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CAFE

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BACK PORCH GRILL
414 N. New Hampshire St., Covington (985) 892-5252
This relaxing Northshore spot serves up Creole and Italian cooking. Try the chicken cacciatora, cooked with mushrooms, tomatoes and herbs and served over angel hair pasta, or the spicy Creole stewed chicken, served over brown or white rice. No reservations. Lunch Monday through Friday. Credit cards and checks. $

BARRACKS STREET CAFE
430 Barracks St. 525-0330

The Barracks Street Cafe pleases the health-conscious with fresh fruit smoothies and wholesome wraps, including the jerk chicken wrap with sweet potatoes and the Thai wrap with veggies, crunchy noodles, peanut sauce, and your choice of chicken, beef or tofu. There are also French toast, eggs and hamburgers if you're not counting calories. Limited delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BLUEBIRD CAFE
3625 Prytania St. 895-7166

What better way to start your day than the strong coffee and cheerful atmosphere of the Bluebird Cafe? Breakfast brings a host of egg dishes, including omelettes, eggs Benedict and huevos rancheros, as well as the incomparable banana pecan pancakes. Lunchers can dig into a Philly cheese steak or a light, healthy salad. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Local checks. $

CAFE AU LAIT
307 Chartres St. 528-9933

This cafe goes beyond the coffee drink that bears its name, offering hot breakfasts and lunches to happy French Quarter denizens and visitors. The Cajun omelette is a treat with spicy andouille sausage, sauteed onions and Swiss cheese, and the grits and eggs any style make for a nice start to the day. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFE D'CAPPUCCINO
4041 Williams Blvd., Kenner 443-2299

The espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and teas offer a taste of Europe. It's a popular breakfast spot, with both pastries and hot breakfast combos with eggs, bacon, biscuits and grits. For a light and healthy lunch, try the chicken salad with tomatoes, sprouts, mushrooms, bacon and croutons. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Cash only. $

CAFE LATTE
2324 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-6343

Health-conscious coffee drinkers find sweet relief with sugar-free desserts and a plethora of crisp salads including the Santa Fe Salad, with sliced turkey, olives, green onions and more with a honey-lemon vinaigrette dressing. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFE LAVANDE

4241 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Independence Mall, Metairie
888-0550

Chef Bivalacqua recommends gourmet coffees and teas as well as made-to-order salads, sandwiches and soups, and fresh pastries. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards. $

CAFE LUNA
802 Nashville Ave. 269-2444

The wrap-around porch on the elegant house that houses this cafe offers an ideal perch for people-watching as you sip your cappuccino or slurp your soup. There are pastries to nibble and hot panini sandwiches at lunch time, with several vegetarian options. No reservations. Continental breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CAFE RANI
2917 Magazine St. 895-2500

On sunny days, it's tough to beat the brunch or lunch in Cafe Rani's verdant courtyard. The fare runs from Louisiana delights, such as the crawfish and shrimp cakes, to American fusion cuisine, such as the seared tuna steak with a Southwestern corn and tomato relish. Even the burgers are interesting, like the Cajun with andouille sausage and remoulade sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Saturday and Sunday. Credit cards. $$

CAFE ROSE NICAUD
620 Frenchmen St. 949-3300

This new coffeehouse and restaurant, just opened in PJ's old space on Frenchmen Street, is named after a slave who sold coffee beverages in New Orleans in the early 19th century. The menu is still in flux, but current offerings include pannini sandwiches, salads, and housemade soups such as eggplant Parmesan and chicken tortilla. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CAFE SATORA

3749 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie 832-1444

Tasty and fresh hot meals make this cafe a popular choice throughout the day, starting with breakfast where omelettes and croissant sandwiches are on the menu. At lunch, the cafe takes its cue from Italy and serves up hot, pressed panini sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, early dinner Monday through Friday. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFFE! CAFFE!
4301 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie
885-4845
3900 Hwy. 22, Mandeville (985) 727-4222

