We’re five years along on this website, and I still have yet to post a single Mardi Gras recipe- NOT EVEN ONE. Well, it’s taken forever, but I’m finally in the mood for a Mardi party, so today, we’re getting all kinds of festive with these king cake cinnamon rolls. While we’re at it, I’m going to share all my favorite spots to eat in New Orleans to get you guys dreaming about some post-COVID traveling. Better days are up ahead, and now’s as good of time as any to start dreaming about them.
We’ve been traveling to New Orleans for a few years now, and it’s become one of our favorite spots for delicious Southern food. The city is brimming with incredible restaurants, many of which nod to the creole traditions that are so rich in the area. Although restaurant turnover is a real thing, many of the places I’ve enjoyed over the years are still bustling and serving thoughtful and sumptuous dishes. On top of that, the city has incredible shopping. Sure, there’s the chain retailers and department stores that most big cities have, but New Orleans also offers a ton of boutique shopping, antique stores, and art galleries for people who want a more curated experience. With great food, good shopping, and tons of music, art, and nightlife to speak of, New Orleans is definitely one of my favorite can’t-miss southern spots. So let’s get down to it: What To Do In New Orleans!
Where to Eat in New Orleans
August– One of my favorite spots in New Orleans, Restaurant August is a new American restaurant with Southern influence and art-like dishes!
Coquette– This restaurant feels like a hidden neighborhood gem with it’s intimate dining space and comforting yet beautiful meals.
Cochon Bucher– By far our favorite lunch in New Orleans, Cochon Butcher is the perfect spot for meat lovers with their house-made meats, breads, and relishes. Grab a sandwich here along with some artisanal ingredients to take back home with you!
Herbsaint– This upscale New Orleans staple is a Donald Link restaurant with multiple accolades and awards under it’s belt. Stop here for a showstopping dining experience.
Saba– This Alon Shaya restaurant pays homage to Israeli cuisine. We enjoyed sharing small plates of hummus, fresh pita, and salads for lunch in this bright and beautiful restaurant.
Compere Lapin– This restaurant by Top Chef and James Beard Award winner Nina Compton serve Caribbean-meets-creole food (and incredible cocktails!) in a cool, vibey atmosphere.
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar– Arnaud’s is a classic NOLA restaurant, but their little French 75 bar is loads of fun too. Try their classic cocktail and enjoy some jazz music here before supper one evening!
Willa Jean – This bakery is by far my favorite breakfast in New Orleans. Fresh-baked breads, muffins, scones, cookies, and loads of savory options fill their yummy menu.
La Petite Grocery– This unassuming French bistro-style restaurant is consistently delicious and offers a romantic, charming dining experience that is perfect for a date night or girl’s night out.
Acme Oyster House– I had to put this one on the list for my husband. If you’re the type that wants an all-you-can-eat parade of fried seafood, beer, and tartar sauce, one of Acme’s multiple locations may be right for you.
Maypop– Don’t miss the dim sum brunch available here on the weekends!
District Donuts Sliders Brew– This casual burger and beer spot on Magazine Street is a fun and easy lunch option for those afternoon shopping trips. Don’t skip the donut dessert!
Commander’s Palace– No other restaurant is more quintessentially New Orleans with its white tablecloths and tuxedo-donning waitstaff. Get a real taste of traditional NOLA here.
Cafe Du Monde– A bit of a tourist trap, but it’s earned it’s place on all those must-see lists. Stop here for classic New Orleans-style beignets. They are truly incredible.
What to Do in New Orleans (Besides Eating, of Course)
National WWII Museum– Congress designated this museum as the official WWII museum. Explore the multiple exhibits and interactive displays for an impactful peek into the events that shaped American and world history.
Sazerac House– The Sazerac cocktail was birthed in New Orleans, and now, visitors can taste and learn more about the spirit that shaped Southern beverages in this museum-style beverage experience.
Bourbon Street– Although Bourbon Street is not my favorite place to visit in New Orleans, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it on this list. The nightlife on Bourbon St. has earned a name for itself, and if you know, you know.
Visit a Jazz Club– Jazz music came to fame in NOLA, and it’s still very much alive there today. Check out the link for a list of popular jazz clubs or just stumble upon your own- they’re everywhere!
Antique Shopping in the French Quarter– French antiques abound in the French Quarter. If you’re in the market for an old clock, a copper lantern, or a Napoleon-Era chair, you’ll find all that and then some in NOLA. It’s definitely worth the afternoon stroll.
Boutique Shopping on Magazine Street– I’ve spent many a pretty penny on magazine street, but you wouldn’t blame me- the home, clothing, and gift shopping here is well-curated and very walkable. Check the link for a list of shops!
King Cake Cinnamon Rolls
I could say a lot more on New Orleans, but instead, I’ll leave you with these king cake cinnamon rolls. King cake is a staple this time of year when the Mardi Gras festivities crank up. I was surprised to learn that king cakes come in all sorts of flavors, and have enjoyed trying different varieties over the years. Today’s recipe features a king cake-style dough all twisted and filled like a cinnamon roll and then baked in a jumbo, overflowing spiral. They’re extravagant and delicious- a fitting tribute for this New Orleans post, if I do say so myself.
To make these king cake cinnamon rolls, we start with the dough. Eggs, sugar, flour, yeast, and loads of butter comes together into a soft and tacky dough. Once risen and doubled in size, the dough is rolled out and filled with a buttery, cinnamon-sugary filling. After being rolled and cut into thick rounds, the dough is baked in a muffin tin until puffed and baked through. Allow to cool completely before topping with the simple glaze and loads of purple, gold, and green sprinkles- the Mardi Gras way!
Whether you enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities or not, these king cake cinnamon rolls and yummy and fun to make. I hope you’ll give them a try and let me know what you think! Happy Baking, ya’ll!
If you like these king cake cinnamon rolls you should try:Print
King Cake Cinnamon Rolls (and my favorite spots in New Orleans!)
These kind cake cinnamon rolls feature a brioche style dough, a brown sugar and cinnamon filling, and are topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze!
- Prep Time: 120
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Bread
For the dough:
- 3/4 cup lukewarm whole milk
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2–1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, with more for flouring surfaces
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the filling:
- 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
For the icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk, plus more as needed.
To prepare the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir to combine the milk, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Add the sugar, yeast, and salt, and stir to combine. On low speed with the paddle attachment, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase to medium speed (I use speed number 4 on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and begin adding the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then continue beating for an additional 4 minutes. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough inside, covering it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest in a warm spot of your kitchen until it has approximately doubled in size, about 1-1/2-2 hours. Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, prepare the filling
- To prepare the filling, stir to combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.
To prepare the rolls:
- After the first rise, roll the dough out into a 11”x21” rectangle. Use an offset spatula to spread the filling onto the rectangle. Starting with one of the long ends, roll the dough into a tight log and pinch the edges together to seal them shut. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut 2” pieces out of the log. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place a roll, face-up, into each compartment of the muffin tin. You will end up with about 12 rolls. Lightly over the tops of the dishes with plastic wrap for about a half hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the rolls have risen, remove the plastic and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before stirring together the icing ingredients and drizzling over top. For thinner icing glaze, add an additional tablespoon of milk until desired consistency is reached. Rewarm and enjoy.