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New Orleans Newbie: Spoiled for Choice

Fidget | Feb 5, 200511:42 AM

In a month's time, the fiancee and I are heading to New Orleans for four nights. Trying to figure out where to go for dinner, but we're having a hard time --too many choices! I've pored over this board for hours, but am still having real difficulty narrowing it down (well, except for Brigtsen's, which is a definite) Can anyone recommend any other 'not-to-be-missed' restaurants? We're staying in the French Quarter, but are willing to go pretty far afield for deliciousness. This is likely to be my only vacation this year, so I'd like to make the most of it.

Some random info:

Both of us agreed that we have little interest in any of Emeril's restaurants, sort of on principle, but if we're unfairly passing up a good thing, please let me know.

My mother, who went to NO as a child, is actively campaigning for us to go to one of the three places she remembers: Galatoire's, Antoine's, or Arnaud's (to the point that she's offered to pay if we do). As a grad student, it's hard to refuse a free meal --which of the three would you recommend? Or are they just not worth it, free or not?

I've had a lot of recommendations for brunch at Brennan's or Commander's, but am very, very wary. Does either really transcend the tourist hype?

As a fritter junkie, I've become obsessed with finding and consuming a calas (sp?). Where's the best place to get 'em?

I've been told that there's a sandwich shop in NO that makes its own rootbeer (from scratch, not from bought syrup). Having grown up with a great-grandmother that was known for her homemade rootbeer, I'm *very* fond of the stuff. But I haven't been able to find any mention of such a place --was it all just a cruel, cruel lie?

Lastly, the fiancee is a major cork dork, so recommendations for restaurants with excellent/unique wine lists would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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