NOLA 2013: French Quarter

We rode the trolley into the French Quarter every day.
Our house was only a block away in the Garden District.
Some of our group. It was hard to round up all 13 of us at once for a photo.
Better than Cafe du Monde
We sang and danced all night
We cruised up and down Bourbon Street for a few nights
We had to take a quick break from the drinking to stop and see the sights of the city
Every house in the French Quarter was gorgeous
All us girls
Such a fun group of ladies to spend a few days with
You can view the rest of my photos here

NOLA: What we ate

We ate good in New Orleans. Real good. So good that I’ve put myself on a detox upon returning home. I tried to always remember to take pictures of our food (which is something I normally don’t have a problem remembering) but we were on the go so much that I missed a few places. The food was so different than anything that we have back home so most of us tried to eat as many different dishes as we could; to get a real taste of what New Orleans has to offer. We definitely weren’t disappointed! I’ve included links to the places that we visited below. If you ever find yourself in New Orleans, I’ve got a few places you might want to try!
Amazing breakfast. I had the biscuits and gravy one morning and a banana pancake the next morning. Yes, we went twice. I also ordered a side of grits with each meal as well (gotta eat up what you can’t get back at home).
We had oysters here & they were fantastic (the best on our trip)! Our friends had larger meals of po’ boys, cuban sandwiches, shrimp bisque… and it all looked good. Try the frozen bourbon milk punch, it was delish!
Luke had a red beans & rice, gumbo and jambalaya trio – which was amazing.
Everything on the menu looked amazing. We had tacos (shrimp, oyster, flaked fish, jerk chicken and pulled pork bbq) with sides of poblano polenta, fried plantains and black beans with chorizo. I would definitely recommend this place (and everything on the menu, too).
We had a semi-fancy dinner here and it was delicious. Luke and I both had the shrimp and grits – it was pretty much the most amazing dinner I’ve had in quite a while. Kind of on the pricey side, but I’d still recommend it.
Luke and I didn’t actually eat here – but we were with our friends when they did. All the food they ordered looked great. Your typical New Orleans fare.
Super delicious beignets! So fresh, fluffy and covered in powdered sugar.


Po’ boys, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp creole, red beans a d rice – you name it, this place has everything. Almost everyone in our group got something different and we all raved how great the food was. Luke and I shared a grilled shrimp po’ boy and it was delicious.

Our last breakfast in town. Our waiters were amazing and the food was your typical greasy breakfast – but good. It was Katie and Kara’s birthday, so the waiters drew them a picture and also took our groups picture to hang on the wall. I told you the wait staff was amazing.
– Photos © Holly Carman –

NOLA: Where we stayed

So, we basically stayed in a mini southern mansion for the four nights we were in New Orleans. Seriously. Our house was in the heart of the Garden District, only a block away from the trolley line and a few blocks away from Magazine Street. It had about 7-8 bedrooms and bathrooms and a few sitting/living rooms (perfect for late night dance parties). The only down side was that the renters the weekend before us (during Mardi Gras) trashed the place and left a lot of things broken (microwave, dishwasher, elevator, etc…) they also lost 3 of the 4 sets of keys. Which made it interesting for our group of 13 to get in/out of the house when we went off doing different things. Anyways, with all that aside, I wanted to share some photos of the place because it was kind of amazing.

Were you able to spot Mardi Gras beads hidden in the photos? They were scattered all around town in trees and on fences – left over from the festivities the weekend before. It was inevitable they would make it into our house after a night wandering around.

– Photos © Holly Carman –

Sausage Gravy & Apple Dutch Baby

There are two breakfast recipes that are my absolute favorite to make on the weekends. Both are my own recipes that I’ve tweaked over time, just to my liking. The Sausage Gravy is Luke’s favorite and I really only make it every once in a while, like on a special weekends. The second is my Apple Dutch Baby. I’ve made numerous variations over the years and have finally settled on a version that Luke and I both love and agree is the best one yet.

Sausage Gravy
[Serves 4]

1 pound of sausage
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of milk
a pinch of sage
salt & pepper to taste

Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in the flour over the sausage and continue cooking until it dissolves (about 1 minute). Gradually stir in the milk. Cook until thick and bubbly. Add salt, pepper and sage to your liking and serve over fresh baked biscuits.

**All measurements are approximate. I never actually measure anything, I eyeball everything.**

Apple Dutch Baby

[Serves 2]

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1-2 apples (peeled, sliced and lightly covered in cinnamon and sugar)
1 pat of butter (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet or small casserole dish (what I use). 
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, milk and eggs until smooth. Pour the batter over the melted butter and then drop in the apple slices. 
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the top turns slightly golden brown.