Where to Eat in New Orleans | Willa Jean
On a recent trip to New Orleans for the ShiftCon 2016 Influencer Conference, we stopped by Willa Jean for lunch and were blown away by the savory Southern-inspired plates and bustling atmosphere. Willa Jean is tucked away in the Central Business District of New Orleans, a bit off the beaten tourist path of the French Quarter and well worth the slight detour. Chef Kelly Fields opened Willa Jean in 2015 and it has garnered both local and national recognition ever since.
As soon as we heard Willa Jean served Frosé, we were in! As most of you know we love FROSÉ and you can read how we make it here Also, not to mention the restaurant is on a lot of must eat at lists, including one of our favorite food bloggers, A Taste of Koko from Austin, TX!
The restaurant was lively and laid-back, the perfect place for a leisurely weekday lunch or festive weekend brunch! We both ordered a glass of the Frosé and we can assure you it did not disappoint! In fact, we enjoyed the Frosé so much that we decide to get one more to-go since you can do that in New Orleans (no open container law y’all)!
SHOP OUR ROSÉ FAVES
Willa Jean also has an amazing bakery that serves a variety of tantalizing goodies made fresh daily. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to try any of the baked goods this time around, but we’d definitely recommend not overlooking the bakery counter if you come to Willa Jean. Our mouths are watering just looking at the Daily Specials listed below – Nutella Buns? Pistachio Chocolate Croissants? Yes please!
We ordered the Artichoke “Cheese Business” Dip to start with and it was decadently rich and indulgent. The lightness of the artichokes balanced out the richness of the savory baked cheese resulting in a heavenly dip perfect for spreading onto the accompanying crostini for the ultimate bite of appetizer nirvana.
Between the refreshing Frosé and the savory Artichoke “Cheese Business” Dip, the meal was off to a great start and our taste-buds were delighted! Although we didn’t get to try it, our waiter said the Willa Jean Cornbread is another crowd favorite.
For our main dish, we decided to try the NOLA-Style BBQ Shrimp Tartine. After all, you’ve got to order barbecued shrimp when in New Orleans as it’s one of their unique local specialties! In New Orleans, barbecued shrimp is not what you’d typically think of as BBQ if you’re from the South. Rather, it’s shrimp sautéed on the stove-top in a butter sauce usually spiked with Worcestershire, Creole seasoning, and other spices.
We didn’t get the recipe for the BBQ Shrimp at Willa Jean, but wished we had because the dish definitely packed a flavor punch that awakened the senses! The spice from the BBQ Shrimp was perfectly balanced by the creaminess of the burrata and the sourdough was perfect for soaking up the flavorful BBQ broth. This dish was a definite win and we’d order it again in a heartbeat. We’ve heard the Fried Chicken Sandwich served with serrano slaw and a homemade Hawaiian roll is also a great choice.
At the end of our memorable meal, our friendly waiter (who also happens to be a poet – instagram: @cubsthepoet) wrote us a creative and inspiring poem on the back of our check that incorporated his recommendations of other restaurants and bars to check out during our stay in New Orleans. He added a depth of genuineness and sincerity to our meal experience that you don’t often come by and it was one of the many factors that made dining at Willa Jean one of the highlights of our trip!
Looking back, we thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely afternoon meal at Willa Jean and we can’t wait to go back! Next time you find yourself in New Orleans, you need to check this place out. We promise you won’t be disappointed!
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We’d love to know what your favorite restaurants are in New Orleans! Tell us in the comments below!
Barbie & Emily