Sangría or the 1898-inspired recipe for daiquiri verdad are perfect accompaniments for these delightful and inexpensive palate teasers. 437 Esplanade Avenue; (504) 943-1912. Happy hour: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; $4 all tapas plates.
If you haven't been to Heidi Trull's Bywater restaurant, there's both good and bad news. Good for the locals who'd like to keep this place to themselves and bad for those who are missing out on good food at amazing prices.
Chef-owner Elizabeth Heidi Trull moved from South Carolina to join Emeril Lagasse's restaurant NOLA. After five years of cooking with Emeril, Heidi carved out her own piece of the restaurant pie. The result has been a smashing success due to her motto: "real food done real good."
When dining at Elizabeth's, follow her three simple rules: Be very hungry, turn off your cell phone, and don't mention "carbohydrate-free diet." The waitstaff may overhear and send out a bowl of hot cheese grits or the traditional Creole calas (rice fritters dusted with powdered sugar).
In one sitting, you'll get your basic Southern food groups: pork (candied praline bacon), grains (Lowcountry shrimp and grits), vegetables (sweet potato fries), and caffeine (coffee, thick and hot with chicory or iced).
Saturday brunch is a favorite. Depending on the time of year, choose from fried oysters meunière, braised ham shank, South Carolina pulled pork, or classic grillades and grits. For the sweet tooth, the French bread slices stuffed with cream cheese and fresh berries are pure decadence.
Elizabeth's is not about denial. Heidi cooks what she likes, and you eat as much as you want. This is comfort food at its best, shared by real people who want real food. It's that simple. If there are any doubts, the eatery's multicolored sign painted by local artist Dr. Bob sums it all up: Be Nice or Leave. 601 Gallier Street at Chartres; (504) 944-9272. Breakfast and lunch: $2- $10. Brunch entrées: $3.75- $12.
"Eat Cheap in New Orleans" is from the November 2003 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.