Last time I was in New Orleans, Louisiana seems ages ago. My daughters, son-in-law and I took to the road from Dallas Fort Worth. We were on Freeway 20, 49 and 10 for a good 9 to 10 hours including rest stops.
Then it was the French Quarters with all the quaint stores, streets with character, charm and mystery. We did pass bayous that beckon with invisible incantations, images of what I've seen in movies and read about in books.
That was then. Now, as the New Orleans Maitre'd ushered into the diner just a few doors from Fully Booked at Global City, nothing inside reminds me of our Texas to Lousiana trip. Except when the food came and Cajun aroma filled the air.
I ordered the traditional gumbo, jambalaya, blackened salmon salad, full slab of baby back ribs. We are after all, hungry and expecting to be filled. Oh, I also ordered crabs from the adjoining Claw Daddy (which I believe is a sister diner).
The jambalaya came with a smattering of sausage of some sort while the whiff of andouille was missing. Too bad despite some other traditional pork, chicken, my desired ingredient crawfish was missing. There was the Creole composite nevertheless.
Also present were the expected onion, celery, and green bell pepper, carrots, and tomatoes. The ribs were succulent although the sauce could use some zing. The crab I ordered had meaty claws, but was a male and therefore no extra alige. Bad and good. Good because less cholesterol for my heart, but bad since crab without alige is a cuisine crime.
We were the first patrons on that Sunday - in fact, the first after the doors were opened. It did not take long for groups to be ushered in. By that time, we had finished lunch and were ready to take in food for thought - read up or get the latest release from Fully Booked.
Jazz sounds sadly was not omnipresent and the attemps to recreate elements of the French Quarters was commendable but really came up short, Nice try. Sounds from the Bayou or even reflections of the mystique New Orleans is known for would have been nice.
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