There’s a reason Fat Tuesday is so gluttonously celebrated in New Orleans, and it’s this: There is just way too much delicious in this town to truly experience it on a “normal” diet. From Café Du Monde’s mouth-watering beignets to NOLA’s scrumptiously savory crawfish étouffée, N’awlins is the embodiment of indulgence. So I can’t tell you how happy we were that it just so happened to be Saturday when we visited…
With Mardi Gras already one month gone, Cheat Day was our Fat Tuesday. As we rolled east from Austin on our summer road trip, I Santa-Claus’d me a list — checking it twice — to make sure we’d hit every must-eat/drink/devour indulgence in the French Quarter to make us merry for another full week on our carb-restricted 4-Hour Body diet.
With a week’s worth of carb cravings egging us on, here’s everything we consumed on our Cheat Day in NOLA:
Breakfast Hour on Cheat Day in NOLA
We thought we’d start our day with Café Du Monde’s famous beignets, but with a 45+ minute wait, we opted toreturn at a less busy hour. So we Yelp’d a nearby coffee shop, which led us to Spitfire Coffee.
My spicy ‘Hellfire’ was yummy, with a kick!
Lunchtime in NOLA
We then moved on to enjoy live music at The Gazebo — complete with New Orleans originals like ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ — and started drinking early with some bloody marys and gumbo.
You can carry your drink around town in New Orleans, so I took mine to go while we shopped around a bit. It wasn’t a long walk to the Farmers’ Market, where we got a closeup look at crawfish and continued our search for delicious food.
I wasn’t too keen on eating straight crawfish, but I was willing to try crawfish étouffée, a saucy/gravy-like mix, traditionally served over rice. The particular dish we sampled at the Farmers’ Market was mediocre at best — their 2-star Yelp rating makes sense now — but I can see how this could be good with the right cook in the kitchen.
Then it was time to head back to The Gazebo for more to-go drinks. This time with ice cream!
We were consuming a lot, but we did get a good amount of exercise from all the walking we did.
I only had room for one bite, but the boudin on a stick was perhaps the most delicious thing I ate in New Orleans. Plus it was served up from a swamp boat-themed food stand!
Five steps away, on the other side of the Farmers’ Market walkway, was the most delicious sweet food I ate in NOLA…
It tasted like fudge, with a convenient cookie shape. We tried both the original and chocolate-flavored pralines.
Mmmmm mmmmm good!!!
Now pretty stuffed, we took a breather from the food and hung out in Jackson Square for a half hour before heading to our 2-hour haunted history walking tour (not worth the time/money). We had some local beer mid-tour, and then promptly headed back to Café Du Mondé when it concluded.
Breakfast for Dinner in New Orleans
Now 7:30pm, there was barely a wait to sit down at Café Du Mondé — on a Saturday, too!
In case you’re wondering, Café Du Mondé is worth the hype. I just wouldn’t plan to go there for breakfast.
It’s open 24 hours a day, so pick an irregular time. It certainly works as a delicious dessert (or pre-dinner dessert, in our case).
Second Dinner in NOLA
You’d think we’d be done after we each had our own plate of beignets, but we pushed onward to finish off Cheat Day with some seafood pasta. My shrimp was good, but I wish I’d opted for pizza since my pasta’s sauce was pretty bland.
After that, we were stuffed. All in all, we were happy to spend Cheat Day in a new city with so many scrumptious new foods to try!
After our all-you-can-eat day in New Orleans, here’s what you don’t want to miss:
Must-Eats (and Drinks) in the New Orleans French Quarter:
- To-Go Drinks — The Gazebo is centrally-located and has good bloody marys and alcoholic ice cream shakes.
- Beignets* at Café Du Mondé — They’re cheap and yummy, and it’s open 24 hours a day. Go at an off time so you don’t wast time waiting! *Ian’s favorite sweet
- Boudin* — Absolutely DELICIOUS savory, tender meat mix. Served on a stick, Cajun Meats and Jerky’s is absolutely yummy. Find them at the Farmers’ Market in their boat-shaped food stand. *Our favorite savory
- Pralines* — Get some fresh pralines at a number of delicious locations. I can vouch for Loretta’s (in the Farmers’ Market), but we saw a sign for award-winning pralines right next door to The Gazebo, too. *Diana’s favorite sweet
- Crawfish — Whole or étouffée style, consult with Yelp for your best option. Ours wasn’t so good, but we’ve heard you can find MUCH better.
Have you had an epic day of eating in New Orleans or another foodie city? Tell us about it in the comments!
See what else we did on week three of our U.S. summer road trip!
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.