Last Call: The Most Memorable Things I Ate In New Orleans Last Week

Hey everyone! You probably didn't notice, but I went on spring break last week with my family to New Orleans. The last time I was there was 15 years ago, when my husband and I were just dating. Going to New Orleans with kids is a lot different than the Jazz Fest days of my youth. But, it was fun nonetheless—swamp tour, steamboat, hotel pool—and offered some of my favorite food in the world (I'm probably not wearing my tightest clothes for awhile).

You may be proud of me, Takeout readers: I tried to be a bit adventurous in my culinary efforts on this trip. The very first food we had was gator (verdict: chewy chicken). At the Insectarium—a perfect stop with kids—I tried a delicious sample of a cricket cookie. Emboldened, I then went straight for a barbecue-flavored cricket, which I then felt in my throat the rest of the afternoon, for fear it had hatched.

The drinks were plentiful in New Orleans, of course, and one rainy afternoon a friend and I went to a dive-ish bar on Decatur that was blasting Led Zeppelin. I got a nice blueberry hefeweizen I took a picture of for Kate while my friend got the best Bloody Mary I've ever tasted in my life. The fact that the multitude of pickled vegetables in it made it look like a sea monster only heightened its appeal.

Mostly, though, I stuck to seafood. I hadn't had an oyster in a while, but figured the divine Tableau would be the perfect place to try one (verdict: slimy). We went to to the fashionable warehouse district to visit Cochon, where we feasted on stuffed squash blossoms and a heavenly crawfish pie. For our final New Orleans meal, I insisted on the legendary Deanie's, with fried seafood platters so high they practically scraped the ceiling. The appetizer there was my favorite thing I ate all week: Deanie's mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat, with buerre blanc. Rich as hell, super-indulgent, and next-level deliciousness. Just writing that down makes me miss those mushrooms all over again.

I know there is no shortage of great food in my hometown of Chicago, but still: A week in New Orleans can ruin regular food for you for awhile. Which is good, because I ate enough last week to last me until the end of the month. I'm glad to be back!