Friday, July 19, 2013

Very Berry Banana Yogurt Ice Pops and our New Orleans Family Vacation


Did you know that City Park in New Orleans is 50% larger that Central Park in New York?  With more activities than you can shake a stick at, certainly you will understand when I tell you we dedicated an entire vacation day to City Park.  We are so excited to have been invited to enjoy a family vacation in New Orleans and thrilled to share our vacation with you.

We set out on what seemed like a rainy day with umbrellas and a poncho for Munchkin.  We were uncertain how the day would play out, but we went with it.  We had plans to visit all of the attractions at the park.  The Besthoff Sculpture Garden and New Orleans Museum of Art, Story Land, New Orleans Botanical Gardens, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, boating on Big Lake and City Putt.

We hopped on the Canal Streetcar.  It takes you to the edge of City Park.  From there you can enjoy a leisurely stroll among the grove of live oaks.  With over 20,000 trees in the park it is a spectacular sight to behold.


After a lovely walk through the park we headed to we started off at Story Land.  You should have seen Munchkin's eyes light up when she saw her favorite story book characters larger than life.  She climbed every ladder, went into every story house, posed with every character and slid down the lightening fast dragon slide.  We literally had to pry her away to head into Carousel Gardens.  But, once we were there she lit up like a light bulb.


Well it sprinkled here and there, but that didn't stop us.  There are so many rides to choose from and she rode every single one that she could.  Granted she is still a munchkin so she was not tall enough for a few rides, but trust me whether you are 3 or 93, this is a great park.  We went to City Park on a weekday which was one of our smartest choices, there were no lines.  We rode every ride and rode them over and over and then some.  The star of the show was by far the carousel.


It is absolutely stunning and AIR CONDITIONED.  Its a great place to cool down and so much fun.  We went back to the carousel 3 times and rode it again and again and again each time.  Every time it would slow down she would yell to the attendant.  "Can we go again please?"

After mommy and daddy were completely worn out we headed back to Story Land to climb every ladder, slide down the slides, climb into the fire truck and do it all over again.  Chad even went down the dragon slide.  City park is amazing and decided that another trip to New Orleans is a must and City Park is on the top of our to do list for a 2nd trip!




We got back on the streetcar and got off at Canal and Carrollton.  Just about a hop, skip and a jump up the street you will find Angelo Brocato's Ice Cream.  From the outside you may not realize what awaits you.  But inside Angelo's you will find the most heavenly gelato you may ever taste.  It was rich and scrumptious.  We enjoyed 2 different flavors each.  Their stracciatella gelato (Italian chocolate chip) is out of this world!  Angelo's is on our list for our next trip and I assure you it is worth more than one stop.  We didn't have an opportunity to try their cannoli and other handmade desserts, but trust me.  We will next time.


If you are looking for sweets you have to check out Sucré.  From the moment we walked in my head was swirling with choices.  Everything from hand made gourmet chocolates to impeccably crafted desserts awaits you.  We sampled a few chocolates and I am pretty sure that we drooled all over the dessert case while we were gawking looking at all the choices. 


In the end, we were drawn to the refreshing gelato and sorbet counter.  We were each scooped a generous bowl of our favorite flavors.  What struck me was the lemon sorbet.  Smooth, almost creamy and the flavor was truly outrageous.  I promise you I am working on a lemon sorbet, but to create one as fabulous will take some development.  


Being we were on a frozen treat kick all week, we had to pop into Meltdown while we were in the Frenh Quarter.  It is the consummate popsicle shop.  Fabulous flavor combinations, all made from organic local ingredients.  We ate the Strawberry and the Salted Caramel.  Both were absolutely scrumptious and I am anxious to try more flavors on our next trip.

After enjoying such fantastic frozen treats in New Orleans we knew we wanted to share Munchkins new favorite pop with you. Our Very Berry Banana Yogurt Ice Pop is fabulously fruity and flavorful.  Plain yogurt combined with smashed bananas and swirled in your favorite summer berries.  We love strawberries, raspberries and blueberries so we loaded them up with all of them. With just a touch of honey makes these incredibly healthy popsicles that I am thrilled to call dessert.  I highly recommend you try these.

Another restaurant we stopped at was Huck Finn's Restaurant and Sports Bar.  We were tipped off that they have the best barbecue shrimp there.  To be honest its the first time either of us had the dish.  Either way it was fantastic! Sauteed Louisiana Gulf Shrimp in a savory sauce finished with butter and lemon juice. Served over grits and a side of French bread..  How much more New Orleans can you get?  

My favorite part of the evening was the children's menu.  What did my picky 3 year old want all week?  PB & J of course.  What does Huck Finn's have on their kids menu?  PB & J served with french fries.  She was thrilled and so were we.  The simplest things can really make a dining experience exceptional and that was awesome!

Just down Canal Street a few blocks from the JW Marriott is the Audubon Insectarium and Butterfly Garden.  To be honest the idea of visiting an insectarium did not appeal to any of us {{{bugs, eeew!}}} BUT!  The butterfly garden sounded lovely.  I have to say we were pleasantly surprised.  Our favorite part was the "Award Night" all senses movie and the butterfly garden, of course.


The butterfly garden was amazing.  Set inside a Japanese garden complete with a bridge over a lovely koi pond.  There were free flying butterflies everywhere.  They were fluttering all around and landing on you if you were perfectly still.  We took the opportunity to watch them feed and a few even landed on our shoulders and hair.  I even had one on my hand for a brief moment.  It was a completely amazing experience.


We left the butterfly garden and headed over to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.  It sits on the Mississippi River right outside the French Quarter.  The aquarium is fabulous.  The tanks and exhibits are vibrant and engaging.  My 3 year old was in love.


We hit the aquarium at the perfect time.  We caught the divers in the Caribbean reef walk-through tunnel feeding the sting rays and also happened upon the penguin feeding.  We could not have planned it any better.  Well, except I do wish we had bought the back stage penguin pass.  The aquarium is rated one of the top in America, and I see why! 

Our entire family vacation in New Orleans was awesome!  We were not even out of the city when we started talking about another trip to NOLA.   There is so much to do in New Orleans with your family, I am completely amazing and impressed.  


Even though we packed an entire week full of fabulous family fun, we still couldn't fit it all in.  I know we can fill another entire week with New Orleans sights.  We really wanted to take a swamp tour, plantation tour, Children's Museum, World War II Museum, see the rest of City Park, a gazillion restaurants are still to be visited and so many other activities are on our list.

We are thrilled to have share our family vacation in New Orleans with you!  Make sure you check out the rest of our trip:
The Best Ever Strawberry Daiquiri, Cocktails and Tours in New Orleans 
 
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Very Berry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

serves 10 (4 ounce molds)

2½ large ripe bananas
1½ cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup blueberries, smashed
¼ cup raspberries
8 strawberries, sliced lengthwise

Smash bananas with a fork, in a large mixing bowl, until smooth.  Add yogurt and honey.  Stir to combine.  Add smashed blueberries and swirl through banana yogurt mixture.  Evenly distribute remaining berries into molds.  Pour yogurt into molds.  Tap molds on the counter to move the yogurt all the way down into the mold.

Cover and add popsicle sticks.  Freeze for 4-24 hours.  Serve and devour!  

Click here for a printable version of this recipe - The Slow Roasted Italian.com 

Disclosure:  We are working in partnership with the New Orleans Board of Tourism and we have been compensated with a family vacation to New Orleans.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for such a beautiful review of New Orleans. I am from there and it's nice to see you saw all of the love there that I see. Every place you listed are on my favorite stops within the city.
    P.S. You really need to get the cannoli next time!

    ReplyDelete

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