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Artichoke

Local cooks make some delicious regional specialties from the artichoke, a vegetable with a lot of heart. At La Provence, the Lacombe bistro now run by chef John Besh, the salade a la Grecque stars fresh artichoke with fava beans, radish, greens, tomatoes and goat's milk feta. Artichoke and sun-dried tomatoes in pesto cream sauce augment four-cheese ravioli at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. Liuzza's Restaurant and Bar on Bienville Street makes an artichoke and shrimp pasta in an Italian cream sauce over vermicelli. At Dia Roma Café in Kenner, artichokes grace both the gourmet pizzas and large, fresh salads. Artichokes, brie and béchamel sauce cradle the crabmeat Broussards at historic Broussard's Restaurant. The classic spinach and artichoke dip is transformed into a sandwich at the Balcony Bar & Café, where it comes dressed with two types of cheese and garlic sauce. At Frank's Marina Grille in Mandeville, artichokes and the house special marinara sauce smother a plate of angel hair pasta. The vegetable delight pizza at Sortez Café in Algiers Point features artichokes along with tomatoes, spinach and feta. Café Roma in Metairie makes a mean artichoke sandwich on homemade bread with a special garlic sauce, cheese and plenty of other vegetables. The Harbor Seafood and Oyster Bar offers a land lover's option on its seafood-centric menu with an Italian stuffed artichoke. Big Daddy's Seafood offers stuffed artichokes spiced up with plenty of seasoning and served in a family-sized portion. In the French Quarter, the Pelican Club takes the stuffed artichoke in a different direction, stuffing it with seared diver scallops and gilding it with a lemon beurre blanc. At Common Grounds in downtown Gretna, artichokes are chopped, spiced and formed into croquets and fried for the artichoke Amelia, served with remoulade sauce. Seafood-stuffed artichokes at Carmine's Italian and Seafood Restaurant are packed with fish, shrimp and crawfish tails and topped with a dill cream sauce.

Asparagus

Packed with a distinct flavor and nutritious vitamins, asparagus spears have been known to pierce the heart of many a local gourmet. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse might be best known for its steaks and chops, but the side dish of choice is often grilled asparagus draped with hollandaise sauce. Grilled asparagus adds some crunch to an Italian style sandwich at Mid-City's new Bean Gallery, where it is pressed in a panino with prosciutto, cheese and pesto sauce. Café Giovanni skips the bread for an elegant and traditional Italian appetizer of Tuscany asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, stuffed with mozzarella, fried and served with sun-dried pumpkin seed and basil pesto. La Provence mixes both green and white asparagus for a colorful salad with eggs. Downtown at his flagship Restaurant August, John Besh prepares a white asparagus soup with local crabmeat and Meyer lemon.

Avocado

This creamy, buttery fruit lends a tropical taste to many local dishes, from Tex-Mex cooking to Asian cuisine. Serrano's Salsa Company may have salsa in its name, but diners often go straight for the guacamole salad complete with limes, cilantro, onions, tomatoes and hot peppers. At Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar in the Warehouse District, regulars have been known to retire a few orders of Lucy's Rockamole with salty chips. The stuffed avocado salad makes a substantial offering on the menu of Vitality Juice, Java and Smoothie with a generous portion of either egg, chicken or tuna salad stuffed into an avocado and topped with sprouts and sunflower seeds. The blackened chicken salad at Frank's Marina Grille in Mandeville gets a healthy dose of guacamole along with sour cream and salsa over greens. The sushi chefs at Miyako on St. Charles Avenue pair the creamy ingredient with fresh seafood in creations like the salmon and avocado roll or the shrimp and avocado roll. Al Copeland's Sweet Fire & Ice prepares deep-fried avocado spring rolls with cilantro-curry dipping sauce. At Jazmine Café in the Riverbend, avocado adds a smooth, filling touch to the Vietnamese tofu and noodle salad bowl with fish sauce. Roly Poly uses avocado as a binding filling for its pesto turkey club with bacon and provolone. Sun Ray Grill is famous for its guacamole made with avocados, onion, tomato, lime and cilantro and served with blue and yellow corn chips. Avocado is bundled with shrimp and vermicelli in Vietnamese spring rolls served with a peanut sauce at Frosty's Caffe in Harvey.

Banana

A fruit with appeal, the versatility of the banana is known across the dining spectrum, cooked or fresh from the bunch. The New Orleans classic bananas Foster was invented at Brennan's Restaurant, where it is still made with bananas sautéed in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and banana liqueur and flamed in rum. At Tea Garden in Metairie, a fried banana with ice cream is a sweet treat at the end of a Chinese meal. Regular visitors to Piccadilly Cafeteria know to leave room for fresh-baked banana bread at the dessert table. The majestic courtyard and dining rooms of the Court of Two Sisters provide fitting settings for the restaurant's own version of bananas Foster. The classic is prepared in a version big enough for two to split at Arnaud's Restaurant, with the addition of vanilla ice cream. At Copeland's Restaurant, one needn't even wait for dessert with the breakfast special French toast with bananas Foster. The related Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro may be best known for its namesake dessert, but don't forget about the giant banana split with two flavors of ice cream, fudge, caramel, pineapple, berries and white chocolate. The neighborhood coffee shop Marigny Perks greets guests in the morning with mini loaves of fresh banana-nut bread known as Billy Bites. Betsy's Pancake House on Canal Street uses a similar combination in its banana-nut pancakes, as does the Corner Café in Metairie. The jazz is always hot at the Palm Court Jazz Café, but guests look no further than the banana split on the dessert menu to cool down. Banana tempura with ice cream is the classic finale to a sushi dinner at Kyoto. Slim Goodies Diner uses a close banana relative, the plantain, on its Guatemalan breakfast plate with eggs, black beans and warm tortillas. From Cameroon, Bennachin's Jama Jama ni Makando includes fried plantains, sautéed spinach and coconut rice.

Beef

New Orleans may be famous for its seafood, but for many diners sometimes it just has to be beef. Roasted prime rib of beef is the specialty of the Rib Room in the Omni Royal Orleans hotel, where it is served au jus. Martin Wine Cellar chars a garlic and herb crust on its beef tenderloin, which is sliced thin and served with roasted onion and balsamic relish. Shaggy's Seafood and Sandwich Shop dishes up a home-style meatloaf on Thursdays with a vegetable of the day. In a twist on the classic befitting the opulent surroundings of its dining room, Restaurant Cuvee prepares Kobe meatloaf "sliders" with premium Japanese-style marbled beef. The Windsor Court's New Orleans Grill uses American Kobe beef short ribs with a seasoning of cinnamon and star anise essence. Just upstairs from the bustle of Bourbon Street, Tony Moran's Restaurant makes a huge, baseball-sized meatball for its Pasta Buffa Ballo with marinara sauce. There's no messing with the brisket platter at Texas Bar-B-Que in Metairie with its slow, hickory-roasted beef smothered in barbecue sauce. Mother's Restaurant in Gretna takes pride in its meatballs Parmesan, starting out with lean, ground beef and plenty of Italian seasoning. Beef tacos, a beef burrito and a beef flauta make up the all-star team on the Acapulco Grande combo plate at Vera Cruz on Maple Street. Stein's Market and Deli makes a classic Reuben sandwich with New York corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss and homemade Russian dressing on Jewish rye bread. No visit to Tujague's Restaurant in the French Quarter is complete without its famous beef brisket with spicy tomato and horseradish Creole sauce. Chef Paul Prudhomme created a beef sensation at his K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen with blackened twin tenders, served in a skillet full of debris sauce. VooDoo BBQ & Grill takes its time preparing the slow-smoked brisket platter, cooking the meat for 18 hours and carving it by hand. Guests at Bywater Bar-B-Que can select up to four meats for the house barbecue plate, but for some the only choice is the brisket. In the French Quarter, Déjˆ Vu Bar & Grill makes a hearty pot roast platter with a side of mashed potatoes. Beef gets Far Eastern flair at Korea House in Metairie in dishes like the dol sot bibimbob cooked in a hot stone pot with plenty of exotic spices. The Thai-style panang curry at Basil Leaf starts with filet mignon sautéed with curry and vegetables. Come Back Inn in Metairie keeps them coming back for the open-face roast beef dinner, made with sliced beef over toast with mashed potatoes, vegetables and a salad. At Kenner's Ristorante da Piero, the carpaccio a modo mio is an array of ultra-thin sliced beef, marinated in oil and served with shaved leaves of Parmesan cheese. For a Mediterranean take on the beef platter, try the meat stuffed plate at Albasha Greek and Lebanese Restaurant in Covington for stuffed cabbage rolls, squash, pepper and grape leaves. The combo plate gets a much more elegant interpretation at 7 on Fulton in the Warehouse District, where the duo of beef pairs a filet with slow-cooked short ribs. Dominique's Restaurant in the French Quarter prepares the distinctive grilled filet of beef Farci with boursin cheese, a twice-baked potato cake, carrot molasses flan and roasted shallot jus. Asian flavors enhance the stew kews at Fong's Restaurant in Kenner, which has beef tossed with vegetables and bamboo shoots in a special sauce. At Christy's Empress of China, the house specialty orange beef begins with slices of beef stir-fried until crispy then finished with orange peels in a sweet peppery sauce. Irene's Cuisine adds a rich porcini mushroom and Cabernet demi-glace to its certified Angus beef with Maytag blue cheese gratin. The roast beef Angelina is one of the highlights at Caffe Angelina, where the sandwich combines red onions, sprouts, spicy sweet peppers and an avocado cream sauce. At the Copper Monkey in the French Quarter, loaded nachos are piled high with seasoned ground beef, plus cheese, salsa and hot peppers. The CBD lunch crowd lines up at Bon Mange Café for a sandwich made with rare, thin-shaved roast beef with horseradish sauce, shaved onion and Roma tomatoes. The Mandeville spot Broken Egg Café takes a homespun approach with Paw Paw's pot roast made with sirloin steak in a rich, meaty gravy with carrots, celery, garlic and onion. At Ground Pat'i to Go, the brisket combo is hickory-smoked beef on a bun with a choice of sides. At Frosty's Caffe in Metairie, the marinated flank steak is served with a sweet and tangy sauce and white rice. Shula's is the place to beef up with a certified Angus 48-oz. porterhouse. For prime rib, spin by the Buffet at Harrah's on Sundays for pepper-crusted beef served au jus. Clementine's Belgian Bistrot uses Belgian trapist ale to cook the Flemmish beef stew Carbonnades Flamandes.

Bell Peppers

A lot of native New Orleanians grew up eating a whole lot of bell peppers, but local chefs have found many ways to cook them that your mother maybe never tried. At Panasia downtown, for instance, the Pagoda basil dish has plenty of bell pepper along with basil, onions and mushroom with a choice of meat. At the Tea Garden in Metairie, the green pepper steak can be spiked with Chinese hot mustard or sweet duck sauce. The seafood and Italian dishes at Fury's in Metairie get some competition when the family recipe for stuffed bell peppers makes the special board. Mr. Ed's Seafood and Italian Restaurant takes the traditional stuffed bell pepper to another level by filling it with shrimp, crabmeat and crawfish tails. The French Quarter café Eat New Orleans offers Winnie's trio with gumbo and red beans augmenting a bell pepper stuffed with beef and shrimp. Pampy's Creole Kitchen makes a tempting appetizer by stuffing its bell peppers with shrimp, crawfish tails and crabmeat. And at the Edge Bar & Grill in Metairie, a popular lunch special is good, old-fashioned stuffed peppers with baked macaroni. The Cottage Café in Gretna dresses its stuffed bell pepper with marinara and serves it over pasta. Peppers, onions, green chiles and jalapenos spice up scrambled eggs in the migas at Bluebird Café.

Bread

Just like the French Quarter isn't the only neighborhood in the city, French bread isn't the only bread popular in these parts. Even at La Boulangerie, a traditional French bakery, the baguettes share the spotlight with olive loafs and blue cheese bread good enough to devour by themselves. La Vita, the new pizza restaurant on Esplanade Avenue, dresses up its flat bread with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and olive oil dip as an appetizer. The biscuits at Clover Grill are split and smothered in gravy for a classic Southern dish. The Bulldog Tavern's menu has crawfish bread loaded with spices, cheese and crawfish tails. And the rainforest bread at Boule Prime Steakhouse starts with French bread and adds a creamy artichoke special spread, crawfish tails and grated mozzarella. Taj Mahal offers traditional Indian breads with meals, from whole wheat roti to naan. Jazz Emporium Nighclub on Bourbon Street has added a tapas menu that inlcudes a bruschetta of focaccia with cheese, diced tomatoes, basil, olive oil and oregano.

Bread Pudding

When old bread dreams of the afterlife, it's usually hoping to turn into bread pudding. Chef Emeril Lagasse's flagship restaurant Emeril's serves a white chocolate and banana bread pudding with chocolate-coated almonds and rum caramel sauce. The Original French Market Restaurant and Bar does a white Belgian chocolate bread pudding with pecans, golden raisins and vanilla with rum sauce. The Red Fish Grill doubles down on the chocolate with rich dark and semisweet chocolates baked into the bread pudding with both white and dark chocolate ganache. The Deckbar & Grille on Jefferson Highway takes a traditional approach with a simple rum sauce on its bread pudding and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company uses "Mama's" cinnamon bread pudding recipe. The cappuccino-inspired bread pudding at Café Rani is served in a coffee cup with a rich mocha butter cream. The rendition at Dante's Kitchen is a French toast bread pudding, grilled and dipped in custard and then topped with whipped cream and fruit sauce. Down at Jazzy Po-boys Restaurant & Bar, the bread pudding is baked with spice and topped with rum sauce.

Burger

Whether you're out at a bar and grill or grabbing a quick meal at a fancier place, you know you can't go wrong with a burger. The double-meat chili cheeseburger known at Camellia Grill as the Doc Brinker's special is back at the Riverbend diner landmark. The Dino burger at Dino's Bar & Grill might satisfy a T-Rex with a half-pound of ground steak. Known for its pop music memorabilia, the Hard Rock Café chain touts its "Legendary burger" made from Angus beef and topped with cheese and seasoned bacon. Le Bon Temps Roule keeps the good times rolling with its chili cheeseburger with onions. The Caribbean Jack burger at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company gets a spicy jolt from pepperjack cheese, banana peppers and a spicy Jamaican jerk sauce. In Covington, the cartoon-inspired Vic 'n' Nat'ly's serves a dead serious burger called "Da Hawt Attack" with ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss and cheddar. Café Banquette's straight-up Banquette burger comes with cheddar, bacon, grilled onions and barbecue sauce. All of the burgers at Oscar's Restaurant & Bar are made from a half-pound of beef. No matter what time of day or night, Igor's Tavern and Game Room on St. Charles Avenue will grill you an Igor burger with all the fixings and the same goes for its sister establishment, Checkpoint Charlie's in the Marigny where the Cajun burger with Tabasco seasoning rules supreme. Dot's Diner locations serve the Big Tex burger smothered with chili, cheese and Mexican hot peppers. Red Eye Grill's burger combo special proves an eye-opener for value and quantity. The zydeco burger is always a hit at Carrollton Station, which uses plenty of Cajun seasoning and chipotle mayo to hit the spicy notes. Charcoal broiling and smoked hickory sauce are the secrets to success at Bud's Broiler locations. Honey Dee's in Kenner gets beef lovers buzzing with its Bourbon Street burger made with steak. The Buffa burger, pride of the kitchen at Buffa's Lounge, is a blackened cheeseburger with grilled onions. The popular national chain Bennigan's serves a chipotle burger topped with guacamole, bacon, cheese and chipotle-glazed onions. The Bulldog Tavern serves beers from around the globe and offers plenty of burger options to match, like the Dead Guy burger with hot peppers, ranch dressing, bacon, two types of cheese and guacamole. Regulars at the Beck-n-Call Café in Covington call for the blues burger, topped with blue cheese, bacon and onions. At the popular CBD lunch spot Steve's Diner, the bacon and cheddar burger is grilled to order and topped with cheese, bacon and fresh vegetables. The specialty burger at Grille 22 in Mandeville pairs not one but two 6-oz. patties with onions and cheese on po-boy bread. The Beachcorner Bar & Grill in Mid-City has an especially big 10-oz. blue cheese burger cooked any way you please on a choice of white or wheat bun. The live jazz is always great on stage at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and so is the steak burger turned out by its kitchen with a loaded baked potato. Phil's Grill in Metairie puts the customer in the driver's seat with a build-your-own-burger menu with options from Angus beef to turkey to hot sausage with 10 different cheeses, 16 sauces, four types of bun and 18 other toppings. Mojo's Frozen Custard offers lunch options like the Lee's hamburger complete with cheese and all the toppings. Regulars cruise over to the Times Grill in Slidell for a specialty called El Camino burger topped with Mexican cheese, salsa and hot peppers. Fat Harry's jazz burger is an 8-oz. patty blended from beef and hot sausage and topped with barbecue sauce and cheddar. At Winston's Pub & Patio, the kitchen grills a proper half-pound burger over open flame with a choice of waffle fries, sweet potato fries or beer-battered onion rings. Friar Tuck's has a sinfully loaded Texas Barbecue burger with cheddar and jack cheese and barbecue sauce with mushrooms and bacon optional for a little bit extra. The Jumbo Burger at Backyard Café and Daiquiri is dressed with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles and barbecue sauce can be added. Port of Call's legendary thick burgers come with optional toppings of cheese or mushrooms and a baked potato on the side. The Bay Burger at Daiquiri Bay Café is a half-pound patty available on a white or wheat bun. Tucker's Tavern stuffs its burgers and deep fries them, with options like the Big Cheese combo of American, cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and pepperjack. La Peniche's Kathryn burger is topped with Swiss cheese, ham and grilled onions. The grill at Krystal on Bourbon Street is open around the clock for burgers or bacon cheeseburgers. Bacon and cheese join lettuce, pickles, onions and tomato atop the house-ground patties at Lakeview Harbor. Speakeasy Sports Bar and Grill's heavy-hitter is a big 10-oz. burger. The Avenue Pub keeps the grill on around the clock for anyone looking to grab a burger. Calling for the Double Reverse at Kabby's Sports Edition Grille at the Hilton Riverside results in a half-pound burger topped with bacon, sharp cheddar and barbecue sauce.

