On the Road in New Orleans

With the economy in the dumps and airline companies being more annoying than ever, more and more people are choosing to spend their summer vacation at closer, drivable locales. One popular destination is the Crescent City. With its old-world charm, plethora of gourmet food choices, and crazy selection of bars and music venues, New Orleans is a great choice for a long weekend. If you're looking for some good food, NOLA-style, try one of these great options:

Surrey's Café & Juice Bar (1418 Magazine St.) Magazine Street is loaded with hip vintage shops, neighborhood bars and delicious eateries. When the brunch craving hits you (and it certainly will in New Orleans), Surrey's is a must. It offers up richly roasted local coffee, freshly squeezed juices, homemade bagels and biscuits, and organic yard eggs. There's also heartier plates like shrimp and grits featuring the most pillowy grits you have ever dreamed of. Their daily specials, including a luscious crab melt, are always a hit.

Alibi Bar & Grill (811 Iberville St.) Located just off Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, Alibi is an unassuming dive bar turning out some of the biggest and best po-boys in town. Tourists and locals alike crowd the tiny interior to indulge in the holy trinity of drinking, smoking and eating. Soft, thick French bread envelopes mounds of battered popcorn shrimp or oysters which are accompanied by a tangy remoulade sauce, lettuce and tomato. Get one to share and enjoy it with a dirt-cheap beer selection.

Sazerac Bar (123 Baronne St., inside the Roosevelt Hotel) This is the place to go when you are looking for a sip of old school New Orleans's glamour and opulence. The Roosevelt Hotel awes with its shiny hardwood walls and overabundance of huge crystal chandeliers. The Sazerac Bar within transports you to another era, with its wall murals depicting scenes of segregation and smartly dressed bartenders with sleeve-rolled dress shirts and vests. Try the signature Sazerac or treat yourself to a creamy, dreamy Ramos Gin Fizz, a favorite of governor-from-long-ago Huey P. Long.

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