New Orleans.

27 Feb

One of the hardest things of a deployment approaching is the count down of lasts: the last weekend, the last time we will watch walking dead together, the last meal we’ll eat together, the last time we’ll sleep in the same bed. So for one of our last weekends together we decided to have a first instead of dwelling on “the last” and we set out to New Orleans as a family.

I had recently been to New Orleans for a concert with some friends but Scott nor Royal had ever been. Scott and I always base the success of our vacations on what delicious food we eat, so I knew that Nola would be the perfect weekend get-away for us foodies. I love unique and eclectic food, and the variety you can find in New Orleans is beyond compare to anywhere I’ve ever been. I’ve never been disappointed in a single thing I’ve eaten there. It’s truly all sooooooo good. The other thing I love about this city is the culture. It blows my mind that a place only a few hours from our home can be so completely different than our regular way of life. The streets of the French Quarter are constantly full of street performers and bands playing jazz music. It makes for an environment of constant entertainment. I knew Royal would get a kick out of that.img_7417Our first stop of our first day was to Stanley’s, an amazing breakfast joint with the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had in my life! This was first on my list because the deliciousness, from my first trip, lingered in my brain so I knew I HAD to go back and Scott being a lover of seafood needed to try their Eggs Stanley (cornmeal crusted oysters, poached eggs, canadian bacon, and creole hollandaise on a english muffin.) He said with every bite it got better and better. I had their Breux Bridge Benedict (house made boudin, ham, american cheese, poached eggs, and hollandaise on French bread) and boy was it DEVINE. It had a bit of a kick to it but with the eggs and french bread it perfectly evened out. Mmm. And…I need it again.

After we filled our bellies we walked around Jackson Square and went inside the beautiful Saint Louis Cathedral. I was proud of Royal for staying oh so quiet as we walked around inside. Praise God that a two year old tantrum didn’t decide to make an appearance in that moment. We then spent the rest of the day walking the streets, shopping, and sampling tasty treats. The rain started pouring about halfway through the day. We took shelter in the covered flea market for some light shopping and then into a hot sauce shop which I swear is Scott’s new happy place. He spent a good 45 minutes sampling their hundreds of sauces. I chose to just observe.

 

I believe there is an unspoken rule that you HAVE to go to Café Du Monde if you’re ever in the area. It’s a cute little open air cafe, which was established in 1862. You must have their beignets covered in a mountain of powdered sugar and paired with a cafe’ au lait or you’ve truly never lived. Royal most enjoyed licking the powdered sugar off of his beignet. For me, the best part of the experience was having the rain pour outside creating the most cozy little moment in time.

Nap-time finally crept in so we retired to our hotel for a few hours to let the little guy rest up, and in all honesty the parents needed the down-time just as badly. What we thought was cool about our hotel during the day would become a curse in the night, but we spent a good bit of time watching the airplanes land outside our hotel room window and Royal quite enjoyed that. At 6:00 am the following morning the “fun” of it dissolved for this mama. Oh well! Who sleeps on vacations really?!img_7469

For dinner we chose to stay out of the French Quarter and tried the second location of “Dat Dog” which is a unique little sausage joint. Scott and I both decided to be adventurous so he got the Crawfish Etouffee Dog (crawfish sausage, homemade crawfish etouffee, sour cream, onions, tomatoes, and creole mustard) and I got the Alligator sausage and just had them throw on whatever they thought was best! We of course couldn’t pass up the cheddar bacon ranch fries either. This was Scott’s favorite meal of the trip and he’s still raving about it. We called it an early night and we were all in bed by 9:00.

img_7476After having our sleep so rudely interrupted (airport shenanigans) we started day 2 off by checking out of our hotel and heading back to the French Quarter for breakfast. A friend had recommended Cafe Fleur De Lis so that’s just where we went. The wait wasn’t nearly as bad as we had heard it would be, and within 30 minutes we were seated at our table in the charming historic cafe. Scott, still on a crawfish kick, ordered the Fleur De Lis Omelet (bell peppers, onions, provolone, topped with a creamy crawfish sauce and served with a croissant) and this preggo needed something with mild flavors, after all the richness of the day before, so I stuck to the Sweet Buttermilk Pancakes topped with strawberries and ordered a bavarian chocolate iced coffee to drink. Yummy food here too!

Following breakfast we again walked around, taking in all the art on Royal Street and of course trying to get our little 2 year old Royal to pose for a photo next to the street tiles with his name on them. We also spent much of our final day searching for a “Royal Street” sign to buy. We sadly never found a full sized one but happily purchased a magnet instead. We walked down Bourbon Street, watched street performers, danced to the live music, and then finished our time in the French Quarter with people watching in the park while Royal gleefully chased pigeons.

On our way out of town we made a final stop at District Donuts, because I read many good reviews about it and we knew we’d need a little sugary pick-me-up before our drive home. Scott ordered the coffee cake donut,  I had the strawberry basil donut, and Royal had a chocolate chip cookie. It was a sweet ending to our time in Nola!

img_7680I think we left town believing we would never want to eat again! (I warned you that we like eating and base our vacations around it! haha.) It was such a fun trip and I can’t honestly remember the last time we had a get-away just for us. Maybe our honeymoon? (eek!) It was truly so wonderful to get out of town and to explore a new place together. Also, this was our last vacation as a family of 3! On the next trip, we all take together, there will be a new little member here on the outside with us. That’s fun to think about.

We were all exhausted once we got home, so we spent the next day relaxing at the beach. There’s nothing like a little sun, having your toes in the sand, and the sound of the ocean to bring you back to a peacefully relaxed state of mind. It was truly one of the best weekends I’ve ever had and just what this little family needed before Deployment 3.0!

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