Burrito

People who couldn't name a single hip-hop performer still know all about the old-school wrap star called the burrito. The signature offering at Juan's Flying Burrito combines chicken, steak and shrimp with yellow rice and black beans. The namesake La Carreta sauce laces the burrito wrap at La Carreta locations, where a wheat tortilla is stuffed with chicken, beans and avocado. El Burro Grande, stuffed with meat, beans and olives and covered in chili sauce, is the specialty of the house at La Casa Gomez in Mandeville. The salad burrito from the Serrano Salsa Company is a salad bowl brimming with peppers, zucchini, squash, onions and lettuce wrapped up with chicken and cheese. Another healthy option comes from Columbia Street Natural Foods Market in Covington with its black bean and brown rice burrito in a spinach tortilla. The Southwestern breakfast burrito at Magazine Po-Boy starts your day off with eggs, ham, onion, bell peppers, tomato and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with black beans and salsa. Fans of Felipe's Taqueria near the universities know to order a "super burrito" for a choice of meat and all the fixings wrapped up in a fresh tortilla. Taqueria Corona is known for its taco but the California burrito also satisfies with a healthy dose of guacamole, black beans, rice and meat. Meanwhile, burritos come three to an order and covered in chili con queso at George's Mexican Restaurant on the Northshore. Breakfast comes whenever you order the breakfast burrito at Monaghan's 13 in the Marigny with either eggs or tofu, potatoes, and roasted red pepper sauce. The breakfast burrito at Sortez Café combines andouille sausage, eggs, cheese and onions and peppers.

Calamari

The most tempting tentacles in the sea are fried, grilled and variously seasoned for some memorable calamari dishes by local chefs. Bourbon House in the French Quarter tosses its flash-fried Gulf calamari with Parmesan and serves it with a chipotle aioli. The hibachi chefs at Miyako turn their talents to a calamari lunch special that includes grilled squid, a soup, salad, rice and vegetables. Classic cocktail sauce dresses up the crispy fried calamari at Jacmel Inn in Hammond. Kanno California Style Sushi in Metairie offers a calamari salad with greens and sweet ponzu sauce. Fried calamari pairs up with soft gnocchi in cream sauce for a rich dish at Todaro's. At the new restaurant Ardoise in Metairie, the calamari is glazed with a sweet Thai chili. Fiesta Bistro in the Riverbend gets the party started with its calamari al ajillo tapas cooked with garlic, lemon juice and wine. Mimi's in the Marigny makes it own tapas plate of calarami with the additions of heavy cream and chorizo sausage. Chopped lemongrass and a spicy lime juice dressing enliven the calamari salad at Café Equator. The flash-fried Asian calamari at the Bombay Club gets a dose of sweet heat from a chili sauce and a side of Sambal-lime sour cream.

Catfish

The coolest cat in the bayou often turns up as one of the most delicious additions to local seafood platters. The catfish is sliced razor thin and fried to exceptional crispiness at Middendorf's, the catfish landmark in Manchac. A mustard and cornmeal fry mix encases the catfish at Calas Bistro & Wine Cellar in Kenner. Bozo's in Metairie gets its catfish direct from the fishing village of Des Allemands and either fries or grills it as you like. It's no surprise that catfish is the centerpiece of the menu at Adam's Catfish House in Belle Chase, where big, piping hot platters are rounded out with hushpuppies and coleslaw. For a great meal on the go, the deli case at Verti Marte offers baked catfish Bienville stuffed with crab. Bywater Bar-B-Que takes a break from the barbecue smoker to make its large, fried catfish filet complemented by beans, macaroni and cornbread. Similarly, Ernst Café in the Warehouse District makes a mean catfish platter with fries as a popular lunch and dinner special. Catfish gets an Asian treatment with Szechuan sauce and vegetables at Chun Lee Restaurant in Harahan. The Seafood Galley & Deli in Covington serves a generous portion of fresh fried catfish with a choice of sides. Fried catfish in a light batter makes for one of the most popular sandwiches at Kenner's Jazz Seafood & Steakhouse. Pecans encrust the fried catfish Creole at Mattina Bella Restaurant in Covington, and the dish is finished with meuniere sauce. The catfish Katrina is a memorably named combination of grilled catfish and crabmeat topped with a tomato and basil cream sauce at the New Orleans Bistro in Lacombe. Mr. Poor Boy offers its fried catfish special with potato salad and a vegetable on Fridays. Or try catfish for breakfast at Dunbar's, which serves it with scrambled eggs, grits and a biscuit.

Cheese

Cheese has been called "milk's leap toward immortality," but at local restaurants it is more often called a delectable part of a meal. A bubbling cauldron of Gruyere and Emmenthaler is the pride of the Melting Pot, where traditional Swiss fondue is enhanced with garlic and lemon and served with breads, apples and vegetables for dipping. To explore the cheesemaker's craft more closely, try Hugh's paté and cheese plate at Hugh's Wine Cellar in Mandeville for a hand picked selection of the deli's finest offerings. Begue's in the Royal Sonesta Hotel serves a fresh mozzarella salad with Roma tomatoes, crispy saffron leeks and champagne-basil vinaigrette. Fiesta Bistro puts a match to its imported Spanish manchego for a dramatic appetizer flamed in tequila. Chef Susan Spicer's goat cheese crouton with mushrooms in Madeira cream is a classic at her restaurant Bayona. Dia Roma Café in Kenner serves a batch of Italian cheesesticks with mozzarella and garlic butter baked into homemade bread. Indian-style cheese is the highlight of the saag paneer entrée at Sara's Restaurant in the Riverbend. Goat cheese is the filling for an offbeat spring roll with soy lime dipping sauce at Café East. Café Luna makes its Fancy Cheese Toasty with Swiss and cheddar grilled on multigrain bread with olives and tomatoes. The towering macaroni and cheese cake in creamy cheese sauce is a favorite at Semolina locations. The Black, White & Red grilled cheese sandwich at Café Bayard on Magazine Street mixes provolone, Swiss and goat cheese with tomato and black olive tapenade. La Boca grills up a slab of oiled provolone with herbs for its skillet dish known as the proveleta. At the Delachaise, Father Pat's grilled cheese combines Cahill's Irish porter cheddar and pear butter on Dakota wheat bread. The grilled cheese sandwich gets an update at Vitality Juice, Java and Smoothie Bar, where seven grain flax bread is layered with soy cheddar and Earth Balance spread. The grilled cheese trifecta at Phil's Grill in Metairie is an international sandwich with a mix of Swiss, American and provolone plus bacon and tomato on Texas toast. Bruno's Tavern loads its cheese fries up with pepperjack and cheddar plus bacon, sour cream and green onions. Many a night owl knows to steer toward the Original F&M Patio Bar for the deluxe cheese fries, with waffle-cut potatoes covered in cheese, chili and jalapenos. And for a graduate-level cheese experience, pay a visit to St. James Cheese Co. , where more than 100 cheeses are offered from around the world and tasting plates are prepared to order.

Chicken

Lean and versatile, it's no wonder that chicken is one of the most popular dishes around. The namesake Brick Oven chicken at the Brick Oven Café is grilled then sautéed in a lemon butter sauce and topped with green onions, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. The brewpub Gordon Biersch downtown makes its Marzen barbecue chicken sandwich with smoked bacon, cheese and sauce. Chicken shawarma is sliced into juicy chunks and served with hummus and salad at Albasha Greek and Lebanese Restaurant in Covington. The chicken St. Charles at Lacombe's New Orleans Bistro features chicken breast wrapped around ham and Swiss cheese and fried. One of the standout dishes on the menu at Nirvana Indian Cuisine is the murgh Sonya made with ground chicken, dried fruit and farmer's cheese. Island spices jazz up the Caribbean jerk chicken platter at VooDoo BBQ & Grill. The Coco Hut on Bayou Road puts its jerk chicken over a full, fresh salad with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Spit-roasted chicken with Mediterranean seasoning graces the shawarma salad at Byblos Market in Metairie. The calzone cordon blue from Slice Pizzeria is stuffed with chicken, ham and provolone. Jigger's Bar and Grill plates both spicy hot wings and mild barbecue wings for a delicious compromise on a bar snack. One of the true specialties at Tujague's Restaurant is the garlic-laden chicken bonne femme baked until crispy with garlic potatoes and plenty of parsley. The Back Porch Grill in Covington scoops its chunky chicken salad over greens with carrots and grape tomatoes. N'awlins Flava Café serves some of the greatest hits of the soul food tradition, led by fried chicken with greens, yams and cornbread on the side. Chicken rules the roost at Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits, whose many locations make it one of the city's favorite birds. Riccobono's Peppermill lightens things up with its grilled chicken breast topped with artichokes and mushrooms. Chicken is the name of the game at Raising Cane's locations and the "caniac combo" of chicken fingers, extra fries, coleslaw and Texas toast is always a crowd pleaser. Down at the Hookah Café in the Marigny, the chicken bok choy is a roulade of chicken sliced thin and layered with Asian greens, artichoke hearts and chevre. The sesame chicken salad at Monaghan's 13 is a healthy scoop of chicken with shredded carrots, red cabbage and sesame oil over romaine and Napa cabbage with seasoned almonds. Fong's Restaurant in Kenner advances the classic General Tso recipe with its General Fong's chicken, battered, fried and glazed with a house special sauce. Spanish-style chicken stew is a hearty choice at Laurentino's in Metairie where it is cooked in wine and served with saffron rice. The Vietnamese restaurant Hoa Hong (9 Roses) in Gretna specializes in pressed noodle squares, including the banh hoi ga nuong with marinated, char-grilled chicken. Chicken shawarma with hummus and rice is a popular choice at Babylon Café. The China Doll in Harvey serves a spicy chicken curry dish on its affordably priced menu. The Thai dish mee grob is a specialty at Basil Leaf combining chicken and shrimp in a white wine chili sauce over noodles. Café DiBlasi Italian Fare & Spirits in Terrytown broils two chicken breasts with plenty of garlic and olives for its chicken Rosmarino. The chicken Acadiana gets a Cajun touch at Lager's with a smothering of crawfish cream sauce. Guests at Praline Connection can have chicken baked or stewed but fried chicken is the favorite preparation, especially with sides of macaroni and greens. The chicken Caesar wrap at Pizza Florence in Metairie has sliced chicken wrapped up in lavash bread with mozzarella and homemade Caesar dressing. Gretna's Common Grounds Coffee House and Café serves chunky chicken salad on a bed of romaine with garlic croutons and sliced almonds. There are a dizzying number of choices at King Buffet but the moo goo gai pan with chicken and rice is a popular place to start exploring the offerings. At Empire Buffet in Mandeville, the options include sesame chicken and Mandarin chicken. The pizza cooks at Mark Twain's Pizza Landing don their pit master personas to prepare barbecue chicken pizza with spices, barbecue sauce, red onions, green peppers and mozzarella. And at Houston's Restaurant, the rotisserie chicken is half a bird roasted with crushed herbs and served with couscous. Fiorella's Café is a Decatur Street destination for its famous fried chicken with sides of red beans or fries. For an exotic twist, try the Sisay Singh at Bennachin, a dish consisting of a baked chicken leg over sautéed spinach, fried plantains and coconut rice. The Jackie Chan Chicken at Star Café features citrus-sauteed chicken with orange peel, Szechuan peppers, cashews, green onions and hoisin sauce served over cellophane noodles. The chicken salad at St. Charles Café is made with apples, walnuts and grapes and comes either in a sandwich or on top of greens tossed with a homemade dressing like the pineapple-mango vinaigrette. If you can be patient and wait for dessert, the chicken salad at Sophie's Gelato is made with walnuts, apples and raisins and also is offered as a salad or sandwich. The Famous Nawlins Fried Chicken at Le Citron Bistro comes with red beans and rice and a salad. The Tropical Chicken Salad at Johnny Trauth's Seafood Bistro in Kenner has blackened chicken breast, cranberry, walnuts and blue cheese over greens tossed with raspberry vinaigrette.

Coffee & Pastry

Just what might be New Orleans' favorite cocktail is open to debate, but there's no doubt that coffee rules when it comes to a morning, afternoon or evening pick-me-up. Campbell's Coffee & Tea in Covington serves a high quality Arabica coffee roasted on site daily using a process designed to yield a brew with low acidity. When temperatures soar, the blended espresso drink called the Marigny freeze helps customers keep their cool at Marigny Perks. At CC's Coffeehouse locations across the region, customers belly up to the counter for big chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies, plus morning pastries like banana-nut muffins. Rue de la Course locations are popular spots to get almond or whole-wheat croissants, biscotti dipped in vanilla or chocolate or other muffins and cakes. Laurel Street Bakery makes all of its pastries in house, including bagels and cranberry-walnut muffins. The beautiful Victorian porch at Café Luna on Nashville Avenue is a perfect spot to indulge in shortbread cookies, carrot cream cheese muffins or devil's food cake muffins. Coffee can seem like dessert at the Urban Cup Café on Magazine Street, which prepares a decadent white chocolate raspberry cappuccino. Croissant d'Or fulfills its vision of a classic French patisserie by serving croissants filled with fruit or almonds in its gleaming, tiled dining room. Café du Monde is famous the world over for its beignets dusted with powdered sugar. A little bit of the Vieux Carre is offered in Covington at French Quarter Beignets, which serves its namesake French doughnuts in regular or bite-size versions. The eclectic mix of pastries and baked goods at Flora Gallery and Coffeeshop in the Marigny includes baklava.

Crab

Local waters produce a prodigious amount of fresh crab, so its no surprise that local restaurants have come up with a huge variety of ways to prepare them. Straight-up boiled crabs with traditional seasoning are a specialty at Shaggy's Seafood and Sandwich Shop in Mid-City. Restaurant Anatole serves an elegant crabmeat salad over chilled lettuce with a spicy Creole dressing. The crab cake at Café Amelie is made from local blue crab and dressed with a lemon citrus drizzle over greens. The BLT gets a major overhaul ˆ la John Besh's recipe at Melange in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where the "B" stands for buster crab dusted in cornmeal for a sandwich finished with beet juice and chive oil. Crab cakes are revved up with chipotle, caramelized oranges and remoulade sauce at the Orleans Grapevine in the heart of the French Quarter. Jean Lafitte's Rendezvous on Bourbon Street prepares a more traditional crab cake using jumbo lump meat, Creole seasonings and lemon butter. Muriel's Jackson Square has a special crab menu through June which includes a savory mix of crab, mango and avocado with mango coulis as an appetizer. New City Grille in Metairie makes a crab salad tossed with shrimp, tomatoes and Creole vinaigrette. Imported Alaskan king crab legs reign over the menu at Hammond's Jacmel Inn. Keith Young's Steakhouse takes a break from the beef to serve jumbo lump crab cakes with drawn butter. Riccobono's Peppermill prepares the crab cake Benedict topped with poached eggs and hollandaise. The most popular salad at Galley Seafood is a spinach and crabmeat salad with cranberries, walnuts and an Asian dressing. The crab cake can be had as either an appetizer portion or an entrée at Saltwater Grill, where it is served over greens with a lemon butter sauce. Deckbar & Grille fries balls of fresh lump crabmeat with stuffing and a homemade dipping sauce. Remoulade slaw forms a bed for a duo of crab cakes fried golden brown at Lola Restaurant in Covington. Dungeness crab legs are popular at Cate Street Seafood Station in Hammond, where they can be ordered fried or steamed. The crab salad at Café Degas has shaved fennel, baby arugula and grapefruit in a tarragon Dijon vinaigrette. O'Donnell's Restaurant in Ponchatoula puts a panko crust on its crab cakes and serves them with roasted corn salsa and chipotle-lime butter. The crabmeat cheesecake at Palace Café is a modern classic, baked with a pecan crust and enhanced with wild mushrooms and Creole meuniere sauce. The Old Coffee Pot Restaurant boasts crab cakes made with crabmeat and crabmeat only, allowing no fillers. The fried crab Rangoon is a creamy, crispy way to start a regal feast at King Buffet in Metairie. Dante's Kitchen stuffs Louisiana blue crab and brie into brioche for a savory French toast appetizer. The flavors of crab and tomato shine brightly in a salad at Eleven 79 finished with balsamic vinaigrette, honey and olive oil. Soft-shell crabs Marie is a specialty at Kenner Seafood, where the crabs are set over pasta with special housemade sauce. Vincent's Italian Cuisine on St. Charles Avenue layers eggplant slices with crabmeat and piles still more crabmeat on top with shrimp and crawfish for its popular seafood medallions. At Seither's Seafood, crab cakes served over angel hair pasta in cream sauce is one of the most popular dishes. The classic Cobb salad is updated with the addition of jumbo lump crabmeat at Martinique Bistro, complete with greens, bacon, egg, blue cheese and avocado. Dungeness crab legs with drawn butter are the highlight of the Buffet at Harrah's on Friday nights. Crabmeat takes a hot bath in the corn and crab soup served in a bowl of bread at Wit's Inn. The lightly fried crab cakes at Jin Jean's Restaurant and Club are made with onion, garlic and a pinch of breadcrumbs and served with a crawfish cream sauce.

