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New Orleans top 5 dishes

1 ) The New Orleans Poboy
2) Turtle Soup
3) Gumbo
4) Trout Amandine
5) Char Grilled Oysters

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  1. Boiled seafood
    Shrimp creole
    Red beans & rice

    14 Replies
    1. re: mrsfury

      Hmm...I guess gumbo would count as NOLA---it is the most famous version or at least has been famous longer than the rural varieties--Boiled seafood? Wwll, I am not sure that's NOLA's sole property but we could get into a huge debate on that. I'd certainly go with Shrimp creole, Turtle Soup, RB&R...I think Grits and Grillades would have to be in there. New Orleans remoulde has to be in the top group but then that leaves a Po' boy out...I suppose remolade could be eliminated because you already have the shrimp creole in there...

      It will be interesting to see what others are nominated...I argue against crawfish etouffee as Not New Orleans..Jambalaya is another fight we can all have fun with....

      1. re: hazelhurst

        I wanted to say jambalaya but I woulda had to leave off poboy. Remoulade! Hmm. Ok I need a top ten list not five. For the record I'm not listing foods that are nola's sole property, just food that I can't get prepared properly anywhere else.

        1. re: mrsfury

          "I'm not listing foods that are nola's sole property, just food that I can't get prepared properly anwhere else."...and there's the issue, it seems to me. Are New Orleans foods things invented here, perfected here? Or are they items that were established elsewhere and changed to local ingredients/tastes etc? I'm thinking that the original idea is something along the lines of "New Orleans Gifts to the World" , including improvements to established food. (See Rex Stout's character Nero Wolfe yakking about "New Orleans boullaibase" as he defends American cooking..James Beard and Clementine Paddelford were not the only ones flying the flag in those days.) One of the nice things about New Orleans food is that it is often a museum piece...perhaps the "Adventurous Diner" has never had a trout meuniere done comme il faut...and that is a great link to history. A perfect shrimp creole is classic food..it needs no embellishment. For some, however, it is shrimp in tomato. You can't learn some folks.

          In the end, though, we must remember we are dealing with food in a Port City...that is where the real fun comes.

          BTW, ever see old jambalaya recipes? Baked in the oven.....

          1. re: hazelhurst

            I always bake jambalaya. And it always has tomatoes, period!!!

        2. re: hazelhurst

          Crawfish Etouffée is definitely a Creole dish, you can check the oldest New Orleans cookbooks for verification, but what passes as jambalaya in New Orleans is what Cajun call Spanish Rice.

          1. re: Argol

            Have never seen a crawfish etoufee in an old New Orleans cookbook

            1. re: hazelhurst

              Please direct me to the "oldest New Orleans cookbooks" that you reference. I just looked in Hearn's "Creole Cookbook" (1884) and the Christian Women's Exchange's "Creole Cookery" (1885), the first two cookbooks in print using the word "Creole" to describe New Orleans cooking....neither one contains a single, solitary recipe for crawfish in any form (though both contain shrimp, crab, oyster, finfish, clam, and turtle recipes). Skipping ahead a bit, I looked in Scott's 1929 book, published by Pelican: no crawfish. Scott & Jones' 1933 "Gourmet's Guide to New Orleans Creole Cookbook" contains just one crawfish recipe: crawfish Newburg.

              So tell me your sources, I'd love to see them.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                I had meant to ask for sources myself but rushed out (this assumes you are asking Argol, as I think you are since we have been in agreement on this matter in the past). The earliest etouffee I found in general print--and I cannot name the book right now but I found it in a library---is a "shrimp etoufee" and it dates from the 1950's. The earliest widely distributed recipe I found is ole River Road 1959. There are earlier ones in newspapers...

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Didnt the etoufees originate in Cajun Country I dont think they are indigenous to new orleans.

                  1. re: joedontexan

                    In a word, "yes." Etouffee dis not get to New Orleans until the mid twentieth century. It was known, to hunters etc., but not widespread. Al Scramuzza claims credit for bringing crawfish in...but folks were catching them just outside town for years. But etouffee as Creole? No, sorry...

