Why leave town?
Lunch at: Hop into one of the newest lunch spots in the city, Wayfare. Located on the ever-burgeoning Freret Street, Wayfare is a sandwich counter “extraordinaire,” offering fresh gourmet versions of classic favorites. Chef Kevin White can whip you up hand-held munchables like the “Knuckle,” with cold roast beef, shoe-string potato crisps, pickled red onion and horseradish aioli on a pretzel bun, or his interpretation of a BLT: fried green tomatoes, Kurobuta bacon and house-made sweet potato hot sauce.
Sip at: Indulge in finely crafted drinks and small bites at Cure. Chosen as one of “America’s Best Cocktail Bars” by “Travel & Leisure,” Cure is the place that launched the revitalization race on Freret Street. Located on the corner of Upperline, this elegant lounge offers painstakingly crafted cocktails made with high-end (and often obscure) liquors like the “Chained Oracle” with Cocchi Americano, Batavia Arrack van Oosten, Marolo Milla Camomile Liqueur, Angostura Bitters and Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, created by mixologist Nick Detrich.
Get funky at: Enjoy live, local and national bands at one of the newest venues in town at the Freret Street Publiq House. Housed in what was formerly the Canal Villere drugstore, Publiq House sports cool drinks and hot shows every night of the week. Owner Rhett Briggs has recently booked musicians like the Brass-A-Holics, The Wooden Wings, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Kelcy Mae.
Brunch at: Stay cool, sit back, relax and delight in a delicious brunch at Sainte Marie Brasserie on Poydras Street. Sister restaurant to Capdeville and Sylvain, Sainte Marie is a casual but elegant restaurant on the edge of the CBD, serving fresh, French-style cuisine plus a few Southern-inspired exceptions. Let Chef Kristen Essig ensnare your taste buds with the favorite Croque Madame, or try her version of Chicken & Waffles drizzled with Crystal Hot Sauce syrup.
Take pride in: Located on the corner of Andrew Higgins Boulevard and Magazine Street, the National World War II Museum is dedicated to highlighting the U.S. contribution to the Allied victory in World War II. In 2003, the museum was designated by the United States Congress as “America’s National World War II Museum,” and it maintains an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. Explore a museum dedicated to one of the most pivotal and poignant eras of our country’s history and honor our veterans who offered their lives for our freedom.
Dine at: Sit under the stars and watch the streetcar rattle by at Herbsaint Bar & Restaurant. Chef Donald Link’s flagship restaurant is located on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Girod Street in the Warehouse District, and is so popular with both locals and tourists that you would be well advised to make a reservation. The oft-changed menu features a farm-to-table experience with French, Italian and Southern-inspired dishes like Jumbo Lump Crab Meat with Watermelon Gazpacho and Muscovy Duck Leg Confit with Dirty Rice and Citrus Gastrique. Don’t you dare skip dessert, because Pastry Chef Rhonda Ruckman will blow your mind—and your palate—with dishes like Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake with Salted Caramel, Cashew Ice Cream and Cocoa Nib Caramel Corn.
Revive at: Way down in the Marigny, on the corner of Chartres and Spain, lies a wonderful neighborhood restaurant called Cake Cafe & Bakery. Owner and head baker Steve Himelfarb started selling his home-made chocolate cakes door to door, but now you can enjoy his delicious baked wonders at Cake Cafe. Though you may not want cake for breakfast, would you be able to refuse a Boston Cream Pie Donut? Or how about my favorite: a Crab Sandwich with fresh, local blue crab, thick-cut bacon, melted brie and sautéed spinach on grilled challah with a perfectly-brewed cappuccino?
Appreciate the past at: The Old U.S. Mint (a.k.a. New Orleans Mint), located in the French Quarter, has distinct recognition because it was the only mint in the country to print both American and Confederate money. Although operations halted in 1909, it has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is currently the oldest surviving structure to have served as a U.S. Mint. Now a part of the Louisiana State Museum, visitors can see exhibits of the coinage and minting activity and archives of historical maps and documents, including French and Spanish colonial records. Plus, the Mint recently started offering “Music at the Mint,” featuring performances by accomplished musicians like Christian Winther and Sybil Gage.
Relax at: Open for lunch and dinner every day of the week except Wednesdays, Maurepas Foods is a unique, yet casual dining experience located in the Bywater. Chef Michael Doyle bases the ever-changing menu on produce and meats that are seasonally available from local vendors in New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf region, so you can be sure of fresh, deliciously crafted dishes every time you dine. Try amazing plates like Corn Soup with honeydew melon and salsa verde, Duck Salad with pickled leeks, smoked tomato dressing and farro puffs or Curried Ribs with new potatoes and lemongrass ponzu.