NEW ORLEANS - By one count there were already 65 restaurants on the three miles of Magazine Street, a major artery through this city's upscale districts. But on a recent Monday, diners were eager for No. 66. The minute the lights went on at Ivy, an autumnal little lounge with an as-seen-on-TV chef, the curious were at the door.
There is nothing seasonal about weinerschnitzel or sauerkraut. But dine around New Orleans during October and you might think otherwise as these traditional German dishes are trotted around for Oktoberfest celebrations.
However, now that it’s November, and all the costume lederhosen and plastic beer steins have been stowed for the year and the last refrains of the chicken dance song are finally receding, local diners with a taste for traditional Bavarian cooking still have options.
There’s a new buzz in the New Orleans coffee scene today, and it’s not just the caffeine. At a string of small, independent cafés and even at pop-up stands and roving mobile vendors, New Orleanians can experience an approach that treats coffee more like fine wine than any old commodity cup of Joe.
New Orleans witnessed a magnitude of change overnight that it might otherwise have taken an entire generation to work upon our touchstones of home. Restaurants that seemed timeless, and maybe even permanently fixed in their ways, were part of that as well.
As we mark another Katrina anniversary, some of them vividly illustrate a dynamic we can sum up as "the same, but different."