Big Easy Bound

Holloway Photo

Spanish Moss, Slim PaleySlim Paley Photo….

Spanish Moss abounds on the way to Oak Alley

I‘m very excited to say that we are New Orleans bound in a couple of weeks- One of the best Old World restaurant cities in America.

 We have a few standbys we must visit, as well as my husband’s and older son’s lists, carefully compiled from their vigilant monitoring of The Food Network and Top Chef

(Let’s all just pray that it takes Padma like forever to lose her pregnancy weight, shall we?)  

I welcome any suggestions you might have too, as I know this to be a city filled with secret nooks and crannies of promise, both culinary and otherwise. 

We also plan on taking the Hovercraft into the Bayou again- THAT is SO much fun!!  And lastly, of course, a drive out to one of my favourite places in the world, Oak Alley.  I’ve already been warned “Mom- we’re NOT doing the tour again”   (Why don’t they understand it’s different every time?!) I shall go alone if necessary.

Slim Paley Photo

Oak Alley

We are going to try the Bon Ton Cafe for the first time…we’ve heard the crab cakes are delicious


And ride the trolley car…

The one thing I haven’t done the last couple of visits to New Orleans is shop.  In fact, I’m ashamed to admit, our last time there I wasted one entire afternoon in a casino, playing slot machines that I was sure were sending me signs as I wrapped cheap coloured plastic Mardi Gras beads on and off my wrist to call forth voodoo luck.  I even wound the beads around the pull lever of the slot machine to tempt Good Fortune (I told you I like decorating my space).  Ya-THAT didn’t work.  I justified my sinful afternoon by assuring myself I was single handedly helping the city get back on it’s feet before I shamefully skulked back to the hotel and unceremoniously dumped my “lucky” fricking beads in the garbage bin.  My old Vegas slot-machine trick of placing a Fendi Baguette in the coin trough yielded much better results in the Voodoo Luck department.  In addition to the naughty thrill of knowing that any minute loads of filthy lucre could come spilling out onto my beautiful bag…or I could walk away and leave the bag in the trough (of course you KNOW I did that)  All in a day’s work for The Gambler…   

Anyway, this time, especially as I have the progeny with me, there will be NO gambling.  So any shopping tips out there??   Or interesting things to see or do besides the trip to Vacherie?

Happy Weekend Everyone!

We have a 100% chance of precipitation tonight.  I don’t want to hear the word “drought” for the rest of the year!

PS:  Warning! No matter what the guys selling these outside the casinos in New Orleans tell you,


.For more information and photos on Oak Alley, plus a beautiful song, please visit an older post

Oliver James and Oak Alley(click)






  1. I was in New Orleans a few weeks ago and had lunch at The Bon Ton. Delicious and the bread pudding with Bourbon sauce almost brought tear to my eyes it was so good!

  2. If you take a little side trip to Central Grocery (down by the French Market), and treat your men to a fresh made Muffaletta, I’d bet they would have no problem with another trip to Oak Alley. You would enjoy the beautiful colors of the fresh made Olive Salad, and I could even see you work another blog around the jar you sneak back home! You didn’t mention a visit to Cafe DuMonde’? If you haven’t been, you don’t want to miss it! Enjoy!

  3. My most recent trip there was in May for my niece’s wedding. The Coffee Pot is fantastic for breakfast. I don’t feel right if I don’t go at least once to the Acme Oyster Bar. We had dinner at Cochon one night and it was indescribably yummy! Royale Street is the place for shopping, especially antiques. Luccullus is all kitchen and dining antiques. There is also a wonderful old perfumer’s shop, Hove (accent aigu on the e, don’t know how to do that). They make their own perfumes and soaps and I can’t stop myself from going in there. Laissez les bons temps roulez!

    • Absolument! Merci Jaimie! j’aime de vieilles parfumeries! (but don’t press my French too much further than that!)

  4. I know it is raining down here in Southern California–but I love it (except the drivers who forget even the very basics of rain driving). Everything smells so fresh and clean. Have a super rainy week-end.

  5. Because it took my son FIVE years to graduate from Loyola, we have spent a lot of time in New Orleans. Loving every minute. ( except paying for that extra year of course!)
    The best shopping?
    Walk Magazine St., especially the Garden District/uptown area.
    Afternoon cocktails?
    The Columns Hotel in the Garden District. Everyone is your friend there.
    A favorite tradition?
    Coffee and beignets eaten in Jackson Square park, everything should be blooming when you are there.
    Another tradition?
    Eating plates ( and I mean PLATES) of oysters at the Acme Oyster bar in the quarter.

    One more suggestion ( I could go on and on!)
    Take time and walk in Audubon Park and head over to the Zoo. ( across from Tulane and Loyola) I am serious. There is amazing sculpture throughout and yes, even the food at the refreshment stand is top notch!

    If you are there the week of St. Pat’s, You must and I mean MUST see the parade on Magazine St.
    It is a cleaned up version of Mardi Gras. You will come home with a ton of beads, lots of new friends and the best memories.

  6. For eating I very very highly recommend August. The chef, John Besh, is amazing, decor is beautiful and the food is astounding. Also love Friday lunch at Galatoires and bbq shrimp at Pascal’s Manale in the garden district. For shopping, I love Magazine Street. It’s about 7 miles long and is filled with adorable boutiques, galleries and cute restaurants and homes. Have a cab drop you up high and work your way down. Definitely go to August!