          2. re: hazelhurst

            New to this site, but just want to confrim that NO is Creole food Lafayette Louisiana is home of cajun food (crawfish).. You should also include mufalatta sandwhich from Central Grocery

          3. re: mrsfury

            With ya on everything but the Boiled Seafood. One can find great boiled seafood all across the south and it is Much More Difficult Than It Should Be to find decently priced boiled seafood in the city. The reason in my opinion is there isn't a huge profit margin for the restauranteur and there is no turnover. It takes forever to eat boiled crawfish and shrimp.

            1. re: NolaNick

              You've obviously never seen me eat crawfish. lol

              1. re: roro1831

                My 9 year old eat 15 in about 5 minutes. He is a pro already. My kids have been eating them since they were toddlers and can make several pounds disappear rather quickly.

          4. Tough one. Do you mean dishes that are purely NOLA, or do you mean versions of dishes that one has encountered the "best of," in NOLA.

            Of your list, I'd put it in a slightly different order, and make a change, or two.

            1.) #4
            2.) #2
            3.) #3 (this one is really difficult, as I've had plenty of gumbos elsewhere that might top all NOLA versions. Still, of old time's sake, it comes in at #3.
            4.) #1
            5.) Gotta' be fried shrimp, but see #3, as the best have been in Gulfport, MS and out on Chef Hwy., but both are long, long gone.


            3 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Ah! even as the hours dwindle, Brother Hunt weights in! (Well, different tme zones..) It took me awhile to figure out the re-configuration of numbers..I cannot see the whole screen at the same moment. Fried oysters is a good one to add...again, I remark, are these the items specifically "New Orleans?" I am moved to think again on a recent topic of Oyster Stew...that was known in Mississippi in The Old Days...should we consider it as a possible entry? I think the Racing Secreatary may need to write a new race allowing for more entries FYO & O [Fifty-Years-Old and Older]..

              Who ya' got in Da Belmont? (as if we need t' axe)

              1. re: hazelhurst

                1: blackened redfish...the original version, (pre K-Paul's) from Commanders...atop seared slaw and topped with emulsified lemon butter sauce
                2: Commander's turtle soup
                3: Bozos fried oysters
                4: Brigtsen's softshell with pecan menuiere
                5: Galatoire's trout meuniere with jumbo lump
                6: Commander's bread pudding souffle

                1. re: JazzyB

                  Blackened redfish? I am afraid I cannot go with that on a short list, even the Commander's version (where Prudhomme was doing it first). A grilled redfish is far better and poached redfish is supreme..to immolate one is akin to cooking prime (and I mean REAL prime) beef well done..it is a crime.

                  The Brigtsen's softshell is a good idea...I admit I was thinking in general terms rather than restaurant specific.. Bozoz's fried oysters is a good notion too, but it makes me sad to think that frying oysters has become something that has to be singled out. There have always been plenty of places that fry them badly but it used to be that we had more places that did oysters well.

            2. my highly personal list:
              1. BBQ shrimp (see recent threads on this topic)
              2. red beans & rice, with a side of (pick one) smoked sausage, fried or grilled pork chops, or fried chicken
              3. snowballs with condensed milk
              4.dressed roast beef poboy (a real one, not a deli-sliced & dipped in gravy imposter)
              5. crabmeat au gratin

              20 Replies
              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Snowball with condensed milk is excellent...I wonder if New Orleans leads the country in condensed milk sales?

                A colleague just suggested a good one: stuffed mirliton. That is certainly something that ain;t seen across Da Lake.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Snowball with condensed milk? Please tell me more about this one...

                  1. re: princsoreo

                    They drizzle condensed milk over the snowball after the flavoring is added. My favorite flavor is ice cream cream. That's how you'd order it, you say cream instead of condensed milk.

