After the late afternoon listening session at Cutting Edge NOLA, I was in the mood for a burger, and after looking at all the various burger options, I decided to try Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar uptown on Magazine Street. Charcoal’s is a large two-story restaurant on Magazine at Jackson, with a downstairs that seems to be a to-go location, and an upstairs bar for the dine-in customers. The upstairs bar also has balconies on its Magazine and Jackson Street sides, but the late afternoon had seen a line of thunderstorms, so everything was wet outside. The menu at Charcoal’s is interesting, and offers a choice between a number of predesigned specialty burgers, or the option to build your own . Meat choices include elk, antelope, turkey, bison, akaushi, shrimp, and even a vegetable burger for those who don’t want meat. There are also choices of cheeses, other toppings, Benton’s bacon, and freshly cut french fries. Prices are not cheap, but the charming space, attentive service and unparalleled burger options make Charcoal’s worth the price.
New Orleans’ uniqueness extends beyond the French Quarter to other neighborhoods as well, like the shops and cafes of Magazine Street uptown, with their brightly-colored facades. Many of the shops in this area are unique to the neighborhood, including several that feature New Orleans-themed T-shirts, such as Fleurty Girl, Dirty Coast and Storyville.
Unlike many cities, New Orleans has a bewildering array of breakfast choices. While in many cities, the difficulty is in finding a place for breakfast, in New Orleans, the difficulty is in deciding which place to choose. Surrey’s is a juice bar and a cafe, and at first that had me somewhat concerned. Would there be substantial and traditional breakfast items, or would everything be “healthy” or “vegan”? But the place got rave reviews on Yelp, so I gave it a chance and I’m glad I did. Surrey’s Uptown is on Magazine Street, in a charming, fairly-small house. They do indeed have a traditional breakfast menu at exceptionally-reasonable prices. Bacon, eggs, biscuits-all were exquisitely prepared to order, and the roasted potatoes were an outstanding alternative to the usual grits or skillet potatoes. While I was able to get right in on a Tuesday morning, the place seems small and probably fills up quickly on weekends, and it’s a fair distance from the French Quarter. Nevertheless, it’s worth the trip for a breakfast that will leave you and your wallet comfortably full. Visit http://www.surreyscafeandjuicebar.com/Surreys-New-Orleans-Restaurant.html for menus and hours.
The average second-line runs four hours, so it’s important to get a decent meal beforehand if you plan on walking the whole parade route. Slice Pizzeria (@SLICENola) in Uptown New Orleans on Magazine Street is a great, fun place to get some really good pizza before the second-line (or the Saints game, for that matter). It’s best to visit them in person, but if that’s not possible, visit them at http://slicepizzeria.com/, follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SliceNola or like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SlicePizzeriaStCharles.
Next door to Dirty Coast is the Velvet Espresso Bar (@ThrowACupcake) which offers gourmet coffee drinks and tiny little cupcakes known as “tea cakes.” On Sundays when the Saints play, the cakes are designed like little football helmets, and they feature the numbers of Saints players. It’s actually a lot of fun as well as delicious. Visit http://throwacupcake.com or friend them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/velvet.espressobar. You can also follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ThrowACupcake.
I woke up at 5 AM Sunday morning in Monroe, checked out of the hotel, ate breakfast and headed out for New Orleans for a second-line that started at 1 PM. I made better time than expected and got there early enough that I was able to head to Dirty Coast (@dirtycoast)on Magazine Street for a new T-shirt. Visit http://www.dirtycoast.com/ to get your New Orleans T-shirts when you’re not in New Orleans. You can also like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dirty-Coast-Press/6107254790 or follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dirtycoast. And when you’re in New Orleans, visit their storefront and check in on Foursquare to unlock discounts.
Dirty Coast is a cool T-shirt boutique in Uptown New Orleans on Magazine Street. It’s worth a special visit for its large selection of unique New Orleans-themed shirt designs. Can’t get to New Orleans? Visit them here at http://www.dirtycoast.com/ and have cool New Orleans shirts shipped right to your door.