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Going to New Orleans Aug 27 What to expect for first time??? Food, weather and people....

Well my GF and I (29yrs old) are going to go on our first trip To new Orleans at the end of the month, we are coming from Los Angeles and kinda nervous but really excited to head out to NOLA. We like live music and good food not crazy party scene but a nice mix of people i guess, I guess i am asking what can i expect and where can eat good food.. We are open to all foods and places as long as they are fun and different from our L.A.

Also we are not the dressy type and i see here that dress code might be an issue for us??

what should i pack???

We are staying at the sheraton hotel, andy feedback on that?

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  1. Far too much is made of dress code on this board. NOLA is loaded with restaurants where you can eat good to great food dressed however you'd like. No, you probably won't want to hit the old-line Creole places in the French Quarter wearing shorts and a tank top, but such attire is fine at casual places all over town. For damn tasty food with no dress code, try Cochon Butcher, Parkway Bakery, Mahoney's, etc.

    NOLA is bloody hot and humid in late August. Think cool, light colors, and natural fabrics. If you pack a jacket, make it a linen or poplin one.

    -----
    Cochon Butcher
    930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

    10 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      Thank you!!!
      We are so excited to head out there, how is the nightlife out there this time of year? Good drinks anywhere?
      I was so worried about the dress codes but i am glad you cleared that up for me.

      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        You should expect to have fun! I went a couple of years ago and we and we really mostly did the tourist things-beignet's at Cafe du Monde (excellent) fried pickles at a locals bar, a boat ride through the swamp a walking tour of Uptown. I enjoyed it all. A taxi driver told us that if we wanted to hear some real music we should go past the French Quarter to a district just on the other side of Esplanade called Mangry we went and the music and atmosphere was great. We also went to Lafitte;s Blacksmith Bar in the quarter-apparently open since 1772. I guess it is mostly for tourists but it isn't often you get to go into a bar that old. I think it is worth a visit and the music (piano bar) was good.

        1. re: artychokeasana

          Thanks!
          I will let you guys know how the trip went!

          1. re: artychokeasana

            Okay, I have to chime in here. Lafitte's is charming, it's atmospheric and, yes the building is old, more accurately dated to approximately 1790's. it has been a bar since 1961. Look at Pat O'Brien's but have your Hurricane at Lafitte's -- it's made with real fruit juice.

            The Marigny Triangle is a fun neighborhood with bars and restaurants on Frenchmen Street. My favorite is Three Muses -- delicious small plates.

            -----
            Three Muses
            536 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            1. re: rouxdauphine

              Both Bill Hunt and Shanefink summarize absolutely wonderful ways to dive into NOLA. For a first time visit, I can only add a recommendation that you avoid over planning. After many visits, I (as many others) try to figure every moment out. There is so much we look to compress, which is hard to resist. Try. The beauty of NOLA is the ability for the unplanned to become the highlight of your trip. Allow yourself the opportunity to explore to find what you will like. Walk the streets and read some menus. Listen to where the music is coming from. Talk to strangers in the bars. They will tell you secrets. Delve into the tourist spots. It would not be a first trip without beignets, hurricanes, and Preservation Hall. But it would not be a first trip without a random surprise that made you say, we are coming back again and again to our favorite city.

              1. re: Hockey19

                I suspect the OP, who posted three years ago, no longer is seeking our advice, but I do want to respond to say that I'm not at all a fan of the "walk the streets and read some menus" strategy when it comes to dining, particularly in NOLA. While I agree that many people drive themselves crazy overplanning their trips, when I think about where first time visitors likely are to be walking around and the restaurants they're likely to walk into by simply walking the streets and reading menus, they certainly will miss the vast, vast majority of the places that make eating in New Orleans so special and likely will end up at some pretty crummy places.

                1. re: Blumie

                  Wow- can't believe I missed the OP date. total fail. However- I probably should have clarified. Walk the streets combined with a bit of research is a way to go for those comfortable with exploration. K-Pauls, SoBu, Acme, Eat, Mr. B's, Galatoire's, Muriel's, Felipe's,any Emiril, any Brennan, on and on. No way to know what floats a boat but if you spend some time looking and use your tools you will find hits. Avoid over researching, NOLA will charm you as it has so many other when you stumble into a new gem.

                  1. re: Hockey19

                    It (the City) is the most enlivening and bewitching burg on Earth. I love every pothole and crumbling building. One cannot be more alive than when one is here. It was the maddest, damndest, gladdest place to grow up. And I spent formative years in New York and Boston, both of which I love deeply. But New Orleans calls to the soul.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      Beautiful hh. My formative years were spent in Boston, and I live in NYC now. But in 1988, when still a law student in Cambridge, I made my very first visit to New Orleans to attend JazzFest. After flying down there and checking into the Doubletree on Canal St., we walked down to the riverfront and boarded a riverboat with B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. That truly was a life changing experience, and when we got off the boat, I told my friend that we were going to do this (attend JazzFest) every year for the rest of our lives.

                      But more importantly, and more life changing, is my discovery of the city and the soul of New Orleans (something that is very difficult to do during JazzFest now, given the huge crowds it attracts and the propensity to focus on the festival more than the city). Although I've now attended 27 consecutive JazzFests, I also have visited New Orleans at least an equal number of times during non-Fest periods. I'm a different person -- in a good way -- when I'm in New Orleans, which is entirely attributable to the unique culture of the City. And which is why I often cringe when I see the advice that is given to first-time visitors, because hanging out on Bourbon St., getting fall-down drunk, and distributing or collecting beads does not give one the proper perspective on what makes New Orleans so incredibly special.

