NOLA : 4 Restaurants To Try Outside Of The French Quarters

 

Recently, I took an impromptu trip to New Orleans, Louisiana for a few days to visit some friends. Once the tickets were booked, I got my hair braided, packed my Beyoncé Formation hat and was off to a new city!

In an attempt to put together an itinerary for our time in New Orleans, my friend asked what I wanted to do while down there. My mind spoke for me and in the next breath the words “EAT!” rolled right off my tongue.

New Orleans is known for having delectable food and I wanted to try it all, especially the grits. It was my personal goal to have the best grits I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Goal set and achieved, but I’ll get to that later.

New Orleans is a city where you’ll find a lot of tourists who want to enjoy the amazing food that the locals get experience on a regular basis. Of course you can’t leave with out having beignets at Cafe Du Monde, but you’ll also want to expand your horizons and venture outside of the French Quarter for a meal or three.

Here are four places to get a great meal outside out the French Quarter:

 

Another Broken Egg 

IMG_0615.jpg

 

This cafe style restaurant is on the smaller side, which means the wait time for a table can push close to 45 mins. However, I believe the wait is worth it. I was told that I would have the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had in my life at this establishment, therefore, I didn’t really peruse the menu too much as my decision was already made for me. I sided my meal with a fluffy pancake and we collectively topped off everything with a pitcher of mango-kiwi mimosas.

The plate of food came out and I did my “I’m excited to eat dance”. I dived right in and was overly satisfied. My grits were topped with a perfect concoction of seasonings and well cooked shrimp. Definitely the best I’ve ever had.

 

The Country Club 

IMG_1250.jpg

I’ll start with the fact that this is a great place to get all of your cute brunch photos. It has the look of an old house, which it probably was some odd years ago, and the interior decorating is a perfect backdrop.They serve bottomless mimosas for brunch and they also have a drag show twice a month.

I started with a roasted corn and crab bisque. It was delicious and a nice start to a meal. It’s also a good dish to get by itself if you want to eat light. I wasn’t able to finish mine because I wanted to save room for my main meal, which included scrambled eggs, grits, a biscuit, and bacon. The food was great and the staff was extremely courteous.

Side note: If you order bottomless mimosas, don’t forget to ask for your togosa (a mimosa to go)

This place is another one that gets booked very quickly, especially when there is a show going on. We had perfect timing and luckily got a table. You can also opt to sit at the bar in the back. Around that time, the bar was extremely packed because everyone was watching the Saints play the Rams and the New Orleans locals go hard for their Saints.

Another side note: They have a pool outside in the back that’s open in the summertime as well as a poolside bar.

Cajun Seafood 

 

IMG_0677.jpg

 

It’s been said that New Orleans has some of the best seafood. Well, I took it into my own hands to test the theory and I would agree with what the people say.

Our last night in NOLA, we stayed in and had a seafood feast filled with crab, crawfish, shrimp along with corn on the cob, potatoes, and gumbo. Everything tasted amazing and was so well seasoned. I learned how to properly eat crawfish and had some of the spiciest corn on the cob ever.

Cajun Seafood is a place you won’t go to sit down at and have a meal. It’s more of a pick it up and take it to go kind of place. Everything tasted fresh like they fished it out of the Mississippi that morning.

 

Wakin’ Bakin’ 

IMG_0689.jpg

Talk about hole in the wall. Wakin’ Bakin’ is a tiny coffee shop-style eatery that serves breakfast. There’s nothing overly fancy about this place.  The interior is very laxed with non-coordinating tables and the wall chachkies gave it a cozy feeling.

I ordered a swiss cheese and spinach omelette with a side of grits. I was pleased, especially with the grits. Cooked much more simply than the grits I had earlier in the trip, but still 10x better than what I’ve had at home.

This is a great place for a quick, affordable, and filling breakfast before starting your day. The one downside was that it took longer than expected for them to bring our food, however, the workers were extremely friendly so that made up for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

República Dominicana

This year I turned 25 and decided to go all out for this milestone birthday. I, along with my cousins, celebrated for three long, luxurious days in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it was truly the best birthday experience I’ve ever had. If you’re a first timer, planning a trip to the Dominican Republic or any island, keep reading to gather some helpful tips!

THE RESORT

Where you stay while on vacation is one of the most important aspects of the trip, especially if you’re staying at a resort. It’s where you will be sleeping and spending a bulk of your time. After switching between a few places, we settled on Breathless Resort and Spa; an adult-only all-inclusive beach side resort. 

When we arrived, we were greeted at the door with drinks, which was only a foreshadowing as to what the next few days would look like. They asked what the reason for our visit was and we mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday. When we got up to the room, there was a little birthday cake waiting for me on the table! I thought that was a very personable touch.

