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When planning our recent visit to Royal Sonesta New Orleans, we asked for and received TONS of recommendations on where to eat and things to do in the city. We were appreciative and a bit overwhelmed! One of the best pieces of advice we got was to just get a feel for the city and to go with it, and armed with plenty of recommendations and our own research, we set off to explore new Orleans.

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I tend to obsess over reading menus and looking places up on Google Maps prior to travel, and Café Amelie was actually one of my own finds and the place we chose for our first meal in New Orleans.

We had a rough night before we traveled, with our cat in the vet emergency room until 2:30 am and an Uber to the airport scheduled for 6:45 am. Café Amelie turned out to be the perfect spot to take a breath and exhale deeply while enjoying the quiet of their tucked-away courtyard and the glorious New Orleans heat.

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The vibe was so relaxed, and my shoulders started to drop a little, especially after my first “Sparring with Bubbles” cocktail, a new favorite cocktail, a blend of Ford’s Gin, Averna, grapefruit and pink bubbly. It was so delicious and absolutely perfect for the setting.

Ahhh. . .

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Café Amelie specializes in Louisiana fare, which is just what we were looking for, and we shared a few plates for lunch.

We of course had to try the local baked oysters, which were in a yummy spinach and artichoke sauce with a heaping side of crunchy crostini. We learned we are not huge fans of Southern oysters (Give me tiny, briny New England oysters everyday!) but we were huge fans of the addictive bread and sauce.

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Whenever we travel and know that decadent dining and drinking are on the cards, we sit down at a meal and both say “We need a vegetable”. At this lunch, it was a scrumptious, huge beet salad. I felt a bit healthier after eating it!

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Our third dish is one you must get if you visit Café Amelie. Chef Jerry’s Shrimp and Grits had the perfect bit of spice and the creamiest most devour-able grits. Good grits are pure heaven, and these were beyond.

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The pace of our meal was so lovely, as was the pace of everyone around us. We got chatting to another couple, locals, who call Café Amelie one of their favorite New Orleans restaurants, which we loved to hear.

I grabbed another cocktail to-go, because they were delicious and because I could. As frigid temps set in, I am craving New Orleans sunshine and humidity and some of the incredible food and warm hospitality we enjoyed on this trip.

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Tags: cocktail, cocktails, dining, Food, food blog, gin, New Orleans, NOLA, Travel, travel blog

Drop everything, and book a ticket to New Orleans, right now!

If only that was possible, I would do it in a heartbeat. We’ve just returned from a visit to Royal Sonesta New Orleans for my Sonesta Hotels blogging and social media work, and we want to go back ASAP.

As part of our stay, we were treated to a tour of the hotel’s fine dining establishment, Restaurant R’Evolution, followed by a delicious dinner at the restaurant’s bar, always our first option when dining out.

New Orleans fine dining

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Restaurant R’evolution celebrates five years this year, and its creative approach to Cajun and Creole cuisine has made it a New Orleans favorite, in a city that is absolutely teeming with great restaurants. Our behind-the-scenes tour was an incredible glimpse into some of the restaurant’s amazing spaces, including this custom-built wine cellar. Walls of wine went on-and-on, holding 10,000 bottles, 10,000 reasons for Wine Enthusiast  to name the restaurant as one of their top 100 wine restaurants.

Restaurant R’evolution

The entirety of Restaurant R’Evolution is truly special, but they offer some extra special dining areas, including the chef’s table, where all of the seats face the action.

Restaurant R’evolution

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Several private dining areas are available, and we’ve heard they attract some pretty A-list guests. We certainly felt like VIPs the entire time we were at Restaurant R’Evolution, and by taking in everything around us, noticed that every guest was treated that way.

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When it came to our own dining, we were brought to comfy seats at the romantic, dimly lit bar, which was once a carriage way; the floor tiles still match those of the sidewalk outside.

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I loved how special this bar felt, upscale yet super comfortable and relaxed at the same time. Excellent bar staff made us craft cocktails (I love my wine, but when in New Orleans, we were all about trying cocktails.)

We also absolutely had to try the restaurant’s famous “Death by Gumbo” which is made up of Roasted Quail, Andouille, Oysters, Filé Rice and presented beautifully with the broth poured over.

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This was absolutely to-die-for. So rich and flavorful. Note that we shared an order, and they kindly split it for us.

We also shared Beer Battered Crab Beignets and an order of fries, because good fries are my favorite food. These did not disappoint! The beignets were heavenly bites of seafood presented with remoulades.

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We could have easily relaxed at that bar for the whole night, but we had big plans at The Jazz Playhouse right next door. More to come on that, but if you get to New Orleans, I recommend doing exactly what we did and making a night of it at Royal Sonesta New Orleans.

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We were hosted by Royal Sonesta New Orleans, however, I was not required to write about the experience for my own blog. All opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails, fine dining, Food, food blog, New Orleans, Restaurants, travel blog, wine

As much as I like having access to all Boston has to offer, I more than love escaping to wide open spaces outside the city, whether it be to the ocean or places a bit further inland. One favorite quaint New England spot is Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, an easy drive from Boston, and perfect for a festive lunch or dinner during the holiday season.

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We recently celebrated my in-laws’ anniversary at the Wayside Inn, and it was an absolutely perfect day for strolling the grounds of the historic inn, then warming up inside with a delicious traditional New England meal and cocktails.

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The Martha Mary chapel is a must-visit while at Wayside, as is the path behind the inn, where a beautiful pond and forest await.

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Inside, you will definitely feel like you stepped back in time! The Wayside Inn has a fascinating history which has many famous players involved, It is definitely haunted!

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I had done a long run the morning of our chilly visit to Sudbury, and I was craving all of the warm comfort food in the world! A cold Meeting House Punch, made with beer, rum, lemon, and brown sugar was the perfect way to start the afternoon, and I enjoyed bites of lobster pie, paired perfectly with mashed potatoes and squash, along with classic New England clam chowder.

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Seriously, bring your appetite when you visit!

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I never tire of really good bacon-wrapped scallops, and these were excellent, with crispy bacon and sweet, tender scallops, just as they should be.

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I was the only one craving dessert after all that, but I guess an 11 mile run will do that to a girl. Pecan Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pie was gooey and warm and exquisite, with dollops of fresh cream setting off all of that chocolate-y richness.

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The service at the Wayside Inn is outstanding, and the place is just so cozy and festive. We lingered over a long late lunch and left feeling stuffed and super relaxed.

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Tags: Food, food blog, historic, holidays, hotels, inns, Massachusetts, New England

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