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Twenty Four Hours in New Orleans

Where To Eat During A Quick Trip To NOLA with Atlanta Food & Wine
Filed Under > Everyday

Where To Eat New Orleans , Balise Where To Eat New Orleans , Cafe Du Monde(C) www.haleysheffield.com© www.haleysheffield.com© www.haleysheffield.com(C) www.haleysheffield.com© www.haleysheffield.comWhere To Eat New Orleans , Willa Jean. Get the FROSE!Where To Eat New Orleans , St. James CheeseWhere To Eat New Orleans , Cane & Table

I’m sure you saw that we had quite the adventure in Louisiana a few weeks ago.  We teamed up with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Louisiana Travel on a 3-day road trip to get a taste of the best Louisiana food and drink.  Last week, we shared our recap of Baton Rouge and Lafayette and today we’re all hungry again reminiscing over our stop in New Orleans.  

We kicked off the 3-day trip with a bang in NOLA, hurricane in-hand the second we stepped off the plane.  First stop, NOLA Distillery. Opened just last month, we were lucky enough to get a little behind-the-scenes tour and tasting.  We all loved the craft vodka made from only Louisiana-grown sweet potatoes (the state is known to be the home of the best sweet potatoes, FYI).   We saw first-hand how NOLA’s vodka is distilled twice and filtered, giving it a hint of sweetness and a touch of earthy flavor.  The vodka went perfectly in what the team joked as their “Kale-Gate” cocktail (more on that backstory here) and their take on a Cosmopolitan.  

After we sipped a few cocktails and talked plans for the tasting room (opening soon) with the lovely NOLA team, we scooted over to St. James Cheese Company.  This local shop would definitely become my go-to for an easy lunch with the girls; think cheeses on cheeses, wines and drool-worthy sandwiches.  We were thrilled to have the queen of cheese herself, Liz Thorpe, with us to introduce us to some pretty fantastic pairings with our wine.  Liz published The Cheese Chronicles back in 2009, and her immense knowledge about the many variations of cheese was downright inspirational.  Her newest book, The Book of Cheese, breaks down cheese into nine “gateways” of flavor, rather than by country, milk type, etc.  Her take on enjoying cheese, finding flavors and kinds you love, and understanding the wide varieties in this unique way is refreshing.  It’s approachable.  And with over 400 pages in The Book of Cheese, there’s something for everyone.  Seriously cannot wait to get our hands on this “cheese bible”

We could have stopped there; bellies and hearts SO full.  But alas, we were in New Orleans, and there was more goodness to taste.  Next up: Willa Jean.  And oh, let me tell you: Willa Jean is an absolute MUST when you’re in NOLA.  This contemporary bakery was opened by Chef John Besh, Chef Kelly Fields and Chef Lisa White in the Central Business District, and it celebrates the best of the best Southern comfort food with fresh, local ingredients.  We loved chatting with Chef Kelly Fields; she was incredibly welcoming, hilarious and to say that she blew us away with her cornbread, frosé and homemade chocolate chip cookies (a recipe that includes 5 different kinds of chocolate and one she took two years perfecting!) is an understatement.  COME HERE with your girlfriends for a boozy brunch on your next trip; you won’t regret it. 

Next, (no we’re not done yet), we downed a quick dozen raw oysters with wine at Borgne, another gem by Chef John Besh and Chef Brian Landry.  Borgne is known to be one of the best spots for fresh seafood in the area, and it did not disappoint.  Its menu is a true celebration of Louisiana coastal fare, with everything from Oysters on the Half Shell to Pan Roasted Lemonfish with brown butter turnips and Shrimp Toast with pork belly and sweet chili sambal.  Its ultra cool, modern vibe in the bottom of the Hyatt makes it a hotspot (and easy locale in the Central Business District) for visitors and locals alike.  

