Paperboy writer Leisha Jones heads to New Orleans to sample the incredible cuisine the Big Easy is famous for.
You could be forgiven for thinking you have arrived at the wrong address when you pull up to Bacchanal Wines, a small, unassuming wine shop at the base of a big old house in the middle of nowhere. Once you’ve selected your wine, you’ll make your way to the courtyard (pictured above) strung with fairy lights, where you help yourself to glasses, and take a seat at any table in what feels like a private backyard party. There are eclectic musical acts performing nightly and some great food on offer, too.
The lush courtyard, the live piano in the bar and old-timey service at Brennan’s will transport you to another era, and indulging in a lavish brunch here is a Big Easy experience not to be missed. All the Southern classics are on the menu, such as gumbo and turtle soup, there’s half-price Champagne at happy hour, and there’s also bananas foster, a dessert invented by Brennan’s that gets prepared and flambéed at your table.
Cochon and The Butcher
Lines build early and snake down the street at Cochon, a meat-centric restaurant where you can try local dishes such as fried alligator, seafood from the gulf, and pork cooked every way you can imagine – all accompanied by a whisky offering that spans the entire back wall of the bar. Next door you’ll find The Butcher, its more relaxed sister restaurant specialising in classic Southern sandwiches such as muffaletta, pulled pork, beef brisket and their most famous sandwich, Le Pig Mac. Vegetarians beware: they even put bacon in their praline.
The French Quarter and Frenchmen Street
Avoid the chaos and carnage of Bourbon Street and opt instead for the relatively quiet and quaint streets of the French Quarter. Frenchmen Street is where the locals prefer to party, and on any given night you’ll find every bar packed with people and a variety of musical genres. Be prepared to dance in the street too, as spontaneous parades and buskers that attract big crowds are a nightly occurrence.
More about New Orleans
Fly to the USA the Kiwi way with Air New Zealand, offering non-stop flights from Auckland to Houston (where you can connect to New Orleans), five times a week. For more details, see www.airnew zealand.co.nz/flights-to-houston
There’s always something happening at the Ace Hotel – there’s a cosy bar and restaurant with great service,
a rooftop pool, a live music venue, and shops stocking local designers nearby.
Jump on a street car and see where it takes you. We recommend exploring some of the eerily beautiful cemeteries scattered throughout the city.
Hire a bike and take a cruise towards City Park. Stop along the way for a po’boy from Parkway Tavern (many say these are the best in the city) and continue to the park for chicory coffee and beignets at the Morning Call Coffee Stand.
Unlock the best of the USA with tips from fellow New Zealand travellers. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge at www.usathekiwiway.co.nz