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Go for the Food: New Orleans

Dark Chocolate-Caramel Torte at Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans.Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras season? You’ll find pizza, hot dog stands and rolling carts of cotton candy galore along the parade routes, but some of the city’s finest fare can also be consumed along St. Charles Avenue, the main drag for the biggest and glitziest star-studded processions of Carnival.

Some restaurants even have grandstands that put viewers at eye level with floats and just above the throngs of street revelers jockeying for beads with outstretched arms.

Herbsaint, a French bistro-style restaurant on St. Charles near the middle of the parade route, offers viewing spots for diners from its grandstands for $35 to $50, depending on the night, but also has dining-room windows fronting the route.

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.