Lunch at this temple to caffeine is a treat, with homemade soup specials and gourmet salads such as the mixed green salad tossed with artichoke hearts, egg wedges, crumbled bacon, cherry tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese and hearts of palm. No reservations. Continental breakfast daily, lunch Monday through Saturday, dinner Monday through Friday. Credit cards. $

CHATEAU COFFEE CAFE
139 Robert E. Lee Blvd. 286-1777
3501 Chateau Blvd., Kenner
465-9444
4747 W. Napoleon Ave. (East Bank Regional Library), Metairie
888-0601

This cafe goes beyond the expected fare of coffee drinks and pastries, with fresh salads and daily hot lunch specials like grilled fish, burgers, soups, and red beans and rice. Chateau Coffee features a Southwestern chicken salad, prepared with salsa, corn, black beans, tortilla chips and ranch dressing. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

COFFEE & COMPANY
800 Harrison Ave. 488-8946
1515 Poydras St. 522-3335

Perk yourself up with the lattes, cappuccinos and teas at either location of this coffeehouse, and keep your belly happy with the pastries and hot breakfasts as well. Cafe specials include gumbo, shrimp chowder, and a Cobb salad with turkey, bacon, tomato and avocado. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily at the Poydras Street location; breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at the Harrison Avenue location. Credit cards and checks. $

COFFEE BEAN EUROPEAN CAFE
3244 Severn Ave., Metairie 456-9870

While the European-style cafe serves a cappuccino that would make you swear you're in a Parisian bistro, the menu focuses mainly on the Americas. Hot plate specials include New Orleans classics such as red beans and rice on Mondays, and there are burgers, veggie burgers, sandwiches, salads and soups to make sure everyone's happy. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

COFFEE COTTAGE
2559 Metairie Road, Metairie
833-3513
5860 Citrus Blvd., Jefferson 818-0051
www.coffeecottage.com

The exciting gourmet salads at the Coffee Cottage include a pesto Caesar salad, which can be topped with salmon, chicken or crawfish. Vegetarians love the focaccia pizza with spinach, artichoke spread, mushrooms, tomatoes and both feta and Swiss cheese. For dessert, dig into a king cake or the white chocolate bread pudding. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

COFFEE COVE
3431 Houma Blvd., Metairie 780-9445

This cafe is a brunch destination on Sundays, when you can heap your plate with grits, veal grillades and biscuits with gravy and wash it down with a flute of champagne. Lunch brings a menu of soups, sandwiches and hot plate specials. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sunday. Credit cards and checks. $

COFFEE RANI
234-A Lee Lane, Covington
(985) 893-6158
3510 Hwy. 190 (Pontchartrain Square), Mandeville (985) 674-0560

Coffee Rani serves hot breakfasts to happy Northshore residents, many of whom dream of the Chunky Monkey Waffles with chocolate chips, bananas and whipped cream. The lunch menu offers exciting sandwiches such as the Tandoori Tuna, a pan-seared tuna steak served on a bun with chutney-mayo spread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$

COMMON GROUNDS
335 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna 227-2200

Common Grounds helps West Bankers get their motors running with strong coffee and espresso drinks, and bagels to munch on the drive over the bridge. In honor of the bridge's illustrious namesake, try the Honey P. Long sandwich for lunch -- it's served hot, with honey-baked ham, Monterey Jack cheese and vinaigrette on olive bread. Limited delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

COTTAGE CAFE
423 10th St., Gretna 366-2233

West Bank families love the Cottage Cafe with its menu of Creole and Italian favorites. The veal and oyster Marsala gives the traditional dish a twist with mushrooms and lightly battered fried oysters, and the corn, crab and shrimp bisque is sweet and velvety. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Thursday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

CROISSANT D'OR PATISSERIE
617 Ursulines Ave. 524-4663

This French Quarter jewel is the perfect spot for a romantic breakfast of coffee and buttery pastries in the courtyard. At lunchtime, things are more business-like, where salads, daily soup specials, and grilled croissant sandwiches are available to get you through the day. (Its sister location, La Marquise, offers similar fare just off Jackson Square.) Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

CYBER BAR & CAFE AT THE CAC
900 Camp St. (Contemporary Arts Center) 523-0990
www.cacno.org

