We pigged out for lunch at Cochon, a Cajun restaurant that buys whole hogs and butchers them in-house (our waiter said all the food is raised naturally within 90 miles). Our feast included a platter of cold cuts, pulled pork topped with cracklings, ribs, and a beautifully seasoned redfish fillet with crispy skin (but the scales were left on, ruining the skin). I always stop at the Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter for a dozen of Louisiana's extraordinary oysters on the half shell, and they didn't disappoint. My wife and son shared two pounds of crawfish boiled in a spicy broth (they are about three inches long and you'd swear they were miniature lobsters).
We're crazy about po' boy sandwiches and headed over to fill up at the lively Parkway Bakery & Tavern, which overlooks a bayou. My French bread was overstuffed with fried catfish and fried oysters, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, hold the mayo, and I had sweet potato fries on the side. Cooks were doing Cuban sandwiches pressed under foiled-wrapped bricks on a sidewalk grill. Other highlights were the fresh spinach salad with moist chicken breast, pizza, and spaghetti and meatballs at Mona Lisa Restaurant and curry goat and braised oxtails at Boswell Jamaican Grill.
Our breakfasts included a huge portion of nut-and-banana pancakes at Betsy's Pancake House and shrimp with grits at Lil Dizzy's Cafe. The gravy, fresh tomato and crunchy wild shrimp elevate the bland hominy into a tasty, rib-sticking breakfast (a daily, off-menu special). Don't forget to order a homemade biscuit to sop up the gravy. Both these breakfast places are filled with locals.