Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Orleans Road Trip Adventure (Day Two)

In case you were wondering why there weren't very many blog posts last week, I snuck out of town for a few days to enjoy a family vacation for my son's Spring Break. Yesterday, I shared how I screwed up our original plans to hit the beaches of Florida by booking a house the wrong week (oops!). Click here to flash back to Day One of our road trip adventure to see the boys of Duck Dynasty and how we started our Big Easy adventure. Now, onwards...

Cafe Du Monde
Day Two:

My son and I headed to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait. (Note: they only accept cash but there is an ATM across the street if you need it. I learned that the hard way...) A beignet is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux paste, similar to a fritter.  Beignets are commonly known in the U.S. as a dessert served with powdered sugar on top.  It's very similar to the funnel cake at the State Fair of Texas.  They are deliciously messy and if you have children, this place it a "can't miss" dining destination.

My husband was craving a breakfast sandwich from Johnny's Po Boys.  Frommers says of this place, "They put anything you could possibly imagine (and some things you couldn’t) on huge hunks of French bread, including the archetypal fried seafood (add some Tabasco, we strongly advise), deli meats, cheese omelets, ham and eggs, and the starch-o-rama that is a french-fry po’ boy. You need to try it. Really. Johnny boasts that “even my failures are edible,” and that says it all."  By the time Randy caught up to us, we were licking the last of the powdered sugar off our fingers, so we walked up to the top of the hill and let him eat his sandwich on a bench facing the Mississippi River while we looked the other direction onto Jackson Square and watched all the people and horse-drawn carriages go by.

Jackson Square

Making new friends at Parakeet Pointe
We took a short stroll along the Mississippi River bank to visit The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Recognized as one of the leading aquariums in the United States, it is a delightful place for kids of all ages. They boast a pretty extensive collection of marine life. Check out the white (albino) alligator, an array of sharks and rays, salt water fish, otters and penguins.

Our favorite part of the place was Parakeet Pointe, an 800 square-foot outdoor environment offering a memorable, interactive experience for Aquarium guests who stroll through the exhibit space among hundreds of brightly-colored parakeets. You can purchase seed sticks to feed the birds for $1.50 each - but save your money. All you have to do is hold out your arms like a scarecrow and the birds will land on you. One of the employees told us that this was nesting season, so the little birds were friendlier than usual, poking their heads in my purse, trying to nest in my son's hoodie and in the front pocket of his sweatshirt. We were laughing so hard we could barely talk.  On the way home, Jackson told me this was one of his favorite parts of our whole trip.

Albino Alligator 

We then headed back to our hotel to enjoy the sunny day poolside.  The Roosevelt has a gorgeous outdoor pool located on the 4th floor of the property.  I grabbed a Hurricane cocktail from the Sazerac bar downstairs and relaxed in the hot tub while my son entertained me with his trick dives and jumps in the heated pool. We timed his efforts to hold his breath underwater and see how many times he could lap the pool using only one breath.

On our way out for the evening, we made a pit-stop for a pre-dinner drink at the Carousel Bar inside the Hotel Monteleone. Jackson ordered a Shirley Temple while I grabbed something slightly stronger and we sipped our beverages enjoying the bar's rotation around the bar. In case you are wondering, it takes 15 minutes for the bar to make a complete rotation.

We then headed to our dinner destination of Red Fish Grill just a few blocks away.  I agree with their website in saying that Ralph Brennan's Red Fish Grill in the French Quarter is a triumph of cuisine, style and design. Executive Chef Austin Kirzner's casual New Orleans seafood dominates a menu peppered with Big Easy favorites like Hickory Grilled Redfish, BBQ Oysters, Alligator Sausage & Seafood Gumbo, Double Chocolate Bread Pudding, and a wide variety of Gulf fish available every night. Festive, hip decor offering an oasis from the bawdy bright lights of Bourbon Street, features hand-painted tables, a sea colored etched floor, colassal oyster mirrors, metal-sculpted palms, Louisiana bayou photography, and a sea of metal fish in neon swimming overhead. The staff was super friendly and even custom-made a Shrimp Po Boy for my son, because that's what "he was in the mood for". Whatever King Farouk wants...

Red Fish Grill

Again, we took a leisurely stroll home through the French Quarter, taking Royal Street instead of Bourbon (it's the PG-version of the Quarter as opposed to R-rated Bourbon St.) and collapsed at our hotel. Another successful day in the Big Easy!  Tomorrow's post will end our story. Until then!

Cafe Du Monde, 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, (504) 525-4544
Johnny's Po Boys, 511 St Louis St New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 524-8129
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 581-4629
Red Fish Grill, 115 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 598-1200

This post was sponsored in part by The New Orleans CVB. For more information on New Orleans attractions, lodging and dining, visit http://www.neworleanscvb.com/.  While I did receive compensation for authoring this post; product selections, descriptions, and opinions are 100% my own. Interested in a sponsored post or product review? Contact me for rates and details.