New Orleans Dining on the Cheap: Daisy Duke's

Shockingly, most restaurants in or around the French Quarter of New Orleans area close at 10 p.m. during the week. The drunks are left to choose from Lucky Dogs or greasy pizza. But if they stumble slightly out of the Quarter to 121 Chartres St., they'll happen upon this 24-hour establishment.

Sorry to disappoint, you won't find any short shorts on the staff at Daisy Duke's Restaurant. What you will find is a reasonably priced array of po-boys, Southern comfort food and some of the best fried green tomatoes that have ever graced God's green earth.

The piping, mouth-burningly hot (in temperature, not spice), thickly sliced tomatoes were dredged in a simple coating of cornmeal and flour, with the perfect amount of seasoning in the batter. Fried fresh and crispy, and only $4.50 for a batch of six, they were tangy slices of heaven topped with a house-made, spicy remoulade, and they went perfectly with a cold sip of Abita Amber.

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While the fried green tomatoes were the stars of the evening, the shrimp po-boy ($10.99) made a good showing on a crusty baguette with a soft, but toasted center piled high with small to medium fried shrimp dredged in the same batter as the fried green tomatoes. They certainly don't skimp on the shrimp, despite the disaster that's faced the Louisiana coast. And it was only marked up $1 from pre-oil spill prices.

This is a hidden treasure in an area crowded with tourist traps. When we sat down next to a table of New Orleans police officers having a late-night dinner after a shift, we knew we'd found the right place.

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