Crawfish

Crawfish season is still going in June and you'll find the mudbugs all over the city. O'Henry's uses them in crawfish cakes. Fancy dessert joints like La Divina Gelateria feature them in a sandwich along with capers and arugula. Crawfish tails are paired with pineapple and mango at Asian Pacific Café on Esplanade Avenue. In Metairie, Lager's uses them in spring rolls. On the West Bank, Kim Son flavors its crawfish with lemongrass in a Vietnamese dish. Chun Lee Restaurant serves them Hunan-style. A zesty crawfish remoulade salad is a good lunch option at Obee's downtown. Big Daddy's Seafood scoops up spicy boiled crawfish. At the Riverfront, Lazy River offers breaded crawfish cakes with onions and peppers. Commander's Palace sautes a flavorful mix of crawfish tails, tasso, mushrooms and garlic and tosses it with gnocci. Crawfish are served in beignets and over pasta at Coffee Cottage. Bacco goes Creole-Italian with its crawfish ravioli served with a buttery roasted tomato sauce. Of course, classic crawfish etouffee is everywhere. Bon Ton Café long ago perfected the Cajun-accented recipe it has been using for 54 years. Ditcharo's uses a slightly hotter Thai chile paste instead of the usual cayenne pepper in its version. Breaux Mart kitchens seek to please all palates with a flavorful but mild etouffee. Ignatius Eatery makes a stock with crawfish shells as a base for its etouffee. Lafitte's Restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel downtown offers a Louisiana crawfish etouffee with a Cajun blond roux and plenty of pepper. A home-style crawfish etouffee keeps regulars coming back to Fury's Restaurant. Kabby's Sports Edition Grille in the Hilton Riverside uses crawfish etouffee to make its mini crawfish pies.

Crepes

These delicate and fancy French pancakes have been served with sweet fare for years but more recently have been given a savory edge, allowing crepes to fit every meal of the day. Brennan's crepes Beaulieu are filled with shrimp and crab and topped with Hollandaise. Amongst the many options at Crepes ˆ la Carte is a savory one filled with roast beef, mushrooms and onions. Muriel's Jackson Square pairs crawfish tails with goat cheese inside the buttery dough. For many other combinations, the French bakery La Madeleine sells crepes with a wide variety of fillings, including strawberries and cinnamon, eggs and Swiss cheese, roasted garlic and broccoli and more. The dinner crepes at Clementine's Belgian Bistrot are fleshed out with savory ingredients like chicken, mushrooms, spinach and cream sauce. Petunia's Restaurant in the French Quarter is famous for its 14-inch crepes including the St. James with local crabmeat, shrimp, peppers, onions and cheese. At Thanh Thanh, the Vietnamese crepes are pan-fried rice flour and cocunut milk crepes filled with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and onions and topped with a fish sauce.

Dessert

Sometimes dinner is merely a warm-up for dessert. Those with the courage to skip it entirely have room for even more of the sweet stuff. So what sounds good? Custards often start simply but require lots of patience and skill to make. Mimi's Italian Restaurant serves a panna cotta flavored with Chambord and Frangelico. Antoine's offers a traditional caramel custard topped with powdered sugar and a mint leaf. Pupuseria & Restaurante La Macarena serves an award-winning flan based on the types found in Andalusia. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Café makes a cheesecake flavored with tequila and Grand Marnier. But enough already, where's the chocolate? Delachaise serves a chocolate-stuffed French toast with cane syrup. The Melting Pot has a molten chocolate fondue for dipping. Radosta's serves a Snickers pie focusing on the candy bar's nuts and caramel. Music City Café offers a brownie a la mode named after the Neville Brothers. McAlister's Deli has a pecan pie studded with chocolate chips. Vizard's on the Avenue has a pecan torte with toffee sauce, chocolate ganache and coffee ice cream. The pecan pie at Chartres House Café is served with vanilla bean ice cream. There's more Barq's than bite in the root beer floats at Superior Grill. The ice cream floats at Deanie's Seafood are made with Nectars fruit-flavored sodas. The Columns offers mangos marinated in champagne. The Bavarian cake from Flour Power is tarted up by cream cheese and strawberries. Cuco's serves its sopaipillas with strawberries and honey. Aim for the sky at Café Ponchartrain with a towering slice of Mile High Pie -- made with ice cream, meringue, chocolate sauce and topped with a cherry. Gambino's Bakery & Café in Metairie has tempting snacks with its mini cake squares in varieties like red velvet, carrot and German chocolate. Cheesecake by the scoop is an abundant offering at Sweet Fire & Ice, with your choice of flavors served in a martini glass with various toppings. The new Cherry on Top shop in the university neighborhood offers Only 8 brand frozen yogurt mixed with fresh fruit like berries or pineapple.

Duck

You're bound to find a lot of duck enthusiasts in the Sportsman's Paradise, but the game birds are especially popular on local menus. Calas Bistro and Wine Cellar serves its roasted duck breast with cornbread dressing and pepper jelly. In a similar vein, Bayona serves duck with a pepper-jelly glaze spiked with jalapenos and vinegar. Ciro's Cote Sud offers duck breast with peaches, prunes and apricots. Brigtsen's complements its duck breast with tart cherries. Palmetto's on the Bayou serves sour blackberries alongside its duck. Duck goes in quesadillas with orange sauce at Coop's Place. Café Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar offers a duck calas with honeycomb and foie gras fondue. On the Northshore, Water Street Bistro serves its duck with figs, port and pecans. Dick and Jenny's pairs duck breast with alligator sausage, finishing the dish with mustard, greens and sweet potatoes. Crabby Jack's offers a messy po-boy with roasted duck slathered in gravy. Coffee's Boilin' Pot serves blackened duck breast crusted with spices. Red Star Chinese serves its Peking duck with crepes. In Mid-City, chef Minh Bui is offering duck lacquered with a sweet glaze at his namesake Café Minh. China Doll skips the glaze and serves its duck salty with crispy skin. Thai Spice in Covington cooks its basil duck in a wok with green beans and plenty of fresh basil leaf. Few can resist the duck confit egg rolls stuffed with cream cheese and caramelized onions at Restaurant Cypress. The duck confit egg rolls at Ralph's on the Park are filled with carrot, mirliton, red onion, spinach and peppers and served with foie gras syrup. Martinique Bistro gilds its molasses-cured roasted duck in peach brandy demi-glace. Stella! produces a dish called Duck Five Ways with Asian preparations of seared breast, lacquered leg and thigh, moo shoo pancake stir fry, duck miso broth and foie gras wontons. A spicy, homemade pepper jelly glazes the roasted half duck served with saffron orzo at Juniper in Mandeville. The Bistro at the Maison de Ville is back and offering a House Smoked Duck PB&J Sandwich, a sort of club sandwich made with duck breast, fontina cheese, three pepper jelly and sweet peanut sauce. The Duck, Duck, Goose special at Wolfe's in the Warehouse includes a pan-crispy leg of duck confit, sliced pastrami-cured duck breast over warm bacon lardon-frisee salad and seared foie gras and dried cherry-fresh tarragon duck demi-glace. On the Northshore, Nuvolari's half roasted duck is served over wild rice with a Bing cherry peppercorn glaze.

Eggplant

It may not have a local name, like the mirliton, but eggplant is versatile in the kitchen and can be found in many local restaurants. Palmetto's on the Bayou serves fried eggplant layered with crab and shrimp. RioMar has eggplant fries accompanied by sun-dried tomato ketchup. Café Rani serves its eggplant in a cream sauce with mushrooms and gouda. There's some Italian ingenuity at Andrea's Restaurant which enriches the flavor of a crab cake with eggplant. Chad's Bistro tops slices of eggplant with fried shrimp. TeCoRo's Seafood and Italian Restaurant layers its eggplant with crawfish tails, andouille and tasso. Eggplant Tina at Tony Angello's features eggplant medallions with Romano chesse and a homemade tomato sauce. Brooklyn Pizza serves eggplant Parmesan with a garlicky marinara. Sandro's Trattoria grills eggplant and serves it with spinach and tomatoes. It's roasted and stuffed with seafood at Café Lynn. Pizza is a good stage for eggplant and other vegetables at Café Roma, and at Italian Pie, it's served in a wrap with roasted garlic, olives and feta. Acropolis Cuisine uses it with chunks of ground veal in moussaka. The eggplant Napoleon at Hillery's on Toulouse is layered with crawfish dill cream. And for a Middle Eastern touch, Pyramids Café blends eggplant with tahini and lemon for its take on the classic baba ganouj dip.

Eggs

It's long been said that, with its impressive versatility, the egg is nature's perfect ingredient. Mother's serves a turkey omelet including green onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Café Envie offers an omelet with brie and ham. Uptown, Café Atchafalaya serves fried grit cakes topped with pulled pork and a poached egg. Oak Street Café serves down home egg breakfasts with sausage, biscuits and gravy. There's a Latin accent at Jazz Tacos with eggs served with beans, plantains and sour cream. If you skipped eggs for breakfast, Columbia Street Natural Foods Market offers egg salad sandwiches for lunch. Riccobono's Panola Street Café's crab cake Benedict is topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise. The flash-fried truffled egg with gorgonzola cream sauce is a unique appetizer choice at Bacco. At the related Ralph's on the Park, a brunch specialty of poached eggs with beef debris in red wine sauce is worth the trip to Mid-City. The giant croissant omelet at Café 59 is prepared with sausage patties and bacon on toasted pastry. Customers at Café Rose Nicaud choose from a bagel, croissant or toast to handle a breakfast sandwich of egg, cheese and meat. Maddie's Place in Metairie prepares creamy egg salad on a choice of breads for lunch. Grilled tomato and Canadian bacon are the extra twists on Eggs Benedict La Peniche in the Marigny's La Peniche. At Bluebird Café, eggs go south of the border in the huevos rancheros, which features two fried eggs over corn tortillas with black beans, salsa, cheese and ranchero sauce. At La Finca in Mid-City, baliadas are flour tortillas filled with beef, eggs and sour cream.

Enchilada

Until recently, Latin food in New Orleans was mainly Mexican, but that's slowly changing and enchiladas are getting significantly updated from the old Tex-Mex style. The closest to the old standbys are at Nacho Mama's, where enchiladas are served with a choice of meats or cheese wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with sauce. Straying slightly from form is La Carreta, which serves enchiladas of cheese, steak and beans, but with an innovative freshness: green sauce and avocados. Chevy's Fresh Mex ups the gourmet ante, offering enchiladas with shrimp and crab or mushrooms and artichokes. George's Mexican Restaurant makes beef, chicken or vegetable enchiladas with a choice of green sauce, ranchero sauce or chili over the top.

Escargot

You can find mollusks all over New Orleans, but don't forget about this chewy treat. Chateau du Lac Wine Bistro serves a classic preparation with garlic, butter, herbs and toasted bread. Albertine's Tea Room at The Columns Hotel serves escargot with garlic, butter, parsley and croutons. Those seeking more adventurous settings for their gastropods might look to Lilette, where chef John Harris sautes them with mushrooms and apple brandy. At Bistro 38, the escargots are wrapped in puff pastry. Nuvolari's serves its escargot with mushrooms and crawfish. The Steak Knife Restaurant and Bar serves its escargot in meaty mushroom caps. The escargot are baked in Pernod-scented garlic butter sauce at La Petite Grocery.

Fajita

The familiar sizzle of this classic Southwestern dish always manages to turn heads in a crowded room. Vera Cruz offers a choice of chicken, steak, pork or shrimp and serves it with grilled peppers and onions. If you don't want to choose only one, Carreta Grill offers combinations like its fajitas Texanas with chicken, beef and shrimp. At Cuco's, the fajitas taste of old Mexico and are served with a side of black beans. Adobe Cantina and Salsa uses beef shoulder and shrimp bigger than your thumb to make its fajitas. Jazz Tacos serves a vegetarian version with red, yellow and green peppers and onions. At Nacho Mama's, you can wrap your chicken, steak and shrimp fajitas with whole wheat tortillas. Country Flame offers a fajita salad with grilled meat, peppers and onions served over lettuce and tomatoes. In Mid-City, La Finca is a casual spot to drop in for fajitas of beef, pork, chicken or shrimp.

Fish

New Orleans chefs' best ideas often show up when they're cooking fish. Some plates draw from distinctive local styles, like the Parmesan-crusted fish with béarnaise sauce at Brigtsen's. The French Quarter Bistro serves blackened fish with crab and seafood sauce. At Adolfo's, there's a choice of several fish to be pan-fried and served with two sauces: crab-caper and shrimp-crawfish sauce. The Steak Knife Restaurant and Bar offers sautéed fish with crab and mushrooms. Muriel's Jackson Square offers pecan-crusted drum with lemon-butter sauce and crawfish relish. RioMar serves roasted sheepshead with burnt butter and tarragon. At Emeril's Delmonico, European sea bass, also called branzino, is roasted and served with fennel puree, marinated tomatoes, pancetta, lemon confit and black olive oil. La Crepe Nanou grills fish and finishes it with lemon and capers. Fried fish is paired with escargot at 7 on Fulton. The Crystal Room at Le Pavillon offers fish with lemon and crawfish cream sauce. Winston's Pub & Patio serves fried cod with waffle fries. Where else but at a brew pub like Gordon Biersch would you find beer-battered fish and chips. Tomatillos serves its fish and shrimp ceviche with tortillas. China Orchid Restaurant fries fish gently and tops fillets with a pungent, spicy sauce. Mr. Roo's Deli and Catering offers grilled mahi mahi served on a bed of lettuce with egg, tomato and chedder. The seafood selection changes daily at GW Fins, but the kitchen often lands some Chilean sea bass, which is sometimes served braised in hot-and-sour shrimp stock. Season's Steak & Spirits in Slidell marinates its mahi mahi in olive oil and lemon juice. The Gulf fish Nicholas at Feelings Café is brushed with Dijon mustard and topped with shrimp. Gautreau's sautéed halibut is served with spaetzle, peas and champagne vinaigrette. In tribute to Tony Uglesich, Upperline Restaurant's garlic table d'hote features Fish Anthony, which tops sautéed drum with a sauce of garlic, anchovies and jalapenos in reduced chicken stock. Baru Café adds a sweet and creamy mix of avacodo and mango to its lime and onion-marinated mahi mahi. Elizabeth's sautés its mahi mahi and serves it with a citrus buerre-blanc.

Frog

Depending on your perspective, frog is either the poor man's fish or the rich man's chicken. Ye Olde College Inn serves fried frog legs with a spicy mustard sauce. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Café serves fried frog legs tossed in Buffalo wing sauce with blue cheese dressing. Louisiana Bistro panees frog legs and serves them with a spicy lemon buerre blanc.

Gumbo

Want to start a fight? Who has the best gumbo? At least there's one thing everyone can agree upon. No two gumbos are the same. Napoleon House Bar and Café has been serving its version of Creole seafood gumbo for 25 years. Don's Seafood Hut offers a Cajun gumbo with shrimp and crab. Hugh's Wine Cellar dishes out a spicy shrimp and okra gumbo. Uptown Cajun offers a chicken and sausage gumbo with five different types of sausage. Made with a very light roux, Bozo's chicken and sausage gumbo often has a couple of shrimp in it. K.Y.'s Old Towne Bicycle Shop's chicken and sausage gumbo is based on a roux barely lighter than chocolate. Schiro's Cafe & Bar chicken and sausage gumbo includes okra. Mother's gumbo uses a roux made with pork fat rendered from the restaurant's ham. Zydeco BBQ and Roadhouse tosses pork debris in its gumbo along with smoked chicken and andouille. For a recipe so different that it might warrant a separate discussion, the Gumbo Zaire at Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club mixes greens simmered in exotic spices with seafood, pork or yams. The Gumbo Shop serves several versions of its namesake dish, including seafood gumbo with shrimp and crab in a brown roux. Friday brings a seafood gumbo special at Short Stop Po-Boys, while the chicken and sausage version is available daily. Liuzza's by the Track is famous for its gumbo made with chicken, sausage and tender, poached shrimp on top. Red Fish Grill slices alligator sausage into its dark roux seafood gumbo. The gumbo is made with Cajun smoked turkey and shrimp, diced tomatoes and lemon at the House of Blues. A dark and smoky roux makes the chicken and andouille laden Gumbo Ya Ya at Mr. B's Bistro memorable. In Harvey, Brothers' Ole New Orleans Café packs its seafood gumbo with shrimp, crab, okra and more and serves it with garlic bread.

Gyro

Few things are as delightful as the pressed lamb generally described as "gyro meat," especially when tzatziki and pita are included in the deal. At Mother's in Gretna, the gyro is served with rice pilaf and a vegetable. The cooks at Abita Brew Pub throw beef into the mix along with lamb. And at Acropolis Cuisine, the gyro is served with sautéed onions and peppers. Mr. Gyros has a gyro stew, ladling gyro meat and vegetables over rice pilaf. Casablanca offers a vegetarian gyro with onions, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. Fresco Café & Pizzeria serves its gyro with a yogurt and garlic sauce.

