What is the heart of New Orleans to me? Why beer and beignets of course! ;)
I headed to New Orleans the first weekend in February for a quick 72 hour to visit to meet a bunch of amazing bloggers, co-host the #RnRTweetup (more here) and participate in the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half Marathon (recap here).
But once the run was done early Sunday morning, it was time to put on my tourist hat and see more of the city.
So where was my first stop ... the NOLA Brewery of course!
My friend Dacia (from My Roots To Grow), her boyfriend Erick and I were ready to celebrate my race with some local brews. I get a kick out of trying local craft beers wherever I travel.
Lauren, the bartender, was GREAT! She let us try little samples of the beers before making a decision on which to buy.
Since I couldn't make a decision on one brew off the bat, I went the safe route ... a couple of flights! :)
Every beer I tried was delicious, but my absolute favorites were: Girl Stout Cookie and Irish Channel Stout. The Girl Stout Cookie tasted like a thin mint Girl Scout Cookie ... aka Heaven!!
While we made friends with the other patrons at the NOLA Tap Room, we all enjoyed the Puppy Bowl on the TVs. Why yes we were at the Brewery on Super Bowl Sunday watching the Puppy Bowl and it was AWESOME! We all were cheering on the puppies, voting for MVP and generally having a blast.
Lauren was nice enough to bring us through the Brewery for an impromptu tour.
Yes they had their own Cornhole game with beer on the bags. :)
After seeing this, I want to make my own Plinko Drinko game. Who doesn't love Price Is Right's Plinko???
A jazzy giant beer dispenser/piece of art. :)
How cool are these? They are actually connected to backpacks that people can wear at celebrations, parades, etc.
After spending a great afternoon with Dacia, Erick and our new friends, it was time for me to head back to the apartment, shower and meet up with the bloggers I had hosted the #RnRTweetup with. :)
They were going to hit up Bourbon Street, while watching the game. Since the game was a blow out and I didn't really care about either team, I focused more on getting to know the girls better. I was meeting them all for the first time in person that weekend after having friendships online for a couple of years.
We even got Sarah from Mom Running on Empty to ride the bull at Bourbon Cowboy. ;)
I didn't know much about Bourbon Street traditions, but apparently getting a Hurricane from Pat O'Brien's.
Having that reminded me why I stick with beer or wine - too sweet for my liking. But tradition is tradition, right? :P
Now this street performer knew how to work a crowd. He was charming, a flirt and had the poses for the camera already decided.
As we wandered back down Bourbon Street to call it a night, I made sure to take in as much people watching as possible. :)
I gave all the girls huge hugs before heading back to the place I was crashing at.
It was easy to fall asleep after such an eventful and cool day. Plus there was more sightseeing on the docket for the following morning.
I slept in until about 8am on the Monday then convinced Kenlie to join me on a trip to the famous Cafe du Monde for beignets.
We took the walk from her apartment so I could see even more of the city and French Quarter minus all the fog that the race had the previous morning.
Jackson Square was completely covered in fog when I passed it no more than 24 hours in advance.
There was a lengthy line at the hot spot, but a worker came out to let us know there were additional seats inside. Kenlie and I jumped on it and were seated less than three minutes later.
This old school spot is cash only, but full of atmosphere and history.
A beignet is "a square of fried dough eaten hot sprinkled with confectioners' sugar" ... aka deliciousness!
The goal - besides enjoying the food - is to see how little powered sugar ends up on your clothes. I forgot about this little detail when I decided to wear a black jacket on our walk.
Success! I made it through all three beignets without getting any powdered sugar on the jacket ... until I stood up! That's right folks. I bent over to pick up my bag, brushed the table and BAM powdered sugar everywhere. #winning ;)
After a decadent breakfast, my host Kenlie took me on a walking tour of the city focusing on Royal St - the art mecca of the city.
It was wicked cool to see paintings and artwork hanging all over the city, while musicians played in the streets. I wish I had taken more pictures, but it was chilly and keeping my hands in my pockets was the wiser choice. :P
After a great walk through the city, Kenlie and I headed back to her place so I could pack up before a goodbye lunch at The Store. I had a delicious and reasonably-priced pulled pork sandwich.
Once I was full, it was time to head to the airport. Big thanks to Kenlie for the ride.
I wish I had more time to explore, but I think I made the most of my 72 hours in New Orleans.
I never met a beer or beignet that I didn't like. I'd call that a successful trip! :)