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Side Trips from New Orleans Travel Guide

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Side Trips from New Orleans Restaurants

Part of the considerable charm of the region west of New Orleans is the Cajun food, popularized in the 1970s and early 1980s by Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme, a native of Opelousas. This is jambalaya, crawfish pie, and filé gumbo country, and nowhere else on earth is Cajun food done better than where it originated. Cajun food is often described as the robust, hot-peppery country kin of Creole cuisine.

It's a cuisine built upon economy—heavy on the rice and the sauces, lighter on the meats—and strongly influenced by African as well as French cooking traditions. Indigenous sea creatures turn up in étouffées, bisques, and pies, and on almost every Acadian menu are jambalaya, gumbo, and blackened fish. Alligator meat is a great favorite, as are sausages like andouille and boudin (stuffed with a spicy pork-and-rice dressing). Cajun food is very rich, and portions tend to be ample. Biscuits and grits are breakfast staples, and many an evening meal ends with bread pudding.

Cajun cuisine extends beyond Cajun Country itself and into many of the restaurants along River Road. North of Baton Rouge, however, in St. Francisville, more typical Southern fare prevails. Here you will still find po'boys and sometimes gumbo, but barbecue is more common than boudin.

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