Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cheesy Southwestern Jalapeno Beer Brat Dog and a Family Vacation in New Orleans Continues

The next few days of vacation were fantastic.  The New Orlean’s Audubon Zoo is truly worth dedicating a full day to it or you can combine it with Magazine Street shopping and tasting, like we did to make the most of a day of vacation.  We are so grateful to have been invited to enjoy a family vacation in New Orleans. 

Make sure you check out our first vacation post Frozen Café Au Laits, Family Vacation in New Orleans and a GIVEAWAY!

Spending a day at the zoo in New Orleans may very well change your mind about zoo’s all together.  After purchasing the Audubon Experience Package we were so excited to visit the zoo, aquarium, insectarium/butterfly garden and IMAX theatre.  We dedicated most of the day to the zoo and Magazine Street (we will share our visits to the other Audubon attractions on Friday – so make sure you check back).

Public transportation is absolutely fabulous in New Orleans, between walking, and the air conditioned streetcars, buses and taxis you are completely covered.  We decided to take the bus straight to the zoo from Canal Street.  It picks up within a stone’s throw of the JW Marriott.

The Audubon Zoo is truly spectacular.  It is set up like a theme park with the exhibits spread along the incredibly vast property.  Luckily, they have a fabulous train that you can take around most of the zoo and get off and back on at specific stops.  Visiting during the summer I recommend the train to take a break.  The Cool Zoo is a fantastic way to beat the heat and the kids LOVE it!

Munchkin had so much fun. Everything from the Asian Domain and African Savana to the Louisiana Swamp can be found at this magnificent zoo.  After a fun ride on the train, playing on the playground and some shaved ice we ducked into the café for a little refreshment and called it a day.

There is so much to do.  You really need at least 3 hours or more to enjoy the zoo.  We definitely need another trip to New Orleans and the zoo is on our list for another visit.   

TRAVELER TIP:  During the summer months be sure to visit the zoo in the early part of the day.  It gets hot and the animals will be sleeping in the afternoon.

After a fantastic time at the zoo we jumped on the bus and headed back up Magazine Street.  We hopped off at Dat Dog to grab something to eat.  It is amazing how hungry you get in New Orleans.   We were greeted by a menu board filled with more sausage and hot dog options than you can imagine.  After you choose your ‘dog’ you still have a plethora of toppings to consider.  Honestly I really never considered dressed up ‘dogs’ before.  But the prospect of gourmet dogs had my mind reeling with possibilities.  We ordered our food and discussed this inspiration.

Once we got home I got to work on these ideas.  Our very first Dat Dog inspired gourmet dog is the Cheesy Southwestern Jalapeno Beer Brat Dog.  I have to tell you it is truly spectacular!  We ate them for lunch and dinner and wished we had more.  The combination of southwestern flavors and the perfectly grilled brat is enough to make your head spin.

After an awesome Dat Dog experience we headed over to Sucre for dessert.  Truly a must on your to do list in New Orleans.  The confections were absolutely works of art and so tasty you will wish you could move in.  I will tell you all about it on Friday, so make sure you check back.

Completely and totally filled up we jumped on the bus and rode a few blocks to the shopping areas.  We stopped at Orient Expressed and visited their fabulous kids boutique and picked out the most charming dress for Munchkin.  She was having a “I missed my nap again” toddler meltdown so we graciously checked out and decided to walk for a bit.  Thankfully the rhythm of the stroller on the sidewalk puts her to sleep like magic.

We strolled Magazine Street and did some shopping.  Fleurty Girl is a great stop with nearly every possible NOLA souvenir you could want, not to mention free fans.  If I have one important tip this is it.  TRAVELER TIP:  Stop into Fleurty Girl to do your souvenir shopping early in your trip.  While you are there pick up a free fan.  You will thank me.

We dedicated an entire day to Decatur Street and Jackson Square.  The people are fascinating; fabulous food, great music and fun entertainers everywhere.  Heading up Decatur Street you will run smack dab into Central Grocery on your way to The French Market.  Honestly Canal Street to Esplanade is merely a mile, so walking is perfect and there is so much to see along the way.  Every time we walked past Southern Candymakers they were outside giving out samples!  SCORE.  So we grabbed a sample and kept walking.  I do regret not buying pralines to take home.  Thankfully, they have an online store. 

Café Du Monde is 8 blocks up and you can hit the ‘carry out’ window to grab a quick Frozen Café Au Lait along the way.  Just across the street is The Pepper Palace; filled with row after row of spectacular salsas, hot sauces, seasonings and more.  With a tasting station like nothing you have experienced before it is must during your NOLA trip.

After snacking on salsas and chips head over to Central Grocery.  It is an experience unto itself.  Aside from the most delicious muffaletta I have ever eaten the store itself looks like it stepped out of the 1950’s.  Grab the muffaletta and eat it on the way, and expect to eat a ‘half’ by yourself.  It is so good!

Next keep an eye out for The Little Toy Shop.  It is absolutely adorable, we picked up a souvenir for Munchkin and kept walking.  There are shops for everything you can imagine and Aunt Sally’s Praline’s will certainly draw you in with the scent of fresh praline’s wafting down the sidewalk.  We visited home décor shops, a Harley shop, and everything in between.

At long last you will come upon The French Market.  It is comprised of a farmers market and flea market all in one.  Fresh produce, scrumptious food stands and table after table of fabulous NOLA finds.  The food, the shops and produce all make it a great stop on your trip.

Well after a full day we went back to our hotel to freshen up and then headed out to stroll around Royal and Bourbon Streets.  The people of New Orleans are fabulous and contrary to popular belief…  Bourbon Street can be fabulous with a toddler (if you follow the tips I will give you) and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Tomorrow.  Make sure you check back.  You are going to love it!


Yield: 4
Author: Donna Elick
Cheesy Southwestern Jalapeno Beer Brat Dog

Cheesy Southwestern Jalapeno Beer Brat Dog

The next few days of vacation were fantastic. The New Orlean’s Audubon Zoo is truly worth dedicating a full day to it or you can combine it with Magazine Street shopping and tasting, like we did to make the most of a day of vacation. We are so grateful to have been invited to enjoy a family vacation in New Orleans.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min


  • 4 large beer brat sausages
  • 4 hoagie buns (a little smaller than your brats)
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can S&W Chili Beans (or ranch style beans)
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped fire roasted green chiles
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapenos


  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Place brats on grill. Cook until internal temperature reaches 170°F, about 25 minutes. Brats should be cooked through without charring the outside. If the casing starts to burn, lower the heat or transfer brats to indirect heat. You can leave your burners on and move brats to an area where there is no flame and lower the lid.
  3. Meanwhile, combine beans and chiles in a small saucepan and heat to a boil. Reduce to simmer until brats are done.
  4. When brats are almost done cooking, place buns on grill (inside down) for about 1 minute, until they are golden brown. Remove buns, place brat on bun, add a scoop of beans, top with 1/4 cup of cheese and a spoonful of jalapenos.
  5. Serve and enjoy!


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. Looks like such a fun time you had, wonderful photos as usual! Love those brats. I grew up in Wisconsin, I think they might have put brats in our baby bottles!

  2. Sounds like a very fun trip. I hate to tell you though, I think you got snookered at the zoo. I don't think those are REAL elephants playing in the water ;) :)


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