Last week, my boyfriend and I took an impromptu escape to New Orleans. I hadn't been in years so I happened to fall in love with the city's charm all over again.

We chose to skip Bourbon Street, bead throwing, and hurricanes and enjoyed other parts of the French Quarter and the Marigny. When the rowdy areas are avoided, New Orleans reveals its whimsical mystique. Strolling its cobblestone streets feels like being apart of an old movie set.

Cajun culture in general has an antiquated feel which I really admire. If it weren't for all the city's vibrant colors, I would think it should belong in black and white along with all the images of the soulful jazz musicians we know and love.

The theme of the weekend was pure gluttony and we made sure not to miss one regional dish during our visit.

When we weren't eating or drinking, we walked around sampling folk and jazz performances, and browsing markets where local artists showcased their prized creations. I believe it's these starving artists that give New Orleans the soul and energy that it effortlessly exudes. 

**New Orleans recommendations at the bottom of the post.

(Starred are favorites)

Felix's- Very casual atmosphere with simple, traditional Cajun cuisine. Perfect for sustaining a craving for fried food and a cold beer.
We had- Oysters, Blackened Alligator, and Turtle Soup

*Verti Marte- This place is a hidden gem. Housed in a little bodega on a quiet street, this deli makes unbelievable sandwiches. There was a bit of a line when we arrived (though contradictory to my hidden gem remark, it still feels unknown) and a 20 minute wait for the food, but we grabbed some PBR's and sat on the sidewalk in anticipation. Definitely worth the wait.
We had- Shrimp Po Boys

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop- Built sometime before 1772, this is considered to be the oldest running bar in the US. Obviously with a description like that, it can get crowded and touristy during peak times, but is definitely worth stopping in for a drink or two. If not for the history, the bartender's heavy hand.

Mr. B's- Upscale Cajun/Creole with a steakhouse feel. Everything we had was amazing, including the bread at the start of the meal. I may or may not have eaten two baguettes before our food arrived..
We had- Pork belly, Braised Rabbit, BBQ Shrimp

Cafe Beignet- Incredibly quaint cafe on Royal Street. Get there early to beat the crowd and get a seat under the trees in the courtyard.
We had- Beignets, Royal Croissant Sandwich

Royal House- Another traditional Cajun restaurant. The food is simple, but you can't beat the view from the balcony. Order a bottle of wine and enjoy the street performers below.
We had- Taste of New Orleans (Jambalaya, Etoufee, and Gumbo), Fried fish platter

The Orange Couch- Mid-century modern coffee shop in the Marigny. Great coffee and tea selection, mochi, and gelato.

Three Muses- Cool spot in the Marigny with live music, nice cocktail selection, and eclectic food menu.
We had- Duck Pizza, Sea Bass with Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Lamb Sliders, Bulgogi

*Yuki- By far our favorite discovery. We stumbled upon Yuki following our meal at Three Muses. The latter was good, but we were really disappointed after seeing Yuki's menu and would have much preferred to dine here. We forced ourselves to eat a little more so we could try their food and were not displeased. Yuki is a Japanese dive bar/restaurant straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Japanese posters adorn the brick walls in the dimly lit room, while old Japanese films play on a projector over the bar. The dining area is tiny with only a few tables hidden by bamboo, which only adds to its allure. The menu is basic Japanese (you won't find any American style embellished hand rolls here) with mainly sashimi, ramen, gyoza, and yakitori. They have an extensive sake and Japanese whiskey menu which we sampled from for over 3 hours while live music played in the corner of the bar.
We had- Beef tongue, tuna tataki

*Elizabeth's- The Bywater neighborhood is such a nice escape from the French Quarter. The area is very quiet, but speckled with artsy "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" style sculptures, galleries, and graffiti. Elizabeth's fits into this atmosphere perfectly with its funky interior, friendly waitstaff, and amazingly modernized, but still true to Cajun style menu.
We had- Boudin Balls, Praline Bacon, Duck Waffle, Eggs Elizabeth

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