I made it out of town just in time, and it seems like I am more fortunate
than many. Thank you so much for all of the e-mails and messages from those that were concerned; I appreciate
I had planned to stay at the hotel through the storm, but on Sunday morning
at 10am I got word that we were closing the hotel. I packed a few things, wrapped up a few more and jumped in my car
with three quarter of a tank of gas. I was driving for about an hour when I realized that I wouldn't make it to my parents
house in Hammond, so I weighed my options and called my friend Tom, in Chicago.
After 11 hours of driving, I made it to Jackson, MS, where my friend Stephen
was staying with his girlfriend. She fed me some fantastic breads and cheeses and we had champagne to celebrate Stephen's
birthday, and I slept in a warm bed. I awoke early to hit the road and beat the storm to Chicago. When I stopped
at several rest areas, I was horrified to see the number of cars parked and people sleeping in them. There was not a
hotel room south of Memphis, and the people at the Illinois welcome center said the hotels in St. Louis were also full.
So here I am in the suburbs of Chicago. The mayor doesn't anticipate
anyone getting back in NOLA for at lease a month, and I am not sure if I will have a home or a job in which to return.
I am staying in Chicago with a friend, rent free, but will still need money. I am not one for handouts, so
in leiu of money, I just need someone to help me find a temporary bartending job in the Chicago area. I am
staying in Berwyn and have a car, but would prefer to jump on the "L" and find a gig downtown. I'd prefer to earn money
than to ask for donations (I have a finance degree and have saved, so I am not destitude yet, but months without work will
be different). Please let me know if you can help. Also, I need to find wireless internet in the Berwyn area.
Thanks so much for your concerns. And I might just have
to start writing about Chicago food!! :)
From time to time, I get e-mails from people asking for my opinion on new places to eat while they are visiting New Orleans.
More often than not, they rattle off a list of places that sounds like it originated in a poplular glossy tour guide.
Don't get me wrong, the restaurants they've visited are impressive, but most of the places tend to be the high priced
"touristy" type restaurants. So "where do the locals eat?" The easy answer is: "wherever we feel like going
at the time." Sometimes it's Tex-Mex, sometimes pizza, and sometimes we just feel like eating Popeye's Fried Chicken.
But if you are looking for New Orleans style food in a reasonable price range, here are my current top six (subject
to change on a moment's notice):
Clancy's - I started off my list with Clancy's because I can't think of a another restaurant in town
that has more of a "local's" atmosphere. It's buried in the midst of a residential area on the corner of Webster and
Annunciation, a place that many locals even have a hard time finding. My favorite dish there is their smoked (then fried)
soft-shell crab, followed by a slice of lemon ice-box pie. They have a small and active bar scene and an outstanding
One - Though it is a fairly new restaurant, One Restaurant and Lounge has really made a name for itself
with the locals crowd. The reason I mention it second is because the chef and co-owner, Scott Snodgrass is an alumnus
of Clancy's and their former sister restaurant, Lee Circle. The style of food is tough to explain, but the menu is small
and adventurous. The restaurant only holds about 60 diners, so make sure to get a reservation. For a great experience,
ask to be seated at the food bar overlooking the kitchen. Lee, the co-owner who runs the front of the house, will likely
be answering the phone; tell him I sent you.
Tommy's - Located in the CBD on Tchopotoulas, Tommy's is a spin-off (sort of) of the popular Irene's
in the French Quarter. Tommy was the co-owner of Irene's before their divorce, but has since opened his own place with
a (very) similar menu. The food is outstanding and reasonably priced, none of the entrees break the $20 mark.
The soft shell crab is outstanding and the duck is one of the best in the city. For an appetizer, have the "Oysters
Tommy," or be adventerous and get the trio of oysters, with the addition of Rockefeller and Bienville. Great reasonably
priced wine list.
Dick & Jenny's- A quaint little neighborhood eatery on Tchoupotoulas, right across from Sav-A-Center,
near Napoleon Avenue. They don't take reservations, so get their early or prepare to wait; the food is usually worth
it. The menu changes quarterly, so my recommendations will change, but it is one of those restaurants that you can order
anything on the menu and have a great meal. If you are dining alone, sit at the non-smoking bar and enjoy the company
of one of the bartenders.
Upperline - The inventor of the "Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade;" make sure to get an order,
they are fantastic. Well known for their duck, but the medallions of beef are out of this world. A true New Orleans
food experience, there isn't a whole lot on the menu I wouldn't recommend. Introduce yourself to the proprietor,
Jo-Ann Clevenger, and you'll get a tour of the restaurant and everything you ever wanted to know about the artwork in the
Bon Ton Cafe- One of the few authentic "Cajun" restaurants in the city. They are only open
during the week, so make sure to get a reservation on a weeknight for dinner. Almost everything there is good, but once
again, I suggest getting a fried soft shell crab dish when they are in season. Try out a Rum Ramsey cocktail; their
signature cocktail and supposedly a secret recipe. Finish off your meal with their wonderful bread pudding topped with
the most potent bourbon sauce I've ever encountered.