Hidden Gems and Delicious Destinations

Out on the road to find inspiring, less-well-known nabes devoted to the fresh, the local, the sustainable—and the drinkable.

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Cure bartender Kirk Estopinal
Photo: Cedric Angeles

South: New Orleans' Freret Street

When Cure, a craft cocktail bar (pictured), moved into New Orleans' Freret Street corridor, it started a revolution of sorts. Until about five years ago, this eight-block stretch in Uptown New Orleans was a mishmash of neglected buildings—everything from an abandoned firehouse to a king cake factory. Then, an appreciative crowd began migrating to Freret for some of the best classically inspired cocktails in the city, made with house-made bitters and tinctures. Next came Dat Dog, a hot dog stand serving offerings from all over the map (Slovenian sausage shares menu space with more locally inspired crawfish or alligator dogs). Other iconic American foods have since arrived on the scene, including The Midway, baking creatively topped deep-dish pizzas, and Adam Biderman's Company Burger, with juicy patties and house-made pickles. When Chef Adolfo Garcia decided to open not one but two more eateries here—The High Hat Café is casual Southern, while Ancora showcases Neapolitan-style pizza—the area had officially arrived as a fully realized dining destination in its own right. "Visitors looking for iconic New Orleans dishes might not seek it here," says local food writer Pableaux Johnson, author of the upcoming iPad food guide Eating New Orleans. "But for locals, the scene is vibrant, bustling, and tasty as hell." —Cindy Hatcher

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