Ice Cream/Gelato

In a city as hot and food-obsessed as this one, there should be no surprise at the recent proliferation of ice cream parlors and gelaterias. La Devina Gelateria serves gelato made with milk from a natural dairy, organic sugar and locally raised fruits. At Gelato Pazzo Caffe, the gelato is made with natural ingredients in specialized, imported freezers. A variety of gelati imported from Italy are available at Ristorante Da Piero. Ben & Jerry's features a créme brulee ice cream with a caramelized sugar swirl. Mikimoto offers an exotic ginger-flavored ice cream. Jipang serves up Asian flavors like green tea and red bean ice cream. Marble Slab Creamery offers Birthday Cake ice cream with chunks of cake swirled in. The "Descent" sundae from Sophie's Gelato is made with strawberry topping and crumbled Oreos. Creole Creamery offers a bananas Foster sundae with bananas and a house-made sauce. Crepes ˆ la Cart's menu features a rum-raisin ice cream crepe with whipped cream and coconut. Cold Stone Creamery offers a sundae with pecans, caramel, brownie chunks and fudge. Summer time is peak season for the fresh fruit ices made from seasonal local produce at Angelo Brocato's Ice Cream in Mid-City. Hershey's Ice Cream Parlor in Covington is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor but features popular new flavors like Moose Track, with fudge and peanut butter cups in it, and Cappuccino Crunch.

Jambalaya

Plenty of cuisines have a sinlge-dish, stick-to-your-ribs meal based on rice. Spain has paella, the Middle East has biryani, and we have jambalaya. Acme Oyster House serves a traditional, medium-spiced Creole version with chicken and sausage. Café Pontalba tosses shrimp into the mix along with the chicken and sausage. At Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl, the chefs uses duck and andouille. Coop's Place is known for the spicy rabbit and sausage jambalaya. The Olive Branch Café makes pasta jambalaya. Lafitte's Restaurant at the downtown Doubletree hotel also serves a pasta-based jambalaya combining chicken, shrimp and sausage with local vegetables. The pasta jambalaya uses penne pasta and two types of cheese at Friends Coastal Restaurant in Madisonville.

Lamb

Cute or not, lamb sure tastes good. Patrons head to Attika Bar & Grill for the rack of lamb. Byblos offers rack of lamb charbroiled with aromatic spices. Paillard's rack of lamb is served with rosemary jus, tabouleh and grilled squash. Ciro's Cote Sud grills its rack with the herbs of Provence. Lamb chops are pan-roasted at Adolfo's and served over pasta with garlic butter. Munch chops with hummus and salad at Babylon Café. Fire of Brasil offers both chops and fresh leg of lamb hot off the spits and sliced fresh at your table. The Pelican Club cooks lamb Australian style -- marinated with rosemary pesto "crust" -- and serves it with truffle mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and baby vegetables. Orleans Grapevine's rack of lamb is served with curried couscous, steamed asparagus and a mango-pineapple chutney. Grab a lamb wrap with garlic and mint vinaigrette and a side of pesto pasta at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. Traditional Lebanese lamb kebabs are offered at Mona's Café locations. Join the herd headed to Restaurant Cuvee for Chardonnay-fennel braised lamb shank with marcona almond white gazpacho with grapes and olives. Across from Harrah's, Riche offers a lamb cassoulet made with Australian lamb shank, beans, pulled duckmeat and andouille sausage lardons. A mango Scotch bonnet pepper sauce comes with the rack of lamb at Café Amelie. Pyramids Café stuffs its grape leaves with ground lamb plus beef, rice and parsley. The hearty Cuban lamb stew caldererta is simmered in seasoned brown gravy at Liborio. Alberta's unique oven-roasted Lamb Nicoise is served with rosemary potatoes, tomato confit and lamb-thyme jus. The grilled lamb chops at Jamila's are served with a port wine reduction, steamed asparagus and sautéed garlic potatoes on the side.

Lasagna

Lasagna is offered in classic hearty versions with layers of meat and cheese as well as some inspired new takes. A traditional version is an ever-popular lunch special at Schiro's Café & Bar. Sidebar Café also serves a classic version for a daily special and it is served with a side salad. Carmelo Ristorante adds veal and pork to its beef sauce when making lasagna. Friends Coastal Restaurant finishes its spinach and seafood lasagna with béchamel sauce. The Embers Original Bourbon House uses an exotic "N'awlins tomato gravy" in its Creole take. The lasagna Bolognese is a satisfying stack of cheeses and meat sauce at Semolina locations. The Olive Branch Café uses beef, seasonings and marinara sauce in its version. Italian Pie will deliver its pasta or lasagna from most locations. The hearty Italian dishes at R&O's Pizza include a classic lasagna.

Liver

If you could only have back every delicious liver you rejected as a kid. For now you can repent your childhood misgivings with liver and onions at Picadilly Cafeteria. Visit Joey K's Restaurant to enjoy mashed potatoes with that (but don't try and hide your liver under there). Donna's Bar and Grill takes the classic in more of a soul-food direction. And for a Creole soul twist, start the day at Dunbar's at Loyola with grilled liver, scrambled eggs and a biscuit. For the more sophisticated diner, there's Palace Café's pepper-crusted duck breast with seared Hudson Valley foie gras, or the sautéed veal liver lyonnaise with caramelized onions at Flaming Torch. Be sure to check out the adjoining wine shop selections when ordering Etoile's anti-pasta duck liver plate, with an assortment of cured meats and marinated vegetables. Or nibble from a plate of olives, cured meats and sausages with croustades and accompaniments at Vega Tapas Café. For a working man's paté, there's the liver-cheese po-boy at Nobody Waits Po-Boys. The liver and onions plate at Fiorella's Café is served with homemade gravy and mashed potatoes. St. James Cheese Co. pairs a liver paté with a selection of cheeses and a salad for its classic British ploughman's lunch. Café Degas offers panéed veal liver that's sautéed and topped with hickory-smoked bacon, celery root and caramelized onion bordelaise.

Lobster

The ocean's most coveted crustacean can be consumed in seafood places and steakhouses alike. Morton's Steakhouse offers lobsters from Maine and western Australia. Jazz Seafood and Steakhouse offers a traditionally prepared whole lobster. Kim Son salt-bakes lobster and serves it with ginger and onion. Latil's Landing at Houmas House Plantation prepares papaya-stuffed lobster tail with fire-roasted shrimp and Louisiana crawfish tails on Creole tomato risotto. The lobster sandwich at the Hotel Intercontinental's Veranda Restaurant features lobster tossed in mint mayonnaise with fresh mango and romaine stuffed in a toasted pita pocket. Lobster and rice dishes include Dakota Restaurant's shellfish paella, featuring lobster, shrimp, scallops and mussels on saffron rice cakes with chorizo in a white wine broth. And The Original French Market Restaurant offers lobster etouffee with shrimp and crawfish. Riche presents a seafood bouillabaisse with divers scallops, mussels, clams and shrimp bathed in rich saffron lobster broth. Double Dragon's Seven Wonder includes lobster, crab, scallop, shrimp, plus roast pork and ham with snow peas, water chestnuts, bamboo and mushrooms. Juniper in Mandeville fills a pastry shell with lobster plus shrimp, scallops and crabmeat with a garlic cream sauce reduction. The surf side of the menu at Longhorn Steakhouse includes a creamy lobster and shrimp dip served with tortilla chips. The wok lobster at Philip Chan's Asian-Cajun Bistro takes very lightly beer-battered and fried tail meat and then sautés it with red onions and scallions and puts it back in the shell to serve.

Mirliton

Nearly everyone else in America calls our beloved mirliton a chayote squash, but even if they never come around to our name they might want to look at our recipes. La Cote Brasserie serves mirliton and shrimp ragout. Jacques Imo's Café offers fried mirliton and oysters with hollandaise sauce. The Red Maple's menu features fried mirliton with seafood, andouille and bordelaise sauce. The seafood mirliton at Bonfire Restaurant is stuffed with shrimp and garlic and fanned over pasta with tomato sauce and cheese. And Chef Guillermo Peters at Taqueros-Coyoacan fused Mexican cuisine and local ingredients in roasted poblano peppers stuffed with diced mirliton, red onion and Mexican cheeses in a dish called Chile Relleno de Chayote.

Mixed Grill

Can't choose only one kind of meat? The mixed grill, a term d'art for those incapable of deciding, is available to help. Annadele's Plantation offers duck and pork -- together, finally! -- with a side of cassoulette and onion rings. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse loads a plate with beef, chicken and a crab cake. Casablanca can help those who can't decide between lamb and chicken and offers them with peppers and onions. Megumi Yakimono and Sushi Bar offers a skewer sampling of chicken, beef and shellfish or veggies. Double Dragon has the ultimate mixture: chicken, beef, shrimp, scallops and pork served with mixed vegetables. Zea Rotisserie & Grill nicely does away with indecision with its combo plate of ribs, chicken and a rotisserie meat of the day.

Muffuletta

One of the signature dishes of New Orleans, the muffuletta can be found everywhere in classic versions and increasingly in variations like the seafood muffuletta. The original version, first served in 1906, is available at Central Grocery. At Napoleon House, the muffuletta includes pastrami. Ignatius Eatery uses prosciutto instead of ham. Camellia Café makes its muffuletta with roast beef. The mortadella at Koz's includes pistachios. Café Fresca uses grilled chicken instead of cold cuts of pork. The muffulettas at Danny and Clyde's are made with turkey. Johnny's Po-Boy Restaurant offers a seafood variation. At Liuzza's Restaurant and Bar, it's known as a Frenchuletta and is served on po-boy bread instead of the round Italian loaf. Lazy River serves its version on foccacia. Mo's Pizza make its muffuletta with its own baked bread. Caffe Angelina uses imported meats and cheeses along with Central Grocery's olive salad. The olive salad at Seafood Galley and Deli is made in-house. An overstuffed version, one of the largest available, can be found at Robert's Fresh Market. Beck-N-Call Café's muffuletta is designed for one instead of being made to share. Trays of miniature muffulettas are offered at Honey Dee's. The Good Earth Market & Café in Mandeville serves a muffuletta on fresh foccacia bread. The Gambino's muffuletta at Gambino's Bakery & Café features the housemade olive salad and a side of crawfish potato salad. At Oscar's, the Oscaletta layers meats, mozzarella and Swiss cheeses and olive salad on French bread. It shouldn't be a surprise that Muffaletta Deli offers the namesake sandwich in every size from mini to mega with double the meat and cheese.

Mushroom

Earthy and humble, the sheer variety of mushrooms makes them an indelible treat. Café Freret makes a portobello mushroom burger. Café Fresca offers a salad topped with grilled portobellos. Semolina Bistro Italia stuffs portobellos with sausage and cheese. Portobellos team up with shiitakes on a pizza at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. Rooster's Grill and Bar fills a po-boy loaf with portobellos. Fellini's Café grills them straight-up. Get a batch of fried mushrooms at Café Banquette. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse offers mushroom caps stuffed with crab. The MLT at Gretna's Go-Go Gourmet is made with portobello mushrooms, tomato and baby greens on a choice of bread. Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi uses a tempura batter to fry portobellos and serves them with spicy honey mustard. The mushroom manchego toast is a creamy, earthy treat on the tapas menu at Mimi's in the Marigny. Lakeview Harbor's stuffed mushrooms feature a crabmeat stuffing and hollandaise sauce.

Mussels

The epitome of bistro fare, few things excite the appetite like a hearty bowl of mussels. The classic French version at La Cote Brasserie steams them with white wine, garlic and herbs. La Crepe Nanou offers a big bowl of mussels steamed with garlic and shallots and served with fries. Sandro's Trattoria uses a family recipe for its mussels, which are steamed with onions and white wine. The new Sapor Restaurant adds tomatoes to its broth. Crescent City Brewhouse steams its mussels in beer. In the Riverbend, Barcelona Tapas Café serves its mussels in vinaigrette. Meauxbar Bistro steams its mussels in a red curry broth with coriander and basil. Mussels, clams and shrimp are cooked in a broth with garlic, cilantro and scallions in Baru Café's seafood stew called Cazuela. The shrimp and mussels at Jamila's are served with a white wine and seafood stock reduction over linguine.

Noodles

To some people, noodle is slang for brain, or to fidget with something like a guitar. Yet others believe noodle simply means yum. For those who dig noodles of the stir-fried variety, Hip Stix Asian Fusion offers Siam Street Noodles with julienne bell peppers, green onions and a choice of coconut curried tofu, shrimp, chicken or beef. La Thai Cuisine's stir-fried mee grob laht na includes chicken and shrimp with crispy noodles and vegetables in spicy sauce. Megumi Yakimono and Sushi Bar pan-fries egg noodles with smoked oysters and mixed vegetables for its Oyster Soba. The Empress chow mien at Jung's Golden Dragon features shrimp, chicken, pork and beef sautéed with fresh Chinese vegetables served with crispy thin pan-fried noodles in brown sauce. The mee grob at Basil Leaf offers sliced chicken and shrimp sautéed in a white wine red chili sauce over crispy noodles. Maybe it's natural for New Orleanians to prefer their noodles "dirty" or "drunken" (with chicken, beef or shrimp) like in the lunch specials at Sukho Thai in the Marigny. Fans of healthy cuisine can opt for Pho Tau Bay's bun tom nuong cha gio: shredded lettuce, cucumbers and bean sprouts topped with vermicelli rice noodles, char-grilled shrimp and Vietnamese imperial eggrolls. In Mid-City, Doson Noodle House offers traditional Vietnamese pho bo beef noodle soup. Thanh Thanh's Vietnamese spring rolls are filled with vermicelli noodles, pickled carrots, cucumber and a choice of pork, shrimp, chicken or beef.

Onion

There are as many ways to use an onion as there are layers to one of the subterranean bulbs. Onions often take the spotlight in ring form. Everything at Hooters goes better with onion rings. Checkpoint Charlie fries onion rings at all hours. The onion rings are beer battered at Ted's Frostop. Café Lynn has concocted the French onion tart, which bakes caramelized onions into a puff pastry with gruyere cheese and fresh herbs. Green onions are grilled and finished with sea salt and lime juice for the fragrant cebollitas appetizer at Taqueria Corona. Outback Steakhouse puts an accent from Down Under on its Bloomin' Onion, served with a spicy dipping sauce. Russell's Marina Grill says it invented the Onion Mumm, which it serves with remoulade sauce. At Mat & Naddie's, the three onion, smoked salmon and goat cheese pissaladiere is a thick-crust French pizza that starts with caramelized shallots, green and red onion and capers.

Oysters

The first person to try eating an oyster may have been quite brave, but now the sky's the limit with oyster dishes. Anything you want, really, anything. Oyster bordelaise? Easy, head to K.Y.'s Old Towne Bicycle Shop. Head to the Corner Oyster Bar for a dozen on the half shell. Clancy's is a corner spot Uptown to dig into baked oysters topped with brie. Vincent's Italian Cuisine serves the bivalves pan-seared with garlic and green onions over angel-hair pasta. Drago's Restaurant & Oyster Bar features New Orleans' original charbroiled oysters by the dozen or half-dozen. Sweet Loraine's blackened oysters are drizzled with a light olive oil garlic sauce. Acme Oyster House locations also serve char-grilled oysters. The oysters Radosta at Andrea's Restaurant is a traditional Italian recipe for clam or oyster casserole. Casamento's oyster loaf comes on thick, toasted bread. New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company ups the po-boy ante with the "one-handed" stuffed oyster Rockefeller po-boy. The Red Maple serves fried oysters wrapped with bacon over creamed spinach. On the Northshore, wash Abita Brew Pub's fried oysters down with a fresh pint of Amber. Louie & the Redhead Lady fries oysters with pasta, olive oil, garlic, butter and Parmesan. Fried oysters also find synergy with salads at Bon Mange Café, where they're tossed with romaine in garlic dressing with bacon and Parmesan. Savvy Gourmet serves them with celery hearts, tomatoes and creamy blue cheese dressing. Rockefeller's Seafood & Steakhouse tosses fried oysters in barbecue sauce and blue cheese for its Bang Bang Oysters. The garlic oyster po-boy at Liuzza's by the Track makes a satisfying meal. Felix's Uptown not only shucks fresh oysters but grills and serves them with a garlic white wine sauce as well. The baked oysters Heebe with Italian breadcrumbs and seasonings is a popular first course at Impastato's. Smilie's combines meuniere sauce and toasted almonds for its unique oysters amandine. In Metairie, oysters on brochette are wrapped in bacon and served with a white wine butter sauce at Austin's. At the Desire Oyster Bar, the namesake Oysters Desire are baked with Parmesan, Creole seasonings and garlic butter. At Tommy's Cuisine, oysters Tommy are baked with pancetta, red peppers and Romano cheese.

Pancakes

Never underestimate the humble pancake. Sure they're predictably delicious at Camellia Café on the Northshore, but for good reason. Enjoy them in the elegant environs of the Crystal Room at Le Pavillon for a power breakfast. Oak Street Café piles them on a platter with two eggs and a choice of bacon, ham or sausage. Louie & the Redhead Lady rocks a mean banana walnut flapjack. Slim Goodies Diner carries on the Southern tradition of sweet-potato pancakes. Coffea Coffeehouse Gallery serves its sweet potato pancakes with orange-coriander butter and maple syrup. In Harvey, Brothers' Ole New Orleans Café makes a Big Deal out of buttermilk pancakes by serving them with three eggs, sausage bacon or ham, grits or hash browns and biscuits or toast.