Coffee, free Internet access and contemporary art exhibits on the other side of the wall -- who could ask for more? The sandwich menu includes the Chicken Pesto Melt Hot Press, with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomato pesto, Monterey Jack cheese and grilled onions. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, snacks during some CAC evening events. Credit cards and checks. $

EDDIE BO'S CHECK YOUR BUCKET CAFE
2107 Banks St. 581-5505

This no-frills, no-stress cafe is owned by funk/R&B pianist Eddie Bo, and to the great delight of the Bucket's patrons, he and his musical acquaintances perform there occasionally. The owner, who boasts a ³stress-free² environment, recommends the Eddie Bo Dilly Roast Beef Sandwich: shaved roast beef, cream cheese, dill and alfalfa spouts. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. Cash only. $

ESPRESSO YOURSELF CUSTOM COFFEE
3608 DeLaRonde Drive, Chalmette 271-0380
www.espressoyourself.net

Here you can find salads, soup, quiche, sandwiches and wraps, all easier to get thanks to the introduction of a new drive-in window. The cafe has relocated next door to expand their menu and activities; you'll still find live music here, along with video poker. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday; pastries and coffees only on Sunday. Credit cards. $

FORTISSIMO DELI
3331 St. Charles Ave. 899-5313

This cheerful deli provides meals to go if you're in a hurry and a dining area if you have time to sit and watch the streetcars go by. Try the oysters Fortissimo: crispy fried oysters on a bed of sauteed spinach topped with melted smoked Gruyere cheese and served with French bread garlic croustades. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $

HOME FURNISHINGS STORE CAFE
1600 Prytania St. 566-1707

For close to three decades this cafe has been pleasing Lower Garden District neighbors and shoppers alike with its vintage cafeteria-style decor and food. Kitchen manager Gloria Allen has geared up for winter with hot and hearty soups including her favorite corn and crawfish soup, traditional gumbo, and vegetable beef soup. The combo of soup, salad and beverage is a bargain at $6.50. No reservations. Lunch Monday through Saturday. Cash only. $

LA BOULANGERIE
625 St. Charles Ave. 569-1925
3143 Ponce de Leon St. 940-0577
4526 Magazine St. 269-3777

The three locations of La Boulangerie vary considerably in their offerings: the Ponce de Leon location serves French pastries and breads, the Magazine Street location is a bakery and sandwich shop, and the St. Charles cafe also serves lunches. Downtown lunchers like the hot open-face sandwich with bacon and blue cheese, as well as the rotating soup menu with specials including potato au gratin, gumbo and cream of broccoli. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

LA MADELEINE
547 St. Ann St. 568-0073
601 S. Carrollton Ave. 861-8662
3300 Severn Ave., Metairie 456-1624
3434 Hwy. 190 (Albertson's Premier Shopping Center), Mandeville (985) 626-7004
5171 Citrus Blvd., Jefferson 818-2450
www.lamadeleine.com
La Madeleine offers baked goods ranging from the straightforward baguette to pastries such as tiramisu, creme brulee and strawberry Napoleon. It's no shock that the French onion soup is one of the most popular soups, but also consider the plentiful salads, sandwiches and pastas as well. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

LA MARQUISE PASTRY SHOP
625 Chartres St. 524-0420

La Marquise and its sister shop, Croissant D'Or, both keep the French Quarter happy with their pastry-shop standards, highlighted by its selection of croissants and pastries, along with coffees and teas. La Marquise also features local cuisine such as chicken gumbo, along with healthy fare such as salads, including popular choices of Caesar and chef -- both of which come with meats, cheeses and eggs. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Checks. $

LA NOUVELLE CAFE
3650 Magazine St. 269-8130

Recently under new ownership, La Nouvelle Cafe still showcases the same French pastries, gourmet sandwiches and paninis it has featured before. But now the kitchen explores more exotic entrees, including a number of Ethiopian dishes, such as kitfo (fresh beef) and tibs, its version of shish kebabs made with tomatoes, onions and red peppers. Both dishes are served with a choice of French or Ethiopian bread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner. Credit cards and checks. $

