Four years after the storm that left it reeling, New Orleans is finally recovering its stride. And then some...
Author Ethan Brown
DAY TWO | The beignet is a French-style doughnut buried in powdered sugar that tends to get all over everything. You find a prime example at Café Du Monde, and then proceed to leave a trail of white powder as you walk to Canal Street and hop the trolley up St. Charles Avenue. The streetcar rattles along the median as the grandest of New Orleans’ candy-latticed mansions scroll by. You get off at Jackson Avenue and walk to Magazine Street, a pedestrian thoroughfare lined with restaurants and antiques shops. One of the best is Bush Antiques 1, which boasts 12 rooms packed with pieces ranging from staid Louis XV beds to creepy midcentury medical cabinets. Across the street at Aidan Gill for Men, there are hard-to-find grooming products out front (such as Santa Maria Novella cologne from Italy); in the back, you can get a shave and a haircut along with pints of Abita Amber and shots of Jameson whiskey.
Fresh-faced and feeling no pain, head to Lilette 2, a cozy bistro that serves robustly flavored dishes with simple ingredients. Start with the chicken broth with leeks, tomato, parmigiano and soft poached egg, followed by an aromatic platter of Alaskan king crab claws and littleneck clams, sprinkled with oregano and chili flakes. A glass of wine from Lilette’s expertly chosen list wouldn’t be inappropriate. Drawn to the spectacular Lopez de Heredia rioja, you sip and leave satisfied.
At the postage stamp–size Audubon Zoo 3, linger for a spell in the Reptile Encounter, which features a fine collection of all that slithers in the bayou. Catch a trolley back down St. Charles Avenue, and stop in at chef Nathaniel Zimet’s Boucherie 4, which has been open less than a year but is already rivaling the city’s best pork purveyors. Try the pulled pork cake with potato confit and purple cabbage cole slaw or, if pig’s not your thing, the smoked black angus beef brisket with garlicky fries.
Follow that with a stop at the swinging Swizzle Stick Bar 5. Part of the Brennan family empire, which includes New Orleans institutions such as Commander’s Palace, it’s on the first floor of the towering Loews Hotel. The bartenders expertly blend Southern standards like the Hemingway Daiquiri (rum, fresh-squeezed lime juice, grapefruit juice, sugar, maraschino liqueur and a secret ingredient), but the bar’s signature drink is the Swizzle, with New Orleans Amber Rum, lime juice, bitters and a splash of soda. It sounds sweet, but it’s as crisp as an autumn apple— perfect for New Orleans’ balmy clime and a last nip before bed.
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