While our historic city is famous for many things – music and Mardi Gras probably being numbers one and two, a close third is our food. Oh, Creole and Cajun cuisine, how I love thee.
For the holidays, have an exceptional dining experience unique to New Orleans. The Reveillon dinner is a reincarnation of an old Creole holiday custom. Reveillon dinners began as a family tradition; they are now enjoyed in an extravaganza of good food and festive spirits at two dozen local New Orleans restaurants.
Reveillon is derived from the French word for ‘awakening,’ and refers to the meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. According to FrenchQuarter.com, “early New Orleans was almost entirely Catholic, and virtually the entire community would participate in these ceremonies. Families would return from the late-night service famished and set upon a feast prepared in advance and laid out on the table or sideboard. A typical early reveillon menu looked very much like breakfast, with egg dishes, breads and puddings, but could also include turtle soup, oysters and grillades of veal. Naturally, the Creoles accompanied these rich repasts with wines, cordials and other fortified drinks. The dinners could last for many hours, and by some accounts even until dawn.”
Now the Reveillon dining tradition is found in restaurants all over the city. Sample dishes like Louisiana Oysters Poached in Herbsaint Cream with Caviar and Crispy Spinach, and Chocolate Truffle Brioche Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.
Set menus start at an affordable $38 for a four-course meal at the Gumbo Shop in the French Quarter. Check out all the Reveillon restaurant deals in New Orleans this Christmas.
With all that great food and drink, you will need a lodging experience that can match. Many of our New Orleans bed and breakfasts are also offering specials for the holiday season. Stay somewhere that is as unique as the city you visit.
If you like wine and food, you won’t want to miss the 2012 New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. It is, quite simply, a feast for the senses. It’s a delightful, delicious, celebration of food and wine. Oenophiles, gourmets, gourmands and Epicureans, this is for you.
Don't miss The Big Gateaux Show, an international cake competition and tasting.
As of this writing, more than 34 wineries and 61 restaurants / caterers are scheduled to participate. The chefs come from New Orleans. The wine comes from around the globe. Together, they make magical combinations.
There are many ways to explore New Orleans: on foot, by car, by boat, and by bus. A favorite way is to explore New Orleans by Bike.
A fun way to see New Orleans.
Confederacy of Cruisers offers relaxing, slow-paced bike tours of the city. Tours last 3 hours and cover six miles — you may not even break a sweat. Cycle through the scenic Creole neighborhoods of Faubourg Marigny and Treme, and discover the colorful community of Bywater.
Tour guides will talk of the history of New Orleans, her architecture, and her culture. You’ll see places you probably wouldn’t find on your own, and visit spots other tours overlook. The beauty of the bike is that you go where no bus would fit.
Consider taking a bike tour of the city the next time you’re staying at a New Orleans Bed and Breakfast. The cruisers are comfy, the fresh air feels good, and the stories you’ll hear are interesting.
The folks who live and work in New Orleans are like folks everywhere. We’re busy with our work, our families, our friends. We like to go out as much as the next person, but, like most, we watch our wallets. That’s why you’ll see so many of us Wednesday at the Square.
Big Sam's Funky Nation plays Lafayette Square Wednesday, March 28. Photo: Andy Goetz.
Each Wednesday evening from now through May 30, 2012, Lafayette Square will be filled with music, food, and a lot of happy people. Each week, a band will take the stage and play for the crowd. It’s a chance to be outside and hear great music and maybe see some old friends. It’s a chance to enjoy the spring weather and maybe dance a bit. Locals will be there. Tourists will be there. We’ll all be happy.
Bring your laptop and get down to work at your New Orleans B&B.
So many people travel to New Orleans for fun that it’s easy to forget people travel here for work, too. New Orleans business travelers are a lucky lot; during their off hours, they can explore one of the most exciting cities in the country.
Many of our member New Orleans Bed and Breakfasts are located in the heart of the city, near the Central Business District. This allows for short commutes to business meetings by day, and convenient access to restaurants and entertainment by night. In addition, innkeepers are a great source of information; they can help you come up with a short list of sites and activities you shouldn’t miss during your business trip.
The best way to start of day of work is with a gourmet breakfast in a New Orleans Inn. A great way to wrap up a hard day of work is with a drink in your inn, something many B&Bs offer. Business travel can be lonely, and the relaxed and homey atmosphere of many New Orleans Bed and Breakfasts is a welcome respite from larger, less personal hotels.
One of the best and worst aspects of a road trip is the road food. The annual Roadfood Festival in New Orleans focuses on the best. Come see for yourself, March 23-25, 2012.
Oysters at the 2010 New Orleans Roadfood Festival.
Tucked away in the far-flung corners of this country are innumerable road food finds. Just ask Jane and Michael Stern about it. They’ve been eating their way around the country for year, and they can tell you the best places to find a slice of pie, a reuben sandwich, and just about any other food you might fancy. Jane and Michael Stern will be at the Roadfood Festival. If you’re familiar with their work, you know they wouldn’t miss it.
The New Orleans Roadfood Festival brings plate after plate of fine food to the French Quarter. More than 30 restaurants will serve the dishes that brought them fame. What fun to eat New Jersey savory panzarotti and Tucson tamales in New Orleans.
Additional festivities include a Saturday night crawfish boil and Cajun fais-do-do, where you can dance to live music and feast on crawfish and whole hog barbecue. Also not to be missed is the Beignet Eating Contest on Sunday, March 25.
The Roadfood Festival is not about fancy, high-priced restaurants. It’s not about gourmet. It’s about everyday food, simple and tasty. It’s about roadside diners and small, independent restaurants from anywhere, U.S.A. What better place to get a taste of that than New Orleans?
The Mardi Gras parade season officially begins today, and as of this writing, there are five parades underway in New Orleans. Many more will take place over the coming days, culminating in the grand parades Uptown and in the Metairie on Fat Tuesday itself, February 21, 2012.
This is a period of celebration. It’s a time to enjoy food and drink and fun before Lent. Yet you don’t have to participate in Lent in order to celebrate Mardi Gras. You just have to be willing to have fun now.
People have been flocking to New Orleans for Mardi Gras for ages. Why not come yourself?
It’s also important to take care of yourself. Parades mean lots of time on your feet and lots of people. Talk to the innkeepers of your New Orleans Bed and Breakfast about the best places to watch and the best places to avoid. If you’ll be wandering far from your New Orleans B&B during the course of the day, learn where you can sit and rest and where you can find a restroom!
We find it’s best to go with the flow. You can have a plan (know when and where parades start, etc), but be willing to alter it. Spontaneous parties crop up all over town, and the music and dancing can be irresistible.. Let yourself wander and explore, and laisser les bons temps rouler.