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Mardi Gras is almost here, and it’s fun to imagine the transition New Orleans has made since our visit to Royal Sonesta New Orleans back in December!

This coming week the hotel hosts their annual Greasing of the Poles tradition to kick off Mardi Gras, and it promises to be an exciting and revelry-filled time for all!

New Orleans was definitely one of those places where I took a ton of photos, and the below are a few scenes I wanted to share.

New Orleans

Voodoo shops and ghost tours were definitely on our list of things to do in New Orleans, and a Haunted History tour was a fun way to see the city. The New Orleans Ghost Tour showed us around the French Quarter, where we learned some spooky stories, took in amazing architecture and history, and had a cocktail stop at the famous Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.


This spot was most DEFINITELY haunted. I could feel it all over.

They also made a delicious Dark n Stormy.

New Orleans Ghost TourNew Orleans Ghost Tour

Throughout the tour we learned tales of New Orleans’ most haunted places like LaLaurie Mansion. I think it would have been creepier at night, but I would recommend it at any time!

Drinks to-go were a novelty and freedom that we took advantage of a few times. I am not a fan of sweet drinks, so I skipped the Hurricanes and enjoyed a Mint Julep from Pat O’Brien’s.

New Orleans

We had incredible weather in New Orleans and loved our time admiring architecture like the St. Louis Cathedral and outdoor spaces like Jackson Square, both a short walk from the Sonesta. Everything in New Orleans felt so bright and fresh and vibrant!


Inside the cathedral offered a beautiful calming feeling; I am not super religious, but I love the peace that comes over me in a church like this.



French 75s at Arnaud’s French 75 bar were delicious, and set me on a French 75 kick for the week. We loved the service at the bar as well; it had such a classic old vibe. It also felt pretty haunted; a few times I felt something brushing my face and hair and had a few “out of the corner of my eye” sightings. I love a haunted city!

Cafe du Monde

Coffee and beignets from Cafe du Monde were of course a must-try. We ended up ordering a ton of coffee for home. I liked the beignets, but those at Royal Sonesta New Orleans ended up being my favorite by far.


We found music everywhere in New Orleans (and I danced), and it just added to the festive, relaxed vibe of our getaway. Since it was almost Christmas, we saw several parades of local school children singing and playing instruments. It was so sweet.

Armstrong Park

To work off all of those beignets and cocktails and yummy dishes, we explored most of the city by foot. Armstrong Park is a must-visit for enjoying the outdoors, art, and pop up performances. It’s a great escape when the rest of the city feels too bustling for you.

Armstrong Park

New Orleans was quite an experience, and we are excited to plan another visit.

More posts about New Orleans

Lunch at Cochon

Brunch at Brennan’s

Brass-a-holics at Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Cafe Amelie New Orleans

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Tags: cocktails, ghost tour, New Orleans, NOLA, tourism, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday

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


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

Pink and green and Champagne all day. . . and a lush courtyard to top it all off. . .

On this arctic day in Boston, I am dreaming of New Orleans and our recent stay at Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Be sure to read about our food and incredible music experience if you’re planning your own NOLA trip!

We could have easily stayed at our hotel for all of our meals, but since New Orleans has so many amazing restaurants, we of course ventured out and explored. And while I was working the entire trip, I also really wanted to feel like we were away, so I did a ton of research on weekday brunch. Brennan’s kept popping up in my searches, and on our first day when we discovered it was just a few blocks from our hotel, we decided it would be a definite brunch spot for us.

Brennan’s is beyond elegant and charming, and the service was top notch. I think we had seven different people assisting us throughout our visit. While the inside was lovely, a courtyard brunch in December won us over.


The courtyard at Brennan’s is decked out in pink and green, a favorite color combination of mine, and I loved every detail, down to the jingle bells on pink ribbons for guests to take home.

What I really wanted to take him is this table. How beautiful is it?!

New Orleans brunchNew Orleans brunch

A French press full of chicory coffee was freshly pressed at our table, and we soaked up some of the sun and green while we decided on our brunch.

This little oasis was vacation perfection, and the coffee hit the spot for my insomniac self.

IMG_7288New Orleans brunch

Brennan’s offered a Champagne menu, and being a huge lover of bubbles, I had to go with a Champagne cocktail. It may have been early, but what’s brunch without bubbles?

This drink was delicious, and I loved the coupe glass it was served in, adding to the elegant and historic feel of the restaurant.


The brunch menu had some truly decadent offerings, and we decided to split two of the most luxurious looking items on the menu.

New Orleans brunch

I was all about the seafood and went straight in for the Eggs Cardinal: Crispy Shrimp Boudin, Spinach, Lobster Cardinal, Black Truffle Hollandaise. I mean, lobster and truffle on the same plate, paired with a Champagne cocktail? Truly this was my definition of dining heaven.

He went with the hearty Eggs Hussarde: A Brennan’s Original – Housemade English Muffins, Coffee Cured Canadian Bacon, Hollandaise, Marchand De Vin Sauce. If you haven’t had coffee cured bacon, I recommend seeking some out ASAP.

We were both completely enamored with our meals and ate every bite as we listened to the fountains and watched the silly turtles slowly get around.

New Orleans brunch

The turtles were a conversation piece for all of the diners, it seemed! Turtle soup was on the menu, and we definitely opted NOT to get it after seeing these guys!

New Orleans brunch

Brunch at Brennan’s was a real treat and a time to relax and slow down before we headed out for a busy day of exploring New Orleans. It’s a spot I would visit again at any time of day but especially during their Bubbles at Brennan’s Happy Hour!

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Tags: brunch, cocktails, New Orleans, NOLA, Travel, travel blog

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