RJ’s 35th Surprise Bday In NOLA

I didn’t grow up celebrating birthdays. So anytime it’s a birthday, I try to find ways to go all out for my little family. This year my husband celebrated his 35th milestone birthday. Of course this allowed me the opportunity to be more go getter when it came to planning his surprise.

I originally had a surprise cooking up in the DFW area. Then a month in advance I got a sale email from Southwest with flights to New Orleans. I just couldn’t resist the idea of surprising him with an overnight stay so I did a change of plans and got to work on the new surprise.

A couple months before the surprise he had gone on a guys trip with family raving about wanting to go back, so this ended up working to my advantage.

The morning of, the only thing hubs knew was we were “staying in Dallas”. We drive up to Love Field at one of the covered parking lots and that’s when I drop the bomb that we are actually leaving Texas to head somewhere. Needless to say he was genuinely surprised. I was able to keep the location a secret all the way until we got to our gate for boarding.

Once we arrived in NOLA, we caught a Lyft straight to The Eliza Jane Hotel. This hotel I must say absolutely blew me away. It’s a boutique vibe. Our check in gal Yari hooked us up with a complimentary room upgrade and gave us a rundown of some great lunchtime spots.

We quickly dumped our luggage, and hit Decatur street to start off. Lots going on even though we arrived in the middle of the week and middle of the day. Plenty of street artists, musicians, and people watching that kept us busy with entertainment.

I saw an old bookstore (Beckhams Bookstore) that I had to stop in for a visit. It’s 3 floors tall and at the top floor there’s a ton of records. We had fun viewing the unique local art and rummaging through all the music.

After that we were really hungry so we decided to catch a Lyft to a local favorite, Neyows. Even though it was past lunchtime, Neyows was bustling. A good sign! They seated us and I quickly spotted a neighboring table full of their famous chargrilled oysters.

From the moment I laid eyes on those oysters I knew they were special. They ended up being my first and favorite bite. The plate comes out with gargantuan sizzling oysters!! They’re loaded with butter, sauce, and parm. I would easily be a regular here based on this dish alone.

I also tried a cup of very flavorful gumbo and mister tried a creamy seafood pasta 🤤. We were just full enough to hit up Cafe Du Monde, but not before saying goodbye to Bigfoot 😝

I’ve had beignets before, BUT never from the original Cafe Du Monde. It was still pretty crowded and a little line started to form shortly after our arrival.

We got our bag and found a cozy spot in the back where we could enjoy while listening to a local street singer belting out tunes. I will say, if planing to eat these beignets, don’t wear black. There is powdered sugar EVERYWHERE and it gets EVERYWHERE, there’s no way to avoid it lol! It’s on the ground, on the tables, it’s just part of the experience. Well worth it too because the beignets are amazing! They’re warm, soft, and chewy. The powdered sugar melts in the mouth on contact making it one spectacular bite.

Now that we were plenty full we decided to walk off the food before dinner. We hit up the French Quarter and just worked our way around taking in the scenes. We also visited a nice jewelry store/fine art gallery. Some of the pieces in there included a trunk full of finely polished Tiffany Co. Silverware and a tall Adam and Eve grandfather looking clock.

We made our way back to the hotel eventually and killed time relaxing before dinner. Once it was time to get all dressy and fancy, we snagged a quick ride down the street to the famous Emeril’s. At first my plan was to have us try a spot called R’evolution but after hearing locals ravings about Emeril’s, I switched up the plans. I’m glad I did too because it was quite an experience.

First off, our server Allison was so sweet (and happened to also be from Fort Worth). She sat us at a table in the middle of the floor with the best view of the huge open kitchen. It was nice to watch all the chefs and staff do their cooking.

We got a little pre appetizer (compliments of the chef) that included a crunchy bite, an amazingly balanced bright acidic oyster (yum) and a shot of tomato basil soup.

Next course was a sharable mushroom spaghetti with a white creamy sauce poured over top. The mushrooms were surprisingly packed with flavor, almost like eating a piece of bbq spiced chicken.

For entrees I got lobster and the mister went for the duck. Both were well worth the order. And then for a mini celebration for Robs birthday 🎉 They brought us some yummy treats 😋

You would think we would have called it a night, but we hit up a local cousin to go hang out some more. He drove us around the city showing us more sites. We ended our tour with a trip to Red Door and hung out for a while before saying goodbyes.

Next day we took our time getting up before ordering breakfast. The only main plan before flying back out to Dallas was to pick up some fun gifts for the girls. We got dressed and headed back over to Decatur to visit some shops we had passed over the day before.

On our way, we were turning down a particular street and at the corner get stopped by some guy trying to sell us something. I quickly speed up walking further away from the guy. When hubs gets back in earshot, he’s telling me there was a film crew down the way and that’s what the guy was trying to warn us about 🤦🏾‍♀️. They happened to be in cut so it ended up being ok that we walked down there.

Not sure what they were filming but we caught a glimpse of Lakeith Standfield before continuing our journey. We ended up finding some nice little local gifts and made sure to avoid the filming street on the way back to the hotel.

The last bit of time before heading to the airport, I decided to grab us some Po-Boys. On a whim I found a spot within walking distance called Mike Serio’s. I ordered an oyster po-boy for me and a shrimp po-boy for Rob.

I didn’t get to eat mine until we boarded the plane, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this po-boy was. It was simple with fluffy toasted French bread, fresh fried oysters, lettuce, tomato’s, and this nice mayo sauce. The mayo really brings the sandwich together nicely because it’s got a kick of heat and a slight tang to it.

Mike, the owner, mentioned being on food network back in 2007 and beating chef Bobby flay in a cooking competition. I can definitely see this happening having ate this sandwich.

Even though we only spent one night in NOLA, we enjoyed every bit of the city. In the small amount of time, the charm of New Orleans already won me over. Me and hubs plan to be back for more eats and adventure in the future!

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