Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




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Walking the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day is an experience like no other. (Credit: Jenny Peters)

A Guide to Carnival and Mardi Gras in New Orleans

by Jenny Peters

If you’re lucky enough to be spending Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, make sure to read this primer first. “Carnival” describes the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras Day (also known as Fat Tuesday), the day before Lent, the Catholic time of atonement, begins. And while some in New Orleans use that term, most just call all of the season of revelry “Mardi Gras.” It actually begins on Epiphany, January 6; but the big celebrations and major parades really happen in the last two weeks leading into Mardi Gras Day (which is a city-wide holiday in NOLA).

Continue reading “The Ultimate Mardi Gras Experience in New Orleans” »

The King Room at The Saint Hotel, Autograph Collection in New Orleans

The King Room at The Saint Hotel, Autograph Collection in New Orleans

by Becky Sue Epstein

In the lobby of this stylish hotel, everything is oversized, from ceiling height to furniture. Peering through the sheer white curtains to the left, guests will see a sprinkling of cool-looking people around the pool table at any hour of the day or night. Behind another set of white sheers on the right is the restaurant Tempt, with a menu that claims to be an “updated takes on Southern and New Orleans cooking.” In-room dining, handled by the same kitchen, is offered from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. As an antidote, the gym is complimentary.

Continue reading “The Saint Hotel, Autograph Collection – Review” »


on November 07th, 2012
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FestiGals is an educational and bonding weekend

FestiGals is an educational and bonding weekend

An entertaining and enriching “Girls Getaway” in New Orleans

by Patricia Mack

FestiGals was created by Diane Lyons, a veteran New Orleans meeting and special events planner, who was touched by a simple phrase so often voiced by women visitors to the city — “I HAD NO IDEA!”

“The feedback from groups would be that they had “no idea” just how exciting and diverse our city is,” Lyons said. “I started thinking, ‘what if I created an experience specifically tailored to the needs and interests of women?’ ”

Continue reading “FestiGals” »

Mardi Gras in Your Mouth

on December 07th, 2010
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by: Sophie Gayot

“It’s like a Mardi Gras in your mouth!” proclaimed a guest at our table while dining at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, chef Paul Prudhomme’s restaurant in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I wish I had come up with that apt description, as it is exactly what the food is: colorful, vibrant and lots of fun.

As dishes kept coming to the table, it was clear that I could not eat all of them (see photos below), so I was reduced to smell, sample and taste only a few bites. My big regrets were that I could not take them home for the next day as I was staying in a New Orleans hotel while dining around the city to immerse myself in Louisiana‘s tastes and flavors. But let’s be clear, the flavors from chef Paul are unique. And they are so much to the point that he has now published nine cookbooks, and has his own line of dry spices, rubs, bottled sauces and marinades called Magic Seasoning Blends.

Continue reading “Mardi Gras in Your Mouth” »

My Lunch with John Besh

on December 06th, 2010
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by: Sophie Gayot

Despite his busy schedule, I had the real pleasure of sitting down and enjoying lunch with John Besh in New Orleans at his fine dining establishment August, which made GAYOT’s 2008 list of the Top 40 US Restaurants. While chef de cuisine Michael Gulotta was preparing the delicate dishes, I was discovering the other side of the pans of chef Besh.

Besh is very concerned by his surroundings, whether it is people, the city of New Orleans or the environment. He uses produce from local farmers and fishermen for all of his restaurants: August, La Provence, Lüke, Domenica, Besh Steak, and The American Sector. That practice supports the local economy, cuts the carbon footprint, and guarantees more organically-grown vegetables. He even has his own vegetable garden in the back of La Provence restaurant, located a few miles away from the city in Lacombe. A native of southern Louisiana, he is consumed with putting the city and the state back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina (traces are still visible after five years) and the oil spill (he was part of the effort of December 1st Dine America’s Night Out for Gulf Seafood).

Continue reading “My Lunch with John Besh” »

The sale of Fishermans' products from the Gulf of Mexico have gone down significantly since the BP oil spill

The sale of Fishermans’ products from the Gulf of Mexico have gone down significantly since the BP oil spill

by Sophie Gayot

For months, the world has watched with horror the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed eleven people. We are all very sad for the families of the men who left us.

Even though the well has been sealed, another drama is now unfolding concerning the area’s fishermen. The sales of their products — shrimp, oysters, crabs, crawfish and over 167 varieties of fin fish — have gone down. If they stay at that reduced level, most of them will not have enough income to support their families and businesses. Imagine the chain reaction on the economy in the region. Thousands and thousands will be affected. After Hurricane Katrina, they certainly do NOT need this.

After conducting many tests, the experts definitely agree that seafood from the Gulf is safe. If you are like me, so far, you’ve done nothing to actually support the population, besides almost cry when looking, powerlessly, at the images during the long ordeal, and curse at BP. Now, as foodies, we can do something.

Continue reading “America’s Night Out for Gulf Seafood” »

Haunted Restaurants

on October 28th, 2010
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The Séance Lounge at Muriel's Jackson Square restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans

The Séance Lounge at Muriel's Jackson Square restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans

by Patricia Mack

I’ve eaten at restaurants where goose was on the menu, but goose bumps? They’re on the bill of fare at some interesting restaurants and inns that embrace “the dearly departed” who never have — departed, that is. Do I believe these stories of spirits who enjoy fine dining? Or specters in hotel hallways? The hard-nosed reporter in me says, “Of course not.” But the Celt in me says, “There is mystery and magic in restaurants and hotels, and always has been.”

So, maybe the case of a ghost who dines each night at a reserved table isn’t strange. In New Orleans, which has more than its share of spirits — literally and figuratively — there is Muriel’s Jackson Square, a lovely French Quarter restaurant where I was shown the table reserved for Monsieur Jourdan, more properly M. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, the restaurant’s resident ghost. And not the only one, I’m told.

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2009 JazzFest musicians

2009 JazzFest musicians

By Jeff Hoyt


I enjoyed my first visit to New Orleans so much, that I was on the verge of renting an apartment there. But tragedy struck, and somehow, it took me more than two decades to return. I vowed to visit this year, but once again, fate stepped in.


In 1986, I drove to the Crescent City for the one-sided Super Bowl between the Chicago Bears (of Super Bowl Shuffle fame) and the New England Patriots, and fell in love with the city’s music, food, and joie de vivre. My traveling companion and I made plans to rent a place so we could stay at least through Mardi Gras.


Continue reading “I Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans” »

Home Cooking

on March 11th, 2010
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Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans

Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans

by Becky Sauer


Chef Susan Spicer, known for her French Quarter restaurant, Bayona, is from Lakeview, a suburb of New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the area continues to rebound from the calamity, Spicer is set to open Mondo in her hometown.


Look for pizzas from wood-burning ovens, local seafood, ethnic specialties and handmade desserts at what she describes as a “comfortable, casual, upbeat neighborhood restaurant and bar with an international menu full of things you want to eat.” Bayona is known for its fabulous desserts, so expect nothing less from Mondo.


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