  7. I adore New Orleans. If you have a chance to check out the hotel called The Soniat House…it is a charming old mansion turned into a hotel. We stayed there and will never stay elsewhere. They have warm biscuits, honey and coffee in the courtyard in the morning and a house cat named Clarice that we fell in love with.
    Magazine Street for shopping and walking. August, Galatoire’s, Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignet’s and Commander’s Palace are all great places to eat. Oh and we found the most darling cafe, tucked into a courtyard called Cafe Amelie-have no idea where it was, but it was very quaint. have a wonderful trip. You won’t be disappointed!

  8. One of my favorites is Galatoire’s,the grand dame,french creole…goody more foody foto’s.Have a sinful time.

  9. A friend did an article on New Orleans for The NJ Monthly Magazine back in Sept. She especialy liked a culinary tour to various kitchens (, and the off-spring might like a fascinating tour and explanaition of the hurricane area and recovery: Then maybe they won’t mind the Oak Alley Tour again!
    Back in the day there was a wonderful little store opposite Commanders Palace where a man made the best hand made jewelry.
    Who Dat Nation!

  10. I have had two wonderful trips to New Orleans – one for work and the other with SP … and we did visit Oak Alley (yes she REALLY does go EVERY TIME she is there!) It is an amazing adventure into yester-year. The kind that makes the small hairs on the back of your neck stand up … but in a good way. No bad dark voodo mojo. If “vintage” gets your heart pounding this is an amazing spot – takes “vintage” to a whole new place …

  11. Have wonderful memories of new Orleans. Oak Alley, and the river trip.Have a crab cake or two for me . Look forward to your photos . have fun.

  12. New Orleans — I love Arnaud’s intimate French 75 Bar, a French 75 at the Library Bar at the Ritz Carlton (private club now so cigar smoking could continue but ask and you’ll get in), ditto on Galatoire’s and Gerrie Bremerman’s shop on Magazine Street for eye candy. So much fun in store for you!!!

  13. Lucky girl! I live between NYC, Paris and SB, love good food and tend to avoid the more touristy spots any where I go, and like you I often travel with my children. For lunch, try The Joint for the absolute best BBQ and don’t skip the peanut butter pie; Napolean’s for drinks only {food/service mediocre} but the Pimm’s Cup is amazing; Cochon for dinner and also Dick & Jennys. For shopping Lucullus Antiques is a delight. All the links for these favorites appear on my blog on a post I did on New Orleans My mouth is watering after this!

  14. Wow- SO MANY FANTASTIC SUGGESTIONS- Thanks so much everyone!! now I am REALLY getting excited!
    I’m hardly going to eat anything from now until I get there (Tonight doesn’t count. Or tomorrow because of the Hockey game, but after that…)
    The boys are going to be thrilled with all these things to do besides going to Oak Alley. A big Thank You from them too!
    My Slimsters are like the best, most exclusive and friendly travel consultant one could wish for 🙂

  15. SP ~ this brings a tear to my eye…..My very favorite city and one of the best tips I could give you is to browse around Ernie the Attorney’s blog…He is the SLIM PALEY of New Orleans.

    We were just there in November and stayed at the Ritz, the courtyard there is fabulous for Happy Hour and bar had Frank Sinatra style crooner. But my personal favorite is the local KERMIT RUFFINS AND THE BBQ SWINGERS. He is usally at Vaughns but may be at Rock N Bowl. If you see Rockin’ Doopsie definitely see him too..Lotta fun with the washboard.

    I don’t think you can go wrong with food there but we always eat at Emeril’s NOLA, we always grab a bowl of gumbo and a Bloody Mary at The Gumbo Shop near Jackson Square. We love Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander’s. Get a dozen boxes of Pralines (I think it is “World Famous” across from Cafe DuMonde b/c they really are the best in town. Have to, Have to go to ACME’s Oyster Bar. MOTHER’s for breakfast is just a plateful of Heaven.

    Dueiling Piano’s and Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens is very touristy but it really fun after two of them 🙂

    Have fun and call me if you need a travelling buddy….


    • Ha! Stress Dolores!! Like watching this Final Hockey game between the U.S. and Canada- It’s too much!

      Oh and chewing slowly-my husband says I practice “contemplative mastication” (in other words, I’m always the last one still eating 🙂 )

  16. I’m so envious! I was in NO over year ago – between Christmas and New Years – and despite the questionable weather, I fell in love all over again with one of our country’s most amazing cities. The colors of the French Quarter, the lovely pastels of the distressed exteriors, and the compelling and beckoning courtyards, absolutely enchanted me. I think the overcast weather actually made the FQ look even better. I could not stop taking pictures.

    I agree with Jaime’s suggestion to visit Acme Oyster Bar. Albeit a tourist attraction (and a line – no reservations), their Acme Grilled Oysters with Parmesean, and whatever else they embellish them with, are divine, and extreme! Plus, it is the ultimate FQ atmosphere: great music, great bar and service, great Bloody Marys, and the ultimate NOLA friendly.

    If you haven’t booked your lodgings, I recommend the Hotel Monteleone. Recently remodeled, and the finest of service, in the heart of the French Quarter and on the famed street of antiquaries and culinary delights.

    Great NO handmade tiles/trivets on the west side of Jackson Square with colorful local motifs – crabs, shrimp, jambalaya – great colors and design. I also bought an incredible variety of pralines to send to friends (and for myself) from Laura’s Candies on Chartres. The shipping was great and my friends were blown away.

    Happy travels, I enjoy your blog so much.


Would love to hear from you!