I need a salad like you wouldn't believe. Or some nice sliced fruit. And perhaps a lengthy Master Cleanse
regimen. Such are the repercussions of spending 10 days in New Orleans, a city that's apparently never met a vegetable it didn't deep-fry or flavor with fatty swine.
While the Big Easy is slowly, steadily recovering, there's one sector that's stronger than before the storm: the restaurant industry, with more than 1,000 eateries open today -- the most at any time in the city's history
. So with an iron stomach and a fistful of Tums, I dove into New Orleans' eats and drinks. In no particular order, here are my 10 favorite watering holes and restaurants.
1. Ms. Mae's
There's one very good reason to visit this dark, smoky dive bar -- the drink prices. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, Ms. Mae's serves seriously strong cocktails for a buck. A double? Two dollars. On sunny days, I recommend bringing a whiskey on the rocks outside and sitting on the green bus bench.
2. Merlin's Place
A thigh-pumping bike ride -- and critic Brett Anderson's suggestion
-- led me to Merlin's Place, announced by a 3-D black bovine. Cow is a must-eat at Merlin's, namely the house-cooked roast beef: It's sliced thin and layered on a toasted length of bread, then dressed with shredded lettuce, pickles, tomatoes. It's juicy, crunchy genius. The beefy, well-spiced tamales are tops, too.
Find the rest of the top ten list after the jump.