I can’t get you all of this stuff, Oprah-style, but every item has links to their site. If you’d like to know more about why each is my favorite, use the search window on the lower right to find photos, videos and stories.
I continue to accumulate favorite things about New Orleans, but here’s my first year favorites in a nutshell.
Sno-Ball – SnoWizard
Try wedding cake (or nectar) with sweetened condensed milk
Gelato – La Divina
Must have flavor – Chocolate Azteca
Popsicle – Meltdown Gourmet Popsicles
Must have flavor – salted caramel
Pralines – Southern Candymakers
Because I’ve tried them all
Brownies – The Grocery, Inc.
Because The Farm of Beverly Hills is 1800 miles away now
Beignets – Cafe du Monde
Because no matter how good you remember them being, they always taste better
Breakfast – Camellia Grill
Must have item – grits
Salad – Muriel’s
Must try dish – Shrimp and Jumbo Lump Crab Salad. Sauteed shrimp and crab with super fresh asparagus, mixed greens and lime-mango vinaigrette
Appetizers – Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
Must try apps: Shrimp Maque Choux (grilled shrimp with corn and garlic cream sauce) and Grilled Italian Artichokes (marinated and char-grilled, not as good as in Rome but mighty tasty)
Tapas – Three Muses
Must have dish – braised pork belly with apple chutney and scallion pancakes
Pasta – Coop’s Place
Must have dish – pasta rosa
Uptown Lunch – Gott Gourmet
Try the Shrimp BLT Wrap, a tortilla stuffed with Tabasco butter sautéed jumbo shrimp, fresh mozzarella, apple smoked bacon, roasted peppers and tomatoes, avocado, with chipotle cream cheese
Dinner Experience – Upperline
Because proprietor Miss JoAnn has lived a storied life and the evidence is all over the walls of her charming gallery/restaurant.
Brass Band – Rebirth Brass Band
About which I’ve blogged plenty
Musical Auteur – Anders Osborne
Because he came, he saw, he wrote and sang and because his concerts are always an experience
Musical Wonder Woman – Irma Thomas
If you have to ask…
Youth Band – Roots of Music
Because they provide training, tutoring, meals and rides for 125 kids throughout the city and the music is amazing
Smell – (tie) Sweet Olive, seafood boil
Sweet olive because it smells vaguely of honied ripe apricots or peaches and perfumes the Garden District and seafood boil because it smells like home and means great food is near
Venue – Lafayette Square
Because it hosts the Wednesday in the Square and Harvest the Music concert series. Great times benefitting great causes
Festival – French Quarter Fest
Because it was giant and intimate at the same time and all about local
TV Show – Treme
Because it’s great and the locals play themselves
Sports Team – The Saints
Because they teach us that anything is possible
Parade – Saints Victory Parade
You had to be there
Charity – tie – Second Harvest
Because every dollar feeds a local family of four and the need is so increased after the oil spill
Raintree Children and Family Services
Serving special needs children as well as foster child and adoption services. Because they also run Raintree House, a group home for teenage girls with no family or foster family.
Tranquil Spot – The Singing Oak
“The Singing Oak” created by Jim Hart, a live oak in City Park covered in giant wind chimes. I call it the bing bong tree.
Beer Spot – Lost Love Lounge
Because the people are great and you never know who you may meet there and because they host scotch tastings and game days with free food
Radio Station – WWOZ
Because they play all the music I’ve heard live and teach me to long for more
Newspaper – NOLA Defender
Because I’m biased
Local Character (present) DancingMan504
Because he dances rain or shine, keeps second line alive and teaches it to children through Heal to Toe
Local Character (RIP) Albert Joseph Jackson
Because he was a blessing to all he met
Moment – Saints winning the Super Bowl
Because it proved anything could happen and brought everyone together
Phrase – Who Dat!?!
Because “I Believe” is more poignant but “Who Dat” is much more fun to say!
Dance – “Getting Crunk”
Because we dance after every touchdown
Awesome Cultural Thing – Mardi Gras Indians
Because they’re beyond beautiful and embody the gumbo of our heritage
Favorite Theatre – Prytania
Not only because it’s the only single screen theatre left in Louisiana, but because of the many events they sponsor.
Gallery – Louis Sahuc Photo Gallery
Because of the series, “The Memories of Margi and Joe” and the photo of Dennis Hopper
Antique Shop – Greg’s Antiques and Other Assorted Junk
Because they have salvaged windows and Who Dat! signs worked from metal scraps, gorgeous and reasonably priced antiques, old lanterns, door hinges and even a Mardi Gras Indian costume
Who Dat and Carnival Couture Shop – Fleurty Girl
Because they have black and gold tutus, local t-shirts like, “There’s no place like Houma,” Who Dat jewelry, colorful rubber cowboy boots, fleur de lis cookie cutters and painted roof tiles.
Hats – Fleur de Paris hat and dress shop
Seeing is believing
Bookstore – Garden District Book Shop
Because they constantly host readings and signings and have an eclectic mix of books with a heavy bent toward local writers.
Litter – Mardi Gras Beads in Trees
Because every day there are reminders that life is a celebration