New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis has explored his adopted city during the five years since the Black and Gold grabbed him in the first round of the 2008 draft. He was the seventh pick overall that year and earned All-Rookie honors. Ellis started all 16 games in the 2012 season, making 36 tackles. He talked with Gambit about what he likes to do off the field.
GAMBIT: What two restaurants are must-visits for Super Bowl fans?
Ellis: GW Fins is a spot that I take my friends and family to when they are visiting from out of town. It is a very nice restaurant in the French Quarter with great food. They don't try to do too much with the fish, which is refreshing, and it is flown in from all over the world. Definitely my favorite spot for seafood. I recommend the lobster dumplings — oh, and the apple pie, too.
Mr. John's Ristorante has the best steak in the city, USDA prime served sizzling in butter. They stay true to New Orleans style, however something unique is that besides the steaks, it is an Italian menu. It is a great mix of tastes with a cool atmosphere. Make sure to get a reservation; the line can be out the door on the weekend.
G: What two spots are the best places for nightlife in New Orleans?
E: Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar. I am a born and raised southern California guy, so this spot is one of my favorites. The owners also hail from SoCal, and they have really brought the beach to the city. There is always a great vibe, with good-looking people. It's a great place to watch a game or just to hang out after. Oh, and I definitely recommend the fish tacos.
Jackson Brewery has a great location right on the (Mississippi) riverfront and has a great mix of people — locals and tourists. You can chill or dance; it really has something for everyone.
G: What two things should no one miss — even during the Super Bowl?
E: Bourbon Street is kind of an obvious answer for this, but it is really something you should see when you are in New Orleans, even during Super Bowl. I'm sure they will be hosting events and it will be really crowded, but fun. It's a can't-miss.
St. Louis Cathedral is iconic to New Orleans and it sits right in Jackson Square, which is a great area. It is one of those landmarks that is a must-see, because it really defines New Orleans and the history behind the city.
G: And what are your must-do Super Bowl activities during the week leading up to the big game?
E: The NFL Experience is always a fan favorite at the Super Bowl. It is great for families and kids because you get to go inside the NFL. They have games, displays, football clinics, autograph sessions and other activities that most people could never experience.
The GQ party Saturday night is one of the hardest parties to get in to every year, but if you can get in, it is star-studded. This year New Orleans native Lil Wayne is performing, making it an even more difficult party to get in. Spend the money, it will be worth it.