Bourbon street. Spicy food. Hurricanes (the kind you drink, of course). Popov*. Cellphones in hair. A palm reader predicting my death. All these things and more come to mind when I look back on New Orleans. Okay, I’m sure the last three are really more applicable to my direct experience, but you get the point.
The thought of New Orleans brings back memories of my carefree college days: spring break to be exact. A few of us girls decided to drive down from Chicago and spend a few days in a city where we could finally do what we’ve been wanting to do for a long time: drink in public. No, but seriously, it was a trip where we not only confirmed our love for Ryan Cabrera (where is he now anyway**?) but we formed friendships that have continued well into our adult lives.
People certainly don’t lie when they say that New Orleans is the big easy. Everyone is happy, lively and everything is just vibrant. Music is blaring out of every bar on Bourbon street, beads are flying everywhere and booze is flowing a plenty. Oh wait, this is a travel AND food blog right? So I should definitely get to it…
First, I have a confession: food was not our forté on this trip. I really wish I could tell you that I had the greatest po’ boy at Parkway on Toulouse and Hagan or that the crawfish étouffée at Chartres House is better than at Bon Ton Cafe, but alas, we were in college and our main concern was … well, the whole drinking in public thing. Even so, I’m completely happy with our experience. It was awesome and we shared many countless memories together.
Regardless of the above, the food did provide a nice change from traditional American fare. I loved the variety of spices and ingredients. Cajun and creole food quickly shot up to the top 5 of my favorite cuisines after this trip.
The recipe you’ll find below is an escape from your every day meal. You’ll get the best of both worlds with this version of Louisiana Gumbo: a nutritious meal and a killer hangover cure – just make sure you’re adding in plenty of Louisi-Acha hot sauce!
If made at the quantity below, you’ll be enjoying it for days or you can just freeze the leftovers in quart freezer bags and you’ll have an instant meal in no time!
*Popov is that kind of embarrassing vodka drink that only tastes good on a college budget. But, oh man, did it serve its purpose.
**After his high profile relationship with Ashlee Simpson, Ryan Cabrera his career seemed to be on the way down (see what I did there?) He now resides in LA while trying to revamp his music career under the management of good ol’ papa Joe.