Pasta

Pasta isn't just a canvas on which to splash other flavors. It's an end unto itself in many dishes. Gattuso's Restaurant has Grandma's spaghetti and meatballs. In Central City, the aspiring chefs at Café Reconcile serve a simple, delicious creamy crawfish pasta. Irene's Cuisine's San Francisco-style cioppino features redfish, shrimp, clams and mussels simmered in spicy saffron scented tomato fennel broth on a bed of pasta with ciabatta crostini. Louisiana Pizza Kitchen's goat cheese chicken pasta with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes is accented by a white wine sauce. Breaux Mart's baked macaroni and cheese doubles down with a spicy cream sauce topped with even more cheese, longhorn Colby to be exact. Copper Monkey Bar and Grill's Penne Alla Tina is tossed in a red cream sauce with grilled chicken and sautéed mushrooms. Pat O'Brien's Courtyard Restaurant dishes out lemon-vodka shrimp in cream sauce over penne pasta. Anselmo's Restaurant serves penne ladled in "Harlot Sauce" with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, capers, and your choice of chicken or shrimp. Mr. Roo's Deli & Catering places grilled shrimp on top of angel hair pasta. The angel hair pasta Lafayette at New Orleans Food and Spirits is smothered with shrimp cream sauce. Tony Moran's offers chicken, shrimp or veal over fettuccine with peas and pancetta. Pepperoni's Café loads its fettuccine with crawfish, crabmeat, mushrooms and fresh vegetables in a lemon dill cream sauce. Shrimp and sausage in a creamy red sauce are served over linguini in Mona Lisa Restaurant's Mardi Gras pasta. Cannon's Restaurant presents linguine with shrimp, crawfish, tomato, green onions and a spicy garlic cream sauce. Tasso cream sauce and crawfish tails add robust Cajun flavors to the penne dish at the Gumbo Shop. The tagliatelle pasta at Ristorante del Porto in Covington is made in house and served with mushrooms, asparagus and cheese. The Jamaican-inspired restaurant Coco Hut serves pasta Caribbean with fish or shrimp sautéed in a sauce of herbs, olive oil and garlic. At Isabella Pizzeria, the pasta Cucina features shrimp and crawfish over linguine with a tomato sauce. The Penne Rustica at Romano's Macaroni Grill is a mix of shrimp, chicken, smoked prosciutto and penne topped with Parmesan cheese. At Johnny Trauth's Seafood Bistro in Kenner, oysters or shrimp are fried or sautéed and served with a garlicky bordelaise sauce and shaved Parmesan over pasta.

Pizza

Anything goes on pizzas these days. For instance, the Ander's Smoked Salmon Pizza at Café Roulé in the back of Le Bon Temps Roulé features double-cream cheese and capers. Theo's Pizza offers a spicy Mexican chicken pizza. Mr. Gyros' Grecian pizza sports gyro meet and feta. The strange hybrid bacon cheeseburger with ground beef and cheddar pizza is available at Rotolo's Pizzeria. La Vita bakes a special Pizza Pot Pie: meatballs and mozzarella topped with pizza crust and baked. Of course, because New Orleanians will put shrimp on anything, Deanie's Seafood features the Bucktown Boil white pizza with shrimp, crawfish and crabmeat. Sugar Park Tavern's A Pizza Named Desire boasts shrimp, andouille and jalapenos. The Irish Channel pizza at Rocky's Gourmet Pizza consists of spicy shrimp, crawfish and onions topped with feta on a whole wheat or regular crust. A bit less extravagant but nonetheless classic is the spicy Italian from Papa John's. The spicy cilantro chicken pizza with pesto and caramelized onions is an option at Loop Pizza Grill. Also featuring caramelized onions is Milano Pizzeria's portobello mushroom and roasted red pepper pizza. Brooklyn Pizza marinates artichoke hearts for a specialty topping. Pepperoni's Café suggests its Masterpiece pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, ham and green peppers. Fellini's Café encourages you to try the spicy chicken, mushrooms, sun-dried tomato, garlic, feta pie with spicy red pepper sauce. On the Northshore, Isabella's Pizza offers a pepperoni, beef and sausage pizza with mushrooms, black olives, onions and peppers. The special at Mona Lisa Restaurant is piled with pepperoni, sausage, ham, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives, with optional jalapenos and anchovies. Of course there's always good old Pizza Hut's Supreme Pizza: pepperoni, beef, pork, green peppers, red onions and mushrooms. Or succumb to temptation and order Angeli On Decatur's Lucifer's Special; it seems Satan prefers sausage, ham, onions and roasted red peppers. Still many restaurants, such as Mo's Pizza, prefer classic styles. Coscino's Pizza Italian hand-tosses thin-crust New York Style Pizza. Mark Twain's Pizza Landing features a robust 10-ingredient adventure on the My Life on the Mississippi pizza, which includes everything from pepperoni and black olives to jalapenos and anchovies. The vegetarian pizza from Roman Pizza is piled with black and green olives, peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese. Bayou Coffee House near Bayou St. John serves a blue Hawaiian pizza with bacon, pineapple, peppers and feta cheese. Wit's Inn turns out a shrimp Florentine pizza with plenty of roasted garlic sauce and spinach. Reginelli's Pizzeria offers the pizza Nor'easter with a spicy red pepper sauce, capers and Italian sausage. The pizza toppings range from artichoke hearts to crawfish tails at R&O Pizza Place in Bucktown. Balcony Bar & Café turns a sandwich classic into a gourmet pie with its Philly steak pizza complete with shaved steak, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Into the wee hours of the morning, hungry folks in the French Quarter and CBD call Pizza Fiesta at Club Decatur for delivery of pies like the ham-, sausage-, pepperoni- and beef-laden meat combo. A New York-style thin crust is the perfect base for a grilled shrimp and pesto pizza with red onions, roasted red peppers and tomato sauce at Slice. To fortify a night on Bourbon Street, duck into Mango Mango for a hot slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza. Ditali's Pizza offers all sorts of toppings and combos for pizza by the slice.

Po-Boy

Po-boys have a simple formula that nonetheless seems to attract immensely nuanced tastes as different people's preferences take them all over the city. Many people on the Northshore flock to Acquistapace's for its large roast beef po-boy. Parkway Bakery and Tavern's messy roast beef po-boy calls for a fistful of napkins. Domilise's Po-Boys makes shrimp po-boys with small, delicately fried shrimp. Muggs Café cooks its own roast beef and piles it on Leidenheimer loaves. Jazzy Po-Boys Restaurant and Bar cooks its roast beef for 10 hours before serving it on toasted bread. Come Back Inn's Joe-Don Special combines roast beef with ham and Swiss. Fried shrimp arrive a close second at places like Christy's Po-boys. Seither's Seafood serves a blackened shrimp po-boy. For those tired of the classics, try Abita Bar-B-Q's brisket po-boy, or the overstuffed filet mignon po-boy at Crazy Johnny's Steakhouse. Station 8801 in the Riverbend makes a steak po-boy with sliced tenderloin and a side of sweet potato fries. The blue cheese fried oyster po-boy at Chops Bistro & Martini Bar is served on toasted Liedenheimer bread. The po-boy orders start coming in early at Dot's Diner locations, where the kitchens make breakfast po-boys with eggs, a choice of breakfast meats and cheese on French bread. Guy's Po-Boys on Magazine Street keeps it simple with hot roast beef po-boys dripping with homemade gravy. Mr. Poor Boy in River Ridge dresses its roast beef with gravy, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

Pompano

Pompano is a relatively unsung but tasty fish from local waters that you'll find at the city's oldest and newest restaurants. Antoine's Restaurant made pompano en papillote famous and has also introduced pompano Pontchatrain, which is a grilled or seared fillet topped with crabmeat. Horinoya improves upon Mother Nature's creation via its managatuso miso yaki, grilled pompano marinated with miso. The smoked pompano Bourgeois at Arnaud's Restaurant complements the fish with sour cream, capers and onions. On the Northshore, The Longbranch offers pompano Veronique garnished with parsnip puree and green grapes.

Pork

From a down-home fried pork chop to tender pork tenderloin to bacon, local diners are accustomed to eating high on the hog no matter which part they get? Paradise Café offers two chops with vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy. Clover Grill starts the day with a breakfast plate of pork chops, two eggs, hash browns or grits and toast. Crabby Jack's serves chops blackened. Ye Olde College Inn goes all out with the Carrollton Tchoup, a double-cut pork chop served with duck and andouille jambalaya and drizzled with a honey Dijon Southern Comfort Sauce. On weekends only, loin lovers can try Christina's Empress of China's Adobo Park pork loin cooked in Philippine Adobo with bay leaves, garlic and light soy served with a hardboiled egg. During the rest of the week, head to Winnie's Café for the roasted pork loin sandwich with goat cheese dressed with portobello mushroom gravy, red onions, pickles, lettuce and tomato. Lilette marinates and slow cooks extremely tender Kurobuta pork (from a Japanese black skinned hog), serving it with garlic bread and a tomato cucumber basil salad. Table One's Kurobuta appetizer of cured, braised sweet pork belly comes with roasted butternut squash, frisee and Bibb lettuce and cane syrup mustard dressing. Sweet Daddy's represents New Orleans barbecue scene with its pulled pork. Or try The Joint's pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw. For an Asian inspiration, head to Hoa Hong (9 Roses) for bun bi nem chua, a dish of shredded pork and Vietnamese pickled ham rolls. Five Happiness offers a Chinese version of shredded pork in hot garlic sauce. Churros Café roasts pork in the Cuban tradition, and serves it with congri and yucca. Café Giovanni's smothers its roasted pork steak in raspberry-orange-chipotle balsamic sauce with wild mushrooms. Cottage Café sweetens the deal on its praline pork medallions with lyonnaise potatoes and a house salad. To prepare its pork loin with honey-port wine glaze, Hillery's on Toulouse first brines the meat, then smokes it and finishes it on the grill. The Berkshire pork shank at La Petite Grocery is braised and paired with grits and smothered greens. The blackened pork chop at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen is stuffed with ricotta, asiago, mozzarella and caciocavella cheeses and basil and served with a marchand du vin sauce with prosciutto and red wine. At Star Café, the Frito Bandito appetizer drapes pulled pork chili over corn chips and tops it with cheddar and jack cheeses, green onions, jalapeno aioli and sour cream.

Potato

Potatoes come as the sidekick to everything, but sometimes they deserve a starring role. Kosher Cajun New York Deli & Grocery turns the spud into a knish featuring broccoli, spinach or kasha. Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro's cinnamon-dusted jumbo sweet potato bulges with grilled ham, pineapple and Swiss. Potatoes take the form of gnocchi pasta at Assunta's Italian Restaurant, baked with three cheeses and topped with marinara sauce. But the potato often works best in traditional side dishes, like au gratin at Crescent City Steakhouse and as Creole potato salad at Coffee Cottage. Melius Bar and Café jazzes up its fries with melted Swiss and brown gravy. The Sugar Park Tavern's curry chips and garlic chips are some uncommon but also uncommonly good side dishes. The succulent potatoes at McAlister's Deli get a little extra flavor from the Come-Back gravy.

Quail

For such a tiny bird, quail gets some grand treatments from local chefs. Tan Dinh's quail is marinated with Vietnamese spices, pan roasted to perfection and then served with crispy coconut sticky rice or steam buns. Vega Tapas Café also roasts quail and serves it with grilled pears, garlic, red onion and toasted pine nuts tossed in creamy caper-lemon dressing. Cleopatra char-broils quail and serves them with salad, grilled tomato and vegetables. Café Atchafalaya does a sort of miniature turducken, with crawfish boudin stuffed inside a quail, breaded, deep-fried and served on mashed potatoes. The wild game grill at Broussard's Restaurant features a grilled quail breast along with boar sausage and a venison chop.

Quesadilla

For those who prefer their tacos laying down, there is the quesadilla. In New Orleans, quesadillas are another evolving dish. There are crawfish quesadillas with salsa and sour cream at Coffee Cottage. Superior Grill's Uptown quesadilla is stuffed with crawfish, shrimp and Monterey jack. Café Freret marinates chicken fajita-style for quesadillas. Cellars of River Ridge serves chicken quesadillas on pita bread. There is a choice of chicken, portobello or shrimp between spinach tortillas at Columbia Street Tap Room. Quesadillas come with chicken strips or alligator sausage on the side at F&M Patio Bar. Chili relleno also couples well with quesadillas at Adobe Cantina and Salsa. Gourmet quesadillas around town include El Gato Negro's choice of pork loin, chicken breast, fish or filet mignon with Mexican beans and rice. Chevy's Fresh Mex makes a Farmer's Market 'Dilla of mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers, jack cheese and habanero pesto cream sauce in a garlic herb tortilla with a crunchy Parmesan crust. Order quesadillas "dressed" with lettuce tomato and avocado at Juan's Flying Burrito. The pepperjack quesadilla with vegetables makes a hearty snack or light meal at St. John's Coffeehouse in downtown Covington. Sun Ray Grill prepares a gourmet quesadilla of portobello, basil, mozzarella, sautéed tomatoes, onions and roasted garlic which comes with a buttermilk ranch dipping sauce.

Quiche

Go ahead, it's OK to order the quiche. Not just OK but suave, considering options like Chez Nous Charcuterie's ham and havarti quiche or the spinach, tomato and bacon quiche. La Madeleine offers classic quiche Lorraine and quiche Florentine. Or order coffee and the basic spinach and cheese or ham and cheese for a light lunch at Croissant D'or in the French Quarter.

Rabbit

The humble bunny has hopped its way onto many local menus, from the down-home rabbit po-boy served up at Crabby Jack's to the more elevated braised rabbit with tomatoes, fennel and garlic tossed with potato gnocchi and wild mushrooms at La Provence on the Northshore. Peristyle makes its own rabbit sausage in house and serves it grilled over a smoked pork belly and white bean fricassee with a Maras farm sprout salad, Dijon mustard and Armagnac-scented goat cheese. Cochon goes the comfort-food route with a classic Southern-style rabbit and dumplings entrée served in a skillet. At Restaurant August, chef John Besh wraps the meat in a cannelloni with lobster and veal sweetbreads. New Orleans Food & Spirits offers smothered rabbit as an accompaniment to Thursday's white beans lunch special. Madrid Restaurante in Kenner gives the dish a Castilian twist with rabbit Sevilla, sautéed and simmered in a poultry stock with wine, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, potatoes and Spanish manzanilla olives. The fried rabbit tenders with Creole mustard and local honey is a decadent appetizer at Besh Steakhouse inside Harrah's Casino.

Ravioli

Sometimes life is like a plate of ravioli; you never know what you'll get. Lola Restaurant in Covington looks ahead seasonally with housemade pasta pillows stuffed with a trio of fall squash, finished with brown butter and sage. Ernst Café in the Warehouse District offers a spinach ravioli appetizer. Drago's Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar adds a twist by frying shrimp and crawfish cream ravioli. The Calypso Patio Bar & Grill serves a wild boar ravioli topped with smoked tomato sauce and chipotle aioli. The lobster ravioli at Ormond Country Club in Destrehan is complemented by a lobster cream sauce. The Crawfish Ravioli at the Quarter View Restaurant in Metairie combines battered and fried ricotta cheese ravioli topped with a Cajun cream sauce.

Red Beans and Rice

The traditional Monday dish may be ubiquitous, but that doesn't mean it's not done deliciously all over the city. The retro-style Ted's Frostop slow-cooks red beans fresh daily. DiMartino's Muffulettas serves red beans with hot andouille sausage. Koz's in Harahan offers sides of sausage or grilled chicken. Mr. Ed's Seafood & Italian Restaurant tops red beans with a hefty pork chop. In the Quarter, tourists and locals flock to Johnny's Po-Boys at lunchtime for red beans. In the wee hours, they head to Déjˆ Vu Bar & Grill for more of the same. Regulars line up at Guillory's Grocery & Meat Market in Metairie for Monday's red beans and rice special. At Pontchartrain Point Café in the West End, red beans and rice are served with either sausage or a fried pork chop. Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits won't give up all the secrets to its famous red beans but does allow that the recipe includes shallots.

Redfish

If it's not the official fish of the Gulf coast, the redfish should be. Vizard's on the Avenue serves pan-seared redfish over roasted sweet corn and oyster mushrooms with jumbo lump crabmeat salad and truffle vinaigrette. Dick & Jenny's redfish is crusted with crab, andouille and cornbread stuffing, served with a smoked corn and mirliton macque choux topped with fried oysters and butter sauce infused with Crystal hot sauce. Melange at the Ritz-Carlton blackens redfish Cajun-style and serves it with a saffron crab risotto and shrimp bisque sauce. Oceana's sautéed redfish is topped with a crawfish mushroom cream sauce. On Bourbon Street, the Red Fish Grill's signature dish is redfish on the half shell, grilled skin on over a hickory flame and served with Louisiana shrimp, vegetable brochettes and a lemon-thyme butter sauce. At NOLA, Emeril Lagasse offers garlic-crusted redfish cooked in a wood-burning oven with brabant potatoes, crimini mushrooms and bacon. The broiled redfish Veranda at the Veranda Restaurant in the Hotel Intercontinental is topped with a zesty tomato relish. Bravo adds an Italian twist with a Parmesan crust, accompanying the fillet with crispy potatoes and spinach. The redfish Bon Ton at Bon Ton Café is grilled and topped with lump crabmeat in a lemon butter sauce. Begue's at the Royal Sonesta serves smoked redfish with crawfish-andouille grits and a vanilla-apple gastrique. At Galley Seafood Restaurant, the redfish can be ordered grilled or blackened and served with a creamy crawfish sauce. Crawfish etouffee smothers the Redfish Emily at St. Charles Tavern no matter what time you dine.

