Home FOOD & DINING Weekend Cheat Sheet: Everything Al Fresco!

Weekend Cheat Sheet: Everything Al Fresco!

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The birds are chirping; the flowers are blooming; and the weather is warming — springtime in New Orleans is an excellent season to enjoy everything al fresco.

 

Friday

Lunch at: Relax on the patio on an oak-lined avenue and enjoy a carnivorous lunch at Toups’ Meatery. Just a hop away from New Orleans City Park, this neighborhood restaurant is famed Chef Isaac Toups’ flagship eatery. Leave your vegan friends at home and dive into a meat-filled paradise with dishes like a seared foie gras terrine with Bellegarde Bakery bread, fresh-from-the-fryer cracklin’s, confit chicken thighs or a winning Toups’ Burger with a patty made from ground pork and beef topped with freshly shredded cheddar and thick, smoky bacon. 845 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 252-4999, toupsmeatery.com

Take a Hike at: Enjoy the scenery while hiking The Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting neighborhoods from New Orleans City Park in Mid-City to Louis Armstrong Park in Tremé. The Greenway features a paved, 12-foot wide path, new recreation fields, basketball courts and outdoor fitness parks. Landscaping improvements along The Lafitte Greenway include the installation of 500 shade trees and native plant meadows, plus safety features like LED, energy-efficient trail lighting and signalized high visibility crosswalks. Remember to bring friends and stay safe, while exploring this landmark greenway. lafittegreenway.org

Quaff at: Spend an evening under the stars in the beer garden sipping well-crafted brews at Parleaux Beer Lab in Bywater. One of our city’s many new micro-breweries, Parleaux is always rotating what’s on tap from their Tom Hayze Pale Ale and Proton Magnet IPA to Shirlee’s Holiday Saison and If It Ain’t Baroque Vienna-style lager. The Bywater brewery also offers live music from local musicians, and food pop-ups and trucks like Bukoo Buns and The Picnic Basket. 634 Lesseps St., (504) 702-8433, parleauxbeerlab.com

Saturday

Revive at: Located in a historic bank building on the corner of S. Carrollton Avenue and Oak Street, Rue De La Course has been providing a java fix for New Orleanians for almost 30 years. Most recently, this iconic cafe has been offering specialty coffee drinks brewed from beans roasted locally at Mojo Coffee Roasters and pastries both sweet and savory from La Louisiane. Grab a cuppa joe and step outside to relax at one of Rue’s many sidewalk tables and watch the St. Charles Streetcar rumble by1140 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 861-4343, ruedelacourse.com

Roll Along the River at: In an effort to encourage a healthy lifestyle and to improve local traffic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana has launched a bike-share program called Blue Bikes. Sign up for a membership either online or through the mobile app, and, in the blink of an eye (and for a minimal hourly fee), select a Blue Bike from racks strategically located all over the city. Grab a few Blue Bikes and spend an afternoon cycling down the levee with the whole family. bluebikesnola.com

Dine at: Lounge outside at a picnic table under a string of lights at MoPho, the flagship restaurant of talented local Chef Michael Gulotta. Its tagline, “Southeast Asia by way of New Orleans,” says a lot about the cuisine at MoPho. The menu features dishes like spring rolls with fried Gulf shrimp, crispy fried P&J oysters with pickled blue cheese, slow roasted lamb in green curry, and pepper jelly-braised Cedar Key clams with smoked pork jowl and annatto beignets. The Mid-City restaurant also offers assorted flavors of pho with ingredients like pepper-braised tripe or roasted tofu and an excellent selection of house-crafted cocktails. 514 City Park Ave., (504) 482-6845, mophonola.com

Sunday

Brunch at: Recently opened near the Freret Street corridor, Bearcat Cafe is a health-focused restaurant offering breakfast and lunch. At this earthy yet modern cafe, one can order from the Good Cat list, featuring dishes like the vegan Bearcat tofu scramble with crispy potatoes and black bean sausage or a farro bowl with almonds, oyster mushrooms and fennel. They also have the Bad Cat list, with items such as Gulf shrimp and grits and brisket hash with decadent Mornay sauce. Bearcat also features an excellent coffee selection with drinks brewed from California roaster Equator Coffee & Teas, and everything is served off of MM Clay tableware handmade in San Francisco. 2521 Jena St., (504) 309-9011, bearcatcafe.com

Paddle Through History at: Grab your friends and family for a two-hour kayaking tour on the Bayou St. John with Kayak-iti-Yat. Perfect for inexperienced kayakers, this community-focused adventure explores the unique architecture of the area from a West Indes-style property and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired homes to the historic Pitot House and Fair Grounds Race Course, one of the oldest horse-racing tracks in the country. The tour also highlights the local wildlife, you know … just in case you spot a gator. kayakitiyat.com

Relax at: Grab a margarita and kick it on the patio at Santa Fe Restaurant, a spot that serves Spanish and Southwest-inspired cuisine on Esplanade Avenue. Start with complimentary salsa and chips, and dive right into a dish of sumptuous ceviche with Gulf shrimp, calamari and avocado. Mix and match tacos made with fresh flour tortillas and fillings ranging from roasted pulled pork and grilled chicken to blackened fish and soft shell crab. Santa Fe is also one of the few restaurants in the city to offer a Venezuelan-style seafood paella made with Jerez wine. 3201 Esplanade Ave., (504) 948-0077, santafenola.com