LA SPIGA BAKERY
2440 Chartres St. 949-2253

La Spiga offers a tight window of dining opportunity (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday), but the bakery's sandwiches are regularly featured at the Crescent City Farmers Markets (vegetarian only) as well as area cafes and coffeehouses (both meat and veggies). Try the Count Basil sandwich, which has turkey, fontina cheese, Dijon pesto spread and red bell pepper spread on ciabatta bread. During the week, you can pre-order pies and cakes to be picked up at the store, including the seasonal Queen Cakes for Mardi Gras. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Saturday. Checks. $

PARADISE CAFE
3717 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie
888-4141

A convenient dining spot for those visiting the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Metairie, Paradise's well-read menu features a range of breakfast favorites, including eggs, omelettes, bacon, grits and French toast. A lunchtime favorite is the grilled shrimp salad, which tosses broiled shrimp onto a bed of mixed greens dressed up with tomatoes, black olives, cheddar cheese, eggs and housemade remoulade dressing. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Monday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

PAUL'S CAFE
100 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula (985) 386-9581

Locals with a hankering for home cooking keep this eatery busy every day, selecting items from a full breakfast menu or lunch favorites such as an overstuffed shrimp po-boy (with a cold Barq's root beer, of course) or Monday's traditional red beans and rice with sausage. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $

PLANC COFFEE AND TEA
1827 Hickory Ave., Harahan 738-2220
www.planc.com

More than just a coffee-and-tea stop, Planc's offers homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies and pastries as well as delectable hot and cold drinks. Wednesdays are reserved for the chicken tortilla soup, while Fridays keep the seafood tradition alive with crawfish and corn soup. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PLANTATION COFFEEHOUSE
5555 Canal Blvd. 482-3164

On weekend mornings, enjoy eggs and omelettes with your java; throughout the day, try Plantation's soups, sandwiches and vegetarian options. Best-sellers for lunch and dinner include the meatball po-boy and burgers, and the bread pudding is the favored dessert here. No reservations. Breakfast Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Friday and Saturday. Credit cards and checks. $

PUCCINO'S
17th Street and Severn Avenue, Metairie
835-3151

It's 4 a.m., you're in Metairie, and you need coffee, a sweet treat or a hearty sandwich -- where ya gonna go? To Puccino's, which is open 24/7 for coffees, espressos and cappuccinos (including the frozen version) made from house-roasted beans; traditional Italian zeppoles (akin to a beignet); and a sandwich board offering such options as the whole muffaletta, grilled panini sandwiches and meatball sandwich on muffaletta bread. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

ROYAL BLEND COFFEE & TEA HOUSE
204 Metairie Road, Metairie 835-7779
222 Carondelet St. 529-2005
621 Royal St. 523-2716

Specializing in a wide variety of gourmet coffees and teas, each Royal Blend location also prepares healthy food items. Wraps are always a popular choice, including options of roasted-almond chicken and portobello mushrooms and chicken. Pastries are also featured. Delivery available CBD location. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Friday and Saturday, brunch Sunday in Metairie only. $

SURREY'S CAFE AND JUICE BAR
1418 Magazine St. 524-3828

In brunch-starved New Orleans, Surrey's greets customers with freshly squeezed organic juices and such popular breakfast treats as the Migas. They feature eggs scrambled with peppers, onions and tomatoes, with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese folded in and served with fresh salsa. For lunch, try the grilled portobello focaccia sandwich. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

YOUR DAILY BREAD
2716 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson 831-4000
Mardi Gras always brings king cake customers to Your Daily Bread, which also offers an assortment of sandwiches, pastries and cakes, as well as the house chicken salad. Made fresh daily are bread varieties including spinach-cheese (made with provolone), olive, jalapeno and sun-dried tomato. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday. Credit cards and checks. $
Owners Dan and Katrina Bui serve up bubble tea - and other Vietnamese favorites at FROSTYS CAFFE. - DONN YOUNG
  • Donn Young
  • Owners Dan and Katrina Bui serve up bubble tea and other Vietnamese favorites at FROSTYS CAFFE.

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