One for the Road Trip? The Abita brand looms large in New Orleans, so it was always a bit anticlimactic to make the trip to Abita Springs to visit the brewery where Louisiana's most successful beer is produced. The beer-making operation is interesting enough, and the tour informative, but the "tasting room" that is naturally the central attraction of any brewery tour was a Spartan affair. That has changed, however, with the opening of the Abita Beer Visitors Center , done up with a French Quarter-style courtyard outside and a gleaming mahogany bar with 15 taps serving various Abita brews inside. Free tours are given at 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Remember, however, that Abita Springs is about an hourlong drive from New Orleans, so make sure someone in your group has a special fondness for Abita root beer. For directions and other information, visit www.abita.com
. Stop and Go The palatial St. Charles Avenue property that once housed Taqueros-Coyoacan, the area's most ambitious Mexican restaurant, is back in business in a much different form. Stop 9 Refueling Station & Culinary Specialties (1432 St. Charles Ave., 267-3028; www.stop9nola.com
) is a breakfast/lunch café with a sideline of gourmet groceries and a selection of sauces made by proprietor and chef Guillermo Peters . The chef previously ran Taqueros, a Mexican cantina, on the ground floor of the building and Coyoacan, a fine-dining Mexican restaurant, upstairs. Stop 9, which he runs along with his daughter Ingrid Thomas, serves omelets and eggs dishes in the morning, and daily plate specials, stuffed burgers, Cuban sandwiches, salads and more at lunch. Mexican classics still make appearances, however, with chilaquiles (tortillas stewed in roasted tomato sauce) at breakfast and Mexican-style flan at lunch. Perk and Ride Marigny Perks (2401 Burgundy St., 948-7401; www.marignyperks.com
), a popular spot for breakfast, light lunch and coffeehouse drinks in the Faubourg Marigny, has opened a new location Uptown. Called Magazine Perks (4332 Magazine St., 899-2911; www.marignyperks.com
), the shop has taken over the space briefly occupied by Café Bayard in 2007. The menu includes pressed sandwiches, salads and soups, breakfast pastries and stuffed biscuits. Though small, the shop is decked out with tables large enough for laptops, offers free wireless Internet and has a small patio in back. McNulty
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