Kick off the New Year enjoying all of the delights our fabulous city has to offer … within reason, of course!
Lunch at: If you’ve been hankering for boiled, local seafood or an outstanding po-boy, look no further than Bevi Seafood Co. on the corner of North Carrollton Avenue and Bienville Street. Located in the building that once housed KJean, Bevi Seafood Co. is the second creation of Chef Justin LeBlanc (who opened the popular original on Airline Drive in Metairie less than one year ago). Stop in for a Messi Swine po-boy with pork belly, cochon, ham and bacon-fat mayo — or a plate of Canebrake barbecue shrimp — and maybe pick up a sack of raw oysters for dinner on your way out.
236 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 488-7503, beviseafoodco.com
Sip at: Located inside the old American Can building, Pearl Wine Co. is a wine bar within a wine shop that features quite an impressive selection of vintages both by the bottle and by the glass. You can purchase a bottle right there in the store and, with a modest corkage fee, enjoy the very best vino of your choosing. They also offer free wine tastings, a great variety of cocktails and beer, plus a featured food truck (like Foodie Call) and live local music every week. Even better, if you want to stay at home and keep your wine to yourself, Pearl Wine Co. offers delivery at a very reasonable fee.
3700 Orleans Ave., (504) 483-6314, pearlwineco.com
Dance (and Bowl) at: A unique music venue for almost 30 years, Rock ’n’ Bowl may have changed its location, but it hasn’t changed its style. Put on your bowling shoes, and dance in the lane, as you strike to the sounds of local music from performers like Amanda Shaw, The Iguanas, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Lil Nathan & the Big Tymers, Clockwork Elvis, Benny Grunch and the Bunch, and The Mixed Nuts. Rock ’n’ Bowl also offers a full menu if you’re feeling peckish, featuring Straight Stick Ranch burgers, pepperoni pizza or a fried bread pudding po-boy.
3000 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 861-1700, rocknbowl.com
Revive at: Start out your day with a delicious cuppa joe and some incredible pastries at Rivista on Magazine Street. Owned and operated by chefs Lisa and Chris Barbato, this cozy little cafe is bound to blow you away with their own flavored coffee drinks like tres leches, chocolate turtle, cinnamon dulce or chocolate coconut — all made with Illy Coffee — and that’s not all. Rivista offers breakfast Tuesday through Friday, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, featuring all of their house made muffins, scones and bagels (some are even gluten free!) plus bacon and egg biscuits, BLTs with fresh avocado and much more. Plus, if you can’t tear yourself away from all the goodies, you can easily just hang out till you’re hungry for lunch!
4226 Magazine St., (504) 371-5558, facebook.com/RivistaNola
Get Your Hands Dirty at: Spend the day at Hands In Clay, a unique gallery and teaching studio designed to enable even the most inexperienced to delve into the wonderful world of pottery. Offering both beginner and intermediate class levels, this wholly immersive experience is relatively inexpensive and taught by patient and attentive instructors. Dive into your inside artist, and create shapes that appeal to your emotions and inner personality. You’ll never know until you try! Classes are offered in three-week stretches all year long, and both afternoon and evening classes are available.
4125 Magazine St., (504) 269-1300, handsinclay.com
Dine at: Located on the corner of Magazine and Milan streets, Magasin Cafe is one of a wave of new Vietnamese restaurants that opened across the East Bank of New Orleans over the past several years. Squeeze into the tiny, casual eatery, and get your fill of pho, from rare filet mignon to meatball and brisket. Magasin also features a wide array of spring rolls from grilled pork and lemongrass chicken to shiitake mushroom and fried tofu. Not-so-Vietnamese dishes also make an appearance on the menu — like the American Chinese crab rangoons and Japanese udon.
4201 Magazine St., (504) 896-7611, magasincafe.com
Brunch at: Carrollton Market is a fairly new Riverbend restaurant located in the Victorian house-turned-restaurant that was once home to One Restaurant and Bar. Owner and Chef Jason Goodenough is already wowing local and national critics with his unique and unassuming interpretation of modern Southern cuisine. Pop in for an elegant Sunday brunch, featuring dishes like steak frites and eggs; Chef Jason’s pancakes with Benton’s bacon, brunch poutine with sausage gravy, Creole cream cheese-stuffed French toast or a homemade cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing.
8132 Hampson St., (504) 252-9928, carrolltonmarket.com
Walk it off at: Work off your enormous brunch on the Mississippi River Trail, a paved path that runs along the levee with stunning views of the river and the surrounding ’burbs. You can take a stroll from the Riverbend to Audubon Park and The Fly — where lots of locals convene to walk their dogs, barbecue, play Frisbee and fly kites that ride off the gusting winds from the Mississippi River. Although the trail stretches almost 3,000 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, we suggest that you start small and stay within the parish limits … for now!
Relax at: Beloved local Chef Lindsey McLellan, from Lola’s on Esplanade Avenue, recently opened a casual Mexican eatery — dubbed El Pavo Real — located on the corner of South Broad Street and Fontainebleau Drive. Housed in a light pink building that was once a corner drugstore, it’s the perfect spot to relax with the family, sip house-made lime aid and share oodles of authentic Mexican dishes. Dig into pork-filled empanadas, Gulf fish and octopus ceviche, black bean soup with crema, mouth-watering carnitas, rich mole poblano and fried fish tacos … and don’t forget dessert!
4401 Broad St., (504) 266-2022, elpavorealnola.com