First, a swamp tour through Cajun Swamp Tours. The company owns a few acres of the Manchac Swamp, which was recently named one of the World's 10 Creepiest places by SmarterTravel (see article here: http://www.smartertravel.com/photo-galleries/editorial/worlds-creepiest-places.html?id=97). The tour was way more interesting than I thought it would be. We saw many an alligator, met the "famous" cat Mugsy who millions have watched scaring gators via YouTube, got to see what is said to be an original graveyard from the Julie Brown story, and held a baby alligator. Our tour guide was very knowledgable without being corny (unlike my Duck Tour in Philadelphia..).
The swamp was actually really beautiful
Gator catching some raw chicken
Of course I had to hit up some spots from the Food Network. First was Johnny's Po Boys. Johnny's was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate for their Muffaletta from Scott Conant. You could tell this was an old joint inhabited by tourists and locals alike. I had the Catfish Po-Boy which was deliciously crispy and fried without being greasy. The bread was a little stiff for me, but I know everyone has their own preferences..
After a long day, I stopped in Mahoney's, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I got the grilled shrimp, fried green tomatoes, and roumelade Po Boy. I almost had a heart attack when I found out the large was $25. $25?! I have to say, the sandwich was large and delicious. Probably the best Po Boy I've had, but, not quite there..
The next day included Cafe Beignet which was featured on $40 a Day with Rachael Ray as well as Best Thing I Ever Ate for their Beignets a la Alton Brown. I ordered the mushroom omlette and the pecan tart. The omlette was less than impressive. The omlette was served with plain grits that had absolutely no flavor and 2 slices of french bread that were as bland as could be. The pecan tart, on the other hand, was one of the most amazing things I've ever had. I would not eat a meal here, but would check out the bakery items. The cafe was super cute, but (some of) the staff was less than friendly. Next time I'll just get the pecan tart to go!
I also had amazing pralines and candy at Southern Candymakers (Sweet Potato Pralines? Count me in!), did some shopping in the French Quarter/Magazine St, and had a couple of drinks on Bourbon St.
This experience has been really different from the last time I was in New Orleans, but I love it just as much.