I have often entertained thoughts about the type of restaurant I would open should I find myself mad enough to properly enter an industry with less than a 10% first year survival rate.
Something haute and white tablecloth-filled? I might as well file bankruptcy for lolz. A sexy little food truck? Definitely more my style…but an idea endless menu and drink limitations of its own.
Realistically, I would strive to open a restaurant reminiscent of Elizbeth’s in New Orleans and give zero f**ks about its success beyond survival. Elizabeth’s is local, charming, and – from a shrewd foodie perspective – infallible. A restaurant worthy of their 20-year strong standing in NOLA’s competitive food scene.
The Bywater-based brunch favourite has fundamentally developed their reputation on praline bacon and a bevy of ‘down-home’ inspired breakfast foods, but their low-key digs serve high-end dishes of every variety.
After taking over the restaurant in 2011, Head Chef Bryon Peck curated the menu – forever subscribing to lavish comfort food philosophies – to heights I would jump on a plane to revisit. Highlights include the Boudin balls in Creole mustard (a Louisiana must), a campfire-smoked ribeye (the best I’ve had anywhere in the US), ‘Beer BQ’ shrimp (with unimaginable complexity ), and an indulgent bourbon sauce-covered bread pudding (perfectly paired with Elizabeth’s Sidecar – Maker’s Mark, Cointreau. lemon & Whiskey Barrel bitters).
If it is good enough to pique my prudent entrepreneurial interests, you better believe it is good enough for your next meal out.
As a woman with an all-consuming passion for food and music, New Orleans found itself at the top of my bucket list long before I was old enough to enjoy the fruits of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and the city’s many other ID-protected infamousies.
In true go big or go home style, one of life’s unexpected tragedies encouraged me to embark on a cross-country travel adventure – hereby referred to as Lela Takes The Crescent – on Amtrak’s New York to New Orleans sleeper train of the same name.
There is something rather extraordinary about falling in love with a city you would have sold a kidney to leave at one point in your life, but that is exactly what Indianapolis has thrust upon me.
Indianapolis – affectionately known as Indy – was my wanderlusting teenage self’s home and once felt small enough to warrant a transatlantic escape. Getting to know the city after almost ten years using London as a home base to travel the world has been a trip in every sense of the word.
Indy, in its current form, is electric. And well worth the extensive city guide, below. Enjoy!
As far as I’m concerned brunch, drag queens, and broadway are a few of the more glorious thrills this wide world has to offer. The combination of all three? A dream brought to life by Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando.
Each Sunday, their ‘Broadway Brunch’ welcomes patrons old and new to enjoy some gargantuan-plated American brunch classics while The Minx, Nicky Monet and around a dozen of their drag queen compadres put on an always-changing song and dance review.
During my visit, I enjoyed as much of the Country Biscuits and Gravy breakfast (two hot & fluffy biscuits sitting atop two sausage patties, covered with sausage gravy, and served with 2 scrambled eggs) as I could stomach before two hours of seat-dancing through a dozen performances – everything from naughty Disney mashups to outstanding Sister Act renditions.
Though their Sunday brunch menu (served from 11 to 3 – timed perfectly with the show’s midday start) features omelettes, pancakes, chicken fried chicken, et al, the brunch is not about the food. It is about the love, family-friendly hilarity, and passion of the drag community.
That and enough mimosas and skinny margaritas to lose all your dollar bills in two songs or under.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a birthday, bachelorette, or basic boozy brunch – Hamburger Mary’s is the best solution Florida has to offer.