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May 11, 2004 09:14 AM

What food would you miss?

  • s

Okay, we're moving back to the southwest after spending six years in New Orleans. Everybody says "you're going to miss the food." Now, we can make jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, and barbecued shrimp better than the versions served in most restaurants. We know that fresh shrimp will be more expensive and harder to come by, but other than that, we can't think of much that we will really miss. Neither of us is particularly sad about never having another po-boy. I suppose we might miss muffalettas, but since we eat them about once a year, that shouldn't pose a big problem. Same for beignets. No more crawfish boils, but we've had our share of them, and they're fun, but that's one of those "been there, done that" kind of things for us.

Yes, we know this is heresy. Luckily you can't stone me through e-mail. But I thought I would take a poll: If you were to move away from Louisiana, what food would you miss? (Not fair to say "my mama's (whatever).)

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  1. Actually, I've done just that. Thirty years ago we moved back to Texas after living in Slidell for a year and a half. We missed boiled crab. Also poor boys - both oyster and shrimp. Now we can get decent poor boys in the Dallas area. Bread's not as good. but oh well---

    2 Replies
    1. re: Plano Rose

      Forgot to add that I learned to make really good redbeans and rice and seafood gumbo from my native New Orleanean neighbor, so we eat Louisiana style frequently.

      1. re: Plano Rose

        That you can, but these days, you can get really good bread as well PR. Where's your favorite DFW place for a po boy?


      2. h
        Hungry Celeste

        Okay, Sarah, I'll bite on this one:
        --dirt cheap LA strawberries in the spring ($9/flat) eaten with Mauthe's creole cream cheese & local honey
        --softshell crabs, still alive when you clean 'em (sauteed or fried--I'm not picky)
        --Hansen's Sno-Bliz (lemonade or sno-bliz flavors) and a chance to chat with Mary Hansen
        --pounds of jumbo lump crabmeat and cocktail claws, picked the same day, at wholesale prices from the crab-picking factory ($8 for claws and $12 for jumbo lump)
        --satsumas in the fall from your neighbor's backyard trees
        --Steen's cane syrup (I guess you COULD mail-order it)
        --grilled redfish that you caught yourself just a few hours before
        --25-cent oysters at an oyster bar. When you ask the shucker where they're from, you not only know the oysterman, but know the name of his boat and the guy who built it for him.
        --fresh file (it fades pretty quickly)
        --Gratons, andouille, boudin, and especially TASSO from the BestStop in Scott, LA

        Along with Gendusa's french bread, the fruit ices at Angelo Brocato, and a properly made Sazerac, #7 steaks, 8 different kinds of salted/pickled pork at the supermarket....I could go on and on!

        12 Replies
        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          You are correct, Celeste. I moved from Louisiana to Texas years ago.....I miss your entire list, especially the satumas. I think I would trade bbq and texmex for fresh 25 cents oysters anyday of the week.

          I would add Abita beer and roman candy to the list. We can buy Abita beer at Whole Foods sometimes, so thats good.

          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Everything Celeste mentioned except the Sazeracs.

            I'd have to add perfectly fried oysters on French. Really good gumbo and different varieties. Boiled seafood.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste
              Beau Noppatee

              A perfect post, Hungry C. True poetry to a chowhound. But where does a person get soft shells that are still breathing. Do you do your own trawling? If you don't, will you out your connection? I've never seen one in a crab trap.

              1. re: Beau Noppatee

                They have live ones at the farmer's market in New Orleans, I specifically saw them at the Saturday morning one at Magazine and Girod, since I pointed them out to my parents and they (the crabs) were moving around. I commented on not wanting to buy them because I'd have to cut their face off while they were alive and the vendor said they'd be happy to clean them for me right there. I don't know where the vendor was from, though.

                1. re: Jessi
                  Hungry Celeste

                  Softshells recovered while trawling are often dead (the long dragging time kills 'em). All commercially available softshells are "made" in holding tanks...the producer buys or catches "red line" crabs, then holds them in tanks (with filtration/aeration) or in floating holding pens in brackish water, until the crab sheds its shell. A crab indicates its readiness to shed by displaying a thin but pronounced red line on the last segment of its back leg (the leg attached to the jumbo lump of crabmeat). Red line crabs are a week or so away from shedding; blue line crabs are 10+ days from a molt. Molting is influenced by moon phase, tide, salinity, crab's age/sex, etc. Crabbers watch for these markings and are paid a premium for the shedder (aka peeler aka buster) crabs.

