A Travel Writer’s Guide to Dining in New Orleans

Sometimes my travels take me to places I’ve always wanted to visit, and other times I venture to cities that were never on my radar. New Orleans was certainly the last. I knew next to nothing about the city other than its popular drinking culture, great food, and of course, “NCIS: New Orleans.” Since I’ve never been a heavy drinker and the culture of binge drinking makes me dizzy, it never made it to the top of my list of must-visit cities.

Related: Traveling through New Orleans for the best vegan king cakes

My pop culture passing impressions couldn’t be further from the accurate. Sure, there’s a bar and an active drinking scene, but New Orleans has so much to offer its visitors. The first thing that hit me when I arrived was the thick heat. It must have been over 90 degrees in early May, which certainly came as a shock to my system coming from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but with a bottle of water in hand, I was ready to take on the city.

Come on, let’s talk about being fat in NOLA.

Four Seasons

Before getting to the heart of the matter, Morgan and I headed to the Four Seasons to drop off our bags, freshen up, and change into some new gear. After staying at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas, we expected a serene oasis in the middle of the action, but the Four Seasons in NOLA had a slightly different vibe.

As soon as you enter the building, the stunningly beautiful chandelier bar is directly in front of you and the check-in area is directly to your right. Between the bar, the restaurant, the staff at the entrance and the check-in area, it’s quite noisy.

But once you’ve passed the hubbub and arrived in your room, you’re transported to a relaxing, luxurious room with an incredibly comfortable bed and a huge European-style bathroom. Our room also had a lovely freestanding tub, which I was able to easily take advantage of.

Speaking of relaxation, before setting off on an adventure in the city, have breakfast at the restaurant of the hotel Chemin à la Mer. In addition to a magnificent view of the city and the river, Chemin à la Mer has the best pancakes on the menu I have ever eaten in a restaurant!

Crush factor: Like most hotels, the towels couldn’t wrap all around me and the bathrobes were too small. However, despite the European-style bathroom with a separate WC, the bathroom had enough room to be comfortable.

Fellow Rabbit

Have you ever eaten a meal that you know you won’t soon forget? Well, my dinner at Compère Lapin was definitely one of those meals. Chef Nina Compton grew up in St. Lucia and, with a classic Fresh culinary training under her belt, “she blends native ingredients and New Orleans’ rich culinary heritage with those of her Caribbean roots”, creating magic on a plate. It might sound like an overused cliché, but when it comes to Chef Compton, it’s the real deal.

ceviche (Jodian Morgan)

Dinner started with buttermilk cookies which you definitely shouldn’t skip as they were divine. The grilled peel-and-eat jumbo shrimp surprised me with the amount of flavor Chef Compton was able to infuse into them. They were so good that I didn’t mind the somewhat tedious task of peeling them at the table. Then there was the goat curry with sweet potato gnocchi – a genius combination that forces you to throw everything you can think of when eating curry, goat or gnocchi out the window to enjoy. I could eat just that as a full meal.

Be sure to finish your meal with the Bolivian Passion Fruit Chocolate Cake even if you usually skip the chocolate desserts as it was simply divine.

Visit of the swamps

I’ve always loved just about anything that happens on a boat. Romantic dinner cruises, fishing boats and even ferries keep a permanent smile on my face. There’s just something special about feeling the wind in your hair while enjoying the beauty of nature. And if you’re visiting New Orleans, that means taking a swamp and bayous tour. Grayline offers the full experience, including a relatively comfortable bus to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park-Barataria Reserve and then the boat tour itself.

You’ll be serenaded by local history during the ride and have plenty of time to purchase a boozy slushie to enjoy on board. There are also snacks! The tour itself is very relaxed. What exactly you see depends on the season – I expected to see more wildlife than we did – but the crocodiles were definitely worth going out for!

Crush factor: We took the traditional tour, which I’m grateful for as once we got there the airboats didn’t seem particularly accessible.


For Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine with Jewish roots full of flavor and joy, you’ll need to make reservations at Saba. We were seated on the patio which was a really relaxing way to enjoy a really filling meal. The Louisiana blue crab hummus was a fascinating combination that worked really well, and you absolutely must get a floral soda that is a refreshing addition to any meal (add a shot of vodka if you like a cocktail).

homemade soda (Jodian Morgan)

Although I don’t usually order chicken, the harissa roast chicken with charred scallions and caramelized lemon was perfectly balanced. There’s only one thing on the menu that I wouldn’t order: the duck matzah ball soup. But maybe that’s because I grew up with this stuff and have a very specific idea of ​​how it should to taste.

Crush factor: Although the chairs outside have no arms and are relatively wide, they have a small edge which can be very uncomfortable if you tip over the edge of the seat.

Harissa roast chicken (Jodian Morgan)

Waldorf Astoria Spa

My friends, not only did the Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Roosevelt Hotel have a bathrobe big enough to fully cover me, but they have set up the locker rooms so that you get a locker with a bathrobe that should fit you right away, without having to ask for one. And the locker room attendant was plus size too!

Morgan and I quietly enjoyed a glass of champagne and chocolates in a relaxation room, before being taken to the treatment room.

It can sometimes be difficult for me to lie on my stomach, because my chest is so big that I feel like I’m choking. Usually I take it for a massage, but this time I asked for a massage on my back, and the massage therapist happily agreed. It was a perfect way to enjoy a glamorous afternoon at NOLA.

by Brennan

For an old fashioned cutting edge dining experience that isn’t a steakhouse, you’ll have to try Brennan’s. Not only do they eliminate stadium favorites, but their unique takes on the more contemporary cuisine are simply wonderful. I had the pleasure of enjoying the perfect spring appetizer salad of fresh asparagus and avocado with salmon roe and horseradish cream, which was truly to die for. You shouldn’t miss it.

The steak tartare was traditional with a twist, served over a hash brown, for the perfect bite. For dessert, we had one of those flambé desserts, which was just a bit too sweet for me. But a little pinch of salt fixed the problem and the meal ended on a high note. My only regret was coming in for brunch and not going out for dinner, because Brennan deserves your full attention.

Southern Jewish Experience Museum

If you’ve looked at my Tiktoks or read my travel articles, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not really a fan of museums. I’m more interested in finding original experiences, hands-on workshops and, of course, appetizing meals, but I sometimes make exceptions. The Southern Jewish Experience Museum is one such exception. My parents were immigrants to this country, refugees and Hasidic Jews, but I never learned much about the history of the Jewish people of the south.

The museum is relatively small, but the story was familiar to me, like reading the same book, just from a different point of view. If you know little about the history of Jewish immigrants, their involvement in slavery and social justice, and how they preserved Jewish history and traditions, you’ll want to set aside an hour for yourself during your stay in town. Although there are several interactive elements and a few artifacts, the museum contains a lot of text, so be prepared to read a lot.

Mardi Gras School Cooking Class

If you want a slightly different meal from the same food service, you’ll want to take a cooking class (I took the brunch one) at the Mardi Gras School of Cooking. Not only will you learn how to make New Orleans favorites like delicate crab cakes and rich creamy shrimp and grits, but you’ll also get to enjoy the meal you’ve made with new friends. And the bottomless mimosas and other drinks are included. The course I took was really easy to follow and practical. This means you’ll actually be peeling and deveining shrimp, chopping veggies for the holy trinity, and poaching eggs. You will even learn how to make shrimp broth! You will leave with new recipes to taste and a full stomach.

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