I applaud Breathless for all of the entertainment events they had going on too. I feel like they really catered to a young and vibrant crowd. Between the foam parties, the late night beach parties, lobster dinner on the beach, and day time activities by the pool, there was always something going on. Not to say this place is party central because there are definitely areas of peace and solace if that’s what you’re looking for. 

I will say that we did experience a few minor problems with our room that had to be taken care of, but nothing major that would ruin our trip. 

The ability of being able to walk up to any bar and order a drink or going into any restaurant without having to pay for it is everyone’s favorite part of staying at an all-inclusive. Breathless had a good mix of restaurants to choose from that served different styles of food. My favorite was the hibachi grill because hibachi is always entertaining.

THE PEOPLE

The resort was also conveniently located near some shops in town run by the locals. So, yes we did indeed leave the resort, however, it was completely safe. We spoke to some people from the town and it’s amazing how different their lifestyle is compared to ours. The pace is a lot slower and very laid back. They’re a friendly group of people (especially if you’re black) who also have their own little side hustles trying to make a few dollars from the tourists. 

They like when you can speak a little bit of Spanish even if it’s just a few words. Knowing Spanish fluently would help, obviously, but it isn’t a major issue in the Dominican Republic. Truthfully, I found that the language barrier helped me refresh some of my Spanish. 

THE EXCURSIONS

For our excursion, I wanted to do something adventurous and so we went dune buggy riding through the island, which was an awesome experience. They lead us to a different beach that was more secluded and then to a dirt race track where we did a few laps full speed. Warning: Don’t wear anything you don’t want to get dirty. Also, if you have a bandana at home, bring it with you because you’ll need that and sunglasses to keep the dust out of your face.

We had lunch with traditional Dominican food (the chicken was bomb) and then got a chance to swim in a natural pool by a waterfall. Check out some of the candids below!

Chillin’ out max and relaxin all cool
Based on this photo, can you guess which one of us is a former cheerleader?

OVERALL

The Dominican Republic is truly a cool place and I would definitely go back. We spent a lot of time at the resort,  so next time, I plan to go and see more of the island. 

I thought traveling to an island in November would be significantly cheap since it was the off-season but prices were about the same. Nothing outrageous, but nothing crazily discounted either. The weather was pretty good. It rained everyday we were there but it only lasted five minutes and then the sun came out. 

Some people claim that after you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all. I beg to differ. I’ve been to two other islands (Bermuda & Ibiza) and experienced them in completely different ways. While there are similarities, each place has it’s own uniqueness, which separates it from the rest.

10/10 would recommend.

Stepping into 2018 like…

Hey!

So 2017 has finally come to an end. For some, this has been a year of new adventures and great energy. For the rest of us, we’re just happy it’s over. However, what we can all agree with is that 2017 is one for the books.

I plan on making changes in 2018, however, I don’t want to use the new year’s clichè: New Year, New Me…..Yawn.

Instead, I am going into the new year with different “practices”, if you will, that will bring good energy, positivity my way and help me achieve the results I desire. Below are Tia’s 2018 #Goals:

  1. Clear Skin. I need my skin to be clear as if the Glo Gawds have rested their hands on my forehead. I’ve been blessed to never have had bad dermatological skin issues and I want my skin to always look its best especially in the winter when our skin tends to be more dry than usual. Lemon water will be my friend all 2018.
  2. Embracing my natural curls. So as most of you know, I did the big chop about a year ago and it has been a big adjustment for me. I still wear wigs for a couple of reasons. One, I like the fact that I can switch it up from long to short hair whenever I please. And two, I want to cover and protect my natural hair so that it can grow faster. This coming year, I want to work on finding natural styles that I like and embracing them some days rather than my wigs.
  3. Make this the year of travel. I love love love to travel and want to do more of it in 2018. This can include traveling on a plane out of the country, or just doing a weekend getaway in another city. Traveling is so important. I have a couple of trips put together already and plan on adding to the list.
  4. Work, work, work, work, work *Rihanna voice*. I am a 24 year old college graduate and am not working at my dream job…yet. It’s frustrating at times because my main source of income comes from working an entry-level retail job. As much as I despise it, I have to remember that it is just a stepping stone and is not going to be forever. However, for right now I have to respect the job and work as much as I can because it pays my bills, allows me to save, and provides me the money to travel. And that’s all.
  5. Loans. This one is a little more personal. I’ve been out here trying to live my best life acting like my loans do not exist, but it’s time to straighten up and start making small payments because even though I cannot see the loan, it unfortunately still exists.
  6. Step up my STYLE game. I have a great sense of style *hairflip*, but I want to change it up a little bit. For example, I tend to rock a lot of neutral colors and I want to add more bold colors to my wardrobe, especially my shoe collection. No more playing it safe.

I intend to keep up these practices for the entire year and not just halfway through February and give up. Send me some words of encouragement! Also, I’d love to hear what some of your goals are for the upcoming year! Comment below!

Tia