Beignets are New Orleans' answer to doughnuts.
Influences on New Orleans cuisine include French, Cajun, Creole, Native American, African, Caribbean, Italian, and German. This is a good place to forget about your diet.
Beignets are the city’s answer to doughnuts, and the best place to try them is the Café Du Monde in the French Market. There you’ll get three of the square pastries, crispy and warm and covered in powdered sugar. Enjoy them with café au lait – which in New Orleans means coffee and chicory with an equal amount of hot milk.
Gumbo is a soup; the name comes from a Bantu word for okra, a vegetable used as a thickener. It starts with a roux (made from flour and oil), and typical ingredients include seafood, poultry, or andouille, a Cajun smoked pork sausage. Étoufée is more like a thick stew; the standard version features crawfish and is served over white rice. For jambalaya, the rice is cooked with the other ingredients: meat, peppers, onions, celery, stock, seasonings, and sometimes tomatoes. In New Orleans, bell peppers, onions, and celery are known as “the holy trinity” – you’ll also find them in red beans and rice.
The city has made heroic contributions in the sandwich department, namely the po-boy and the muffuletta. A po-boy is served on French bread and filled with shrimp or roast beef or spicy sausage or even french fries, along with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles (or “nuttin’ on it”). A muffuletta comes on round Italian bread and is dressed with olive salad and stacked with Italian cold cuts and cheeses.
Hungry yet? Register for the 2011 RI Convention in New Orleans.