So, these are the parts I left out.


In the “It’s a wonder I don’t weigh 500 pounds (227 kilo, 35 stone) category: We’ve had four different kinds of beignets (I get to say it again. Yay!) I truly love the flakier crispier type as opposed to the doughy type. Beignet is French for fritter, and are very similar to Spanish or Mexican sopapilla (little pillow) and Portuguese fried dough, which tends to be a little doughier. (The best ever Portuguese fried dough can be found in Provincetown or New Bedford, MA. New Bedford is the home of Emeril Lagasse.)

The other night I had blackened alligator and a bowl of red beans and rice. First, the bowl was huge and it had a full chorizo (chourico) sausage. served on top. The rice was on the side rather than being served over as a bed. This is actually pretty cool since most of the time when beans are served over the rice, there’s always way more rice than beans. THIS was a bowl of beans with a small cup of rice. It had a thick gravy like sauce with shredded pork and chunks of pepper. The leftovers were great for breakfast.

The blackened alligator was a plate of small bites no more than an inch square, blackened with a little spiciness. I’m not going to tell you it tastes like chicken because I’m not very fond of chicken. This is a bit sweeter and has a different texture than either chicken or pork. I have to say it tastes more like rattlesnake. Plus, it’s very lean.  (Have you ever seen a flabby alligator?) I’d really like to t try alligator as a kebab or a fillet. I wonder how it would compare with swordfish or mahi-mahi which are both white meat fish.

For breakfast on Saturday I had biscuits and gravy. I really love me some biscuits and gravy. This is one of the dishes I always order when we go some place new. Some people try the corned beef hash, but I always have to try the gravy. I’ve had biscuits and gravy all over the country, and while the gravy was homemade, as were the biscuits, it wasn’t what I’d hoped. The gravy was a brown sauce and had chopped sausage bits instead of the ground sausage you might expect . It was spicy but the flavor wasn’t the classic spice of southern gravy, I never figured out what it tasted like. The biscuits were very heavy and I ended up only eating half of one, and using it to soak up all the gravy and crunchy bits. (Just because it wasn’t what I anticipated doesn’t mean I was going to let it go to waste.)

We had cheese grits at a couple of meals as well. I grew up eating chili cheese grits, but my travel buddy doesn’t have much experience with them. So we set about comparing styles. The consensus is that grits should not be baked. Making a batch of grits, pouring them into a casserole and baking them at “350 for an hour” (private joke) just makes them the consistency of adobe. Although you can probably slice it and serve it as a potato alternative, it’s really not what you should be shooting for.   Not cooking them sufficiently causes them to be too runny and almost like a soup. I’ve had grits like that, and I can understand why Yankees think they’re nasty on a variety of levels. You have to cook them to a certain point and then add the cheese and chili and let the cheese absorb some of the liquid completing the thickening process as well as allowing the flavors to mix.

I’d had crawfish prior to the trip to New Orleans, and it always seemed they were a little crunchy with dirt or silt from wherever they were dredged up.  Even when they’ve been cleaned and shelled, they still have that grittiness to them. They’re referred to as mudbugs for a reason I guess. They are much smaller than shrimp and it just seems like they aren’t worth the effort when I can always go ahead and order shrimp.

We had a fried oyster po’boy on the way to the airport and that was mighty fine as well. I’m looking forward to trying more of them.

But these are my food issues. You’ll need to get your own.