36 hours in new orleans. we left early on saturday morning and flew home late on sunday. we fit in as much as we could. i’ll do my best to keep this semi-bulleted as there is a lot of information to unload.
our goal was to use the hotel tonight app to book our hotel room at the last minute. the premise behind the app is great. you can only book 7 days out, so your hope is that the prices come down the day of and you can find a deal. i ended up finding a deal earlier in the week at the catahoula boutique hotel for $69. the pictures looked fine and the reviews were decent, so i booked. more on that in a second.
the airport ride was 20 minutes to the hotel and a flat rate of $33 via uber. that’s pretty pricey for 11 miles if you ask me. we got the skinny on the rate from our driver on sunday. the airport is in kenner and they charge an $8 tax on uber to pick up and drop off at the airport which explains why it’s so damn expensive. lyft isn’t even allowed to go there. crazy.
the catahoula is easy on the eyes – just look at the pic from their website below. everyone’s having fun and doing fun things i.e. drinking coffee; biking; observing the construction across the street from their balcony. excellent job on the pics, catahoula. i was excited when we pulled up because it looked like the pics; however, it’s tucked in a very narrow spot on union street with construction across the street. not as open as the pics make it look.
the inside was nice. it’s tiny, but decorated very hip. it’s like a poor man’s ace hotel. they really did a great job with the lobby and bar area. there’s also a cool courtyard (pic at the top of the post) where you can drink coffee or something from the bar. alex remarked that it’s more like a hostel than a hotel and she was spot on.
when we walked in, no one was at the check in desk, so we stood there like idiots for 10 minutes before a guy straight out a wes anderson movie finally came out of some random door and told us we couldn’t check in until 4. ok cool. no big deal. we dropped our stuff off and left to explore the city.
*before i get to our itinerary, let me go ahead and review our room so we don’t have to come back. our room looked cool. dark walls. low-level bed. tiny tv. personal mini-balcony. very minimalist which i dig. here’s where things get interesting. the sink was outside of the bathroom. the walls were dirty. the floor is concrete which meant your feet pick up dirt if in bare feet. the headboard had dirt or grease or something all over it. we found two pillows with some unknown brown stains on them. our bed sheet had a couple of brownish / reddish stains on it and a giant hair in the middle of it. there was also no toilet paper in the room and no way to contact the front desk without walking down the stairs. the real kicker though was that we were directly under the rooftop bar, so we could literally hear everything until 12am. they’re supposed to close at 10, but it took some time to get some of the party goers out of there. we were also woken up at 2:45 by more revelers trying to see if it was open. i realize you get what you pay for, but the uncleanliness of the room and the noise level was too much. i would never stay there again. i also read several reviews of roaches in the room and it’s easy to see why. there’s no doorstop on the doors. they definitely cut some corners with staffing and room buildout. find another hotel if you’re not on a serious budget.
i shouldn’t have to tell you that new orleans is known for their food and drink options. they are literally everywhere. if you go there and don’t have good food or catch a little buzz, then i can’t help you. to make this easy since i spent a big chunk reviewing that shitty hotel, let’s bullet the spots we hit with some pics.
our first stop was killer po-boys: the logo is badass. i wish i had a pic of it. it’s a skull and bones with french bread replacing the bones. we got the shrimp po boy. meh. it was ok. it was grilled which was fine, but lacked something that i can’t quite put my finger on. i think we ordered wrong. they did have the grateful dead on while we ate so that was a nice touch.
we walked the french quarter for a bit before stopping at the mall so i could acquire something else i probably didn’t need.
saint james cheese company: this may be one of the worst photos i’ve taken thus far. the sandwich was the opposite of this photo. it was killer. it was a grilled cheese with prosciutto. alex got the 3 cheese plate. she was not a fan – mostly because they choose the cheese for you. i liked this place and would definitely go back.
vic’s kangaroo cafe: it was pouring when we left the st. james cheese company. lucky for us, our eyes were drawn to a very big sign across the street that said “g’day.” an australian bar. nice! alex lived in australia for a year and wanted to check it out. vic’s is an old school dive bar with a jukebox and a ms. pacman machine. we drank for a bit and listened to music while we let the rain die down. vic’s is a good find if you’re looking for something away from the french quarter and not touristy in the least bit. the bartender was awesome as well. i can’t remember his name, but shout out to him for being so welcoming and even lending us a couple of quarters for the jukebox.
