Our Southern Vacation Part I: New Orleans

Saturday, August 25, 2018
Going on a real summer vacation was highly anticipated and much needed this year.  I went on a vacation during Christmas, but it's always so busy that time of year with so many engagements and then I ended up sick on my birthday and it didn't really feel like a vacation.  So when my vacation for summer rolled around, I knew that we would have to make it count.

Normally during the summer, we take a trip to my grandma's house in Greensboro, GA.  If you read this blog regularly, or follow me on social media, you'll know that my grandma passed in February, the day after Valentine's Day.  I know this is a silly thing to say, and I'm not a religious or spiritual person at all, but I still very much feel her presence with me and thinking of her and her impact on my life doesn't at all make me sad - it actually makes me incredibly happy.  Which is why I knew that we were still going to carry on our tradition of going to her house for the summer.

 My favorite thing about the South is the food.  That was also one of my favorite things about visiting my grandmother's house in the summer. I still follow her example of keeping things simple and perfecting a few dishes to keep on permanent rotation.  If it's good, you can never get bored with it. 

Before we made our way to Greensboro, we stopped for a day in New Orleans.  I had never been before, and I think I fell in love.  It has been on my list of places to see for so long, and I was not disappointed.  I felt so at home there and everyone was so friendly.  And food was not at ALL hard to find for a picky vegan.  There were so many options here and in Georgia, that it really goes to show how easy it is to be vegan these days (no reason not to be if you ask me). I had a vegan crabcake po boy that I almost died over.  We spent the whole day just walking around and admiring the scenery, wandering into stores and stumbling upon some really incredible historical sites and attractions.

Our first night there, we immediately went to eat at 13 Monaghan on Frenchman Street.  Alex and I got the BBQ tofu sandwich and the herb tofu sandwich and split them both.  They were both so simple, but delicious. The place was adorable as well, and a little divey which I loved. Cute murals on the walls and our waiter was such a sweetheart.  I was very impressed with the service here and it's going to be a staple for every trip to NOLA that we make. 

We then hit Bourbon Street (like you do...) and the rest of the night is a bit of a blur (not necessarily from alcohol, but from excitement!).  We went to a bar that had a live band that played some Rush cover songs, then we headed to an absinthe bar (absinthe is crazy strong and I couldn't finish it).  The end of the night took us to a bar called "The Swamp" with a live band that played Heart covers and I was instantly hooked.  We ended up parking it at that bar for the rest of the night and watching the Australian college kids who were taking a US tour.  One of them even bought us a round of drinks! (Thanks man!!)
I don't know what bar this was from...

The next day we got up and went straight to the French Market for and early lunch (we slept in...it's vacation).  We ate at Meals from the Heart, which has some amazing vegan options as well as meat friendly ones. Again, everyone here was so sweet and I was SO impressed (I guess people in LA are just rude compared to everywhere else). We took our time here, and even though it was hot and we ate outside, I was just excited to be there. 

Vegan crabcake po boy...omg.

But ok...so we all know I'm a crazy history freak, so we had to stop by the 1850 House.  This place made me dream of living in 19th century Louisiana and just sitting around being fabulous in my Parisian-inspired home with beautiful Victorian dresses.  There I go again, romanticizing things again.  Anyway, it was beautiful and a must-see if you're nearby.

For dinner, we went to Carmo. This place kind of a tropical, Carribean, South American spot and I was BLOWN AWAY.  Plenty of vegan options and the atmosphere is so relaxing.  Again, fantastic service and everything was delicious and came out so fast.  We got the vegan ceviche and I had the daily rice and beans with vegan sausage. Pretty much everything I ate in Louisiana was super simple and not at all fancy, but it was some of the best food I've ever had, vegan or not.

I am so in love with New Orleans and I can't wait to go back.  It really is one of those places that you build up so much in your mind and when you finally get there, it is just how you pictured it.  Ok, ok so maybe I'm idealizing it a little bit, but I was on vacation for the first time in a while, I had no obligations to anything and could literally do whatever I wanted when I wanted.  Plus, I was in a beautiful place with great architecture and my favorite person.  What else could you really ask for?

 Stay tuned for Part II of our vacation in Greensboro, and a special recipe for Broccoli and Cheddar casserole that was dreamed up by Alex, inspired by my Grandma's southern cookbooks, and put together by me!


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