Back from a great trip to New Orleans, my first visit in four-and-a-half years. Felt so good to be there, though the longer I was in town the more noticeable recovery pains were. My planned nine-day visit turned into ten when I had a small car accident toward the end. So. In ten days I managed to hit Acme, Cafe du Monde, Cochon, Sucre, Vizards on the Avenue, Nor-Joe, K-Paul's, Galatoire's, Dick and Jenny's, Croissant d'Or, Mandina's, Brocatto's (the apricot gelato!), Domilise's , Hanson's, Upperline, Rocky and Carlo's, Adolpho's, Commander's, Plum Street Snowballs, Martinique, Fury's, Luke, Coop's, Herbsaint, Liuzza's, Drago's, Parasol's, August, and dessert at Arnaud's. I was in heaven. My first mean at K-Paul's in 22 years did not disappoint; in fact, my reaction to the crawfish etouffee was the same as back then -- it was so rich it made me dizzy. Marinique was probably the best surprise of the trip, had a number of small plates and loved them all, especially the unusual escargot -- served out their shells in a brown brandy tarragon mushroom sauce -- and the best dessert of the trip, blueberry-coconut sorbet. Lunch at Galatoire's was great as usual and the waiter actually asked if I were local (almost as good as the first time my band was compared to Buddy Holly). New Orleans is such a great soup town: On this trip alone I had the corn-shrimp bisque at K-Paul's, Liuzza's' artichoke-shrimp soup, a crawfish-boudin bisque at Luke, wonderful gumbo at Cochon -- all this besides soups from past visits that I still dream about (at Brigtsen's and Broussard's). Other high points: smoked mushroom risotto at Dick and Jenny's, Cane River Shrimp at Upperline, apricot gelato at Brocatto's (wow), shrimp and grits cakes with tasso cream sauce at Herbsaint (also their Banana Brown butter tart), and chargrilled oysters at Drago's. I ate at their new downtown spot at the Hilton, where service was really a mess (the only time I ran into this the whole trip) but god those oysters!! (Tried Acme's new chargrilled as well, which I didn't like much at all). I really wanted to eat at Parkway Bakery but it was closed for renovations the whole week (which means my favorite roast beef po boy remains Rocky and Carlo's). But the biggest disappointment of all was Saturday night, when I had plans to eat with friends at Tony Angelo's. I kept reading (and hearing) that they weren't taking reservations but that did not seem to be the case once we were there. We arrived right when they opened at 6:00 -- and were told it would be at least a three-hour wait for a table! (Had I been on my own, I may have been tempted.) Next time, I guess. So that's my all-over-the-map report. I ate like a king for ten straight days and can't wait to get back again. Thank you New Orleans so much for still being there.