RCubed in NOLA – Part 2

Apologies for the delay! Had to gather and upload the rest of the photos from my trip for this post.

After having a wonderful dinner at Jacques-Imo’s in Part 1, some of us still managed to have room left over for dessert. Prior to the start of the trip, I told my friend about a macaron place that I wanted to check out. It was only a few minutes away, so we drove over. The place is called Sucre, and it sells gelato, macarons, and specialty chocolates. Very cute and colorful interior, and I immediately headed towards the macarons as soon as I walked in. 3 of our party of 4 got the gelato while I snagged a box of 8 macarons. Bananas Foster and Chicory were popular flavors, so I made sure to include them. If only shipping weren’t so darn expensive from NOLA, I would order another box online.

Once our sweet tooth was satisfied, it was back to the hotel for a bit, then a walk down to Bourbon Street. 4 of our group went and grabbed some Hand Grenades from one of the Tropical Isle locations in the area. I have no clue what’s in it, but it tastes good and will definitely creep up on you. We also passed by several bars and took in the nighttime atmosphere, which was all fun.

Before heading back for the night, we stopped by Harrah’s Casino to grab some late night grub from their food court. Totally different from the casinos I’ve been to in Vegas since they check your ID immediately after you enter, and it’s smoke free. Kind of nice, actually.

Friday was the busiest day of the trip. Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar was our first stop in the morning for breakfast. I ordered the Shrimp & Grits and didn’t leave a bite behind. It was that good. They were creamy and had a bit of a kick from the sauce. No complaints here! I also sampled some of my friend’s Bananas Foster French toast and would recommend that as well.

Next was a walking tour of the Garden District. Anyone visiting NOLA for the first time should book at least one tour to gain more knowledge of the city and its history. Our tour guide Val was originally from the Bay Area, but has since lived in New Orleans for several years. The first segment of the tour brought us to Lafayette Cemetery. All grave sites in the New Orleans cemeteries are above ground because burial plots are shallow. This is due to the high water table. Rows of these graves and tombs, most which look like small houses, are the reason why these cemeteries are referred to as “cities of the dead”.

The tour continued as we walked through some of the neighborhoods of the Garden District. Many homes in this area are adorned with intricate iron fencing and roman columns. One home that we visited had a fence that looked like stalks of corn. The owner ordered it from a catalog so that it would be different compared to the other homes in the neighborhood.

Val also took us to a few homes of the famous, and some that were used in movies.

After lots of walking and taking in the sun (and just a bit of rain), we headed back to rest at the hotel and get ready for our last dinner in NOLA. We stopped by one of the malls nearby since we still had time to kill and took a few photos from the top of the parking garage. Who knew we’d find such a nice view of the city from here?

 Soon it was off to Cochon for dinner. The restaurant specializes in dishes made from all different parts of the pig in Southern and Cajun styles. The name of the place literally is french for “pig”. But for a starter, we ordered their fried alligator. Yep, more gator! This was how I had tried it for the first time, and yes, it does taste like chicken! Some have said that it’s a bit chewier, but I think it all depends on how it’s prepared. It sure would’ve fooled me if no one said anything. For the main course, I had their bouchierie plate. It’s an all pork version of a charcuterie plate with toast points, pork rillete (think of it as pate, except made of pork, and thankfully no liver), head cheese, bologna, and 2 other thin cut meats that I forgot the name of, pickles, and house made mustard. It was a different, yet delicious experience. I washed it all down with a Sazerac.

 We walked off our meal by heading to the outlets at River Walk. Some of the group needed to fulfill a beignet craving, so they went to the Cafe du Monde location inside the mall. There also happens to be a Fat Tuesday at their food court too. Consumption of alcohol in public is legal in NOLA, but only in non-glass containers. I went with another one of the group to a place called Popcorn Bistro. This corner shop is home to 50 of 100 flavors of popcorn. From sweet to savory to spicy, this place has it! They even have New Orleans themed flavors such as Boiled Crawfish, King Cake, and Mardi Gras Mambo. You can sample as many of the flavors as you like before choosing which ones you plan to purchase. My friend and I went through a few of the sweet ones and 2 savory. I chose a junior bag of their Bananas Foster since it’s a well known flavor throughout the city, not to mention a tasty memento of my trip!

Once we had our edible souvenirs, we met up with the rest of the group and headed back to the hotel to start packing for the trip back on Saturday. We were at least half way done when we left for one more night at Bourbon Street. Unfortunately the baby had to stay back with the mom. Another round of Hand Grenades for 3 and a round of Fat Tuesday for 2. We even got to hang out in the balcony of another Tropical Isle location and check out the crowd below. Before heading back for the night, we managed to stop by Jackson Square one more time. It’s locked from the Decatur Street side after 7pm.

Alas, Saturday arrived and the group and myself headed back to the French Market to pick up food and more souvenirs for the road. Best believe we each got a muffuletta from Central Grocery! I had to have my brother try this awesome sandwich too, so I brought one home. Before heading to the airport, we grabbed lunch at Raising Cane’s. It’s a chain restaurant, but there’s no location at all in California, so we had to take advantage. Their 3 Finger combo hit the spot. And that sauce! The closest one to me would be in Vegas, so I’ll have to fulfill my craving the next time I’m there.

My group finally parted ways at the airport heading to SF, SJ, and OAK. I was lucky to have my own row on the last leg of my flight after stopping in San Diego. If more days could be spent in New Orleans, we would have taken them in a hot minute. Loved experiencing NOLA with my friends, and I hope to come back to cross off a few more places from my list the next time I’m here. There will be a next time.

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Before landing in SF
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