                  If you take the crab out of the water within 10 minutes or so of its shedding, it will remain soft (the crab needs water to reharden its new shell). They'll remain alive under moist refrigeration for as long as several days.

                  1. re: Jessi

                    Thanks so much. Magazine and Girod? Isn't that in the CBD? (going to the Yahoo maps right now) There was a seafood market near Ocshner on Jefferson Highway that had good softshells. I think it was called Southern or maybe it was just in the front of Southern Poboy. Anyway, it changed hands. I've checked twice so far and no more soft shell crabs. Are there any noteworthy seafood markets on Hwy 90 around Bayou des Allemand? Maybe those places Hungry C suggested for native catfish. Thanks also to Hungy C for the information on little buster's life cycle. I feel like I'm getting educated.

                    1. re: Jessi

                      "was from" may be the correct tense as they were from Laffite before the storms. Have you seen them since then? I don't know if they are still working. I have a card from them somewhere and will see if I can get their numbers for you. Before, if you called, they would bring you live Buster crabs.

                      1. re: Panama Hat

                        Some of the Lafitte producers were indeed knocked for a loop, but you can still get softshells from producers in des Allemands and a couple on Bayou Lafourche, too.

                  2. re: Hungry Celeste

                    GREAT list Celeste! I have followed you for a while on chowhound your recommendations are always fabulous. Do you have a food blog?
                    We live in Mississippi, but spend about 6 months out of the year in New Orleans, where can I find 25 cent raw oysters? Also, I was wanting to make a big pot of red beans soon, do you have a recommendation for somewhere to get great ham hocks and sausage?
                    Love the best stop recommendation. We went to the cracklin festival this year and on the way we went on a five hour boudin tour, best stop was the best!

                    1. re: chowdie

                      25 cent raw oysters at Harbor Seafood/Fisherman's Cove in Kenner...see them online at
                      Everyone's idea of good sausage is different....I'm partial to the andouille at Wayne Jacobs, the fresh sausages from Bourgeois Meat Market in Thibodaux, and I'd rather have tasso than a ham hock any day in my red beans. I blog at

                    2. re: Hungry Celeste

                      So where is the crab picking factory? I know thre is one in Holma..

                      Thanks in Advance


                      1. re: don515

                        I like the friendly folks at Punch's seafood in Lockport, though you can also find "crab factories" in Des Allemands, Larose, Lafitte, Slidell, Houma, etc. Check the label printed on the plastic tubs of crabmeat: it will list the packer/processor by name & permit number. Many packers will sell retail, direct to you, if you happen to be nearby.

                    3. I've got the opposite problem. I miss fresh green chiles roasting in the fall, and good green chile stew with pork. (I can make green chile, but I miss being able to get it at any restaurant in town...)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jayne

                        Jayne, I guess we're more like you. I can hardly wait for the green chile stew and related delights.

                        Speaking of green chiles, last summer the uptown Whole Foods got a shipment of Hatch green chiles, and they roasted them in the parking garage. I can't remember what month that was, but watch for the event!

                        1. re: Sarah C

                          Hatch season is usually in late August and ends late Sept to early Oct.

                      2. b
                        Beau Noppatee

                        And speaking of missing, I sure will miss your postings. I guess you can still visit the board wherever you are. Southwest of what? Do you mean as in Santa Fe? High plains and cactus trees?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Beau Noppatee

                          Thanks. It's Phoenix -- and we will be eating lots of Mexican food, among other things. Phoenix also seems to have a pretty good variety of ethnic and other interesting restaurants, in addition to Southwestern and Mexican. When and if I become knowledgeable enough to post, it will be on the Southwest board. Of course I'll still be checking the New Orleans board from time to time. I'm sure lots of people we meet will be asking us for our NOLA recommendations.

                        2. Charcroiled oysters, bread pudding, turtle soup, beignets, muffalettas, barbecue shrimp (Mr. B's), creme brulee, red beans and rice on Mondays!