Scrumptious summertime picks for the perfect weekend in New Orleans.
Lunch at – Enjoy the warm summer weather in the shady, open-air dining room at Cafe Degas. Located on Esplanade Avenue, this quaint French bistro has been a favorite of locals and visitors for over 30 years. Chef Laurent Rochereux lures diners with dishes like Café Degas’ famed La Gratinee D’Oignon (French onion soup), La Salade aux Choux de Bruxelle (Brussels sprouts salad with gorgonzola and bacon) or L’Onglet de Boeuf (seared hanger steak with French fries).
Indulge at – Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Original Angelo Brocato’s. Opened over a century ago, this landmark Italian ice cream and pastry shop is still run by the Brocatos, presently the third generation. Delight in a rich, iced cappuccino with one of many Authentic Italian desserts like biscotti, spumoni, cannoli, gelato, ice cream and ices. Bet you won’t be able to walk out of there without sinking your teeth into a delicate, custard-filled Napoleon…we dare you.
Get funky at – Boogie while you bowl or bowl while you boogie at Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl on South Carrolton Avenue. This combination bowling alley/music venue has long been a local favorite, a place where you can stay in form and listen to performances by local musicians like Geno Delafose, The Yat Pack, Rockin’ Dopsie & the Zydeco Twisters and Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue. If you get hungry after a rough night of bowling and dancing, grab a bite from Johnny Blancher’s Front Porch Grill, which serves items like house-ground burgers, meat pies, fried pickles and grilled boudin.
Revive at – Luxuriate in a delicious “cuppa joe” at Merchant, an elegant coffee/wine shop in the CBD. Located in the new Maritime Building on Common Street, Merchant is the invention of business partners Rosario Tortorice and Marcel Wisznia, who sought to offer New Orleans the best of the best. Serving Illy espressos, cappuccinos and machiatos pulled from a custom-built XP1, this unique shop also offers pastries from Maple Street Patisserie, sweet and savory crepes and pressed sandwiches like duck confit with fig preserves and Gruyere on a French baguette.
Escape to – Let The Theatres at Canal Place immerse you in an afternoon filled with adventure, mystery or romance, as only the silver screen can do. Each of the five theaters offers the latest in digital projectors and sound, ensuring a top-notch, visceral experience with every film. Also, if you’re looking to snack on something a little more substantial than popcorn, Chef Adolfo Garcia heads Gusto, the theater’s very own cafe, where you can munch on salumi plates, glazed duck breast salad, flatbread pizzas and panini. You can even kick up your typical movie popcorn with white truffle oil or Parmigiano cheese.
Dine at – Two amazing chefs, Alon Shaya and John Besh, came together to create the extremely popular Domenica, and it shows. Located in the lavishly renovated Roosevelt Hotel, this Italian restaurant offers rustic, homey cuisine and house-baked breads, plus dishes like Vegetable Minestrone, Squid Ink Tagliolini, Lasagne Bolognese and what some believe is the finest pizza in the city. It would be a mistake to send for the check before indulging in a dessert like their Tartufo, a dark chocolate semifreddo with candied orange.
Brunch at – Sing praises of the bountiful brunch to be had at Redemption: Orleans Revival Cuisine. Chef Greg Picolo will enlighten your senses at this gorgeous church-turned-restaurant located on the corner of Iberville and North Scott Streets in Mid-City. You’ll be smitten with flavors that will illuminate your palate in dishes like a Crab Cake Benedict with fried green tomatoes and truffle-scented hollandaise or Tenderloin of Pork Grillades served with applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar cheese grits. Sunday never tasted so good.
Gaze at – Open since 1911, the New Orleans Museum of Art has a fabulous permanent collection of over 40,000 objects, not to mention a constant influx of new exhibitions from around the globe. Escape the hottest part of the day and gaze in wonder at local and international art, including treasures from such well-known masters as Degas, Picasso, Miro and more. Just recently, the museum commissioned Nigerian-born Odili Donald Odita to transform the first floor elevator lobby with a kaleidoscope mural. Additionally, an exhibition by Rashaad Newsome recently opened that features his interest in ornament, systems of heraldry and Baroque grandeur.
Relax at – Ask any New Orleanian where to find a great po-boy and nine times out of ten the answer will be Parkway Bakery & Tavern. Tucked away on Hagan Avenue near Bayou St. John, this neighborhood shop has been around for over a century, serving up a delectable selection of sandwiches on fresh Leidenheimer bread. Let Chef Justin Kennedy treat you to the traditional fried shrimp or roast beef po-boy, fully dressed and accompanied by sweet potato fries. Or, you could try hot sausage, grilled smoked alligator sausage or the Parkway Golden Grilled Reuben with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing.