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I’m sorry, this is going to be mostly about drinking. I live in New Orleans!

1. Manolito (508 Dumaine Street, New Orleans; +1 504 603 2740). World’s most famous bartender, Chris Hannah, who also tends bar at another fave spot, Arnaud’s French 75 (813 Bienville Street, New Orleans; +1 504 523 5433), started this joint. Drinks are fire. Place is unassuming and a total surprise.

2. Bourbon
My compulsively curious friend Sean Josephs makes a tasty Kentucky bourbon called Pinhook. He’s got one of those super palettes and is a local hero.

3. Paul’s hot sauce available for purchase in limited editions.

4. NoLa restaurateur Donald Link is a master. Peche (800 Magazine Street, New Orleans; +1 504 522 1744), Herbsaint (701 Street, Charles Ave, New Orleans; +1 504 524 4114), La Boulangerie (4600 Magazine Street, New Orleans; +1 504 269 3777) and Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas Street Suite A, New Orleans; +1 504 588 2123) are exceptional. Italian restaurant opening soon.

5. Most romantic restaurant is N7 (1117 Montegut Street, New Orleans). I spent my birthday there. Quintessential.

6. Cookbook is The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher — the original Julia Child. Part memoir, part cookbook. I have never finished it purposefully so I can keep reading into perpetuity.