Been there, done that … and a bucket list, too

6 Mar

I started this blog as a way to share my thoughts on some of my favorite subjects, but it also serves as a reference and a repository for me.

I write a number of posts on running and training, cooking, art and my travels. These are a few of the avocations that bring joy to my life. It’s fun to share my thoughts on these subjects with others. It forces me to really think, to reflect, to look at subjects with a critical eye. It’s therapeutic, and it’s a creative outlet.

An evening stroll past Tujague's on Decatur Street.

An evening stroll past Tujague’s on Decatur Street.

But the blog site also serves as a place for me to park information so I can readily retrieve it. I got tired of simply bookmarking sites on my web browser. I’ve got a million things bookmarked, and after a while, they become a jumbled mess.

So a couple of pages on my site serve as my own personal reference book … which can also be used by others. If you have any interest in these same subjects, I hope you’ll find them useful.

On the top menu, under “Places to Go,” I have listed two towns that we have visited recently, New York City and New Orleans. As I have come across places I wanted to visit or explore in these cities, I’ve included little write-ups on them and included links.

I’ve only visited New York once, so the links there are pretty small. That’s not the case with New Orleans.

Places to Go> New Orleans> Been There, Done That

This is a list of places I have gone and can personally recommend. I’m not a native, just an big fan of what I think is a unique, engaging American city. The locals may offer different recommendations, but these are what I can personally attest to. And when we visit, we generally quiz the locals to broaden our horizons.

Beyond the real obvious (Cafe du Monde, Pat O’Brien’s piano bar, Commander’s Palace, Bourbon Street and Jackson Square, all of which should not be missed by first-timers), I’ve included some places that a tourist may or may not normally go. There are so many choices in restaurants, bars and attractions in New Orleans that it can be hard to narrow the choices.

 

Bourbon Street revelers.

Bourbon Street revelers.

Among my top choices are: Brigtsen’s restaurant, Emeril’s NOLA and Emeril’s, Cochon Butcher and Drago’s. For bars, I’d recommend the Spotted Cat, Tipitina’s and Tujague’s (if for nothing other than a Ramos Gin Fizz). But there’s also Tracey’s (to watch a game) and Chickie Wah Wah (for live music). Bar hopping in Algiers is fun. Jeesh, where do you stop?

We’ve visited New Orleans three times in the past year, so the list of places we’ve been has grown rather fast. (Although not fast enough for me.)

But there’s never enough time to see all I want to see and go everywhere I want to go, so that’s why there’s another section…

Places to Go> New Orleans> Bucket list for NOLA

I keep this as a running list of places I want to go on my next visit. There are so many good places to get to, I can’t just remember them all. I have to keep them written down in some organized fashion.

As I review this list, I can’t believe I still haven’t attended a session at Preservation Hall. It’s been on the bucket list since the beginning, but somehow other things always get in the way.

I wanted to visit Carrollton Station on the last visit. We made it to the same general neighborhood (Brigtsen’s restaurant), but we didn’t make the short hop to Carrollton Station. That’s a regret.

I wanted to get to Howlin’ Wolf for more live music, but there just wasn’t time. I couldn’t remember the Maple Leaf, but it came to me when visiting with the locals at Tipitina’s. This time, I made sure to add it to the Bucket List.

 

Tipitina's, New Orleans, La.

Tipitina’s, New Orleans, La.

There are so many good places to eat in New Orleans, it’s impossible to get to them all. While listening to a podcast from WWNO — see the Useful Links section — I learned that there are now more restaurants in New Orleans than before Katrina, despite the population still being significantly less than before the hurricane.

Brennan’s is one of those touchstone restaurants that we somehow have never visited. Herbsaint is a place that I have heard many good things about, but we’ve never got there. The list goes on and on.

 

Many places have found their way onto the Bucket List through the recommendations of friends and fellow bloggers. WordPress offers a reader, and the reader can be set up to categorize blog posts that reference your favorite subjects. Add “New Orleans” to your list, and you’ll get lots of good stories.

I haven’t been very good at keeping track of where all the recommendations have come from, but I will now make a conscious effort to do so. One recent post that is a goldmine is from the blog eatdrinkculture.wordpress.com. Great blog in general, and here’s a link to a roundup of New Orleans restaurants. This post alone could keep me coming back for years.

My most recent visit to New Orleans was in mid-February 2013. We arrived the day after Fat Tuesday. We made the journey with several friends, which made the visit even more special. I was able to move a lot of items from the “Bucket List” to the “Been There, Done That” list.

But there’s still plenty left to explore in the Crescent City. And if you enjoy New Orleans or want some recommendations from an interested outsider, I hope you’ll continue to check back on my blog site because these pages are sure to be constantly evolving.

OFFER YOUR THOUGHTS: What are your recommendations for places to eat, drink, stay or explore in New Orleans?

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