Saturday, February 23, 2013

Laissez les bons temps rouler

I returned home yesterday afternoon from the hospital after giving birth to my new granddaughter (it was exhausting!) in time to take K out for our traditional Friday Date Night dinner out.  It was cool (40's) and so we thought some gumbo and a brew from the Big Easy* might hit the spot.  We nailed it.


This place is a simple, New Awlins style dive.  If you're ever in New Orleans and you want some good food, forget about Antoin's and Commander's Place and such.  This is the kind of place you want to look for.  Beer signs on the wall, sagging ceiling, a variety of different hot sauces on every table, well worn chairs that wobble a little....





K had the shrimp and fried green tomato poboy and I had a delicious bowl of seafood gumbo.



On the drive back home I started thinking about the New Orleanian (?) lifestyle.  I've been there many, many times and have a love/hate relationship with the place.  It's one of the dirtiest, nastiest places in America.  Official corruption is rampant and open, the roads are horrible, and the French Quarter is a tourist trap.  It's a very poor city.


That said, the people are among the nicest anywhere.  And here's what struck me when I thought about it:  Despite all the negatives I mentioned above, they're a happy lot.  If you ever visit there and leave hungry, it's your own fault!  There's no better cuisine anywhere.


They've learned how to take ingredients that are plentiful and cheap....local seafood, mud bugs (crawfish), potatoes, onions, corn....and make a feast of it. 






Bring out a zydeco and they have a party.  






Enough music and a street to dance in and they call it a Fais Do Do.




My point is, these people know how to enjoy life.  They seem to be able to make the most of what they have, regardless of their circumstances.  Treat them with respect and they'll welcome you with open arms.  It's just a fun place.

Most of us here in Yuppieville seem to need to get out and be seen, spending money we don't have in order to look good, buying things we don't need, thinking this will somehow make us happy.  I think we're trying too hard.  We should look at our friends in Louisiana and learn how to have fun.

I know where to find the gumbo.  Now, who has a zydeco?  

S

*Big Easy is the nickname for New Orleans.

10 comments:

  1. Now I want to go, but I don't want to go.

    And you are correct on the rest.

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  2. The last time (the only time) I was in New Orleans was for Mardi Gras in 1980. I'd love to go back...

    When we first moved to South Carolina, my co-workers took me to a restaurant in Columbia called the "New Orleans" where I was introduced to shrimp and grits. Still love shrimp and grits!

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  3. I've heard how good the food is in the Big Easy but I've yet to plan a visit. Someday.

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  4. From our one visit to New Orleans, I have to say I agree with you 100%. MY WIFE and I both enjoyed the place a lot, but also disliked enough about it to make a return journey somewhat unlikely. The people were FANTASTIC. I loved the food, all around, while MY WIFE, less enamored of spices, was more ambivalent (we had out anniversary dinner at Commander's Palace, though, and I have to say it was easily in the top ten of my life's dining experiences.)

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    1. I didn't mean to slam Commander's Palace, Jim. I just meant that you can get GREAT food and have a wonderful time without spending a lot of money such as CP or Antoines would set you back. It's really hard to go wrong food wise in the Big Easy. :)

      S

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  5. I remember hearing when I lived in Texas how the good ol' boys would sometimes drive 150 miles for lunch. Did you do that (and more) after your grandchild was born? Or was she born in New Orleans?

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    1. Oops...didn't explain it too well. The Big Easy is a cajun restuarant in Plano (Dallas suburb). Their gumbo is good, but I'm not sure it's worth driving 500 miles for.

      S

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  6. First- congrats on the arrival of your granddaughter!

    This post made me smile on many levels. N'awlins is always on our 'go to' list when we are home- and it is somewhere I love love visiting. It is sad that the crims is so bad there- even worst post-Katrina, but you're right- there is some amazing eats there and great and friendly people.

    Our 'must visit' place when we go- Johnny's po-boys- it's one of those hole in the wall places in the Quarter- but there are lines out the door during lunch and busy throughout the day- It's a fav amongst the locals and us too :)

    Gumbo- oh how I could go for some of that right now- and a huge plate of boiled crawfish.. the spicer the better..
    *hugs*

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    1. Best food ever comes from the bayou! :)

      S

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  7. You had me after shrimp poboy!!! YUM!!!!

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