Gas prices are high, it's hard to find parking and it seems like as soon as you and your friends find a cool new hangout, everyone and their Maw starts going there. We at the Gambit feel your pain! That's why we've started "Public Transit Tuesdays," a new weekly feature where an adventurous Gambiteer chooses a bus/streetcar/ferry to ride and blogs about three to five places she/he sees along the way.
In this first installment, you'll ride with me on the Magazine bus, stopping at Down the Hatch, myPhoneMD, Honeydeux, Zuka Baby and Jim Russell's Rare Records.
Scrape up $3 for a day pass and ride with me after the jump.
My first stop was at Down the Hatch (1921 Sophie Wright Pl., 522-0909; www.downthehatchnola.com), a neighborhood spot with a spacious patio, well-stocked bar and a pretty huge menu. Brothers Rene and Javier Jalice have only owned the bar for two weeks, but have already made noteworthy changes: For one, there's now beer on tap. Second, they put a Tiki Bar in the courtyard. Third, the Cuban-born Jalice brothers are offering authentic Cuban sandwiches, using a family recipe and pork roasted in-house. Rene Jalice says, "We're keeping the name, but improving everything else." Down the Hatch gives college discounts, all day delivery, has free Wi-Fi and a jukebox and plans on hosting live music from local artists including Rebirth Brass Band.
Next stop was myPhoneMD
(1821 Magazine St., 586-0444; www.myphonemd.net
), whose brick and mortar app store just opened
March 15. Though the store specializes in repairing iPhones, they can also repair iPods, iPads and other non-Apple smart phones. Manager Jay Alman says, "As long as we can get the parts, we can fix it."
The app store offers customers a way to try it before they buy it. "You can try it out on our device and if you like it, get it. It's also a way to feature our local developers. There are actually a few local developers
, but you never could tell just by looking through your phone," says Alman. If you're switching from an iPhone to a Droid, Blackberry or even a beeper with plenty change for pay phones, myPhoneMD also purchases
Even though I was still stuffed from the Texan burger, fries and spinach dip at Down the Hatch, I stopped at Honeydeux
(1912 Magazine St., 301-3227; www.honeydeuxnola.com
), a place I've been wanting to try for a couple weeks. I had a watermelon bubble tea and found it to be super fresh—like someone took a watermelon and stuck a straw in it. The decor was splendid as well, and they offer soups, wraps and shaved ice.
Next stop, Zuka Baby
(2124 Magazine St., 596-6540; www.zukababy.com
). Owner Erin Reho Pelias says, "We specialize in cloth diapers (they do also offer disposable, biodegradable ones), breastfeeding, nursing bras, breast pumps and pump parts, Medela products, nursing clothing, baby wearing, natural toys, organic cotton baby clothes and locally-made items."
Zuka Baby also prides itself on being Mom- and baby-friendly, with its changing table, play space and pro-public breastfeeding culture. "We do a lot of educating about these alternative choices, we have free classes and bra fittings and we have just really personalized service. We're here to answer questions one-on-one and we just make it a point to be really educated about this stuff," says Pelias.
My last stop was to Jim Russell's Rare Records
(1837 Magazine St., 522-2602; www.jimrussellrecords.com
), a place I haven't been since I was a kid. It's been open for 43 years, and being a portal to New Orleans' past is a quality the store values more than anything: "It's retro. It's more than just coming and shopping, it's like a blast from the past. I've got 8-tracks...people might not buy anything, but they just love the store because of its retro look," says Denise Russell, Jim Russell's daughter-in-law.
Jim Russell's sells all sorts of media, parts, does minor repairs to equipment and will gladly special order what customers need.
Also, I ran into Jesus...
and saw a really funny sign on the door at Harkins the Florist.
- "In case yo' Momma didn't teach you no manners, finish your phone talkin' befo' you come in!"
I hope you enjoyed our bus adventure! Let's do it again next Tuesday!