It's no small feat to whip up one of The Olive Branch Café's gourmet pizzas. The painstaking process begins long before lunchtime, with chefs preparing dough fresh for the day each morning. There's barely a moment to rest before orders begin flying in and the pizza makers spring into action, showering crusts with housemade sauces and high-quality cheeses. Their brows furrowed in concentration, their hands blurs, they layer pizzas with fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fine spanish olives. Once the pies arrive triumphantly to the dining room, the chefs turn their attention to thick muffuletta subs, plump meatball calzones, and the jambalaya pastas that caught the attention of Gambit’s Best of New Orleans guide.
Out in the casual dining room, beneath warm red walls peppered with abstract art, guests clink glasses, feeling more content than a robot in a microchip factory. There, owner Russell "Rusty" Autry often strolls around the room, greeting newcomers and exchanging jokes with regulars.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family?s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon. The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat?s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 450 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh cheeses.
The health-conscious staff at City Blends Smoothie Café blends sweet yet nutritious smoothies that serve as refreshing beverages or meal replacements. Their menu unveils a wide variety of flavors—including peach mango, chocolate peanut butter banana, and orange vanilla--amped up with such nutritional supplements as protein, energy, and a fat-loss blend. They also cast a healthy spin on frosty desserts in the form of creamy frozen yogurt and snowmen with Brussels sprouts for eyes.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
As the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty stores, Baskin Robbins uses a network of over 7000 stores to supply customers with a bevy of customized cakes and specialty ice cream such as Brownie Sundaes. A host of a toppings cover cupped or sugar-coned scoops of classic flavors, while beverages such as the Cappuccino Blast Mocha combine energizing cappuccino with dessert indulgence.
With a stay at Royal Sonesta Hotel, you'll be centrally located in New Orleans, steps from New Orleans Musical Legends Park and minutes from Bourbon Street. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Cigar Factory New Orleans and Museum and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Visitor Center.
Make yourself at home in one of the 483 air-conditioned rooms featuring minibars and flat-screen televisions. Your room comes with a pillowtop bed. Cable programming and video-game consoles are provided for your entertainment, with wired and wireless Internet access available for a surcharge. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature makeup/shaving mirrors and designer toiletries.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Be sure to enjoy recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. Additional amenities include complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and babysitting/childcare.
Grab a bite to eat at one of the hotel's dining establishments, which include 5 restaurants and a coffee shop/café. Relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge or a poolside bar. Cooked-to-order breakfasts are available daily for a fee.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a 24-hour business center, limo/town car service, and audiovisual equipment. Planning an event in New Orleans? This hotel has 20000 square feet (1858 square meters) of space consisting of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available on request).