New Orleans Musts

I’ve loved New Orleans since I first visited and ate a mile high ice cream pie (I was 10!) at the now-closed Ponchartrain Hotel’s Caribbean Room and saw the lavish Mardi Gras costumes at the museum. Every time I’ve visited since then, I’ve fallen more and more in love with the city. My list of must see and must do will always have additions with each trip, but here’s the start.

Best place to stay
The iconic and oft-photographed Royal Sonesta is right on Bourbon Street even being right on the street, the hotel is surprisingly quiet though a pair of ear plugs wouldn’t hurt.

Royal Sonesta

Provides an excellent view of any second lines.

Some of my most favorite places to eat are:

  • Acme Oyster House, known for fresh, hand-shucked Louisiana oysters. We love the gumbo, raw oysters and the waitress-recommended chargrilled oysters.
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  • Langlois Culinary Crossroads a next-generation New Orleans dining experience, offering hands-on Cajun and Creole cooking classes.
  • The popular historic Cafe DuMonde, while you’re there be sure to check out the French Market.
  • Cafe Beignet actually has the BEST beignets in the entire city if you ask me. img_0092
  • Jazz Brunch Buffet at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant
  • Commander’s Palace, known as much for their white glove service of all patrons as for their food. The restaurant has their own cookbook and shares many of their signature dishes on their website. You must try the turtle soup.
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  • GW Fins, on Bienville Street a lavish, delightful, perfect dinner. The lobster dumplings are one of the top appetizers in New Orleans, so much that Chef Matt at Langlois highly recommended them. They are some of the best dumplings, but the crab pot stickers were even better. The French 75 was one of the best drinks we had the entire trip.
  • Also good are the crab cakes and alligator sausage at Oceana Grill.
  • The menu at Bayona is fantastic and the daily specials worth trying.

Places to see/visit/do:

Oyster shucking at home and chargrilled oyster recipe

Oysters are amazingly delicious, but not easy to get in to. It can be intimidating to open an oyster, particularly after seeing the professionals use special chain-mail oyster-shucking glove and knife. After our jaunt to New Orleans in March, we decided not to be intimidated by oyster opening anymore. Plus, we really wanted to recreate the chargrilled oyster recipe from Acme Oyster house.

What you’ll need: An oven mitt, a flat-head screwdriver and a pairing knife serve as a low-cost alternative to the traditional tools.

First set the Oyster  flat side up.  Second, near the hinge, insert the flathead screwdriver between the shells. Then twist to pop the oyster open.How to easily shuck an oyster

It might take a few tries. How to shuck an oyster

Use the screwdriver to twist and pry the oyster all the way around if it doesn’t just pop open. How to shuck an oyster Shucking an oyster How to use a screwdriver to shuck an oyster at home

Eventually, you’ll see the oyster flesh. Using a screw driver to shuck an oyster at home

Scrape the oyster from the top shell. Then lift the top completely off. Take the paring knife and release the oyster from the bottom shell. Now, you’re ready to move on to the recipe.

For the Chargrilled oysters, we adapted this recipe from to mimic the dish we had at Acme Oyster house.

Oysters shucked at home final product

When the oyster liquor starts to bubble, spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce on top of each, then top with 1 tablespoon of Romano cheese. Let the cheese melt. When oysters begin to slightly brown at the edges, remove from grill and place on a heat proof plate or tray.  Top each oyster with an additional tablespoon of the butter sauce and serve immediately with slices of French bread for dipping. Garnish with minced Parsley. Serve while still sizzling with Lemon wedges and fresh bread.

Note: It stormed the day we made this and there was no way we were going to grill, so we just made use of the broiler on high in our oven. It worked perfectly. Just make sure to keep an eye on the dish while it is under the broiler, you can go from perfect to burnt pretty quickly.

Homemade Chargrilled Oysters by

My opinion:
The only thing missing was the family-style tables and neon signs.

Oyster shucking at home and chargrilled oyster recipe


  • 12 in fresh shucked oysters on the half shell (we found these whole at Lucky'sour town)
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch green onions finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves pureed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 ounce white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese


  • Place in a baking dish (we used a pie pan) filled with ice cream salt (to keep the oysters steady) with the meat up.
  • Melt half the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add your lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, green onions, and all herbs and seasonings.
  • Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and then stir in the wine.
  • Keep stirring and remove from heat as soon as the green onions wilt. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the butter and stir until completely incorporated.  
  • Heat grill to 350 degrees and place oysters without the sauce on the grill.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!