It was a big day, but we (somehow?!?) left room for dinner at Balise.   Balise, manned by 2016 James Beard winner Chef Justin Devillier (also with La Petit Grocery), was named after the first French settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  And the place is clearly steeped in its history; located in a 19th century Creole townhouse that’s expertly decorated, and irresistibly intimate in its ambiance. On our prix fixe menu, we enjoyed fare like Fried smoked oysters, chilled Roasted Beets with Lemon, Mint and Brown Butter, Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Pan Roasted Gulf Shrimp and Chicken & Ricotta Dumplings…I mean my mouth is watering just recounting it here now.  And to top it all off, Walnut Cake, Apple Crisp and Sticky Toffee Pudding (the table’s favorite).  

Lastly, we (somehow) made it to Cane & Table because who could say no to Hurricanes.  Located in the heart of The French Quarter, Cane & Table is a gem of a restaurant and bar where Chef & Mixologist Nick Detrich mixes up the best hurricanes I’ve ever had.  Truthfully, when I looked at our itinerary and hurricanes where on the menu I wasn’t impressed, but that’s because I was used to the cheesy spring break, overally sugared hurricanes in neon plastic cups.  Chef Nick sticks to the original recipe; refreshing, crisp, and goes down like water Hurricane. Cane & Table deservedly tops the list for where to drink in town, being featured on Vogue and The New York Times.  The vibe here was second-to-none (string lights out back, drippy candles and palms), and the company was even better.  Nick was the warmest guy, welcoming us into his tiki-inspired world and teaching us a bit of history along the way. 

After that whirlwind of the day I rolled myself into bed and woke up the next morning still full from one of the best days I’ve had in awhile.  A big thank you to all of the chefs for welcoming us into their worlds, and make sure to check out the entire photo gallery below!  Truly, MKR

Photography, Haley Sheffield for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival,  Louisiana Travel and Lexus.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

A Few Days on the Road in Baton Rouge & Lafayette

Eating our way through Louisiana with Atlanta Food & Wine
Filed Under > Everyday

We recently set out on a feast-filled road trip throughout Louisiana (twist our arms, right?!) in partnership with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Louisiana Travel.  During our three day excursion we spent time in New Orleans, Lafyette, and Baton Rouge and I’m sure you saw via Snapchat (username WAITINGONMARTHA) and Instagram that we just had a terrible, terrible time.  Ha! Our goal during these three days; eat our way through the cities making sure to stop in to all of the familiar faces of Food & Wine Festivals of the past and maybe stumble on a few new fresh faces and places of our own.

First stop Baton Rouge, home of the LSU Tigers and Louisiana’s largest seafood market, Tony’s Seafood.  We had heard from some locals and not-so locals that this was the place to stop if you wanted no-fuss, no-muss, just great seafood.  The minute we walked through the front door, we knew that there was a reason Tony’s has been around for so long.   Tony and his team knew what they were doing.  We arrived around lunch, so there were at least 15+ team members ready to help you pick out a plate, from what seemed like a never-ending menu.  Honestly, I just stared at it all for awhile before being completely “basic” and going with fried catfish and shrimp.  The rest of Team WOM was a little more adventurous, diving into crab fingers and gumbo, all with sides of hush puppies, cole slaw, french fries and plenty of tarter and hot sauce of course.  It was the perfect low-key lunch to nosh on after our short drive.  Just know that before you go, there are no tables, so either grab it as takeout, or be prepared to eat it in your car.

After filling ourself to the brim, we were thankful our hotel was waiting and ready with open arms.  If you are going to Baton Rouge, I highly suggest staying at the beautiful Watermark Hotel.  The epitome of modern glamour, the Watermark was a bank back in the day that has very recently been restored.  But so much of the stunning old pieces remain, with every corner begged to be ‘grammed.  The elevator, the vault, the mail box…it’s gorgeous!

