New Orleans is one of the great culinary capitals of the world, and I am certain that my love affair with food has its roots in creole cuisine. My earliest memories involve Louisiana food--the aquariums and hush puppies at Ralph and Kacoo's or the Saturday afternoon cajun dancing to go along with your crawfish etoufee at Boutin's (formerly Mulate's).
More recently, I have had the pleasure of enjoying meals at some of New Orleans' most famed restaurants--from Commander Palace's creole bread pudding souffle (above), to the "gumbo z'herbes" and fried chicken (below) at Dooky Chase, an African-American family-run restaurant that played a pivotal role during the Civil Rights era.
I was in New Orleans with a couple of first-timers, so we decided to go on a food crawl. We started at Palace Cafe on Canal Street. Palace Cafe is the bistro version of Commander's Palace, so it's an excellent budget option. I love their crabmeat cheesecake and their pecan-crusted fish, "gulf fish pecan." (official Palace Cafe crabmeat cheesecake recipe) But most importantly, make sure you save room for dessert and try the classic New Orleans dish, Bananas Foster (below). The bananas are flambeed tableside in banana liquer and rum.