"I love the smothered pork chops. I'm also really impressed with what the café is doing for at-risk communities, helping train young people to work in the restaurant industry. Last year, my foundation opened an event space on the floor right above the café. My favorite thing is to have the students cook for my parties." cafereconcile.org
"This wine shop also sells cured meats (like pata negra, the acorn-fed ham from Spain) and cheeses. My eight-year-old daughter, Meril, loves cheese, so I try and bring home a wedge or two for us to try together. Co-owner Jim Yonkus used to work at Ideal Cheese Shop, a great New York City food store, and he points me to good choices, like Ami du Chambertin from Burgundy." keifeandco.com
"I am crazy for Vietnamese food—there's a large Vietnamese population in New Orleans—and this is my favorite spot. It's a small, busy restaurant on the west bank. When I go, I chat with the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Takacs, and order grilled pork spring rolls and pho ga, with chicken and rice noodles. They also have amazing banh mi—Vietnamese po'boys." 504-368-9846.
"I was proud to see Isaac Toups open his own place: He worked with me for more than 10 years. He's a Louisiana boy, from the small town of Rayne, as you can tell from his menu: There are Cajun classics (boudin balls), plus elegant dishes like drunken shrimp in a white wine–oregano broth." toupsmeatery.com