Cheat Day, N’awlins Style… or Every Delicious Thing Two People Can Possibly Consume in the French Quarter in One Day (Louisiana, USA)

All You Can Eat in the New Orleans French Quarter in one day

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!

Hellfire iced coffee from Spitfire Cafe

Starting the day with ‘Hellfire’ from Spitfire Coffee in the French Quarter

Bloody Marys and gumbo at The Gazebo in the New Orleans French Quarter

Bloody Marys and gumbo at The Gazebo

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.

Crawfish at the Farmers Market in the New Orleans French Quarter

Playing with crawfish at the Farmers Market in the New Orleans French Quarter

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.

crawfish etoufeé with bread and rice

Some mediocre, overpriced crawfish étouffée at World’s Famous N’awlins Cafe

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.

Nutty Irishman and Piña Colada ice cream drinks at the Gazebo

My Nutty Irishman and Ian’s Piña Colada ice cream drinks at The Gazebo

Boudin on a stick at Cajun Jerky and Meats at the French Quarter Farmers' Market

Something savory to go along with our sweet drinks… Boudin on a stick from Cajun Jerky and Meats

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…

pralines at the New Orleans French Quarter Farmers Market

Delicious pralines from Loretta’s Authentic Pralines

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!

Cafe Du Mondé beignets in the New Orleans French Quarter

The famous beignets from Café Du Mondé

Cafe Du Mondé beignets in the New Orleans French Quarter

Ian enjoying his plate of 3 crack-covered beignets (just kidding… that’s powdered sugar)

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

shrimp pasta at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen

Finishing off Cheat Day with shrimp pasta from Louisiana Pizza Kitchen

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!

This post was handcrafted just for you during our travels in Chicago, Illinois, on our summer 2015 U.S. road trip. See our latest travel updates here.

About the Author

Diana Southern
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.

5 Responses

  1. Shannon June 8, 2015 / 7:22 am

    Oh man… if you ask me, you picked a pretty good place to indulge on your cheat day. 🙂 How were those beignets really? Did you pick up any elsewhere to compare? One of those things I’d absolutely HAVE to try if I ever visit NOLA. Speaking of which — how did you feel about New Orleans in general? I used to want to visit, then sort of lost the will.

    Beautiful photos (per use!) 🙂

    • Diana Southern June 8, 2015 / 7:49 am

      I’ve never really been to a place quite like the French Quarter in New Orleans, and I’d definitely recommend you visit. The city has a charm that’s worth experiencing. There are a lot of people buzzing around on a spring Saturday (the French Quarter literally smells like powdered sugar the entire morning), there’s live music at many restaurants and bars throughout the day, and lots of yummy food to try! There’s also some fun shopping at the Farmers’ Market — and even better and more unique shops (not to be missed!) on Royal Ave.

      That said, it wouldn’t be at the top of my list to spend more than a weekend in the FQ. If we were in NOLA longer, I’d have wanted to spend more time exploring other areas of the city like the Garden District and taking the ferry to Algier’s Point. My friend Cindy, who’s much more familiar with NO, gave me some great suggestions. I wish we’d had time to try them all!

      The only things I didn’t like about NO: We were barely there two days, and I saw two people littering (what gives?)! That left me honestly dumbfounded and a little disappointed in the city. One was a local and one was a tourist. And the infamous Bourbon Street should be avoided on a Saturday morning (probably Sunday, too). Though they start the morning by hosing the street down, it smells like a mix of puked liquor and old seafood (yuck!).

      Lastly, I honestly didn’t try any other beignets — we were too stuffed from pralines and boudin and Nutty Irishmen — but the beignets WERE ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS at Café Du Mondé. They’re a definite must! 🙂

      • Shannon June 8, 2015 / 2:10 pm

        Well, alllrighty then! I guess I can put N’awlins back on my list for a weekend. Thanks for this food for thought (pun intended). 😉

  2. Anna June 16, 2015 / 11:22 pm

    YUMMY!! I would love some of those beignets right now!! I’m not usually a fan of fried dough, but those look so airy and delicious. I’ve been wanting to go to New Orleans for a while now and seeing this yummy food is pushing it further up my USA travel wishlist!

    • Diana Southern June 17, 2015 / 9:40 am

      Those AND the pralines were absolutely delicious! Yay for Cheat Day! 🙂

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