                    1. re: mrsfury

                      Well, not exactly. Many (most?) snowball stands offer two traditional add-ons: "cream" and "condensed milk", which aren't the same thing.....if you order "cream", at most places, you'll get a drizzle of canned, evaporated milk; if you order condensed milk, you'll get condensed milk. A few places mix the two together for a slightly thinner topping. To confuse matters more, some flavors are "cream" flavors, which means the flavor syrup already contains some dairy; you can still get cream added on top of those flavors to gild the lily.

                    2. re: princsoreo

                      The snowball stands sell snowballs with condensed milk as a topping. Chocolate with condensed milk is a personal favorite of mine. Plum Street snowballs does them mighty fine, but i'm sure everyone here has their favorite stand. I'm sure a favorite snowball stand thread will be started soon as the summer heat is quickly approaching.
                      Not sure if you have ever had a New Orleans snowball or not, but they are nothing like a snow cone or shaved ice, the consistency of the ice is much finer, more like snow.

                      1. re: princsoreo

                        it was a progression for me. I started w/just plain flavor, then stepped up to adding cream, then later condensed milk. my faves are chocolate, coconut, ice cream, all w/condensed milk.

                        1. re: edible complex

                          Thanks everyone! I will add this to my "to try" list next time I make it NO!

                      2. re: hazelhurst

                        What does across Da Lake refer to? I've had shrimp stuffed mirliton (in the Lafayette area) for years.

                        1. re: pattisue

                          "across da lake" means St. Tammany Parish & environs, a/k/a "the Northshore"...you know, where you end up if you cross the Causeway heading north.

                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                            Thanks. I hate to admit I've never crossed the Causeway.

                            1. re: pattisue

                              One can get there on the I-10 "twin spans," but you're on the Eastern edge in Slidell. Most of the time, "across the Lake" refers to the Causeway, as HC suggests.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Moreover, "across D Lake" also means placessuch as, oh Atlanta or New York or Moscow or even Buenos Aires...it is all "out there." (over dere)

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Now, I think that you might be making a geographic "stretch." [Grin]

                                  I learned something not that long ago on the NOLA board. For my life, including the time that I lived in NOLA, the term "out in the Parish," always referred to Jefferson Parish. To many, it also meant St. Bernard, and others. Frame of reference. I have now changed my geographic references to specifiy the exact Parish, St. Tammany, Jefferson or other.

                                  For some, there is NYC, and other places to the west. For folk in LA, it's those places anywhere to the east. Frame of reference.


                                  PS for me, the geographically challenged, "across the Lake," could also mean Pontchatoula, though I would expect to head east from there.

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Well, you are correct..."out in da Parish" once meant Jefferson exclusively...except when it didn't mean St Bernard (exclusively) I think we knew by intonation which one was intended.

                                    And why is "East End west of West End?" No one knows...it's a mystery. [Don't try to answer--it ruins the fun]

                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                      "I think we knew by intonation which one was intended."

                                      I get this one, as I spent much of my misguided youth chasing the young ladies of NOLA, and picking up on such things. I was one of those dreaded "frats."

                                      Still, when I think of Crabby Jacks, I think of "The Parish." Still, for general geographical reference, I now try to do better now, as someone following along at home in Chicago might not know what I'm talking about. Many have to Google "Parish," to understand, and then it might well not be clear.

                                      Maybe this is something that folk on the NOLA board might wish to consider, as so very many wonderful tourists are not from, nor are they familar with, the region.

                                      For most, that great food can be obtained in many neighborhoods, or even Parishes, should be reason to learn of the history and the geography of NOLA.


                      3. re: Hungry Celeste

                        hey guys, where would you recommend for getting a *good* snowball?

                        1. re: MHC

                          The Standard By wWhich All Others Are Judged is Hansen's but dey ain't open yet. Plum street is rite good, too

                            1. re: roro1831

                              Be ready to stand in line for a while at Hansen's. The last time I was there (admittedly a long time ago - pre Katrina) the line was over two blocks long... and worth every minute of the wait!

                            2. re: hazelhurst

                              Thanks! Will try and report back.

