My husband and I love to eat, and we always choose a vacation spot that has interesting regional cuisine. The week we spent in New Orleans was the best eating vacation we ever had!
We had heard of the famous chefs' restaurants and classic establishments that were considered musts, but we also found some other places that were off the beaten path and not on the tourist maps. How did we find them? We used our tried-and-true never-fail technique -- wherever we ate, we asked the waitstaff where they like to go on a night off or for a special occasion.
A friend who had met some locals at a conference steered us first to Clancy's, a little house on Annunciation St. where we had fantastic meals of duck, and crab cakes with a remoulade sauce that would knock your socks off!
Our waitress at Clancy's recommended Deanie's, a local joint at the north end. In a dining room that was worn but obviously well-loved, we were greeted with enormous buckets of crawfish, and we pinched and sucked every head until they were gone.
It didn't take long for us to fall in love with the Creole and Cajun influences, and wondered how we could take them home with us. Strolling around in the French Quarter one day we stumbled upon the New Orleans School of Cooking, a shop and kitchen where tourists like us could learn the ingredients and techniques for making N'awlins food at home. For $25, we watched as our instructor showed us how to make Crab and Corn Bisque, Shrimp Creole, Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, and Pralines, and then we got to sample this delicious lunch with an Abita Beer. We took all the recipes with us and exited through the shop, where an amazing array of specialty ingredients was available for purchase.
We loved visiting K-Paul's and the Cafe du Monde, but having a taste of New Orleans straight from our own kitchen is the best treat of all.