EAT In town for the Super Bowl? Prepare to eat like a linebacker. "There's no such thing as a bad restaurant in New Orleans," says Irma Thomas, aka the "Soul Queen of New Orleans," who raves about a soul food restaurant in New Orleans East called Sisters 'N Da East (9901 Chef Menteur Highway, 504-242-0469). "I was just there last night and got the barbecue ribs with a salad. You can get a decent meal for nine bucks." When NOLA native and Danity Kane alum Dawn Richard is craving crayfish, she heads to Castnet Seafood (10826 Hayne Boulevard, 504-244-8446) in New Orleans East. As for the correct way to eat crayfish? "I'm born and raised here, so I go in," says Richard, whose debut solo CD, "Goldenheart," was just released. "I'm taking the head, I'm taking the guts." She's also partial to the po' boy from New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. (various locations, nohsc.com)-where the sandwiches are "loaded with shrimp and oysters, and they overdo it with the butter." New Orleans' fine dining scene is equally enticing. "Lately I can't get enough of Root [200 Julia St., rootnola.com; its Goat Boxes dish is pictured below left], the mind-boggling new restaurant from chef Phillip Lopez," says Blake Leyh, music supervisor on HBO's "Treme." Leyh's favorites at the Warehouse District eatery include the foie gras cotton candy with watermelon Pop Rocks.
LISTEN Celebrate your team's win-or soothe your losses-by checking out some of the Big Easy's top-notch local musicians. Thomas heads to the Howlin' Wolf (907 S. Peters St., thehowlinwolf.com), "one of the many places for great local talent"-and it's in close proximity to the Superdome. For "terrific music seven nights a week," Leyh often hits the Marigny, the hip neighborhood just below the French Quarter. "Several blocks on Frenchmen Street are home to the hottest music scene in America," he says. "A variety of venues, including DBA [dbabars.com], the Spotted Cat [spottedcatmusicclub.com], Snug Harbor [snugjazz.com] and the Maison [maisonfrenchmen.com] are all within a two-minute walk of each other." Looking for something more edgy? Walk a few blocks to Saint Claude Avenue, he advises. "The Hi Ho Lounge [hiholounge.net], Siberia [siberianola.com] and the Saturn Bar [504-949-7532] have great music and fewer tourists than Frenchmen Street."
PARTY Try to snag an invite to an exclusive after-party, such as DirecTV's "Super Saturday Night" soiree at Mardi Gras World on Feb. 2, where Justin Timberlake is booked to perform, and DJ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson from the Roots will keep the crowd on its feet. Hometown hero Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Journey, Train and Nelly are all on tap at other private events. If you want to dance after the big game, try Razzoo (511 Bourbon St., razzoo.com), Richard says. "It's more of a club scene. The bands are incredible and they have a great crowd." Or try your luck at Harrah's (228 Poydras St., harrahsneworleans.com)-"It's the only casino we have in New Orleans, right in the middle of the French Quarter," Richard says.
RITUAL "After you've had a million drinks, the first thing you want to do is eat," Richard says. Then it's time to head to Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St., cafedumonde.com) for hot chocolate and beignets. "You may not be able to walk out of there, you'll be so full." -Anne Marie O'Connor