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Photo by David Spielman

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(NO)LA Confidential

New Orleans locals dish on the best of the Big Easy.

 

There’s nothing better than landing in a city with some insider travel tips in your back pocket. So with New Orleans on our mind lately (check out our NOLA feature in the May/June 2013 issue), we asked some of our favorite local bartenders, writers and chefs what their top pick would be for a place not to miss in their hometown. From neighborhood pubs to sandwich shops to cocktail spots, here’s what they had to say.

 

Neal Bodenheimer (Cure, Bellocq, Cane & Table)
“I'd say that my favorite thing at the moment is the crispy, slow-roasted pork belly, fried Brussels sprouts, pickled greens and pork jus at Tivoli & Lee. It's a simple but incredible combo thanks to the deft execution of Chef Michael Nirenberg. He is definitely a name to watch in NOLA over the next few years.”

Wayne Curtis (Author and Imbibe Contributor)
“Stroll down Frenchmen Street after 9 p.m. or so. It's a collection of eight or 10 clubs in a two-block stretch, and music spills out into the street. Most clubs don't charge a cover, so you can stop in and check out the band. Stick around and order a drink if you'd like. Then move on and try something else. There's drinking here, but it's not Bourbon Street. People come here for the music first and foremost, the drinking is incidental.”

 

Nick Detrich (Cane & Table)
“Grab a few pounds of crawfish from Big Fisherman on Magazine, and a 6-pack of NOLA Hopitouldas from the Breaux mart right there and take it up to The Fly on the River Bend. Watch the dogs, runners, kites and the Mississippi go by.”

Avery Glasser (Bittermens)
“For me, it's dinner at Sylvain—one of my all-time favorite restaurants—especially the pork shoulder with grits and greens with any one of their beautifully made cocktails.”

Abigail Gullo (SoBou)
“Go to the French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s (pictured). Order a Cognac French 75. Or, order the gin version and face the wrath of the otherwise amiable bartender Chris Hannah. Then, take your drink upstairs to the secret little Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum. Ms. Wells was the successor and daughter of Count Arnaud. She created the French Quarter Easter Parade and reigned as queen of over 22 Mardi Gras balls between 1937 and 1968. The museum has exquisite gowns, tiaras and pictures of the stylish balls of Mardi Gras past. I never miss a chance to see this hidden gem.”


Donald Link (Cochon)
“Sandwiches [in New Orleans] are the best. Muffulettas are really famous, and I personally think Butcher makes the best one in town. When somebody comes for a visit—say they’re a chef that’s had every kind of meal a person could have—I take them to Guy’s Po’Boys on Magazine Street. Lastly, there’s this place out by the lake called R&O that serves the R&O Special: hot ham, roast beef and gravy. It’s just this great sloppy, cheesy, hot mess.”

Todd Price (Times-Picayune)
“Don’t miss morning call at City Park. I go because the waiters wear paper hats, the café au lait is mixed from two enormous old kettles (one for milk, one for chicory laced coffee), and you can order your beignets thick, thin or crispy. I also love Avenue Pub. Far more than a bar, the Avenue Pub is like a cultural center dedicated to malt and hops with a packed schedule of tastings and events. I can't think of a more enjoyable place in the city to drink a pint.”

Ann Tuennerman (Tales of the Cocktail)
“Start the day with early-morning coffee and beignets from Cafe Du Monde, just as the city begins to wake up, and watch the world go by.”

 

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