Crawfish and Beignet: Eating my way through New Orleans

New Orleans is a city of indulgence and celebration. Bourbon Street is a touristy extreme, but the same feel, perhaps slightly more restrained, can be felt throughout the city. Perhaps it’s the French roots, or the tropical climate, but whatever the reason most who live or visit here embrace it.

Every event demands a parade. If someone gets married, or dies, if a baby is born; apparently these all are marked by a walking band.

Oysters and crab cakes at the Royal Sonesta hotel on Bourbon street

This whole-hearted enjoyment of life is seen in what they eat and drink. Fine dining and creative cocktails in elegant bars, or sloppy sandwiches and booze in take-out cups; at either end the same expectation and enjoyment of excellence exists.

And of course, everything must be accompanied by music.

Willie Mae’s fried chicken on a bed of fried okra

At first, I tried for a modicum of restraint and healthy eating. I don’t eat fried food at home, but how could I resist the best fried chicken in the city, the country, and perhaps the world? (I was sceptical. I’m not anymore. Go to Willie Mae’s.)

If the words Cajun and Cafe are in the name, expect it all to be fried: oysters, crawfish tails, crab legs, soft shell crab, fish, shrimp- and of course, fries and hush puppies with that!

A friend tried to find a juice bar. Getting no response, he downgraded to asking for a fruit smoothie.

“Without alcohol?” He was asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“No,” was the answer.

How can you not have a Sazerac when you’re at the Sazerac Bar?

I left N’awlins satiated, smiling, and with clothes that had inexplicably shrunk in the week I was there. I couldn’t eat like that all the time, but I look forward to my next visit to the this crazy city.

Sometimes my brave travels are easy.

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