New Orleans Getaway: The Cravings Queen’s Birthday Crash and Burn
My birthday is a national holiday—at least it is in my mind. I was thrilled to celebrate my birthday and turn 26 during our New Orleans trip. After our crawfish dinner, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night out. I bought a bottle of rosé from Bacchanal Wine the day before, and it was chilled and ready to be sipped while we got dressed. Instead of immediately hitting Bourbon Street, we started our evening at a local wine bar.
Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar & Bistro
A quick google search brought us down the street to Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar & Bistro. Upon our arrival, our server informed us that 10 p.m. was the start of their Bacon Happy Hour. Angelic orchestral music began playing in my mind as our server brought us a basket of bacon to munch on while we drank our wine.
Orleans Grapevine has over 375 wines by the bottle, so Katie and I decided to split one. We dusted off that bottle while Elyse sipped on a few glasses of Moscato. We chatted for what felt like an hour in the intimate wine bar, as a ghost played the piano behind us. Well, it wasn’t actually a ghost, but self-playing piano.
Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar & Bistro is located at 720 Orleans Ave., New Orleans.
Once we finished our wine, we headed to Bourbon Street. I decided to follow up half a bottle of wine with a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle. Then another one. The Hand Grenade is known as “New Orleans’ Most Powerful Drink.” On Tropical Isle’s website, they have a drinking guide. According to this guide two hand grenades “will give you a nice buzz.” Well, the Hand Grenades on top of a few glasses of rosé and half a bottle of wine was a recipe for disaster. The evening ended with pizza and an absurd amount of napkins everywhere in our hotel room. My bad.
Fast forward to Sunday morning—my birthday. Apparently, I slept so long that we had to change our brunch reservation. After summoning the strength from singing Mariah Carey to shower and get ready, we called a Lyft to take us to a boozy birthday brunch.
We don’t have bottomless drinks in Virginia, so I was very excited to take advantage of this in New Orleans. Located in the Warehouse District, Flamingo A-Go-Go is an eclectic, upbeat restaurant that offers fantastic happy hour specials and bottomless mimosa brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
The moment you walk through the doors, you get the feeling that Flamingo A-Go-Go is the place to go for a fun atmosphere and day drinking. They have a large outdoor courtyard with plenty of seating, but we opted to sit inside in the air conditioning.
Elyse and I both ordered the $12 bottomless mimosas while Katie choose the Bloody Mary A-Go-Go, made with house-infused vodka, a homemade spice mix and Zing Zang bloody mary mix. My severe hangover made it hard to drink my mimosa, but I learned that if I shout at my hangover, it goes into hiding long enough to finish a glass or two.
Sadly, this is where I have failed you all as a food blogger. Not only did I not take any pictures of the food, but I hardly touched my Bacon, Egg & Cheddar flatbread. I did, however, take this cute picture.
Flamingo A-Go-Go is located at 869 Magazine St., New Orleans.
Before and during the trip, Elyse kept saying she had a surprise for me. I kept guessing really ridiculous things, but after brunch, I finally got to see my surprise. We hopped in an Uber—the destination unknown to me.
Joe Gambino’s Bakery
We pulled into a parking lot and Elyse said “surprise.” I still had no clue where we were. She explained that Joe Gambino’s Bakery was one of the best places for King Cake during Mardi Gras. I hate birthday cake but live for a more unconventional cake. Knowing this, Elyse ordered a King Cake to be my birthday cake.
Joe Gambino’s grew from baking in a local kitchen in the 1920s to a highly-sought-after bakery for King Cake, wedding cakes and even more baked goods. Known as the “King of King Cakes,” Joe Gambino’s makes their king cake with moist cinnamon cake topped with their signature fondant icing and colorful decorating sugar.
In addition to the signature King Cake, Joe Gambino’s also makes King Cake with filling, including apple, Bavarian cream, chocolate, strawberry and more, as well as King Cake cake balls. “Have authentic King Cake” was not on my NOLA checklist, but I’m so glad I was able to have that experience. For those interested in traveling with their King Cake, I can say that only a little of the icing got smushed on my flights from New Orleans back to Virginia Beach. However, Joe Gambino’s does offer online shipping.
Joe Gambino’s Bakery has locations in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Metairie.
Sadly, the rest of my birthday was spent in the hotel room. I told Elyse and Katie to go on to dinner without me and they had a lovely meal at Oceana Grill. They were kind enough to bring me my dinner: Alka seltzer, a bag of plain Lays chips and a bottle of apple juice. The moral of this story is: don’t overdo it on wine and Hand Grenades if you want to survive the next day. Let’s just say I sounded a lot like our hotel neighbor Kyle, and I’ll leave it at that.