Hats off to Ray Gil, Director of Food & Beverage at the lovely Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans.  Ray went out of his way to take excellent care of us the other day.  We had a client meeting there and Ray helped arrange a special welcome amenity for our customer upon her arrival.  You know how sometimes a person goes way out of their way to be kind, gracious, funny, friendly and professional?  That’s Ray Gil.

I told Ray that he has one of the best jobs in the country – designing and overseeing the food and beverage operation in one of the world’s top dining cities, New Orleans.  I think New Orleans tops my list of favorite dining cities as one just can’t get a bad meal or bad service in this town.  I think hospitality may have been invented in New Orleans – they just get it.

Some of my favorite places to frequent are Mr. B’s for dinner, the Gumbo Shop for lunch, Brennan’s for brunch, and two visits per day to Cafe du Monde (am & pm!).  I’ve taken a cooking classes at several places in New Orleans and equipped with recipes I’ve recreated some amazing Creole cuisine in my own kitchen.  Although the shops in the French Quarter sell all of the special herbs and spices used in this delicious gastronomy you can easily get most of these unique flavorings at shops like Penzeys in store and online.  It’s just fun to shop for inimitable seasonings that are inexpensive to buy and easy to wrap and give away as little gifts from your visit here.

New Orleans has one of the best airports in the country making it super efficient for your guests arriving from almost anywhere in the world.  That’s something to cross off your list of worries when planning offsite meetings – easy airport access that continues through the quick ride into the heart of the city from the airport.  There are excellent ground transportation companies in the city to help you with group transfers on large vehicles and taxis are always plentiful day and night.

Keep the Hyatt French Quarter and New Orleans high on your list of cities to visit – with your meeting guests and on your own.  You’ll be glad you did!