As soon as I packed up my office on the 40th floor of One Shell Square and moved out to the suburbs, super-awesome things started happening downtown. Many things were in the works long before I made the switch, but seeing (and - occasionally - experiencing) these incredible changes makes me miss being in the CBD.
There is the beautiful Merchant in the old, and recently renovated, Maritime building on Gravier St.:
This place is a little oasis in the middle of downtown NOLA, a perfect blend of cool and delicious. Although pretty much everything on the menu is tasty and the crepes look fantastic (I have not indulged...yet), my favorite treat is just a classic iced-coffee, expertly blended with fresh roasted Illy coffee. It is the perfect pick me up and my new favorite iced-coffee destination. If you are curious, peruse the menu, it does not disappoint : www.merchantneworleans.com
Another new discovery is City Greens. Someone just like me ate one too many Subway sandwiches ( over 10 years I probably ate at least 1,000 6 inch, whole wheat, veggie and cheese sandwiches) and then thought, "I can do better than this". City Greens is a modern, impeccably clean, incredibly fresh, express-service salad bar with interesting ingredients, signature salads, and a build-your-own option. I cannot wait to go there again and again and again. Thank you, thank you to the person who was just like me. Now, will you please open one in Metairie? Oh, and some of my friends would like you to carry Diet Coke. Go see for yourself at www.eatcitygreens.com
Those are the two places that stand out most because I have experienced the wonder. There are two additional recent destinations I am looking forward to checking out.
There is a truly urban grocery store, courtesy of Rouses, which opened the week I moved to the suburbs and I almost cried. I cannot tell you how many times I wished there was an easy in-and-out grocery store I could stop at on my way home from work or during my lunch break. Now it exists, only it is no longer useful to me.
There is one last gem...the newly restored (and seemingly totally rebuilt) Hyatt. It is beautiful and, at least according to my friends, does not disappoint. I am hoping that my first Hyatt experience will be next month for Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation Gala. Tickets start at $1,000.00 and I am hoping someone might need a date. You can check it out at www.nighttomakeitright.com.