                        2. Red Beans and Rice with Fried Chicken
                          Raw Oysters
                          Roast Beef Po Boy
                          Spaghetti with Guaniciale and Fried Poached Egg
                          Souffle Potatoes

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lyonola

                            The food must be essentially new orleans and yes a top ten list maybe it should have been. nice suggestions yall have made.

                          2. You folks have no sense of history.

                            1) Poboy
                            2) Gumbo
                            3) oysters Rockefeller
                            4) redfish courtbullion
                            5) turtle soup

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: TomFreeland

                              No sese of hist'ry? mebbe..seems to me that History hass been well-served here. I agree about oysters Rock but the probalem ther is that so many versions are spinach with Herbsaint and a few other items...some are downright lethal. The Antoine's version (well, it is not a version, it is The Real thing--no spinach)is still the non-pareil. If we stick too that one, I agree it should be in the list but I think the number ot items has now grown to about ten.... Then, too, we could add Oysters Bienville--again, this is Firs Rate when done well but there are many crimes committed under its name....

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                IF anyone is interested in more detailed history of many of our favorite dishes, I just bought the book, New Orleans Cuisine, Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories. Edited by Susan Tucker. I love the detailed history of the dishes in the book. There is just so much richness and flavor in New Orleans cuisine, so reading this book was interesting and hunger inducing. I would highly recommend this book to all my fellow NOLA foodies.

                                1. re: ScarlettNola

                                  Diligent thought I am, I've missed this obviosly noteworthy publication..shall make remidial efforts at once.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    It really is fabulous. You will have to let me know what you think! I am in the middle of it now and am truly enjoying.

                              2. re: TomFreeland

                                Sorry, but I eat in the present, not the past. History is fine for studying. I want my food fresh.

                              3. 1. Gumbo
                                2. Shrimp and Mirliton
                                3. Oysters(Fried, Chargrilled, Raw, on a Parkway po boy etc)
                                4. BBQ Shrimp
                                5. Daube Glacee

                                God, I could go on and on.....

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: ScarlettNola

                                  Daube Glace is an excellent suggestion..shoulda thought of that myself. Haven't made it in ages and , come to think of it, nor have seen even the little baby ice-screen scoop things at Langenstein in awhile but I haven't been looking.

                                  Ever try to make it the _real_ way, making your own gelatin? Lots or work, lots of fun.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    I have not, but I am pretty adventurous so it is always worth a try! It is not something I eat a lot of, but is one of my favorite special occasion dishes. I may just attempt it for Sunday dinner tomorrow so if anyone has any great recipes let me know! This is one dish that I do not remember seeing on any restaurant menu, but I could be wrong. Just good old fashioned cooking!

                                    1. re: ScarlettNola

                                      For a quick "cheater" recipe you can use the original River Road--uses Knox gelatin but you can make do OK. THe trickis to get the gelatin "right" and make sure your broth is first rate. It is not The Real Deal, but it is worth trying as a learning tool. I've used it many times with great results (or so I am told...maybe the folks are just being nice.)

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        I will give it a try! I love to cook but have never made this on my own....had it soooo many times from my mother, aunt and grandma, but never attempted it. I think now is the time to try. Thanks so much!

                                  2. re: ScarlettNola

                                    What's Daube Glacee?
                                    Wikipedia needs a page on this, couldn't find it.

                                    1. re: EmyLouie

                                      That is a tough one to explain without a recipe, but I will try-It consists of chopped and sliced meats, cooked with many herbs and spices(fesh garlic, pepper, salt, thyme, cayenne bay leaves and parsley to name a few), and covered with a brown gelatin extracted from bones and knuckles. It is then set in molds and chilled the day before. Possibly to be compared to a beef aspic, or hogshead cheese. I have generally eaten it on special occasions as it is quite time consuming. It is also sometimes served as daube spaghetti. I know that my description is not doing the dish justice in the least but there are so many variations to the dish, that if you enjoy cooking and are open to new tastes it is worth a try. I have never known of any restaurants to serve this dish but I oculd be wrong.

