Coco Bamboo Pizzeria infuses traditional Italian fare and pizzas with tropical flair in an extensive menu of freshly prepared edibles. Fourteen-inch specialty pizzas, assembled atop dough made daily ($17.25), arrange toppings into symphonies of flavor on par with Mozart's Pepperoni Fugue #2; a Volcano chicken or shrimp pizza ignites palates with hot sauce and optional jalapeños, and the Tikis Supreme heaps italian sausage, green peppers, and five other toppings onto a sturdy base. Coco Bamboo's chef whips up sauce from scratch for each pizza and offers a wheat-crust alternative upon request. Sandwiches ($7.75) and wraps ($8.75) conceal permutations such as the Voodoo smoked house built around seasoned chicken or shrimp or the Tropical, which combines grilled chicken with pineapple and avocado.
With four of its art-deco bedecked establishments open 24 hours, Dots Diner awakens morning munchers and lulls late-night eaters with fresh ingredients and made-to-order fare piled generously atop platters. Dots' fixed menu, fashioned from family recipes and teeming with eggs, grits, buttermilk pancakes ($3.99), and burgers ($1.39–$5.99), is available for breakfast, lunch, and twilight brunch. The house specialty, new orleans omelet packs crawfish, savory sauce, and swiss cheese in an eggy embrace ($7.99), and the fried shrimp po' boy dresses crispy shrimp in lettuce, tomato, pickles, french bread, and a beret ($6.99). Greet sweet teeth of all ages with apple pie à la mode ($3.69) or sip a root-beer float, lavishing your taste buds with ice cream and soft drink ($2.99), a fusion as memorable as whiskey and cookies.
When you’ve got five kids at home, making birthday cakes becomes part of your regular routine. But it wasn’t before too many birthdays had passed that Cherie Berget’s cakes started gaining the attention of her friends and family, and soon enough, Nola Belles was in business creating custom decorated cakes. Now serving the area for more than eight years, Berget has tackled everything from elegantly tiered cakes for weddings to colorful fondant-topped desserts for a child’s birthday. Underneath the layers of customized decorations lies a base of fluffy cake in a range of flavors. While clients love the fresh flavor of her cream de mint cake or her creamy coconut sponge cake filled with coconut pastry cream, her signature dessert is a white almond cake filled with fresh strawberries and topped with layers of vanilla buttercream and chocolate-dipped strawberries. She can pare down the sizes of her cakes to create dozens of cupcakes, or create cakes using cookies for a fun alternative celebration centerpiece.
These purveyors of premium Italian eats buy local ingredients and prepare all dishes from scratch daily, from the sauce to the dough. Baked in a brick oven, the Who-Dat pizza ($12.95 for 14") comes loaded with apple-smoked bacon, meatballs, pepperoni, black olives, and a quizzical expression. Blossoming pie artisans can draw from a rich palette of toppings ($1 each for 14") such as anchovies, sundried tomatoes, and Italian sausage to paint personal masterpieces on plain-pizza canvases ($10.99 for 14"). Meanwhile, the crab-cake linguini ($14.95) is served with your choice of red or white sauce, allowing easy color coordination with wedding dresses and Mountie uniforms. Ensconced in the restaurant’s relaxing, rustic interior, wash down your meal with a cold domestic brew ($2.50), refreshing import or microbrew ($3.50¬–$4), or choice of house wine ($6 per glass, $20 for a bottle).
Smoke wafts out onto the patio of Squeal Bar-B-Q, tingeing the air with the sweet scent of roasting meats. Inside the locally owned and operated smokehouse, chefs glaze cuts of pork and chicken in daily-made batches of signature barbecue sauce, whose savory flavors helped earn them praise from outlets ranging from The Cooking Channel and TLC to the Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine. Squeal's meat fixation extends beyond the smokehouse; desserts meld bacon and chocolate, bartenders mix cocktails with house-infused bacon bourbon, and a flatscreen television broadcasts nothing but reruns of Green Acres that prominently feature Arnold the pig.
Despite its troubled-sounding name, It’s Not Easy Being Green reigns as d’Juice’s most popular creation: a smoothie built of cucumber, green apple, kale, spinach, and green pepper sweetened by frozen mangoes and bananas. Many of d’Juice’s other juices and smoothies follow a similar recipe, blending nutrient-rich veggies such as beets and carrots with palate-friendly nectars such as peaches and pears. Those with chronic nightmares about vegetables chasing them through a garden can also scan the menu for fruit-only smoothies, which blend whole fruits with juice, sherbet, or fat-free frozen yogurt.
Head Chef Cristina Trinh of Sara's Bistro honors the traditions of New Orleans with her menu of seasonal and local products, but not in the way one might think. While the menu does include staples, such as crab salads and pork chops with praline pecan sauce, the chef gets a kick out of throwing in a few twists—dishes like coconut curry tofu with homemade tofu, braised curry-spiced lamb shanks "Osso Bucco", or crawfish spring rolls with sweet chili oyster sauce. It’s this inventiveness that defines Sara’s Bistro, which seeks to honor not only New Orleans’ Creole heritage but also its history as a port city for international travelers and their travel sporks.