Tired of the winter? Actually I'm not, and as it's my blog we're playing it my way. So here's some comfort food with warming spice as we enter chapter II of Debbie's Deep South food porn marathon …
Shrimp etouffee - a spicy soup over rice. This one I ate at Cafe Reconcile, which trains up people from deprived backgrounds for the catering trade (who as you see have not yet taken the not-slopping-the-soup module). Personal highlight: the waitress said she loved my accent. I mean, she actually SAID it. It's not just in movies.
What is there to eat in the swamp? Jesse the Cajun at the Voodoo festival I went to spoke the truth: "If a man starves in the swamp, it's cause he's lazy."
But if turtles and racoon (cue: "What do you call a seven-course meal in Cajun country? A six-pack and a RA-COON." Thanks for this to Cookie the crocheting grannie from the Greyhound) aren't your thing, then it's gonna be alligator.
Now widely hunted (well, trapped) following a resurgence in numbers, alligator is like crocodile, which is to say more like pork than anything, and a bit like chicken and possibly monkfish. The above badly taken snap (ha! snap.) is breaded and deep-fried alligator with remoulade from a fantastic restaurant in the warehouse district called Cochon. That's coe-shaan, folks, if you'll pardon my New Orleans French.
Ha ha ha! Yes gosh darn it, is IS phallic, isn't it? Terribly difficult to eat in public without blushing, I can tell you. Fortunately I was too sunburned for it to show. That's a crawfish boudin, at the Voodoo Experience music festival in City Park - that's crawfish tails, rice and spices in a surprisingly chewy skin.
The above mess of pottage = the best Cajun/Creole meal I had: fried chicken, jambalaya, red beans and rice and black beans and rice, served free at the festival at Voodoo Authentica on Dumaine Street, from tables on the street, scoffed with new friends in a tiny yard where about 25 people crammed to see rituals performed by priestess Mama Lola and talks on voodoo and local culture.
The day ended up with drumming in the street and chanting to voodoo Loa with the darkness and people dressed as Death and dalmatians (it was Halloween) danced around me. Thas' New Orleans.
Read my previous Foodyssey post. Next up: how the Deep South does breakfast.