Friday, May 9, 2008

If I lived in New Orleans, I would be big as a house

Café du Monde starts serving people at 8am. The take-out line for coffee and beignets stretched out the door. I was 7 minutes early. While I waited for a table a street musician played the theme from Beverly Hillbillies on his guitar. He saw me smiling and rifted through it again. When the staff started taking the chairs off the tables, I chose one close to the street. I ordered world-famous coffee and beignets. (a single serving has 3) Waiting for my order ($7 with tip) I watched a worker across the street hose down the sidewalk. The artists were setting up on Jackson Square. The tourists trickled in. The guitarist started to play Hey Jude. Munching my beignets I joked with a table full of men next to me about the fried dough thing. Ever culture has them. “These taste exactly like zeppoles,” one guy said. “The only thing different is the shape.” I nodded, it was true. On my way out of the restaurant, the guitarist looked up and winked, “Is your name Beverly?” he asked. I tossed some coins in his spittoon.

New Orleans is known for its colorful characters and its food. Some of the most famous chefs have restaurants here. In addition to Cajun fare and traditional Louisiana cuisine, the city also has fabulous ethnic food. An article in a local magazine touts Asian food particularly Vietnamese. While I love all ethnic food, in New Orleans I want Cajun food...Crawfish Etoufee, Jambalaya, Catfish blazingly hot from the giant bottle of Tabasco on the table, gulf shrimp in any form, broiled oysters. And for dessert…bananas foster.

The other interesting quirk about the French Quarter is the go-cup. You can stop at any open air bar and order a drink to go. I cannot tell you the number of people strolling the streets with sweating cups of mango daiquiris, beers or Hurricanes in hand. Not that I would do that, of course…. ;)

Alas, I have not had the opportunity to eat out much. Food has been offered at the conference and I have been working. But I hope to get out for dinner tonight. It is my last night in town


Anonymous said...

The key to all good Cajun and Creole food is a well made roux. Here in New Orleans, we rarely use a blonde roux but prefer ours to be peanut or chocolate. But you have to be careful to use good fat and not to burn it. It takes time and effort to learn how to do it well. But it is worth it.

Miss Nettie

Bevson said...

My friend sent me a note asking did I know the guy. No, I didn't. I was perplexed until I walked into a shop and the woman behind the counter greeted me by name. I told her about the guitarist. She laughed and pointed out that I had my name tag on.