This past weekend gave us the first glimpses of beautiful Spring Weather here in New Orleans. My friends and I had made plans to get lunch somewhere with an outdoor seating area, and I suggested we venture outside of the Garden District and check out the Press Street Station in the Bywater.
The restaurant is a new venture for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts -- a high school which hails graduates such as all the Marsalis brothers, Harry Connick Jr., Wendell Pierce, Anthony Mackie and (my personal favorite) Trombone Shorty. We were greeted by a light an airy space, with friendly employees eager to help. I opted for an apple and arugula salad (trying to atone for all the Mardi Gras King cake I had consumed for the past two months), and my friends had traditional breakfast, and a beet sandwich. Our food came out quickly, and the chef even came over to check on us. Press Street Station does not sell alcohol, but the are BYOB, and one of my friends had stopped by Baccahanl to pick up a bottle of Rose. The food was great -- I can't wait to come back and try more of the menu items. An added bonus: we were able to walk around and see all of the art pieces created by NOCCA students.
After we finished eating, we decided to go a little further down the road and check out the Crescent Park. The park encompasses an area of New Orleans which used to be used for Maritime trade and shipping. Around 2006, the city decided to redevelop it into a public park space, given the incredible views of the Mississippi River and the downtown skyline it offered. We walked over, and ambled up and down, people (and dog) watching.
As the sun started to set, we decided to drop into Mariza for a glass of wine before heading back home. The restaurant had just opened for their dinner service, and even though we got there at 5pm, within 15 minutes, the entire restaurant was packed. The bar at Mariza is a great place to just sit back with friends and have a glass of wine, but they also serve the full dinner menu there -- so if you can't get a reservation, it might be worth it to try and sit at the bar. Every dish and plate of charcuterie that came out from the kitchen was making my mouth water, but I already had dinner plans that night to check out Shaya (which I will blog about later), so my Mariza dinner will have to wait for another day.
The Bywater area is located behind the Marigny, along the river. I would suggest renting some bikes one day, and exploring.