New Orleans Day 2 + The Pursuit of Good Coffee

Hello, hello everyone!

We have reached day 2 of New Orleans and today, I am coming to you from the Starbucks inside of the conference hotel. I think my latte is straight soymilk and it’s way too sweet and I’m not sure what the deal is with it…

Soymilk or soy latte? I'm not sure.

Soymilk or soy latte? I’m not sure.

That is unimportant, though, because I am on cloud nine after an amazing keynote by none other than Hoda Kotb — she couldn’t be kinder! She talked about her stories, how she got started in journalism, the resilience of people and what it really takes to make it in this business and have a happy life.

Hoda Kotb — she could not have been nicer.

Hoda Kotb — she could not have been nicer.

I actually got a chance to sneak a picture with her which was AWESOME! No matter what else happens today, I already consider this Friday to be hugely successful. Today is going to be great, though. I have another session soon and I think I’ll hit City Greens again for lunch. Maybe. We’ll see. I’m getting ahead of myself…let me talk about how dinner unfolded for me last night.

I spent some time in between sessions last night trying to find a vegan eatery near the conference hotel or the hotel I’m staying at. My search was fruitful and yielded a handful of promising looking restaurants, but I chose one and went with my gut feeling.

Let me tell you about Carmo. Carmo is a tropical-esque café and one of those gems that you are luck enough to come across just a few times. I had my eye on its Esmerelda Salad (greens, quinoa, black beans, corn, peppers, vegan cheese and tossed to perfection) so with my iPad in hand and a salad in front of me, I tucked in.

Esmerelda Salad at Carmo.

Esmerelda Salad at Carmo.

I didn’t want this meal to end — it was fresh, delicious and so filling. Perfect to munch on while I finished up the Sherlock Holmes story I was reading. Everyone was so friendly and, just like my experience yesterday, the restaurant was very accommodating to all types of dietary needs with particular attention to vegans. After refueling, it was time to explore New Orleans at night.

PJ's coffee in hand as I take the French Quarter...and had to give a nod to St. Louis Street because of my hometown!

PJ’s coffee in hand as I take the French Quarter…and had to give a nod to St. Louis Street because of my hometown!

There are coffee shops and there are COFFEE SHOPS and PJ’s Coffee in New Orleans is the latter. I stepped in and armed myself with a soy latte and made my way through the gorgeous French Quarter at night until I found myself accidentally on Bourbon Street — whoops! I was exhausted by the time I made my way back to the hotel and wanted to rest up for today’s full schedule.

Breakfast was the same, except I swapped the cantaloupe for a banana:

 

Breakfast

Breakfast

Stepped out from journo-world very, very briefly to grab lunch at City Greens and a coffee at Community Coffee House (South Louisiana’s favorite!) because neither of the two are open on Saturday. I threw down my Avocado Hummus wrap with tofu happily and hungrily. I also encourage you guys to check them out on Twitter, they are very active and engaged.

Refueling.

Refueling.

And made up for this morning’s coffee mishap by getting this little cup of heaven. I needed some coffee so bad that I had to resist the urge to yell “CAFFEINATE!” in my best Dalek voice as I grabbed my soy latte. It’s great coffee (although PJ’s is my favorite here) and I am keeping the caffeine withdrawal headache at bay.

 

"Voted South Louisiana's Favorite Coffeehouse!"

“Voted South Louisiana’s Favorite Coffeehouse!”

 

Dinner tonight is TBD but, again, with the kind of day I am having thus far, I’m sure whatever I figure out will be delicious. There really isn’t a bad place to eat in The Big Easy. Although, everyone is talking about how delicious the beignets are and I have to say I am a little sad that I am going to leave NOLA without having tried one of these sugary, fried masterpieces to see what the buzz is about.

I’ll leave with this sentiment that Hoda shared with us today: “Happiness and fun are fleeting. Joy stays with us. Find what gives you joy and do it.”

Talk soon.

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2 thoughts on “New Orleans Day 2 + The Pursuit of Good Coffee

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