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 

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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 

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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 

 

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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’ 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do Not Touch

I knew it was bound to happen, I just didn’t know when. If you’re a black girl, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yup, someone touched my hair.

Let me set the scene. I decided to finally check out a new library to unwind and get some work done after school. The outside of the building didn’t look like a library… at all. The building was old and beige and the library sat on top of a convenience store and a nail salon, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked it. Inside, was a beautiful, modern space with everything I needed to zone out on my computer for a few hours and enjoy a new space that wasn’t my apartment or school.

When I decided to leave and pack up my stuff, I heard two little voices behind me speaking in Czech. The only word I could understand was “Prosím!” which means “please”. I thought they wanted the desk I was at because they could tell I was getting ready to leave and the library was packed, so in response, I said “Ano” which means “yes” and before I knew it, I felt HANDS. IN. MY. HAIR.

I felt my shoulders automatically raise in response and slowly turned around. I saw two very excited girls that were about 7 and 10 years old smiling at me. They continued to chatter in Czech while I packed up my stuff and left as quickly as possible. All I could think about was how much I loved this library and how I couldn’t go back there. It’s hard being in another country where the culture is different, you aren’t fluent in the language and you don’t look like the majority of people you’re surrounded by.

Having my hair touched by random people isn’t something I like, especially with freshly washed hair. I hated feeling like I didn’t have control over what was happening to me and was angry with myself for accidentally giving them permission to do that. Something I had to remember was that everything can be a learning experience if you look at it through the right lens.

Let’s be honest, it’ll probably happen again. Next time it does, I’ll be a little more prepared. I taught myself a new Czech phrase that I can say with confidence, “nedotýkejte” or do not touch.

 

-Jelani

Travel Writer and Contributor

Top Five Reasons You Should Move Abroad

   “You’re doing what? You’re moving where?”

 

Every time I told someone I was moving to Prague for a year, those were the first two statements out of their mouth. Nobody could understand why I decided to move to another country for a year and sometimes, I don’t know why I did either. When I graduated from college, I made two spreadsheets. One had everything on it from internships to grad school to jobs and the other one was about teaching abroad opportunities. It took me a while to settle on a teach abroad program and once I did, I applied, was accepted, and deferred my acceptance for a year because I still couldn’t decide if this was the first, big thing I wanted to do after graduation. I was comfortable in New York, I had a decent job and I was surrounded by people that I loved, but deep down I knew it was something I had to do.

 

You might be reading this and thinking that moving abroad is not for you. You may be in a season of life where you don’t know where you’re going. You have a lot of options, you’ve applied and been rejected for plenty of opportunities, but you know that you don’t want to move to another country. It’s “too much” of everything- too much risk, it’s too expensive, there are too many unknowns and it’s just not for you.

 

Let’s see if I can get you to rethink that. Here’s some reasons why you should consider moving abroad.

 

  1. Change is inevitable: Nothing is going to stay the same forever. Things are constantly changing wherever you are, in big and small ways, why not experience that change in a new place? You’ll learn two of the best life skills- flexibility and adaptability.

 

  1. You’ll grow as a person: It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m not even gonna lie, living abroad is scary. You leave everything you know and have to relearn everything you thought you knew. It’s hard, but is it worth it? Absolutely.

 

  1. You can learn a new language: By reading street signs and constantly hearing the chatter of another language, you’ll begin to immerse yourself. You may not be fluent by the time you leave, but you’ll have a good chance at being conversational.

 

  1. You can make new connections: You’ll create genuine relationships and learn what life is like for people around the world. It’ll give you a lease on life that you didn’t know you needed.

 

  1. Being able to say you did it: It’s not an opportunity that everyone is given and it isn’t taken lightly. Plus, when life gets hard you can remind yourself about what you went through and how that shaped you.

 

Jelani, Travel Writer and Contributor