Ribs

There are as many ways to barbecue as there are barbecue chefs, and New Orleans is home to a toothsome variety of smoked-meat offerings. The rib basket at Ground Pat'i To Go contains a quarter slab served with regular or sweet potato fries or onion rings and a drink. Igor's Bar-B-Q Mama offers a half or full slab of pork spare ribs with classic sides. At Crescent City Brewhouse, the Brewhouse ribs are smoked in house, slowly roasted over an open flame and served with potatoes and corn on the cob. Fox & Hound offers a full slab of baby back ribs served with creamy coleslaw, barbecue beans and Texas toast. Zydeco BBQ and Roadhouse's St. Louis ribs are dusted with Cajun seasoning and seared for a crunchy outside and juicy-sweet inside. At O'Henry's, the "Big" ribs weigh in at a full 2 pounds of porky goodness, but they're also available by the half-rack for the less ambitious. Calypso Patio Bar & Grill serves Caribbean-style dry ribs as an appetizer, with a chipotle ranch dipping sauce on the side. At Korea House, try the classic gul bi Korean barbecue short ribs, marinated in special sauce. Corky's Bar-B-Q serves its ribs seasoned wet or with a dry spice rub. Herbsaint goes upscale, with a beef short rib appetizer served on a potato cake with Dijon-horseradish dressing, while The Joint stays down-home, serving up tender slabs of house-smoked pork ribs with vinegary coleslaw and peppery mac and cheese sides. On the Northshore, Sweet Daddy's smokes St. Louis-cut pork ribs slow and low (meaning on low heat). Tan Dinh serves beef short ribs Vietnamese-style: sprinkled with sesame seeds over pressed vermicelli noodles with pickled carrots, daikon root, mint leaves and nuoc mam fish sauce for dipping. A sweet and spicy barbecue sauce complements the baby back ribs slow cooked with Abita beer at Rockefeller's Seafood & Steakhouse.

Rice

Rice is a Louisiana staple that goes with everything and especially with some of the cuisines that have found their way into the local dining scene. The Old Coffee Pot restaurant engages in a bit of culinary preservation with the classic Creole dish calas cakes, deep-fried balls of long-grain rice, served with creamy grits and maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar. Lola's is known for traditional Spanish paellas in which saffron-infused Arborio rice is cooked with chicken, pork, vegetables, seafood and various permutations and combinations of ingredients. At Café East, fried rice gets a Southeast Asian spin when it's flavored with pineapple and curry or mango and basil. Salt & Pepper serves all its halal Indian and Pakistani dishes over aromatic basmati rice. At Red Star Chinese, the sizzling rice soup with chicken, shrimp and Chinese vegetables can be prepared for groups of two or three. At Sukho Thai in the Marigny, the pineapple fried rice is cooked in a wok with Gulf shrimp, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, onions, peas and eggs. The Spanish-style seafood paella at Liborio features shrimp, chicken and fish stewed in saffron rice with olive oil, white wine, garlic, onions and green peppers. The Asian-Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice at Café 59 combines shrimp, pork, smoked sausage, Italian sausage, bacon, peas and carrots with either white or brown rice.

Salad

With hot summer weather already upon us, thoughts turn to light, refreshing salads like Iris' Hawaiian hearts of palm, tossed with English peas, pea shoots and Comte cheese drizzled with a pea vinaigrette. Chateau Coffee Café offers a hearty Cobb salad with grilled chicken, crumbled blue cheese, boiled egg, cheddar and jack cheeses, bacon and smoked turkey. The chicken Cobb salad at Bruno's Tavern tops mixed greens with grilled chicken, avocado, egg, bacon, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles in a creamy ranch dressing. Quiznos sandwich shops citywide also offer a traditional Cobb salad. At Mattina Bella Restaurant, the chicken Bella salad features a char-grilled chicken breast on a bed of romaine leaves with diced apple, feta, glazed pecans and cranberries in a balsamic vinaigrette. At Robert's Fresh Market, the salad, pasta and olive bar offers endless variations on fresh greens, olives, cold pasta, chicken and tuna salad by the pound, available with housemade dressings. At Marigny Brasserie, the strawberry salad is a sweet treat of ripe red berry slices tossed with baby spinach, spiced walnuts and blue cheese in a strawberry vinaigrette. For a take on the classic Waldorf, Café Latte II offers a curry salad that includes baked chicken, apples, raisins, walnuts, carrots and purple cabbage served over a blend of romaine and iceberg leaves in a curry dressing and garnished with shredded coconut. At Rotolo's Pizzeria, roasted corn, romaine lettuce, grilled chicken and tomatoes are dressed with a special honey-lime cilantro vinaigrette. Caddyshack offers a classic chef salad with strips of turkey, ham, bacon, American and Swiss cheeses over mixed greens and tomatoes. Royal Blend Coffee & Tea House serves a rich Caesar salad with or without grilled chicken. At Flour Power in Chalmette, grilled chicken is served over mixed greens with plump Louisiana strawberries, candied nuts and creamy, mild goat cheese. Although better known for burgers, the Hard Rock Café offers lighter dishes like the honey-citrus grilled chicken salad with orange segments, raisins, red peppers and spiced pecans. Byblos' pinenut salad sprinkles the tiny nuts over romaine hearts, roasted chicken and jack cheese in buttermilk garlic dressing. The taco salad at Tomatillo's offers a choice of fajita chicken, beef or shrimp with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and cheese. At the Columbia Street Tap Room & Grill, fried shrimp or chicken is tossed in spicy buffalo sauce over a house salad. Café CBD's Mediterranean salad is a cornucopia of vegetables including avocado, black olives, spinach, roasted tomatoes and feta cheese, and can be served with grilled chicken or as a wrap as well as a salad. Adams Catfish House offers a new twist on creamed salads by making catfish just like tuna salad. At the Coffee Cottage in Harahan, the fresh fruit salad appetizer is juicy and light. The pineapple crunchy salad at Jazmine Café showcases Vietnamese flavors, with pineapple, cucumber, cilantro, crumbled peanuts and vermicelli in a hot and sweet dressing. Café Royale's spinach salad is topped with sautéed mushrooms, bacon, slivered almonds and red onion. At the Shimmy Shack, the classic remoulade salad contains blackened shrimp, egg and tomato over iceberg lettuce. Sidebar Café serves a salad of diced chicken breast tossed with red onion and tomatoes with a zingy citrus dressing. Fried onion rings make a crunchy guest appearance in the towering country chicken salad at Russell's Marina Grill. Salsa and chips add a little extra to the chicken Tex-Mex salad of grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, tomato, black olives, cheddar and spicy ranch dressing at Bayou Coffee House & Wine Bar. The shrimp salad at Back Porch Grill mixes seasoned boiled shrimp with boiled egg, celery, green onion and mayonnaise and places it atop a bed of spring mixed greens. Tucker's Tavern is best known for deep-fried burgers, but the Giant Chef Salad is a hearty mix of ham, turkey, Swiss, hard-boiled eggs and American cheese served with a choice of dressings. Zea Rotisserie & Grill's almond chicken salad includes grilled chicken, crispy noodles, sesame seeds and peanut vinaigrette. The chicken fajita salad at Muffaletta's Deli features chicken, black olives, salsa and sour cream.

Salmon

You can't catch salmon spawning up the Mississippi, but that hasn't kept it out of local restaurants. At Etoile, herb-crusted salmon served with Yukon Gold potatoes and Brussels sprouts in a mushroom leek broth is the star of the show. Emeril's Moroccan spice-crusted Atlantic salmon kicks it up a notch with Beluga lentils and a frisee-herb salad with a grapefruit vinaigrette. The smoked salmon salad at Welty's Deli is a twist on the classic deli lox, served with chopped red onion, capers, chopped egg, parsley and sour cream on a bed of romaine leaves with homemade croutons and honey-mustard dressing. At the New Oreans Grill at the Windsor Court Hotel, line-caught salmon is served tandoori-style with peach and mango chutney and heirloom tomatoes for a spicy subcontinental treat. Asian influences are also in evidence at Sara's, where the fish is pan-seared and served over jasmine rice with wasabi beurre blanc. The lunch menu at the Savvy Gourmet offers a seared salmon sandwich layered with bacon, avocado, farmer's cheese and roasted Roma tomatoes on sourdough bread. Sapor Restaurant offers a wild salmon pave entrée with artichoke and leek ragout and crab, tomato and coconut veluté. On Bourbon Street, the booty available at Jean Lafitte's Rendezvous includes a center-cut salmon steak poached in olive oil. Semolina serves pan-seared salmon with pistachio aioli on a bed of zucchini. Table One on Magazine offers house-cured salmon gravlax as an appetizer. At Jezz's Kitchen at Dorignac's, the nova classic is a New York-style bagel all the way, with smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, red onion and capers piled atop the bagel and a side of homemade pasta salad. In Ponchatoula, O'Donnell's Restaurant pairs seared Atlantic salmon with crisp Gulf oysters and serves them with a tasso and leek potato hash finished with fresh herb-truffle butter. Smoked salmon and brie are grilled on rye bread and topped with a fried egg for eye opening brunch at Elizabeth's.

Sandwich

Almost anything can go between two slices of bread, and the offerings in New Orleans go far beyond the simple po-boy. Chateau Coffee Café's Oriental veggie sandwich is packed with fresh vegetables topped with garlic-infused soy sauce on an onion bun. Times Grill combines ham, turkey, bacon, provolone cheese and creamy Italian dressing in Mayor Sam's Italian club. Fat Harry's serves up more than a mouthful with hot ham, turkey and roast beef dressed and topped with cheese on the Uptowner special. Gelato Pazzo Café presses its hot and toasty panini sandwiches, which include the combination of Genoa and Casalinga salamis, prosciutto, mortadella and imported provolone. At Welty's Deli, a full pound and a half of meat weighs down the New Orleans A.K., with a choice of four deli meats and four cheeses on a warm muffuletta loaf. For a more civilized turn, try the finger sandwiches that arrive as part of the full English tea service at Vianne's Tea Salon & Café. A foot-long Italian hoagie roll is stuffed to bursting with hot Genoa salami, mortadella, cappicola and provolone, then dressed with housemade garlic vinaigrette at Stein's Market and Deli. La Boulangerie bakes an assortment of breads fresh daily, and they're made even better as sandwiches like the tortine, which tops olive bread with marinara sauce, blue cheese and bacon. The Oriental wrap sandwich at Café Latte II offers Thai flavors with handheld convenience, swaddling chicken, bean sprouts, red cabbage, lettuce, carrots and peanut dressing in low-carb flatbread. At Royal Blend Coffee & Tea, the Old Metairie sandwich is a chicken salad club with crispy bacon and creamy avocado. Isabella's Pizza turns that classic Caesar salad into a sandwich, adding grilled chicken and mozzarella cheese and serving it all up on a foot-long fresh-made loaf. The grilled chicken breast sandwich at Winnie's Café gets a unique twist of flavor from blue cheese, fig and red onion. Quiznos offers all manner of original subs like the turkey with bacon, guacamole, red onion and ranch dressing. Jezz's Kitchen at Dorignac's offers a luxe horseradish-crusted Angus beef sandwich dressed with Tabasco mayonnaise on a fresh onion roll. At Christy's Po-Boys, every variety of the classic sub is represented, but the Cuban version is a sweet, smoky, unexpected treat. New York deli-style overstuffed sandwiches are the specialty at the Kosher Cajun New York Deli & Grocery, like the hot Reuben on seeded Jewish rye. Although it's on lower Decatur in the French Quarter, Café Envie makes an Uptown panini with ham, brie and green apples. The California sandwich at Martin Wine Cellar layers oven-roasted turkey with Havarti cheese, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado on seven-grain bread. Café Beignet's Bourbon Croissant packs the buttery pastry with turkey, bacon and white cheddar. Traditional turkey clubs star on the lunch menu at Café CBD and at Mojo's Frozen Custard. You'll want to linger over the crispy pressed panini sandwiches, including the Philly cheese steak or Buffalo chicken at Espresso Express. Cooter Brown's Thibodeaux Special features shrimp pies on French bread with homemade remoulade. The panini list at Campbell's Coffee & Tea includes turkey, ham, artichoke or three-cheese with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. At Café Royale, the pressed sandwiches are served on gyro bread with housemade, roasted red pepper mayo. Jimmy's Special Ranch sandwich at the Shimmy Shack is a chicken breast breaded in Italian breadcrumbs, fried and topped with bacon, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and ranch dressing on a bun. Shredded sweet and spicy barbecue beef dressed with lettuce, tomato and pickles is a unique sandwich offered at Southern Po-Boys. Mushrooms are thrown into the mix of peppers, onions and mozzarella cheese on the cheesesteak served at Pizza Fiesta located inside Club Decatur. The Bayou Bird at Southside Café in Slidell features blackened mesquite chicken breast topped with grilled tomatoes, melted Swiss and white remoulade sauce on French bread. Tartina sandwiches at Rue de la Course offer a range of options like chicken salad, roast beef or smoked turkey on black forest, seven grain or white loaves with American or Swiss cheese and dressed with vegetables like lettuce, tomato, pickles or sprouts. Red Eye Grill's tuna steak sandwich is served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise. The blackened chicken breast is topped with green peppers at Jigger's. Roman Pizza's chicken Caesar sandwich features grilled chicken, lettuce and mozzarella cheese on homemade bread. The Satora panini combines marinated chicken, fresh basil, mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil and herbs on focaccia bread at Café Satora. The Elwood at the House of Blues amps up a blackened chicken sandwich with chili-garlic mayonnaise, green chiles and sour cream. Coffea Coffehouse Gallery makes a vegetarian panini out of green apple, apple butter, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, spicy candied pecans and nutmeg. The Cuban sandwich at La Boucherie in the French Quarter is a pressed panini of roasted pork, ham, gruyere cheese and pickles. The meatball sandwich is a hearty option at Ditali's Pizza. Wow Café & Wingery does chicken tenders, too, in all sorts of wraps like the Buffalo wrap with spicy sauce, cheddar, jack and blue cheeses.

Sausage

With red beans or with breakfast, sausage is one of (or all of) the tastiest parts of the pig. The boudin appetizer at Mid City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl is hearty fuel for bowling and boozing. At the new restaurant Lüke on St. Charles Avenue, the boudin noir appetizer is elevated with a sauté of potatoes, apples and onions. Fausto's Bistro serves Italian sausage and roasted peppers over pasta. At the Rivershack Tavern, the kitchen puts Louisiana hot sausage in a burger patty. The Texas Bar-B-Que Company slow-smokes beef and pork links for five hours before glazing them with homemade sauce. Don's Special at Radosta's features homemade hot Italian sausage with olive salad and melted provolone. A smoked sausage sandwich is on the lunch menu at Melius Bar & Café. At Abita Bar-B-Q, you can get a traditional barbecue plate of boudin sausage with bread and two sides. Just Italy offers Italian sausage with sweet peppers on a pistolette loaf. The Cheesesteak Bistro serves more than just the namesake sandwich; with its Polish sausage sub topped with provolone, jalapenos and peppers. The Cajun hash browns at Café Beignet combine andouille sausage with browned potatoes, bell pepper and chopped red onion. At Fire of Brazil, the robust linguica pork sausages are slow-roasted. And Short Stop Po-Boys serves smoked sausage on French bread or a bun with barbecue sauce. Grab a hot dog with chili and cheese before digging into the sweeter options at Hershey's Ice Cream Parlor in Covington. Chorizo sausage is a spicy filling for tacos at Felipe's Taqueria. You can start the day off with a zing at Petunia's with a Cajun sausage breakfast of grilled andouille, boudin, two eggs toast and grits or potatoes. Or drop by the the St. Charles Tavern anytime for chicken and andouille sausage hash.

Scallops

Big, succulent sea scallops are popular with chefs and diners alike. At Dakota Restaurant, the grilled sea scallop appetizer is served over spring greens with andouille-grapefruit vinaigrette and sweet corn croutons. Pascal's Manale sautes scallops with crabmeat, green onions and red peppers and serves them over pasta in a cream sauce. The Triple Delight at August Moon Restaurant matches scallops with shrimp and beef, sautés them with Chinese vegetables and spices the dish with ginger, garlic and hot peppers. The grilled scallop ceviche at Wolfe's in the Warehouse features grilled scallops over a fresh tomato gazpacho topped with candied lemon-chive sour cream. Café Minh has an appetizer of seared jumbo diver scallops with grilled Japanese eggplant drizzled with sweet chili-soy sauce. Pan-seared sea scallops are dressed with crispy bacon and white wine sauce and complemented by wilted spinach and roasted fingerling potatoes at Paillard's. The appetizer of Maine sea scallops at Anatole features scallops pan seared in truffle oil and served over wild mushroom duxelles. A flavorful mix of fennel, Italian sausage and roasted corn with saffron butter broth, arugula and truffle-scented risotto complement the grilled scallops at Bistro at the Maison de Ville. Thai Spice keeps the green curry mild for its seafood mix of scallops, shrimp, squid and mussels. Alberta adds spicy orange butter sauce and pea shoots to its glazed scallops dish. Seared scallops are served with portobello risotto and grilled asparagus at Felix's Uptown. Basil and vegetables are sautéed with scallops at Thai Pot. Mat & Naddie's grills prosciutto-wrapped scallops and serves them with a salad of bitter greens tossed with shoestring potatoes in a tomato-caper-basil vinaigrette.

