If you want to fall off the diet wagon in New Orleans, there are few places to tumble more gracefully than Elizabeth’s Restaurant (1-504-944-9272; elizabethsrestaurantnola.com) in the Bywater neighborhood. The ever-energetic corner eatery has a funky, homespun vibe and is decked out with colorful alterna-folk art. Chef Bryon Peck specializes in gut-busting comfort food with a Nawlins twist. A perfect example is his sweet and swiney praline bacon ($7) appetizer, which is even more decadent than it sounds. Other starters include boudin balls with Creole mustard dipping sauce ($7); fried green tomatoes with a classic rémoulade ($6); and calas ($5), the deep-fried balls of sweet rice. Mains are equally indulgent. Duck and sweet potato hash arrives atop a cornbread waffle ($12); cornmeal-covered fried oysters are ringed around poached eggs and hash browns doused with Hollandaise ($14), and a smoked salmon and Brie grilled cheese is coroneted with a pair of over-medium eggs ($12). For lunch, big burgers and hefty po’boys are available ($11 to $14).
Italian luxury for a little less
It’s common for hotels along the Italian coasts — both lake and sea — to be closed during the winter and full to capacity during the summer. Between these extremes, the spring months offer an attractive combination of mild temperatures and lack of crowds. At the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, preseason rates start at $495 per night, compared with $750 per night for high season. This hotel is unique for its swimming experience; a floating pool is set right in the waters of Lake Como. In addition to beautiful water views, this family-owned property dating to 1910 looks out at the Grigne Mountains and the village of Bellagio (grandhoteltremezzo.com).
New York Times
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which protects more than 12,000 miles of pristine waterways, including Minnesota’s own St. Croix River. Another Wild and Scenic River, the Rio Grande, forms the southern boundary of the 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park in Texas. It’s the only park in the United States that hosts a complete mountain range — the Chisos. With older children in tow, soak in the park’s scenery as well as the warm water offered by a resident hot spring. On the northern bank, steamy water fills the foundation of an old bathhouse, creating a popular natural hot tub. Nearby, look for painted pictographs on the cliff walls as you enjoy a one-mile-loop hike past historic buildings and the area where various Indian groups lived and traveled (visitbigbend.com).
$500 for undeclared apple
An apple one day did not keep customs away, a Colorado woman has learned. Crystal Tadlock was given an apple sealed in a wrapper on her Delta flight from Paris on April 18. She figured it would be a good snack for her second leg back to Denver, she told Fox 31 in Denver. At the port of entry at Minneapolis-St. Paul International, a random search brought Tadlock in contact with a Customs and Border Patrol agent who found the contraband apple. She was then issued a $500 citation and a revocation of her Global Entry status, she said. In a statement, CBP declined to speak about the case details, but agency spokesman Steven Bansbach said “all agriculture items must be declared.” Tadlock told Fox 31 she would fight to have the fine overturned.