My No-Calorie-Left-Behind Weekend in New Orleans

12:42 PM Life in Between 0 Comments

February 24, 2016 
Every time I order a meal, I immediately think of where it will end up--on my hips. More often than not, I am plagued by the thought of how many calories are in every single bite of food I am taking. It's exhausting. But one day, as I sadly stared over yet another fruit smoothie and salad, I said to myself, "That's it! I'm going to eat whatever I want for an entire weekend."

Forty-eight hours of never saying no to extra cheese, sauce, or added sugar? Sign me up! And I knew just the place to go--New Orleans, Louisiana. My aunt and cousin agreed it was a brilliant idea, and decided to join me on this weekend of guilt-free eating. (FYI - My aunt has an awesome food blog that you should probably check out:

So, where did we eat on our food tour? There are some places in New Orleans you just can't miss. 

Face it. You can't take a trip to New Orleans and pass up the deliciously messy beignets from the infamous Cafe du Monde. It's a "must-see" for anyone who plans on a visit. The second they brought out the warm plates of powdered sugar goodness and coffee with chicory, I had to remind myself that it was okay to eat as much as I wanted. This was about enjoying myself. I had no plans for gorging or overdoing it, but I ate until I was pleasantly full. After all, we had reservations somewhere else at 2 p.m.!
If you plan on hitting up this well-known cafe, remember that lines are ALWAYS long. It usually moves fast so don't be discouraged. Street musicians make the wait enjoyable by playing traditional New Orleans jazz music as you move closer and closer to those sweet beignets. 

For warmer days, Cafe du Monde serves up Frozen Café au Lait. Try it! You won't regret it. 
If I could write songs about Commander's Palace, I would. After a short ride on the St.Charles streetcar, we ambled down tree-lined streets where the old New Orleans came to life. Curiously situated across the street from Layfayette Cemetery, Commander's is where you want to go for everything refined in the city.
There are few things I love more than trying new dishes. Quail was on the menu and, I have to say, was one of the top five best meals I have ever eaten--that includes my dinners in Tuscany. So, that's high praise. 
The tables are neatly set, waiters sharply dressed, and drinks carefully poured to ensure every patron gets the full experience of feeling like royalty. Between the three of us, we tasted a number of dishes:

Turtle Soup
Tomato Bisque
Strawberry Salad
Coffee-lacquered Stuffed Quail (stuffed with boudin) and Spaghetti Squash
Chicken Cassoulet
Fried Oyster Crostini
and for dessert...Creme Brûlée

If you plan on Commander's Palace, be sure to budget for it. The food is a little more expensive, but you won't be sorry that you splurged. The staff was very helpful, my glass was always full, and the food was beyond words. I have a hard time blogging about it because it was THAT good. Just know that no matter what you order, you can't go wrong. 

Bonus! The kitchen is open to the public. So, if Chef Tory McPhail is in be sure to stop by and say hello. 

(If you want to see all the amazing food photos, follow Life in Between on Instagram.)

We ventured way out of the French Quarter to visit Satsuma Cafe. After a two and a half mile hike we were sure we would never arrive. But it was well worth the trip. Be advised, this isn't a tourist restaurant; when we arrived it was mostly locals--college kids studying for exams over morning coffee and moms with strollers trying to get their green juice for the day. 
Did I mention that it's healthy? That's right, Satsuma serves up fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients. The atmosphere matched the cuisine--it was almost as if you were dining in your eccentric aunt's attic. Even the bathroom was adorable. 
The menu was very diverse and I had to choose between breakfast and lunch--who can do that? It was too tough. So we decided that two of us would order lunch while the other ordered pancakes. My aunt ended up with a Salmon Melt Sandwich and salad. To die for. My cousin's cinnamon pecan pancakes and bacon, egg and cheese biscuit were awesome, too. So, order up and plan to relax awhile. It's a nice spot to collect your thoughts away from the busy French Quarter. 
I went with something a little more generic just to see how Satsuma might make it better--and boy, did they! I ordered the Turkey Pesto Aioli sandwich with red peppers, mayo and cheese on ciabatta. Just look at that beauty. I also have to comment on the coffee; it was the best coffee I had during my time in New Orleans. I didn't get a chance to ask them who their roaster was, so if you know please comment. The iced mocha was perfect.
One of the more frequented stops by tourists, The French Market Restaurant is usually packed with families who are visiting the city. We chose the restaurant because of it's menu; we were looking for a place that had Shrimp and Grits AND a Fried Oyster Po-Boy on the menu. 
We opted for an appetizer to start: Shrimp and Crab Dip. It was good, but the food really shined with the Cajun BBQ Shrimp and Grits. The grits were cheesy and the shrimp was grilled in a mild BBQ sauce. Very tasty. If you are a shrimp and grits fan--or even if you aren't--this would be a good place to grab some. 
Mother's claims to have the "World's Best Baked Ham", so how can you not put that to the test? This one was actually close to our hotel and we visited it around 10 p.m. at night. Great for a late night snack, right?
The restaurant is more of a dive, but don't let that fool you into thinking you won't get quality food and service. Mother's can make a mean roast beef po-boy! 
I also want to give a quick shout out to their social media team. You guys are hilarious. Within minutes of posting on Instagram you guys had a witty comment ready. So, hats off to you!
The sandwich was piled high with warm roast beef, and the bread served as the perfect sponge for flavor. It was an incredible po-boy. Another star of the show was the potato salad. My aunt ordered it for herself, but I am pretty sure she only got a few bites in because I devoured the rest of it. 
I WILL be back to order some gumbo and bread pudding.
Ask me where to go for breakfast in New Orleans, and I will tell you Stanley. On a typical weekend prepare for a long wait. It's a popular spot in the French Quarter and I overheard some people say they had been waiting for over an hour. Again, I wouldn't post it here unless I thought the wait was worth it. They even have a service bar for everyone on the wait list to enjoy coffee, soft drinks, or cocktails. 
If you are into sweet breakfasts, you can't go wrong with their Bananas Foster French Toast with Ice Cream. Yes, you read that right. Ice cream for breakfast! The gooey toast was full of flavor and when it was mixed with the ice cream and bananas...angels sang. Commence drooling now. 
If you like something more savory, you could always go for the Fried Oyster Eggs Benedict (or, as they call it, the Eggs Stanley). Some people don't like to mix seafood with breakfast, but I was all over that. At this point I was at peace with the fact that my jeans wouldn't fit when I got home. 
This post doesn't even include all the snack stops and drink stops along the way. But if you plan on enjoying your own cheat weekend (and I mean CHEAT) there are few places more perfect than New Orleans. 


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