courtyard brewery: cool little brewery that feels like it’s in someone’s garage. they have a food truck out front and some games to play if the weather is nice. it wasn’t too crowded when we went the first time because of the weather. we had to go back later though – this dumbass left his new lululemon hoodie there. whoops. it was rocking when we went back.
the company burger: that picture just made me salivate. this is one of the best burgers i’ve ever had. period. i am currently working on a best burger in nashville list and i’m almost certain this would top the current leader. there’s some backstory to this burger. it was a long time favorite at atlanta’s holeman and finch. they would make 24 of them per night and the only time you could get it was at 10pm. people would get there early and drink all night just to have one of these burgers. now i know why. do not sleep on the company burger. they also have a good bar with a great beer selection.
the bayou beer garden: it’s exactly what you think it is. it’s a beer garden in mid-city. lots of tables. lots of beers. it’s a beer garden. it started filling up around 9 and we got out of there before it got super sloppy. we did see a lady fall off of a stool twice.
parkway bakery and tavern: best po boy in new orleans? it’s at parkway. look i haven’t had all of the po boys in new orleans, so my claim might sound bogus, but i can’t imagine they would beat this one. it was amazing. every single bite amazing. it’s loaded with shrimp and the bread was perfect. alex wanted to go back the next day. honestly, we should have.
cafe du monde: we had to. we had no other choice. you can’t come to new orleans without getting some of the world famous beignets. i don’t know. maybe you can. they were overrated. so was the coffee. the first time i went there when i was a kid they were unbelievable and i couldn’t wait to go back. now it’s an overrated tourist trap. sorry, but it is. i hope i didn’t offend anyone. you can find better beignets and coffee elsewhere.
the ruby slipper cafe: ahhh breakfast in new orleans. i love breakfast. i would eat it every meal if i could. this place was listed as the number 1 breakfast / brunch spot in new orleans on almost every list i found. i was skeptical. it sounded rather touristy and the over hour long wait didn’t help it’s cause. i’m glad we waited. i got the st. charles benedict (fried chicken over a biscuit) and the cochon benedict (pork over a biscuit). holy shit. they were so good. A++.
pat o’brien’s: the weather was perfect on sunday for some patio drinking. no better place than pat o’brien’s. it was surprisingly quiet in there. we skipped the hurricane. we’re not in college or on spring break. i realize pat o’s is extremely touristy, but it’s an institution and alex had never been.
2 shopping notes real quick:
- re:fresh: strange location on a busy street, but good stuff in there. visvim shoes and some john elliott hoodies. shout out to the manager. dude was super nice and if i ever owned a business i would hire this dude in a heartbeat.
- friend: next to the ace. super pretentious. dude could have cared less we were there. mostly saturday’s nyc stuff and some shoes you’d never wear.
the ace hotel: i love the ace hotel. i’m sad nashville missed out on one last year. they can do no wrong in my eyes. the new orleans ace looks like, well, an ace hotel. lobby and lobby bar were cool af (obviously). we wanted to hit the rooftop bar though. when we went to the elevators, there was a line. interesting i thought. just how many people are chilling at the ace rooftop bar on a sunday afternoon? the answer: a shit ton. we didn’t realize there was a pool up there. very cool hang. next time i go to new orleans you can find me at the ace in the pool sipping a cocktail trying to figure out my next meal.
meril: our last meal in new orleans. in all honesty, we should have chosen a better spot, but this was close to the ace and i had read good things. they have a $5 flatbread happy hour special which we tried with some brussel sprouts. pizza was decent. brussels were better. service was terrible. we sat at the bar. no excuse not to be attentive. we also tried the truffle chips and they were overcooked and tasteless. not a great last meal. skip meril and find something better.
another city down. several more to go. good thing i have an entire list of more places to hit next time i’m in town. in case you were curious, here’s that list: jacques-imos, ba chi canteen, freret beer room, domilise’s po boy, turkey & the wolf, la petite grocery, commander’s palace, district donuts, cochon, lüke, maypop and willa jean. looks like another trip is in order sooner than later.