Get your New Orleans on. What does that mean? It means be yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin.
Lola took the picture of me below when she and Vincent and Frau Schmitt and I had dinner at The Steak Knife in the Lakeview neighborhood last week. Frau Schmitt is the better half of La Belle Esplanade’s operation. Lola, who, with Vincent, is an innkeeper par excellence, can’t take a good photograph with my iPod. My shaky iPod takes good pictures, just check out our Instagram account, or check out La Belle’s justly famous YouTube Channel. When Lola uses my camera, the results are, well, lackluster. Your humble narrator’s jacket and hat still look fabulous, but I am much more tanned and trimly fit in person than I am in this washed-out photo:
You get what you pay for.
You do get what you pay for when you try to get your New Orleans on. If you stay in a chain hotel, you’ll get what you paid for: a bland hands-off experience. If you eat at any number of French Quarter restaurants, you’ll get what you paid for, too. Guess what? The restaurants outside the French Quarter don’t all have interchangeable menus.
I know people think this, but if you lived in New Orleans you wouldn’t eat crawfish etouffé and charbroiled oysters every meal. New Orleanians eat better than that. Visit New Orleans like you belong here. We eat like kings and queens in New Orleans. Every meal in New Orleans is a delicious feast of good food, good drink, and good conversation. New Orleans is wonderful when you get your New Orleans on. Get off the tourist radar.
As innkeepers who make our living making excellent and tailored recommendations to the guests who stay at La Belle Esplanade, Frau Schmitt (who is the better half of this operation) and I eat out all the time. We go everywhere to keep up with what’s going on in the city. We know what restaurants are hot and which ones are not. We know which tours are hot and which ones are cold. We know what festivals and events are worth your while and which ones are worth ignoring. We live in a vibrant and ever-changing kaleidoscope of a city. We need to stay on top of our game. We are New Orleans goodwill ambassadors. If we don’t know something, that reflects badly on our ability to be ambassadors. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.
Get your New Orleans on.
Frau Schmitt (who is the better half of this operation) and I are having dinner again with Lola and Vincent tomorrow. We’re staying in our neighborhood, dining just a five New Orleans city blocks from our boutique experience inn that is unlike any other hotel in which you’ve ever stayed. We’re going to Gabrielle. It’s gonna be good.
Frau Schmitt and I have already sampled the food and the ambience at Gabrielle. This will be Lola and Vincent’s first time.
Frau Schmitt and I have already recommended Gabrielle to our guests. Every one of our guests have come back with a glowing report the next day of good food, good drink, and good conversation. It’s the kind of restaurant where diners talk between tables. “Howzat duck?”
The duck at Gabrielle is delicious. It is savory and tender and without a trace of ducky fat. You know how sometimes you order duck and it comes with a crisp skin and then there’s 3/4 of an inch of gelatinous fat between the seasoned skin and the dark meat underneath? That’s not what Gabrielle is known for. The duck at Gabrielle is delicious and worth the price—so is everything else that comes out of the kitchen or out from behind the bar.
They serve an excellent daiquiri. The last time Frau Schmitt and I went to Gabrielle, we had daiquiris to accompany our desserts. They were just desserts and a fitting end to a memorable meal. We’re looking forward to sharing a similarly memorable meal with Lola and Vincent tomorrow night. A full report of tomorrow’s neighborhood restaurant adventure will follow. Every day and night in New Orleans is a memorable moveable feast.
Every day outside the French Quarter, especially along the Esplanade Avenue, is full of adventures off the usual tourist radar, off the tourist grid, outside the typical and predictable guidebook descriptions, what none of your friends know about New Orleans. We live in a real city that is full of surprises. Find out for yourself. You’re on the right website if you want to learn what it means to really fall in love with the real New Orleans. Good memories are made on our street.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…where every day, in every way, good memories are made that will last a lifetime and give you something to smile about when you get back home.
Monday, October 22, 2017: All’s good in New Orleans today. Everything is always good in New Orleans on Esplanade Avenue. It will be even better when you are here to discover it for yourself. Get your New Orleans on!