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NOLA: The Hit List

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the US. I've been here several times, the first of which was when I was around nine years old. There are so many things unique to here that you just don't find anywhere else: the architecture, gas burning street lamps, voodoo, and most importantly for me, the food. Over the years I have found some favorite restaurants and cafés to visit, but there is always somewhere or something new to try as well. On my last trip, I did a combo of old favs and new spots to try and here is a little list of highlights that I think everyone should check out on their next trip to the big easy.

The muffaletta at Alberto's Cheese and Wine Bistro in the French Market is delicious. For those who are unfamiliar, this sandwich is on a round Italian roll with several deli meats, olive salad, and cheese. The sandwich here is served hot, which is great because the bread is toasted and cheese melted. A quarter, shown here, will run you $5 and a half is $9.

There are very few touristy things to eat that are really as good as the beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. For a couple of bucks you get an order of three beignets still hot from the fryer, loaded up with powdered sugar. Paired with their signature arabica and chicory coffee, you'll have boost of energy to help you party all night.

The Three Muses is a win-win with both great live music and great food. We split several small plates to get a taste of everything, including this dish, deviled eggs with sweet pickled pepper relish and duck cracklings. Because of the awesome environment, the restaurant can be a little cramped and service a little slow. Well worth it though.

The hands down winner on this trip was Café Amelie. I don't know if I've ever been to a more charming restaurant and everything we ordered was amazing. This starter, oysters baked with spinach and garlic and gratinéed was so fucking good, along with the shrimp and grits app, lamb meatloaf and duck breast mains. For dessert, the nutella bread pudding was an endorphin overload. Really amazing.

Depending where you go, you can't really be a po'boy and get a po'boy. At Killer Poboys in the back of the Erin Rose Bar, this spicy shrimp po'boy with pickled carrots and radish with cilantro was reminiscent of a banh mi and set me back $14, but was still worth it. You can find cheaper versions of this sandwich available, but the quality of ingredients, crisp, toasted bread, and ever changing menu can't be easily matched. The bar atmosphere adds a little environment to the experience. Bars: Although I didn't snap any photos, I enjoyed some nice cocktails in NOLA. At The Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone, their signature drink, the Vieux Carré, is about as perfect as a drink gets, mixing Rye, Cognac, Bénédictine, Sweet Vermouth, and Angostura and Peychaud Bitters in perfect proportions. Sitting at the spinning carousel bar can be pretty disorienting, at least until you have a couple of drinks in you. At Arnaud's French 75 you can sip on their namesake cocktail, The French 75, or several other cocktails, Cogancs, Armagnacs, or wine, along with smoking fine cigars. This place has the perfect lazy and relaxed pace that one needs after a couple of late nights bar hopping. Highly recommended.



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