ACES 2012 | New Orleans

A good time to be in NOLA — for eating

If you like shrimp and other seafood, you’re in for a treat being in New Orleans.

I’m a big seafood lover. I go to towns specializing in seafood and sample all I can. Over a Labor Day weekend in Boston, I sampled nine cups of chowda. Boston and Maine Lobster Co. and Boston Chowda were the best, but perhaps the best chowda I found was in Seattle, at Pike Place Chowder. Whoa, nelly.

I thought San Francisco was my favorite shrimp spot. Then I came to New Orleans. Whoa, whoa, nelly. And it so happens that during this conference, you’re in for an extra special treat, because the French Quarter Festival is going on. At Jackson Square and along the river, you’ll find booths of … shrimp! And crawfish! And oysters! (I get excited about this.) But not just by themselves; you’ll find them prepared in a variety of ways.

You’ll hear and see po’ boys all over, and that’s a popular way to enjoy the food. But I had “shrimp regua” and “oyster femme” for lunch from the Antoine’s booth in Jackson Square; that’s what you see pictured. Yum! The shrimp regua is like a little shrimp salad with dressing that has a little kick — and you get lots of shrimp. The oyster femme is prepared in a crab broth served over pasta. You can get little samples like this for $6 or $7. Two filled me up fine, but I went for a third, the crawfish and spinach boat from the Saltwater Grill booth.

OK, OK, maybe you’re not into seafood. You’ll find andouille sausage, and pulled pork, maybe even alligator. And there seems to be a lot of good Italian food around, too. Last night ACES board members Lisa McLendon, Christine Steele and Gerri Berendzen joined me at Domenica, where you can have a nice dinner with wine. You can have half plates or full plates, each one costing from $10 to about $30. (And most entrees, in fact, are not seafood, though of course I found the two key dishes that were!)

I suppose the French Quarter Festival is fine for having a good time and all, but I’m there for the food. Aside from the festival, you can quickly learn more about what’s around the Quarter through the nola.com mobile app.┬áThere are so many places in a small space, if you hadn’t noticed, so this app is quite handy. Give it a try, and then tell the rest of us where the best stuff is!

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