We Know What it Means

When a local misses Nola, cravings abound.

There is a reason a song was written about missing New Orleans. Anyone who has lived here can tell you a place or an entrée they miss most.

After being out of town for over two weeks, there are quite a few places on my list. And if there is ever anything worth doing when you travel, it’s hitting the spots that locals love most.

Here is my ideal first day back in New Orleans.

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Breakfast at Slim Goodies Diner: The Repopulation special is my go-to. Nothing fancy, everything delicious. Named for people moving back home after the levees broke, it includes your basics and gives you choices – my order is coffee, eggs over easy, grits, bacon and biscuit. Topped with their famous crawfish etouffee when I want to splurge. With a choice of Crystal or Tabasco sitting on your table, you know you’re back in Louisiana.

Mid-morning stroll in City Park and the NOMA Sculpture Garden: Before the day gets too hot, a walk around the Big Lake at City Park provides wonderful sensory experiences. There is literally music in the air with the Singing Oak’s wind chimes. The landscaping brings butterflies, and the people watching is especially fun when novice sailors are on the lake.

Crossing the street into the Sculpture Garden is like entering an exclusive Chelsea gallery that happens to be outdoors and open to the public. The balance of nature’s sculptural oaks with the artists’ expressions of nature teaches me something new with every visit.

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Lunch at Felix’s Restaurant: It’s the first place I ever ate an oyster po-boy and it’s still my favorite. The breading is flavorful without obscuring the oyster’s identity. Order it dressed because anything else is blasphemy.

Afternoon Drink from the Erin Rose and a Walk along Royal Street: Have Go Cup, Will Travel. Something I miss the most when I’m away from home is the ability to walk around with a drink in my hand when the mood strikes. On a hot day, there is nothing like sipping a frozen Irish coffee from the Erin Rose while you window shop the antique stores and art galleries along Royal, keeping to the shade the iron balconies provide.

Snacktime at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz: It’s still hot and not quite dinner, so ordering a sno-blizz (their version of the snow ball) from Hansen’s keeps something frozen in my hand. Timed right, the wait won’t be long. But even if it is long, it’s worth it. Their machines create the perfect ice consistency, and their traditional and contemporary syrup flavors offer something to please anyone. My current favorite is half lemonade and half sweet tea, side-by-side.

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Dinner at Patois: Three courses, whatever chef recommends that day. It will be locally sourced and delicious, truly celebrating the flavors of southeastern Louisiana.

Nightcap on my front porch: When visiting New Orleans, if you are staying in a hotel that doesn’t have a porch, find one. Listening to the cicadas singing with a sazarac in your hand, inhaling the scent of jasmine and appreciating the humidity after the sun has set… sweet dreams are guaranteed. 



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