                      1. re: Blumie

                        It really is almost an island. I can feel the difference returning from Baton Rouge which is only 80 miles away but may as well be in Ohio. Friends and classmates in Connecticut and Boston tended to look on my family's food culture as an odd aberration although they never turned down an invitation. People who took trips to try the food somewhere were rare in the north in those days but they were and are everywhere in New Orleans. I only had one male friend (now dead) from here who did not cook: the rest of us were making grillades by the time we were 12. The first thing I did when I lived in Boston was get established at Locke-Ober, the Ritz-Carlton and a bunch of less renowned places like Doyle's.

                        There were some food lovers in 1950s/1960s New York, especially up around E 86th. Most of those neighborhood german places are gone now. The ethnic food in Manhattan seemed to me to die out in the 1970s.(Luchow's, for instance.)

                        And even in New Orleans we've taken some hits: Maylie's, Mandich, Kolb's...they have left gaping holes in the fabric of the City. But New Orleans has always re-invented itself so whatever we become post-Katrina, music and food will be part of the warp and woof.

        2. The weather and dress codes was covered. Weather hot, dress cool.

          On a first visit stay loose and don't force a schedule. Most name restaurants will feed you well. The music area noted is Frenchmen Street, just adjacent to the French Quarter.

          When you arrive in town pick up a copy of Gambit, it is the local free alternative newspaper and it will have every music venue listed. Also, the Friday Times Picayune newspaper has a pull out section called Lagniappe that lists everything going on that weekend. You can get a head start by checking the online version "nola.com"

          2 Replies
            1. re: collardman

              Exactly-Frencman Street is where we went to listen to music. I couldn't remember the name. Thank you.

            2. Expect lots of heat and humidity, fun, crazy people and lots of great food, music and drinks. Your hotel is very generic, but centrally located and I believe it has an outdoor pool. As a first timer, you should start out with a stroll down Bourbon Street and get some hurricanes at Pat O'Briens and maybe check out the dueling piano bar inside. Head over to the ACME for some chargrilled oysters or Mr. B's for some BBQ Shrimp. Find your way over to Molly's on the Market for some frozen Irish coffee (best summer drink in town). Stroll through the French Market and search for some cool seasonings that you can't get at home. Stop in at El Gato Negro for a margarita before sauntering over to Frenchman Street for live music. You won't recognize any of the bands so just listen from the street and stop in wherever suits your fancy. Finish your night at DBA with one or two ice cold beers from their extensive selection. Cab it home because it's a bit of a walk and can get sketchy the later in the night it gets. Wake up the next morning and head over to the Old Coffee Pot for a nice, hearty breakfast. It's hot outside so you might want to head over to the National World War II Museum. It will take a few hours to tour the museum, but there are two great restaurants nearby, Cochon Butcher and American Sector. After lunch, grab a taxi and head up Magazine Street for some shopping and a few cocktails along the way. When you get tired, walk the six or seven blocks over to St. Charles Ave. and catch the streetcar for a return trip to your hotel. Rest up for an amazing dinner at Bayona, Clancy's, August, Geautreu's, Coquette, Meson 923, Le Foret or any other of our fine restaurants. If you're feeling up for it, grab a taxi and head Uptown for some more live music at Tipitina's or the Mapleleaf. OK, by now it's three in the morning (but only 1 your time) and you are looking to continue the party. New Orleans parties all night long so you can head over to the Saturn Bar, Igor's or Snake & Jake's for some late night debauchery (or The Dungeon if you want a glimpse of the inane). Sleep in and get yourself a reservation at Commander's Palace for Sunday brunch, maybe for 1:30. You should bring some nice slacks and a button down shirt for this, but a few bloody mary's and some really great creole brunch items await your belly. Start with the turtle soup and finish it off with a bread pudding. Ok, I can't do it all for you. Surely you will find a friendly bartender somewhere that will offer some advice on how to spend a hungover Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the trip!

              -----
              Coffee Pot Restaurant
              714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              Commander's Palace Restaurant
              1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

              Bayona
              430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

              Tipitina's
              501 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

              Cochon Butcher
              930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

              Le Foret
              Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130

              3 Replies
              1. re: shanefink

                Wow, Sounds like i am going to have a blast.. So many choices so little time!!!
                Thanks!

                1. re: shanefink

                  Great itinerary for a first timer, shanefink! You should keep this post and repost every time a first timer asks; so many folks never get out of the quarter and don't realize all the wonders of NOLA!

                  1. re: shanefink

                    I second Old Coffee Pot, but will also add Stanley!, the "brother" to Stella!, mentioned in my longer post. Personally, I seldom make it to lunch, after such a breakfast, and dinner looming at 8:00PM. NOLA is a city, where you will NOT be underfed, and pacing oneself is a real task.

                    Enjoy,

                    Hunt

                    -----
                    Coffee Pot Restaurant
                    714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                    1. I don't know about y'all but this thread is making me want to hop on a plane to Nola.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: artychokeasana

                        Tell me about it, I just want to leave now!

                        1. re: octate

                          So I don't know what kinda people you are, but if you want to do something really fun and decadent, google Krewe of Oak's Midsummer Mardi Gras. It's an annual event held Uptown with crazy costumes and lots of insanity. Saturday, August 27th.

                        2. re: artychokeasana

                          Southwest flies in many times per day... [Grin]

                          Hunt