I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: New Orleans is the best food city in the US. Any trip to the Crescent City should be experienced through it’s fabulous food and drink. On every trip we take to NOLA, we add to our list of best restaurants and must-visit spots (you can see some of our other favorite stops in and around New Orleans in this post about our road trip to New Orleans, and this Travel Tuesday post on more must-eat spots in NOLA). This latest trip delivered several more amazing experiences to add to our list thanks to Hilton’s Taste of New Orleans.
Taste of New Orleans is a summer campaign by Hilton that offers guests discounted parking, a welcome cocktail on check-in, and exclusive discounts to the hottest restaurants and tours in town for those staying with participating Hilton hotels in New Orleans between now and September 10. Just visit Travel.Hilton.com/New-Orleans and select a hotel to book your Taste of New Orleans reservation. I had the chance to experience this with the Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue just last weekend. Keep reading to see my reviews of each tour and restaurant we had the chance to visit for Taste of New Orleans as we soaked up the culture and cuisine of this fabulous city.
Doctor Gumbo – Cocktail History Tour
Doctor Gumbo is an award-winning, nationally-recognized tour provider. But this isn’t your grandma’s tour… Doctor Gumbo’s tagline “the cure for the common tour” lives up to its name by providing a fun social experience, food and/or drink (they offer Food History and Cocktail History tours, or combinations of both), and fascinating history delivered in an entertaining way. We started our weekend in NOLA with Doctor Gumbo’s Cocktail History Tour, which set the tone for the fun we’d have for the rest of our Taste of New Orleans weekend. This easy walking tour takes you to four different bars where you sample from six different cocktails, all contributing to a historical timeline of the cocktail. Our tour guide, Ben Wisdom, read our group well, and kept the history at just the right amount for us to retain while we imbibed. This tour is well worth its cost for the drinks alone, but add in the history lesson and fun social vibes, and it’s a steal.
Growing up in Southern California and currently living in Texas, I have a high standard for Mexican food. That being said, I am rarely disappointed by food in New Orleans, so we were eager to see how NOLA does Mexican food at Johnny Sanchez. The restaurant considers its dishes as bridging traditional Mexican cuisine with modern and “cutting-edge” gastronomical trends. This is exactly what we experienced, and are happy to add Johnny Sanchez to our list of restaurants to recommend in New Orleans. Our server, Will, was incredible, and took us on a journey of trust that had us ordering things we wouldn’t have without his recommendations. And we are so grateful he did, because each of his recommendations was spot on.
We have loved Luke for a long time, but only had time to visit for breakfast during this trip. Located at the Hilton St. Charles, it was the perfect spot to have a Bloody Mary and hearty breakfast to recover from the previous evening’s nightlife (which is equally epic to the food in New Orleans). Along with the Bloody Mary, you can get a delicious cup of coffee at Luke. They have many uniquely New Orleans items on their breakfast menu, but I highly recommend their acclaimed Shrimp and Grits, which feature andouille sausage and local shrimp in their jalapeno cheese grits.
You need to add the award-winning Palace Café to your list of restaurants to try on your next trip to New Orleans. The atmosphere in the historic building was perfect for a date night, the location at the “foot” of the French Quarter on Canal Street was prime for kicking off an evening out, and the food was nothing short of amazing. The Andouille-Crusted Fish entrée was worth the visit alone, but everything we tasted at Palace Café was delicious.
We were treated very well, as always, by the Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue hotel. Despite being in a party city, our room was quiet and relaxing… a respite from the rowdiness of the French Quarter, but in easy walking distance to all of the fun. The 1920’s building is one of the Historic Hotels of America, and is appointed classically and stylishly. This hotel is always my first choice for a hotel in New Orleans based on availability (though I have been quite happy at some of the other Hilton properties in the city as well).
Don’t forget to check out Taste of New Orleans before September 10!