Having checked into our hotel, we had a chance to reset before dinner at City Pork Brasserie & Bar, Executive Chef Ryan Andre’s award-winning full-scale restaurant has an elevated take on Louisiana cuisine, with a refreshingly approachable vibe.  We were all blown away by Chef Ryan’s Pork Debris Spring Rolls (BLOWN AWAY, MUST GET) as a starter, which included an asian slaw and peanut sauce that was out-of-this-world.  That was followed up by a restaurant week prix fix menu that included a spicy shrimp salad, waygu steak and frites, an Asian inspired porkbelly, and one of the best banana desserts I’ve ever had, that was, of course, Chef Ryan’s mother’s recipe.   All of our meals put us into a comfortable food coma, but it was the drinks that also were something to write home about.  Kat joked about the dangers of the City Pork Tea, which went down a little too easy; think Cathead honeysuckle vodka, simple syrup, lemon and sweet tea.  It tasted just like the sweet tea you dream about.  We closed the place down, laughing and chatting with Chef Ryan and team (even taking pictures in the kitchen with the whole crew).  The culture at this place was inspiring; a bell would occasionally ring as diners bought the kitchen a 6-pack of beer many times throughout the night (it’s listed on the menu), and we, of course, followed suit. 

The next day, we had Lafayette in our sights, and set off to see its charming streets and yummy hotspots for Day 3. Only a quick hour drive from Baton Rouge, Lafayette was a great addition to our Louisiana itinerary.  If you ask anyone for recs on the place, you’ll hear The French Press more often than not.  This French-Quarter style brunch spot was right up our alley; cool vibe and absolutely incredible food by Chef Justin Girouard.  We were in heaven with its Sweet Baby Breesus and Cajun Benedict.  Seriously….YUM.

Lafayette certainly charmed us with its easy walkable streets and cheery restaurant awnings.  It’s actually known as ‘America’s Happiest City’ thanks to a recent Harvard study, and we could see why Lafayette residents were so happy; they were living in a place that’s rich in history and local culture, has great food, and good tunes.  We all kept saying how we wish we had more time in this great town.  

For our final culinary stop, we popped into Pamplona, a gorgeous tapas bar that immediately transported us to Spain with its vintage bullfighting posters, Mediterranean tile entryway, and its dark, dramatic decor.  While Lafayette is known as being the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, we heard great things about this little tapas bar and we were thrilled to get a taste of old-world Spain here in the South. Pamplona‘s team was incredibly gracious, welcoming us in for a late lunch, inviting us to try Chef Kris Allen’s favorite dishes. I know what you’re thinking by now, how are they still eating?!  I’d say the table’s favorite was definitely the Arugula & Manchego Salad which was irresistibly fresh and flavorful.  But of course, I won’t pretend that we didn’t devour the Garlic Shrimp, Andalucian Lamb Sliders, Ceviche, Catalan Spinach, Morcilla-Quail Eggs and more because that’s what you do when you go eat tapas! 

The road trip was definitely a whirlwind, but one that we were so fortunate to enjoy.  A big thank you to Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Louisiana Travel for showing us the way around Louisiana to find such culinary delights and memorable moments with these talented chefs.  Hearing their stories and visiting them in their restaurants and seeing them in action was such a treat…let’s just say that we have a lot of faces (read: new friends) to look for at this year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. Check out the gallery below to find more captures from our great time in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.  Stay tuned for our recap of our day in New Orleans!  Truly, MKR

P.S. Next time we go?  We’re definitely making time for Avery Island to explore and visit where one of my favorite sauces, Tabasco is made.  The island is one big, huge salt dome (one of five in LA, sitting juuuust above sea level), and is about 140 miles west of NOLA.  I’d say it would make an easy day-time trip if you’re a hot-sauce lover like I am.  What else would you add to the list?! xo

Photography, Haley Sheffield for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Louisiana Travel and Lexus.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

5 Easy Ways to Stay Fit While Traveling

How I prioritized mind-body wellness while on the go
Filed Under > Everyday

I’ve been out of town on work travel for 12 days in January and February (!).  While I LOVE a good trip, and I always see it as a chance to be rejuvenated and inspired, I get stressed out about maintaining my health and fitness while away.  When home in Nashville, I prioritize working out 5-6 days per week (I’m a ClassPasser so it’s easy!), and I’m happy as a clam to have a smoothie for lunch during the workday.  So when I’m away from my routine for that amount of time, I have to be diligent about the decisions that will help me take care of myself. 