Seafood Platter

The combination seafood platter marries all the goodness of the Gulf and makes an easy choice for indecisive or greedy diners alike. At Coffee's Boilin' Pot, the deluxe platter combines catfish, shrimp, oysters and soft-shell crab and adds the extra treat of frog legs. The Corner Café's seafood platter for two pours it on with two cups of gumbo, stuffed jalapeno peppers and onion rings alongside crab balls, hush puppies, popcorn shrimp, stuffed shrimp and more. Jack Dempsey's Restaurant adds crawfish pies, fried redfish and baked macaroni to the traditional shrimp, crab and oyster trio on its platter for two. Deanie's Seafood means business when it refers to its combination of friend seafood as the Giant Seafood Platter. At Kenner Seafood, the more healthy boiled seafood platter features crab, shrimp and crawfish served with potato, onion and sausage. French Quarter Bistro's batter-fried seafood platter is seasoned with Cajun spices and served with steak fries. The seafood combo with soft-shell crab at Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar (adjoining the Fisherman's Cove Seafood market) is served in a basket with coleslaw or salad and a choice of fries, hush puppies or Cajun fried potatoes. The Rivershack Tavern's "See-Food" platter adds alligator sausage to the mix. At Mulate's Cajun Restaurant, the seafood platter combines stuffed crab, fried crawfish tails, butterflied shrimp, catfish, frog legs, oysters and a side of jambalaya. Casamento's platter adds trout to the cast of fried specialties. At Rooster's Grill & Bar, oyster, shrimp and catfish are fried golden and piled high alongside fries, coleslaw, cocktail and tartar sauces. Danny & Clyde's fried seafood platter comes with a choice of red beans and rice, potato salad, coleslaw or French fries. Le Grand Plateau de Fruits de Mer at Bourbon House involves fresh shucked oysters on the half shell, Cajun caviar, boiled Gulf shrimp, marinated crab fingers, roasted calamari and seasonal marinated seafood salads. The Corner Oyster Bar rounds up stuffed crab, catfish and shrimp. Seither's Seafood in Harahan serves shrimp, oysters, fish and soft-shell crab with a choice of sides and garlic bread. Tulane fans can dig into a big seafood platter of shrimp, oysters, catfish, French fries and hush puppies at Friar Tuck's. The Star Steamer at Star Steak and Lobster features Alaskan king crab, lobster and shrimp served with a baked potato, corn on the cob and a salad. In Covington, Vic and Nat'ly's throws in swimps, erstas, catfish and soft-shell crabs in Da Kitchen Zinc. At the Quarter View Restaurant in Metairie, Captain Sam's Seafood Platter includes fried shrimp, oysters, catfish, a stuffed crab and a choice of side dish.

Shrimp

The Gulf showers us with a seemingly endless supply of these favored crustaceans, and the variety of ways they're served up around town also seems almost infinite. Domilise's Po-Boys works with the basics, serving up a fried shrimp and oyster po-boy dressed or plain. The Water Street Bistro tosses grilled Gulf shrimp with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, garlic, capers and red onions, serves it all over linguine and garnishes it with crumbled feta cheese and pinenuts on top. Jung's Golden Dragon stir-fries shrimp with Chinese vegetables in a brown sauce and garnishes the dish with crispy honey pecans. Classic shrimp remoulade served with crusty French bread is on the menu at Cellars of River Ridge. At Trey Yuen Cuisine of China, large Gulf shrimp are coated in sweet, creamy sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds and pecans. The saffron fish stew at Meauxbar Bistro simmers shrimp with jumbo lump crabmeat, bay scallops and mussels. Café Reconcile's white beans and shrimp dish is a savory, stick-to-the-ribs lunch. The shrimp remoulade salad at Cannon's Restaurant adds the extra twist of fresh avocado and spinach leaves. La Thai Cuisine offers a spicy lemongrass shrimp and mushroom soup as a zesty starter course. Among the bounties of the sea at Oceana is the shrimp scampi over steamed rice. The spicy, tangy original New Orleans barbecue shrimp at Pascal's Manale is a local treasure. August Moon Restaurant pan-sears jumbo shrimp with minced onion and lemongrass, served over soft vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs, housemade pickles and nuoc mam sauce. The shrimp cake at Café Nino is stuffed with spinach and mozzarella cheese. At Café Pontalba, the classic shrimp etouffee smothers fluffy white rice with a rich roux. At Galatoire's, many Friday lunches are well spent enjoying the restaurant's famous shrimp remoulade. The grilled shrimp wrap at Gattuso's Deli contains grilled crustaceans, melted mozzarella, Creole mayo, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato tucked into a spinach tortilla. Eat New Orleans puts a Cajun twist on the classic Southern dish of shrimp and grits, simmering Gulf shrimp, scallions and crimini mushrooms in a light roux-based sauce. The fresh, summery sweetness of mango adds sparkle to shrimp sautéed with broccoli, bell pepper and onion at China Orchid. At Chad's Bistro, a buttery homemade loaf of French bread overflows with fried shrimp, catfish and oysters. Cheesy grits topped with jumbo shrimp in wine sauce are served with two eggs and a biscuit for a big luxurious breakfast at N'awlins Flava Café. Herbsaint sautes jumbo shrimp and pairs them with fried eggplant and chevre-onion relish. At Desire Oyster Bar on Bourbon Street, Cajun shrimp Alfredo is a spicy blend of shrimp and tasso in Alfredo sauce over linguine. Shrimp get pleasantly boozy in an Abita beer sauce at Ditcharo's, with rosemary herb butter and grilled bread to soak it all up. And of course, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company has dozens of preparations of the seafood. Don's Seafood Hut broils them and serves them in seasoned butter with green onions and a baked potato. Uptown Cajun offers blackened or fried shrimp on a po-boy with pepper jack cheese. The shrimp Diane at Restaurant des Familles is served over angel hair pasta in a spicy garlic butter sauce with green onions and mushrooms. It may be called the Beef Connection, but the barbecue shrimp, served in a bowl of homemade sauce with pistolettes for dipping, is no slouch. The sizzling go-ba at Five Happiness is a hissing-hot iron platter full of shrimp, chicken, beef and vegetables over crispy rice. The sprawling tables at Empire Buffet offer shrimp in multiple dishes. At Deanie's Seafood, the head-on barbecue shrimp are messily delicious and hands-on. The Asian Delight salad at Hip Stix Asian Fusion features shrimp and pork tossed with shredded green papaya, radishes and carrots in a light dressing with peanuts and prawn crackers. Verti Marte's Shrimp Philly is topped with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, Swiss and American cheeses and a tangy tartar sauce. Shrimp and crab are stewed with okra and served over rice at Southern Po-Boys. Thai Pot's crispy shrimp are lightly battered and fried and served with a moderately spicy Panang curry. The New Orleans style barbecue shrimp at Allegro Bistro employs a traditional barbecue sauce of butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic thyme and paprika. The Alpine Bistro cooks its barbecue shrimp in olive oil with bay leaf, rosemary, garlic, pepper and lemon and flames them with white wine. The hot and spicy shrimp at Philip Chan's Asian-Cajun Bistro are flash-fried and then wok-sautéed in sweet brown Asian sauce and served in a bird's nest of delicately fried wontons. Upperline Restaurant's Drum Piquant Hot & Hot Shrimp features a drum fillet and shrimp cooked with a spicy shrimp stock and chile sauce and then a second even hotter shrimp and chile sauce served in a small pitcher on the side. Ricky Toy's Asian fusion at Bambu inside Harrah's features a zesty bit of Japanese horseradish in the pecan-crusted honey-wasabi shrimp. Chef Scott Boswell is also a fan of Asian fusion and his Iron Chef Prawns at Stella! feature shrimp sautéed in olive oil, white wine, garlic, Korean chile flakes and Vietnamese chile paste. Mr. B's Bistro's barbecue shrimp are well seasoned but not as spicy, presented with heads and shells in a sauce of lemon, Worcestershire, pepper and butter. Chef Tenney Flynn changes his menu daily at GW Fins, but sometimes wood-grilled shrimp are served with accompaniments like mango-melon relish and lobster butter. At Jazz Emporium Nightclub on Bourbon Street, the tapas selection includes a three jumbo shrimp and three oyster on the half shell called New Orleans La Bayou.

Soft-Shell Crab

It's not hard to find a reason to order these sidecrawlers when soft shells are in season. Clancy's is famous for its smoked soft-shell crab with crabmeat on top. Fried soft shells served with new potatoes are a house specialty at Joey K's. Seither's Seafood serves its soft-shell over angel hair pasta topped with crawfish sauce. You'll find soft shells -- caught by Manchac fishermen -- either broiled or fried and served with cole slaw and hush puppies at Middendorf's. Belly up to the sushi bar for soft-shell crab rolls at Oki Nago. Escargot accompany soft-shell crab in a leek and bacon meuniere sauce atop herbed risotto at One Restaurant and Lounge. At Restaurant des Familles, the soft-shell crab Foster is topped with artichoke hearts, mushrooms and green onions all sautéed in a lemon-butter sauce. Anselmo's offers two fried soft-shell preparations: one over wilted spinach topped with lump crabmeat and another on a bed of angel hair with a crawfish mushroom cream sauce. Crab goes with crab at Ormond Country Club, which tops its fried soft shells with lemon butter and more crabmeat. At Fazzio's, soft shells are served amandine style, with toasted almonds in a light butter sauce. The soft-shell crab platter at Saltwater Grill features two soft shells, tartar sauce and a choice of side items.

Soup

Gumbo isn't the only soup in town. The Oyster Rockefeller soup at Chartres House Café is a cream-based soup with Gulf oysters and spinach topped with a fried oyster. The staple at Pho Tau Bay is a traditional Vietnamese pho bo, a beef broth soup with rice noodles served with a basket of herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges and jalapeno peppers. Madrid Restaurante offers a classic chilled gazpacho made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and garlic. Mandina's renowned turtle soup is a dark, roux-based version with diced tomato and egg that's finished at the table with a touch of sherry. French Quarter Beignets dishes up a crawfish and corn soup that's heavy on crawfish and cream with medium spice. Club 300 Jazz Restaurant's three cheese and asparagus bisque has a white cream base infused with rosemary, thyme and sweet basil. Tortilla soup topped with grated cheese and avocado is a popular choice at Carreta's Grill. A variety of cold soups including Andalusian and mango gazpachos and black bean, cucumber and jalapeno soups are offered at Urban Cup Café. Laurentino's menu also presents a tough choice between fabada, a white bean soup with greens, sausage, ham and chorizo and a garlic soup made with roasted garlic simmered in a chicken broth and topped with egg. Bravo Italian Kitchen combines meatballs, spinach, Parmesan cheese and pasta in its traditional Italian Wedding Soup. Just Italy dishes up a popular tomato-basil bisque. And, just about everything under the sea is served in Carmelo Ristorante's Tuscan style seafood soup with clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, calamari, fresh fish and scallops. In Vietnam, beef broth is a staple, but Frosty's Caffe in Harvey offers a Vietnamese chicken broth soup with rice noodles, shallots, onions and cilantro served with a basket of lime wedges, sprouts and herbs on the side.

Spinach

Spinach packs a Popeye-strength punch in starters, salads and entrees as an accent or alone. A spinach and artichoke dip made with Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella cheeses with hints of roasted garlic and nutmeg is always a good way to get started at the Fox & Hound. Pizza Florence spins a spinach and artichoke pie with freshly made dough and fresh mozzarella and feta on top. The triangle pies stuffed with spinach, onion and sumac spice are an appetizing starter at Mona's Café. A fresh spinach salad with red onion, mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs and hot bacon dressing is an enticing choice at Dry Dock Café. Salt & Pepper serves an authentic goat and spinach entrée with salad and chutney. Casa Garcia pairs spinach and artichoke in a chimichanga topped with a honey-habanero glaze and a cayenne buttermilk ranch drizzle. Oscar's offers a spinach dip with Monterey Jack and sour cream. Coffee Rani's salad menu features the spinach and walnut Caribe, with baked chicken, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, bacon, toasted walnuts, apples and crumbled blue cheese on a bed of spring greens. The spinach manicotti at Reginelli's Pizzeria features tubes of pasta stuffed with Parmesan and herbed ricotta presented on a bed of wilted spinach with a creamy lemon-tarragon white sauce. Maddie's Place tops its spinach salad with sliced mushrooms, almonds, boiled eggs, red onion, bacon bits and dressing choices like raspberry vinaigrette, creamy Vidalia onion or red wine/apple cider vinegar. Spinach and feta triangles are baked golden brown and crispy at Fresco Café & Pizzeria. Go-Go Gourmet's baby spinach and strawberry salad is tossed with organic spinach, thinly sliced grilled chicken, Louisiana strawberries and candied pecans in an herb and balsamic vinaigrette. The spinach salad at La Boucherie is tossed with red onions and orange segments in citrus vinaigrette.

Steak

In a city known for seafood, sometimes nothing but a steak will do. Crescent City Steakhouse cuts a classic: a seasoned filet and served in sizzling butter. Mimi's Italian and Seafood Restaurant prepares a filet with mushroom marchand du vin served with garlic creamed potatoes. The 8-oz. house filet at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse is topped with flash-fried local oysters and a bearnaise sauce and accompanied by creamed spinach and Pontalba potatoes. Besh Steakhouse features richly marbled and roasted just beyond rare American-grown Kobe beef from Snake River Farms in Oregon. Crazy Johnnie's Steakhouse serves a 12-oz prime rib au jus with Crazy Potatoes. Jack Dempsey's pairs a 10-oz rib-eye with lobster or Dungeness crab. The Black Angus filet mignon portobello at Club 300 Jazz Restaurant is topped with a red wine portobello reduction and served over a hand-smashed potato with fresh asparagus. Brick Oven Café features a Bourbon Street filet sautéed in a premium bourbon sauce and topped with green onions and mushrooms with a side of penne quattro formaggi. Jean Lafitte's Rendezvous serves a 14-oz. Cajun rib-eye that's marinated in olive oil and Cajun spices and blackened in a cast-iron skillet. At Pupuseria & Restaurante La Macarena, the carne asada comes seasoned with Latin spices and is served with yellow rice, refried black beans and sweet, fried plantains. The broiled strip at Mr. John's Ristorante is topped with melted gorgonzola cheese. The Palm Court Jazz Café serves a grilled rib-eye with green peppercorn sauce and a side of live jazz. At The Embers Original Bourbon House, the filet is topped with barbecue shrimp, and the 42-oz. porterhouse dinner for two comes with twin salads, baked potatoes and bowls of French onion soup. In Metairie, Ardoise prepares New York strip by rubbing the steak in finely ground coffee, herbs and spices before firing it and serving it with roasted shallots and a balsamic drizzle. The cast-iron seared filet at the Rib Room is prepared with a sauce of Steen's cane syrup and Southern Comfort and garnished with crispy onions. Beef Connection serves an 8- or 12-oz. classic filet in sizzling butter. Emeril's Delmonico retains vestiges of the former century-old steakhouse with steaks and chops like a 20-oz. bone-in rib-eye or 14-oz. veal chop. Tuesday is steak night at Step Brother's Lounge & Restaurant and features your choice of either rib-eye or filet for just $10. It's surf inside turf with Star Steak and Lobster's Cajun filet, which stuffs Alaskan king crab, blue crab, shrimp and crawfish tails inside a filet and tops it with a mushroom wine sauce. La Boca's Argentine-style steaks include the Vacio, a 14-oz. marinated flank steak charred on the grill. La Casa Gomez's Bistec Cubano is a marinated and grilled sirloin served with black beans, rice and fried plantains. Young's Restaurant in Slidell offers a straight-ahead 8- or 14-oz. charbroiled filet accompanied by a salad and baked potato. The "Victoria Crowned" filets at Outback Steakhouse are topped with either blue cheese or horseradish crumbs. On Friday nights, Daiquiri Bay Café's special is an 8-oz. filet served with Caesar salad and choice of potato. Baked potatoes with chives and bacon bits come with the 14-oz. rib-eye steaks at Port of Call. Sizzling butter finishes the big league cuts of certified Angus at Shula's Steakhouse. The surf and turf at Longhorn Steakhouse is a 7-oz. filet paired with crabmeat Imperial plus a salad and side dish. The chipotle steak at Taqueros-Coyoacan is a 9-oz. filet stuffed with chipotle chiles and served with tomato-chipotle sauce and cotija cheese on top of an open-faced quesadilla. Steak nights at Southside Café in Slidell feature Angus beef rib-eyes with loaded baked potatoes and salad. The Vietnamese garlic rib-eye at Bambu in Harrah's is served with rice and an Asian salad of greens, cucumbers and tomatoes in a Vietnamese vinaigrette. The blue cheese steak at Feelings Café is a 6-oz. filet stuffed with blue cheese and topped with sautéed mushrooms. The garlic filet mignon at Alpine Bistro is an aged 8-oz. center cut of tenderloin topped with garlic in an herbed natural reduction. Sizzling butter kisses the 10-oz. prime filet from Season's Steak and Spirits, which arrives with sautéed vegetables and a potato on the side. A baked potato or sweet potato comes with the grilled 14-oz. house-cut filet at Keith Young's Steakhouse.

