The New Orleans Guide
No city in the states has the same fascinating sense of time and place as New Orleans—and no city can lay claim to introducing the world to Creole cooking, jazz, and of course, Mardi Gras. In the aftermath of Katrina New Orleans is once again flourishing—we went South to put down as many beignets as possible. (Want more recs? Michael Stipe did a great guide for us a few years ago.)
District Donuts & Sliders2209 Magazine St., Garden District | 504.570.6945
Add this cool little spot to the lengthy list of reasons to spend an afternoon traversing Magazine Street. While the rotating roster of from-scratch donuts (everything from classic glazed to slightly out-there savory, bacon-topped versions) is the obvious draw, it’s the small-batch coffee (cold brews are available on tap—yes, really—or in giant glass jugs to take home) that has folks flocking here in droves. And it’s not all carbs and caffeine either: The seasonal slider selection (pulled pork, fried chicken, shrimp Rangoon), which goes into effect at 11 am daily, is pretty impressive.
Café Beignet334-B Royal St. & 311 Bourbon St., French Quarter | 504.524.5530
Come to this French Quarter standby for the beignets (they’re slightly crispier and less doughy than others in town), and stay for the classic Cajun breakfast and lunch. Crawfish omelets, roast beef po-boys, and jambalaya are served on paper plates but easily rival their fancy restaurant counterparts when it comes to taste. There are two locations, one on Royal Street and a second on Bourbon Street. The latter is famous for daily, live jazz shows and the impromptu dance parties they incite.
Café du Monde800 Decatur St., French Quarter | 504.525.4544
Café du Monde is one of those special places that totally lives up to the hype: The beignets (a powdered sugar-dusted cross between a fritter and a donut) have been made the same way since 1862—when the café first opened—and are best enjoyed with a cup of chicory café au Lait (the flavor has a hint of chocolate and is especially smooth). Smaller outposts are sprinkled throughout New Orleans, but first-timers should really make it a point to stop by the original French Market café, which is open 24/7 and has a partially exposed kitchen so patrons—kids in particular love this—can watch their beignets being made from scratch. Grab a seat in the cafe to avoid the line.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern538 Hagan Ave., Mid-City | 504.482.3047
Whether Parkway Bakery & Tavern has the best Po’Boys in town is a matter of opinion, but it’s a fact that theirs are backed by over 100-years worth of experience, which really says something. The menu offers dozens of varieties, all of which can be enhanced with bacon. With its rickety floor and wood-paneled walls, the Tavern lunch counter hasn’t changed much in the last century, the food and drink offering, on the other hand, now includes turkey and alligator gumbo, local beers, and craft cocktails.
St. Roch Market2381 St. Claude Ave., South 7th Ward | 504.408.2080
This history-rich space offers a stable of exciting vendors (fresh produce from local farms, cold-pressed juice, prepared foods) all under one roof. St. Roch Market is a pretty rad gourmet destination.
Mahoney’s3454 Magazine St., Uptown | 504.899.3374
Here’s what you need to know about a Mahoney’s Po’Boy: The ingredients (there are 20 or so different combinations) are always fresh, the bread is exclusively from Leidenheimer bakery, and they come in two sizes—regular and large. They also taste amazing, and when paired with one (...or all) of the traditional Southern sides—fried tomatoes and Creole slaw are fan favorites—are next level awesome.
Sucre622 Conti St., French Quarter | 504.267.7098
The macaron craze sweeping the nation is undeniably best represented in New Orleans by Sucre, a burgeoning local chainlet that turns them out in every conceivable shade and color. They haven't abandoned their local heritage, though, because they also do a mean King Cake, made from Creole cream cheese and Danish pastry. If you need more of an incentive to stop by, little ones go nuts for their gelato, and they make great coffee. There's also a location in the Garden District.
Hollygrove Market & Farm8301 Olive St., Mid-City | 504.483.7037
The mission of this volunteer-driven, sustainability-minded urban farm is to provide easy access to fresh produce—sourced from backyard growers and local micro-farms—to anyone who wants it via a cooperative market or a twenty-five-dollar weekly produce box. The farm itself is open to visitors and serves as training ground for anyone looking to start a community garden or farm of their own.
Keife & Co801 Howard Ave., Warehouse District | 504.523.7272
This adorable corner market specializes in pretty much everything you need to host a great cocktail party from caviar, charcuteries, and cheese, to olives, salts, New Orleans-specific spirits, and excellent wines. They also cater.