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be-late-d trip report

bruce | May 20, 200407:42 PM

Ten days offered lotsa chances to over-do it, but we have yet to ever reach that point. Staying near the westbank seafood stalls also made "eating in" a very attractive option. A brief (and chronological)review of the high pts.:
- Straight from the airport to Harbour Seafood for a couple dozen to hold us over until dinner at
-Brigtsen's, which was nothing but delightful; the bisque was spot-on, wine selection entirely satisfactory, and the seafood platter was great in its variety, subtlety and execution.
-Lunch at Crabby Jack's w/ just-picked-up tribe members from Satchmo Int'l. I think the 'gator cheese-cake helped them get into the spirit, then w/ local friends to
-R&O's (Bucktown) for a simple dinner of 'bugs and fried fruites de mer. Nothing glorious, just good plain, well-done chow.
-Next day was the "sampler" at the Fest (bisques, gumbo, soft-shell po-boy, jama-jama (a must-have), and on and on, followed by an easy eat at
-Sal's (westbank-Barrataria Blvd.)- 10# of bugs (very nicely spiced, thank you) baby red 'taters and a couple side dishes.Nice folks, nice joint. Next day of Fest was a wash-out,so we took now-larger-by-two-more
tribe to see if the water was yet "6 feet deep in the streets of Evangeline", but highway was water-covered well before that; we turned around and chose(over Pupuseria Divina Corazon) to re-visit
-Salvo's (Belle Chasse). Sadly we were too early(shuckers not in yet),so we tried po-boys, fried treats, and other wares, and decided their gumbo, with its dark, smok(e)y flavor was the best thing at our groaning table. Dinner "in" (shrimp and soft-shells).
-There was a new dish this year by Jeanminette Creole Kitchen (usual purveyors of chit'lins and fried turkey, and, last year, brisket): Seafood Cornbread. If you got some this year, good on you. If not, you may begin counting the days until next year's (and hope they're back w/ it). It was, simply, the best new taste I've encountered there in several many years.
'Bout 1.5 in. thick, moist, subtly seasoned, w/ chunks of shrimp and other denizens of the deep and topped w/ nice jalapeno rings. Words don't do justice to this great addition to an already-challenging "buffet". Also
noteworthy, as usual, is the Carib. fish w/ perfectly steamed cabbage on the side. ("nuff preachin'). Other posters have cited Coop's Place's gumbo, and I thank them for that, as I'd've not tried there otherwise, and found it to be reliable. Next dinner was
-Rio-Mar, on a slow night. Next time we'll likely keep ordering the ceviche sampler until we fall over. If you like ceviche, this is as good as I've encounter-
ed, including ram-shackle-seaside huts along Mexico's Carib. coast. A nice (4) variety w/ differing ingredients, marinades and seasonings - and they did a great job w/ the habaneros (enuf' w/out overpowering).
The next (last) day we went for the hat-trick:
-Breakfast at Elizabeth's (yes, the praline bacon is easily the 'crack' of food). Ogden Museum and
-Harbour Seafood for a late lunch of freshly-shucked 'sters (always tip your shucker generously) and dinner was a spur-of-the-moment change-of-mind. We were headed to Drago's (been there before and agree that the broiled 'sters are singular) but saw some print ad and decided to return to Williams Blvd. in Kenner (4200 block) for
-La Macarena Pupuseria & Restaurant. (please refrain from any too-easy jokes or assumptions). We asked our host, 'Manny', to "feed us" - and he and his mother did, with care, flair and panache. Fruit beverages (blackberry and passion-fruit), a delightful ceviche (what, again? darn right.), pupusas (1 cheese, 1 pork), some stunning black-bean refrito (sp?),and a Salvadoran shrimp w/ garlic over saffron rice that couldn't have been better. Be sure to ask about the Latin sauerkraut and its rich history. Ain't fusion great? (Probably, as long as you weren't the colonialized party...) but i digress. Try 'em I doubt you'll be disappointed.

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