Sushi

Sushi lovers will want to see how these restaurants roll. Horinoya offers an excellent selection of nigiri sushi that includes favorites like tuna and yellowtail and choices for the more adventurous like sea urchin and giant clam. Kanno Sushi's Osaka-born chef/owner's wide variety of specialties includes a caterpillar roll of snow crab, eel and cucumber wrapped with avocado. Oki Nago offers both eel and egg omelette sushi a la carte. The sushi menu at Cate Street Seafood Station features the Cate Street roll: tuna, salmon, yellowtail, snow crab, avocado, asparagus and sushi rice wrapped in soybean paper and topped with tempura flakes and eel sauce. Jipang prepares a convenient chirashi sushi lunch special, or bowl of sashimi slices over rice. Red snapper and spicy baked scallop sushi are hot items at Yujin. Sake Café's Sake Café III roll is a crunchy roll inside with salmon, crunchy and masago outside, all finished with a spicy sauce. The Mandeville roll at Little Tokyo features whitefish, snow crab, asparagus and smelt roe and is topped with eel sauce. Mikimoto makes a futomaki roll with smelt roe, crabstick, shrimp, egg, avocado, asparagus, cucumber and Japanese pickle. At Sushi Brothers, the creative rolls include a couple of rice-free options like the Sunshine Roll with tuna, salmon, eel, yellowtail, sweet egg, snow crab, asparagus, avocado and smelt row bundled together in soy wrap. The Love Boat for Two at Sake Café Uptown is full of paired sushi and sashimi pieces of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, octopus and a roll to share chosen by the chef. At Rock-N-Sake Bar & Sushi, a couple of the more popular rolls are the Hawaii 5-0 with mango, avocado, cream cheese and coconut-fried shrimp and the LSU roll with tuna, snow crab, avocado, cream cheese and tempura-fried shrimp. The Funky Margarita Roll at Kyoto is packed with crawfish and crunchy tempura flakes and topped with slices of tuna, salmon and spicy avocado sauce.

Sweetbreads

Perhaps oddly named, sweetbreads are nevertheless unforgettable in the dishes of many local chefs. Peristyle's "popcorn" sweetbreads are lightly fried and dressed with pickled red onions, Maras Farm sunflower shoots and blood orange Grand Marnier beurre blanc. The sugar cane brochette sweetbreads at Dominique's arrive atop a corn and wild mushroom fritter with chive oil and veal jus. One Restaurant and Lounge offers sautéed sweetbreads on collard greens with a buttermilk biscuit. The roasted sweetbread appetizer at The Longbranch is accompanied by a local green bean salad dressed in a Banyuls (French vinegar made from wine grapes) vinaigrette. The appetizer menu at Flaming Torch features calves' sweetbread poulette -- sweetbreads sautéed and served with mushroom cream sauce. Bistro 38 sautés sweetbreads for an entrée served with lemon-caper beurre blanc, roasted new potatoes and haricots vert. The crispy sweetbreads at Gautreau's come with crawfish tails, brabant potatoes and a zesty Crystal butter sauce.

Tamale

Hotter than New Orleans in August, handmade tamales are always a spicy special treat. El Gato Negro's menu features a homemade pulled pork version with Mexican rice and beans. Beef tamales covered in chili and topped with cheddar cheese are a hot starter at Corky's Bar-B-Q. The tamales at Country Flame are mild ones that come over tortilla chips with lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar. Step Brothers Lounge & Restaurant serves beef tamales by the dozen or half-dozen. Handmade beef tamales with salsa and sour cream are a popular special at Buffa's Lounge. The tamale sandwich at Guillory's Grocery features a tamale topped with chili and cheese on either a bun or French bread.

Tomato

Whether they're red or green, cold or fried, tomatoes play a starring role in many a New Orleans meal. Café Adelaide & Swizzle Stick Bar features Creole tomatoes in a five-tomato salad along with cherry, grape, Roma and vine-ripened varieties, baby arugula and cane-marinated cucumbers with a basil vinaigrette from Crescent City Farmers Market. Vine-ripe Creole tomatoes and basil are paired with either fresh mozzarella or Maytag blue cheese in the Tomatoes Maison at Tommy's Wine Bar. Angeli on Decatur's appetizers include a spicy tomato spread that's served with pita triangles. At Annadele's Plantation, Parmesan-encrusted fried green tomatoes are topped with Louisiana crawfish tails and a Tabasco-infused remoulade. Attiki does a delightful summer plate with fresh imported mozzarella, tomatoes, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives all marinated in olive oil. Café Pontchartrain presents a shrimp and fried green tomato Napoleon with fresh shrimp coated in a tasso sauce and layered between slices of crispy fried green tomato medallions. Hookah Café's version of the fried green tomato Napoleon is a triple stack of fried slices layered with shrimp, crawfish and crabmeat and smothered in a rich butter-cream sauce. The ever popular tomato soup with basil is served with a goat cheese crostini at Puccino's. Fried green tomatoes are served in a po-boy at Le Citron Bistro in the Lower Garden district.

Trout

Trout is an old favorite in many traditional New Orleans restaurants. Mandina's classic trout amandine is fried trout topped with roasted almonds and Creole meuniere. The speckled trout at II Tonys comes lightly pan-fried with sautéed shrimp, tasso, herbs and spices in a light cream sauce. New City Grille fries trout in pecan flour and serves it with meuniere butter and toasted pecans, accompanied by sweet potato and baby green bean sides. The Baquet family-run Li'l Dizzy's Café offers a daily trout Baquet lunch special. The Trout Tony -- a fried trout fillet served on a bed of pasta and topped with a creamy crawfish sauce -- is a favorite at Nobody Waits Po-Boys. Panéed portobellos accompany a pan-fried trout fillet topped with lump crabmeat and a gruyere and white wine reduction in the Trout Tchoupitoulas at Cottage Café. Lola's offers an Idaho ruby red rainbow trout grilled and served with lemon-pepper sauce. Galatoire's combines two classic French presentations in its trout meuniere amandine. The pan-roasted speckled trout Clemenceau at Court of Two Sisters comes with potatoes, mushrooms, peas, shrimp, bacon and a citrus beurre blanc. Salvatore Ristorante's trout Salvatore is pan-fried and topped with fresh lump crabmeat, shrimp and mushroom sauce. The trout Creole at Boule Prime Steakhouse is pan-seared and served with a crawfish reduction. Ristorante Filippo serves sautéed trout topped with crab and white wine sauce. On the Northshore, Fazzio's fries speckled trout and tops it with crabmeat and brown butter. The Trout Raymond at Smilie's is pan-fried and topped with crabmeat, mushrooms and shallots in a white wine sauce.

Tuna

Whether raw, rare or fully fired, tuna finds itself featured at eateries all over town. Grilled medallions of ahi tuna are paired with seared Moulard foie gras at Marigny Brasserie. Tuna tartare with diced tomato and avocado, Thai cream and balsamic glaze is a popular starter at Morton's Steakhouse. It's not all raw fish at Sake Café, where the pepper-seared blackened tuna is served with teriyaki sauce. The Burning Man roll at Little Tokyo features sesame oil and spicy tuna inside and peppery tuna, avocado, green onions and chili outside. The Beachcorner offers seared tuna over a salad or tuna grilled to order in a sandwich. Café Rani 's bronzed tuna is a fresh tuna steak on a bed of field greens, topped with balsamic vinaigrette and finished with tomato and black bean relish. Yujin's salad options include a tuna Tokyo salad. A 6-oz. ahi tuna steak marinated with fresh basil and then char-grilled to medium rare is a favorite at Steve's Diner. St. Charles Café keeps the tuna entrée light by grilling the steak and serving it with rice pilaf and a vegetable. Sake Café Uptown goes for a little extra flair in the TNT sushi which combines tuna and yellowtail with tobiko caviar and a quail egg on top. Station 8801 keeps it simple with a tuna steak sandwich on a bun dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. The Blackened Blue Tuna Salad at the Pontchartrain Point Café features blackened tuna on mixed greens with red onion, diced tomato, blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. Café Bayard serves its dill and cucumber tuna salad on croissant or toasted baguette. At Young's Restaurant in Slidell, the charbroiled yellowfin tuna steak is topped with sautéed mushrooms and crawfish tails. Garlic chipotle dressing adds a zesty accent to the seared tuna served over mixed greens and tomato wedges at Carrollton Station. For an Italian accent, a pancetta and black olive tapenade top the pan-seared yellowfin tuna at Ristorante del Porto in Covington. Tuna mixes it up with Gulf shrimp, bay scallops and mussels and orange, mango and grapefruit in Meauxbar Bistro's Seviche de la Mare appetizer.

Turkey

When you just can't wait until November for your next post-turkey nap, there's tryptophan everywhere. The Cali burger at Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar is an all white-meat turkey burger with avocado, sprouts and onions served on a whole wheat bun. Casa Garcia puts a twist on a Mexican classic with citrus-marinated turkey fajitas. DiMartini's Muffulettas makes a turkey BLT for smaller appetites. Opt for a healthy lunch choice at Expresso Express with the Malibu turkey wrap. An Atkins-friendly turkey and vegetable kabob served with grilled tomato and salad is featured at Cleopatra. Wednesday's mean turkey necks with rice, potato salad or vegetable and cornbread at Pampy's Creole Kitchen. A popular option at Obee's is the spicy bird sandwich -- a turkey, cappicola, pepperoni and provolone sub finished with oil, vinegar and oregano. A toasted Parmesan-crusted bun layered with roast turkey and melted provolone and topped with a garlic-herb spread presents an alternative to traditional pie at Pizza Hut.

Veal

The strong Italian influences in New Orleans culture have made veal a standard in Creole and Italian restaurants. The veal daube haute Creole from Commander's Palace is slow-braised veal served with grilled crawfish boudin, roasted tomatoes, buttermilk fried onion rings and a smoked tomato demi-glace. Eleven 79 prepares veal osso buco in classic Milano style and serves it with pappardelle pasta. Salvatore Ristorante's veal osso buco is simmered in a brown veal stock with mushrooms, finished with a chianti wine and served with fettuccine. The Hunter's veal is panéed at Lüke and comes with crabmeat, bacon gravy and housemade fries. Chateau du Lac Wine Bistro offers blanquette de veau, a classic creamy veal stew with mushrooms and pearl onions. Fausto's Bistro prepares your choice of veal piccata, marsala, parmigiana or saltimbocca. The veal plicato at TeCoRo's Seafood & Italian Restaurant is paneed veal layered in a creamy sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, green onions and mozzarella. Caddyshack's breaded veal cutlet with brown gravy is served with peas, macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes. The grits and grillades at Houmas House Plantation are tender medallions of veal stewed in Spanish-style gravy and served over cheese grits. The veal Marsala served with wild mushroom sauce is a classic choice at Todaro's. Café DiBlasi's osso buco is braised with aromatics and white wine and simmered slowly until fork tender. The osso buco at Assunta's is smothered in olive oil, onions and diced tomatoes and served over bowtie pasta. Copeland's serves spiced and panéed milk-fed veal with a creamy blend of shrimp and tasso over linguine. Traditional veal Parmesan atop angel hair pasta is a Coscino's favorite. Tony Angello's spiedini features medallions of veal round stuffed with eggplant and served with homemade tomato sauce. Café Nino's veal Parmesan comes with your choice of beef lasagna, spaghetti or salad. The veal cutlet served with mashed potatoes and gravy is popular at Magazine Po-Boy. The veal parmigiana at Bonfire Restaurant features breaded veal served over spaghetti and topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Restaurant Cypress' pan-sauteed veal is layered with portobello mushrooms and crabmeat stuffing and served with a sherry beurre-blanc. Veal piccata at Ristorante Filippo is a classic version of veal sautéed with butter and capers and served over linguine. For lunch, Allegro Bistro flash fries veal and serves it with Creole mustard and crawfish hollandaise. The veal Marsala at Romano's Macaroni Grill is topped with portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic and wine sauce. The veal Sorrentina at Tommy's Cuisine layers pan-seared veal medallions with proscuitto, eggplant and mozzarella and tops it with a mushroom, green onion and Marsala wine sauce. Carmine's Brocilone is a dish of pounded veal wrapped around provolone, salami and tomatoes and served over angel hair pasta with a red sauce. Austin's namesake veal dish features paneed veal crowned with crab, mushrooms and green onions. The pan-roasted veal chop at Chop's Bistro & Martini Bar is topped with blue cheese, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers and served over bowtie pasta in a Marsala wine and mushroom sauce.

Vegetables

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy garden-fresh vegetables, whether you're a vegetarian or carnivore. Fresh mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, banana peppers and spicy tomatoes make the Hippie pizza a vegetarian favorite at Theo's Pizza. An okra, tomato, and corn casserole is available for take-out from Chez Nous Charcuterie. The salad menu at Loop Pizza Grill features a crunchy broccoli salad. The tangy-sweet, very spicy khatha metha teekha is new vegetarian option at Nirvana. Panasia prepares a masaman curry with potatoes, carrots, onions and roasted peanuts. The lemongrass xa ot tofu is one of several vegetarian entrées at Doson Noodle House. A vegetarian burger presents an alternative to standard bar fare at Igor's on St. Charles. The Edge Bar and Grill offers old-fashioned butter beans for lunch. The veggi bella panini from Rocky's Gourmet Pizza is packed with grilled portobello mushrooms, feta cheese, grilled eggplant, fresh spinach, tomato pesto and sautéed onions all toasted in pita bread. The Bean Gallery grills a vegetable panini with portobello mushroom, asparagus, fresh tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella and serves it on seven-grain hoagie roll. Igor's Checkpoint Charlie offers a black bean veggie burger. Houston's prepares a housemade brown rice and oat bran veggie burger with melted Monterey Jack cheese. The veggie delight and tofu entrée at Café Equator has sautéed broccoli, yellow squash, water chestnuts, carrots and tofu in a lightly seasoned sauce. Roasted onions, red bell peppers, zucchini and mushrooms tossed with fettuccini in a spicy cream sauce make up the roasted vegetable primavera at Bennigan's. Steamed broccoli florets with Parmesan cheese are a popular Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro side. The spicy edamame cooked in garlic and butter sauce is a good starter at Asian Pacific Café. For an energy boost, try a sandwich of carrots, raisins, walnuts, sprouts and cream cheese on whole wheat bread from Good Earth Market and Café in Mandeville. Café Rose Nicaud's veggie burger is made with a mix of grains and vegetables and is served on toasted ciabatta bread with lettuce, tomato and onion. Café Satora's Southwestern black bean veggie burger is topped with onions and mozzarella and comes with sour cream and salsa on the side. Roly Poly's California Hummer is an environmentally friendly mix of roasted red pepper hummus, provolone, lettuce, plum tomato, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, green pepper and Caesar dressing. Taj Mahal in Metairie offers vegetarian dishes like bhindi masala, a spicy okra stew.

Waffles

Waffles are what lazy weekends are made for, so grab a big cup of coffee and a newspaper and take your time. The apple waffle at Betsy's Pancake House is a great choice among the breakfast spot's seven options. Puccino's buttermilk waffle sandwich bulges with two scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and either bacon or ham pressed on the grill between golden waffles. The waffles at Li'l Dizzy's Café come topped with strawberries or bananas and accompanied by bacon, sausage or ham. The breakfast menu at N'awlins Flava Café features a Belgian waffle topped with fruit, nuts, whipped cream and chocolate. The Belgian waffle at the Broken Egg Café is baked and topped with whipped butter, powdered sugar and warm syrup. Loyal Camellia Grill fans can once again start the day with regular or pecan waffles served with cane or maple syrup. The thick Belgian waffles at Riccobono's Panola Street Café can be topped with pecans, strawberries or blueberries.

Wings

Hotter than a New Orleans summer, wings are always solid starters. At NOLA, Miss Hay's stuffed chicken wings are accompanied by a homemade hoisin dipping sauce. Papa John's delivers wings in two degrees of heat: mild chipotle barecue and spicy buffalo. Hooter's buffalo platter with wings, buffalo shrimp and chicken strips is a perennial favorite Hootertizer. Pat O'Brien's Courtyard Restaurant's chicken wings are marinated in the eatery's signature Bloody Mary wing sauce before they're deep fried. The wings at Music City Café are named for Jennifer Lopez -- perhaps because of the zesty sauce that tops them. Milano Pizzeria serves gourmet chicken wings with your choice of 11 sauces, including Caribbean, teriyaki, Greek and Thai. Wow Café & Wingery pushes the sauce choices even further with more than 15 options, including several levels of Buffalo sauce, Jamaican jerk sauce, Texas-style mesquite barbecue sauce, Thai peanut sauce, Polynesian sweet-and-sour sauce and many more. To check the heat, the spicy hot wings at Speakeasy Sports Bar and Grill are served with hot sauce and ranch or blue cheese sauce. The hot wings at Backyard Café and Daiquiri come with celery sticks and a choice of dressings, including hot sauce, honey mustard, sweet-and-sour, barbecue or suicide, which mixes them all together.

Zucchini

Last but not least in the family of summer squash is the zucchini. This summer, a smoked salmon and zucchini roll will debut at the Riverbend's new Barcelona Tapas Café. Fried zucchini is a popular side dish at Mr. John's Ristorante. Zucchini and squash soup is great alone or matched with a salad or sandwich at Paradise Café. The grilled veggie starter at Grille 22 includes zucchini, squash and mushrooms. Impastato's serves orders of fried zucchini large enough for two to share. Soft, airy zucchini bread is a great start to the morning at Laurel Street Bakery. Zucchini Parmesan is a popular option on II Tonys' pasta menu. The exotic Nebeyaki Udon at Sushi Brothers is a noodle soup of napa cabbage, zucchini, mushrooms, seafood and egg with white noodles. The veggie wrap at St. John's Coffeehouse is loaded with baby spinach, Roma tomatoes, zucchini, green pepper, sprouts, Bermuda onion, avocado spread and spinach cream cheese spread. The vegetarian pasta at Jin Jean's Restaurant and Club features zucchini, squash and broccoli with penne pasta in an Alfredo cream sauce.

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