That means working out.  I was in denial about this for years, I had always heard that working out even when you’re tired would help boost your energy and overall mood.  I’m happy to say that I’ve finally embraced a good sweat as essential for my mind-body wellness; it helps me feel good physically while also saving a little sanity while I’m constantly “on-on-on” as I like to call it.  And I credit a quick jog (even if it’s just a mile) and a hotel-room HIIT sesh (with this great app) for keeping me happy and healthy during these past two months on the go. 

Do you struggle with staying fit while traveling?  I think the biggest thing is to think of it like this: your body is truly your temple, so do what you need to do to keep it thriving.  That doesn’t stop when you’re away from home; it’s the most important then.  Check out a few easy tips to stay fit while traveling below.  I’d love to know any tricks you have up your sleeve, too.  Cheers, Kat
  

Break a Sweat Every Day

Techloom Pro Running Shoe

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I really made a point to get outside and move around on our trips.  That meant a few mornings I set the alarm earlier than the rest to go for a quick run before sitting down with my coffee and my laptop.  Some days it was only a slow mile outside, and other days it was on the treadmill and felt more like a stress-relieving sprint.  But all in all, I prioritized to simply break a sweat, and thought if it more as a treat for myself mentally than anything.  It may sound silly, but it worked, and it helped me get through a long time away from my routine back home. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have a gym or equipment.  Like I mentioned above, I used this app a few days in the hotel room when I was too weary to go outside or find the gym.  And I found this fun no-equipment workout that would be great to do with a travel buddy, and I’ve always liked this one too. 

And get creative!  If you can’t dedicate 20-30 minutes to yourself for a workout, think about ways you can work up a little sweat even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator or riding a bike instead of catching a cab. 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Essentia 9.5 pH Drinking Water

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Staying hydrated is especially important while traveling.  You do not have the time to be bed-ridden with a migraine or sluggish the day after a client dinner. As McKel at Nutrition Stripped reminded us, water helps healthy digestion too, which is a huge factor in your everyday wellbeing.  When you have healthy digestion, you feel better ALL around.  I was also excited to learn from McKel that water helps us feel more energized and more alert, making it another no-brainer reason for staying hydrated.

During our two almost back-to-back trips, I made sure to have (read: hoard) water bottles in my hotel rooms, and I always ordered water with every cocktail.  I also avoided too many mid-day drinks as I’ve learned I get sluggish, unmotivated and make poor decisions with eating if I’ve had too many!  Instead, I ordered unsweetened iced tea during the day so that I could stay sharp and focused. 

Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

PROBAR Meal Bar

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I’ve realized that having healthy snacks with me helps curb the cravings (and gives me more will-power to say no to the temptations on the restaurant menus). 

My favorite non-GMO organic meal bar is this one.  I stashed several in my suitcase for both our Louisiana road trip and South Carolina road trip.  We also had a bag of Pure Growth Organic munchies for our time in the car; these helped us avoid the dismal snack offering at the gas station.

If your travel allows, also consider bringing homemade snacks like these Spirulina Energy Globes to keep you going full-speed ahead.  

Keep Track Of Your Goals

The Five Minute Journal

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I’m sure you’ve already seen me raving about The Five Minute Journal, but I swear this thing is life-changing.  I found a pattern in my notes on daily gratitude and my daily affirmations about my health—specifically the food I was choosing to nourish my body with, and the time I was setting aside to have “me time” and workout.  I really credit the simple act of writing down those affirmations and grateful thoughts about my health for my continued motivation while on the trips.  I felt more accomplished because I prioritized these things for my self. 

Other great ways to keep track of your goals digitally while on the go: My Fitness Pal and Map My Run

Pack Supplements, Vitamins & Essential Oils

Doctor's Best Vitamin C

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Strong immunity is as important as ever while you’re on the go (because who has time to be sick these days?!), and it’s right in line with healthy digestion.  When your body is functioning at its best, you’ll truly feel like you can tackle the full schedule ahead.  By remembering to pack supplements and vitamins, you’re giving yourself a boost that will have you feeling amazing all the way until you’re back home. 

Here are a few goodies I had with me:

Photography, Haley Sheffield for Waiting on Martha

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