Planning for the recent girls’ getaway began months ago. The topic had been bandied about like a pair of traveling pants, each of the four of us adding her own particular curve to the project. The criteria was simple: not too far, not too expensive, the simpler the transportation the better.
When I came across a terrific airfare deal (Newark to NOLA $260 r/t) while I was browsing Southwest’s site, on day 3 of my annual two-week vacation with the boys, I immediately sent out a group text. In no time flat, tickets had been purchased, a time-share had been inquired about and personal calendars had been cleared. We were a go.
We had 4 months to
squirrel away put aside spending money and make some plans. We investigated what to see, where to go, where to eat, how to get around. We had a very loose collection of ideas for the trip and reservations for one “big night out” restaurant. Here’s how we did things…
We parked a single vehicle in Newark at the Parking Spot 2. Customer service and the price (5 days, $54) were both more than satisfactory. When we arrived in New Orleans, we took a cab, with a trunk surprisingly large for the vehicle’s size, which came out to about $15 each.
Breakfast our first morning was beignets and cafe au lait, take-out, from Cafe du Monde. Barely $20 for four, no table-service tip necessary. Lunch was a bargain at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, a casual spot where guests order and pay at the bar and a runner delivers your food. I went with a small Caesar salad with a cup of the chicken and sausage gumbo on the side. I think it was about $12 with another couple of bucks for a tip.
On our way back to our accommodations, we popped into a local grocery market and made some purchases, both practical and impulsive. There was some cheese, a bit of pâté, crackers, fruit, cereal, milk, yogurt and 1/2 and 1/2. You know, basics. Breakfast could now be at home.
We did a lot of walking, opting for a cab only a couple of times due to rain or distance. There’s also a streetcar system which runs 24 hours a day and offers a $3 all day pass.
Using recommendations from friends, along with Yelp, we found our way to a couple of inexpensive spots within walking distance. Killer Po Boys, located in the back of the bar at Erin Rose’s, lived up to its name and I thoroughly enjoyed my $12 Gulf shrimp Po Boy. An excellent bloody Mary on the side added only $3.50 to my tab. Money well spent for sure!
There was a taco truck I had hoped to catch up to but, alas, it wasn’t to be. We did find a terrific nearby taqueria, Felipe’s, where for $40 (including a generous tip), we bought a mess of tacos and soup to go. Pairing our meal with drinks at “home” made this dinner a tremendous and tasty deal.
Don’t get the impression that we’re nickel and dimers, because we’re not. Sunday night we indulged in a fantastic meal at Restaurant R’evolution on Bienville. We had originally considered the $75 per person prix fixe menu, but elected to go a la carte instead so we could sample more items on the enticing menu. We selected a salumi sampler for 4 (only $6 more than the salumi plate for 2), crab beignets and a beet salad to start. We were only able to eat about half of the salumi, but it packed up nicely for snacking on later during our stay. We shared 3 main courses (ricotta gnocchi, beef short ribs, shrimp and cheese grits) and were comfortably satiated even after the heavenly creme brûlée bread pudding and treasure chest of one- bite sweets that followed. Our 3.5 hour experience, with a cocktail, a $70 bottle of wine and 25%+ tip came to $100 a person.
We were naturally craving something a little less indulgent for lunch the following day and found a yummy salad and soup in a nearby food court. Our meals were fresh, creative and a bargain. I had yellow split pea soup along with a salad with some Asian notes like ginger and soy for barely $10.
Cheap airfare, a friend’s generous offer of their one bedroom timeshare and thoughtful expenditures for transportation, food and beverages made our get away a treat without breaking the bank. NOLA – I’ll be back.