Food

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When we asked for New Orleans dining recommendations, Cochon was one of the names that kept popping up, and when Cochon happened to be right down the street from the National WWII Museum (Read my blog post for Sonesta Hotels!), it turned out to be the perfect spot to grab lunch during a brief rain storm.

Cochon was bustling at lunch time, and we were very lucky to get seats right in front of the kitchen, which had a super efficient and effective communication system down pat. The actions of the kitchen team and servers were perfectly orchestrated and fun to watch, and seeing all of the plates go out helped us to decide on our order!

Cochon New Orleans

Cochon New Orleans

Cochon New Orleans

The cocktail menu was fun and creative, and the Fresh to Death was a delicious gin concoction I could have sipped all day. It may have been raining outside, but this drink was sunshine in a glass. It was also the perfect, bright choice for pairing with some heavier fare.

Cochon New Orleans

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We started with a little treat from the kitchen before launching into our ordering spree.

While we waited for our lunch, I tried the hot sauce at our seats. It was perfectly delicious all on its own!

Cochon New Orleans

We knew we needed to get some vegetables into our diet, and roasted winter squash with toasted seeds was the warm and cozy type of veggie dish I was craving. I love when the vegetable sides turn out to be something you could eat all day long!

Cochon New Orleans

The rest of our many courses included favorites like super sticky, messy, delicious ribs with watermelon pickle (sweet, tangy, lick the plate amazing) and fried shrimp and rice boulettes with tartar sauce. Add in biscuits smothered in hot sauce, and you have one incredible meal.

Cochon New Orleans

With so many spots to dine in New Orleans, we certainly only covered a fraction. Even knowing that I would return to Cochon (and to Cafe Amelie and Brennan’s and all of the restaurants at Royal Sonesta New Orleans) a million times over again. We certainly hit the jackpot when it came to NOLA dining!

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Tags: dining, Food, New Orleans, NOLA, Restaurants, Travel

That time has come; I think I have officially run out of content from the girls’ getaway to Sonoma County that I took in September. We had so much fun spending a few days wine tasting, eating, and laughing hysterically, all the components of a good getaway with friends!

We rented a house on Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa, up a very long and at times winding road. Much of that area was affected by the wildfires in October, and we are still unsure about the house, which was amazing.

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We toasted with bubbles on the deck overlooking gorgeous views and spied deer grazing out our windows.

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It was just the most perfectly serene spot; this insomniac even managed to sleep well! I loved grabbing a cup of coffee and looking out the window in the mornings or sitting on the deck, even when a bit chilly. The location made it a little difficult to get to and from, but overall it was an incredibly special and relaxing place.

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In addition to the deliciousness we enjoyed at Bravas Tapas and Bird and the Bottle, we also chowed down on the new menu at Woodfour Brewing Company, which features delish tacos and great beers, the perfect post-wine tasting lunch.

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Our final dinner in Sonoma County was at the much-loved Valette in Healdsburg; I’d head so much about it that we had to go, and we rolled out of there after courses of deliciousness.

Vallette

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As Valette’s website notes, they feature local winemakers, artisans, and farmers, and when it comes to Sonoma County, local is definitely best.

As Sonoma and Napa recover from the fires, they are also more than ready to welcome visitors. If you get the chance, it’s a great time to enjoy all of the amazingness that wine country has to offer this year!

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Tags: Food, Sonoma County, travel blog, travel blogging, wine

Our trip to New Orleans to stay (and eat!) at Royal Sonesta New Orleans was easily one of the travel highlights of 2017. We got to experience the magical Lighting of the Balconies to kick off the holiday season, and I have so much more food and fun to share on the blog in the coming weeks.

One of the absolute highlights of our visit was an evening at The Jazz Playhouse, located right at Royal Sonesta, making dinner at Restaurant R’evolution or Desire Oyster Bar, followed by a show, the perfect way to spend a New Orleans night.

We were spoiled with stage-side seats, but it looked like there wasn’t a bad seat in the room, and the acoustics were fantastic. The cocktails at The Jazz Playhouse, like everywhere else at the hotel, were amazing.

The Jazz Playhouse

We got lucky as the famous Brass-A-Holics were playing while we were in New Orleans, and they were incredible. We can’t stop talking about them, looking for show dates, and watching videos on YouTube.

A bit about the Brass-A-Holics

Since 2010, the Brass-a-Holics have been taking their unique sound around the world. Steeped in the deep musical culture of New Orleans, the band brings a heavy dose of go-go funk to the New Orleans brass sound. In a blending of musical cultures stemming from cities separated by more than a thousand miles, a Brass-a-Holics live show takes the New Orleans brass band culture and infuses it with the electricity of Washington D.C.’s go-go. The resulting sound is both captivating and unique. The band consists of core New Orleans brass elements- trumpet, trombone, saxophone- and adds a full drum set, percussion, keyboard, bass and electric guitar, giving the band limitless options to explore new sonic territory. Whether performing their original music or using the framework of hit pop songs as springboards for fiery improvisations, there is something in the set to appeal to every music fan. Once the music starts, the demographics blend and a brand new experience is created- one that leaves one-of-a-kind memories that live on long after the last note.

New Orleans music

By the end of the night, everyone in the room was dancing to their music, a mix of original tunes and covers of popular songs that had everyone singing along. We didn’t want the night to end, but when it did, we got to go back up to our cozy room right upstairs, a huge perk to having the club in our hotel!

You can check out a couple of my videos on my YouTube Channel. . . which I definitely need to be more active on!

New Orleans is known for its great music and food, and we found both at Royal Sonesta New Orleans, gravitating back to the hotel even when meals weren’t planned for us. This Creole Trio at Desire Oyster Bar had a bit of everything, including gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and smoked sausage. Washed down with a French 75 and surrounded by warm and friendly service (and those NOLA accents!), this was one of my best meals of 2017. We also devoured breakfast at Desire on our last day. I can vouch for the biscuits and gravy. . . and another French 75, which became another New Orleans go-to.

Desire Oyster

While New Orleans has a ton to offer all over the city, it was also nice to have so much of our trip centered around our hotel, giving us the option to stay in or venture out. It felt like an oasis in the middle of the busy city, and we absolutely loved everything about it!

Experience Mardi Gras from a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street at Royal Sonesta New Orleans.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans hosted our evening at The Jazz Playhouse and breakfast at Desire Oyster Bar. As mentioned above, we loved the food at Royal Sonesta and opted to come back a few times on our own for drinks and meals.

All opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails, Food, hotels, music, New Orleans, Travel, travel blog

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