                                      1. re: ScarlettNola

                                        Most of the instances that I have seen, there is much more meat, and the gel is just a binding agent. I'd guess (never made it) that it's about 98% meat and 2% gel.

                                        Each instance has had different spices and I think that beef has always been the meat, but might have just forgotten a pork dish.

                                        The spices and the cuts of the beef have been the big difference as to whether I enjoyed it, or not.

                                        I have seen Daube on a very few menus, but cannot recall the restaurants now. I seem to think that it was a late Fall, early Winter dish.

                                        Sorry that I cannot recall more details. All of my instances have been in homes, and not in restaurants.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          OK Bill, I hate to do this but get out your Kleenex....

                                          It used to be served at (sniff!) Maylie's when Anna Mae felt like making it. A chunck of that and her eggs remoulade....I feel faint.

                                          1. re: hazelhurst

                                            I missed it. Though NOLA was my "City of light," I have to admit that there was much that I did miss. Even my loving, young wife, the NOLA native, admits to having missed much in her youth.

                                            Now, we did sit down with notepads, when we viewed the "Lost Restaurants of New Orleans," and several other similar programs in the WYES series of DVD's. Between the two, we were about 80% on each DVD. Still, we managed to miss some things, some chefs and many dishes.

                                            Now, my wife's godmother/aunt did a nice variation on daube. She was French, Italian, Cajun and Native American. It was good, but I have to admit (as she recently died), that it was not my ultimate dish.

                                            Still, I would imagine that, like gumbo, there are thousands of recipes. What was the line, "there are hundreds of stories in the 'Naked City,' and this is but one... "


                                            PS gotta' check in on the Mendocino thread. We may have a "hound," who just got back, and gifted us a bottle of Navarro Late Harvest Gwertz. They dined well and I hope they have some great tips. Will post, if they do.

                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                              Ah, Maylie's, I think I'll make myself a Roffignac and reminisce.

                                            1. re: mrsfury

                                              Regrettably, Mr Folse shoots from the hip too much but since he is a media creation, no one notices. The original daube is shoulder meat. It used to be larded and braised in fat until it was a rich, dark color. then it is stewed very slowly for hours in a broth/wine combination. Old school would have the bones in this broth as well because they will yield the gelatin. When the daube is tender--very tender--it is allowed to cool. The broth is then strained and reduced..again, with more jelly bones (not marrow bones). This is where art takes over--you need to know how long to let it go to get the right gelatinous consistency. The whole daube..not pieces..goes into the mold and then the stock is added. Old school dictates that the liquid be added in stages and allowed to set. Goodies can be added at each layer..lemon, olives etc...

                                              The reason that the daubes of today are usually composed of shredded meats is that it cuts better. It is very hard to get a perfect vut off a single piece of meat and have it still encased in the jelly. Well, you can do it but the jelly will be like a medicine ball.

                                              I use a decent dry red in the stock but when I reduce the stuff I add something else, usually sherry. A friend uses dry vermouth and hers is damn good.

                                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                                You have given a lot of good tips. It is something I have always eaten, but never quite knew how to make it. I have done it twice as of late, and hopefully by Christmas mine can be perfected in order to replace that of my Grandmothers. It has improved each time I make it, but like gumbo, there are hundreds of variations that are all equally as good.

                                                1. re: ScarlettNola

                                                  Leon Soniat had a classic version in one of his books (it saddens to think of Leon as "the late.") A good freind has her grandmother's recipe in French..we spent a wonderful afternoon...aided by wine and cheese and smoked salmon...translating it..kinda...there were "terms of art" in tha recipe that I still don't know. Boy, was that fun!

                                                  I did a tomato aspic last year that was great--cheated with Knox gelatin of course--but only after I had to re-do it three times. I did not want tennis-ball-aspic so I went light on the gelatin the first two times and it set, but not hard enough. Finally, I got it..and how!

                                                2. re: hazelhurst

                                                  Now, ok, the way you describe that hazelhurst sounds quite edible. Maybe even yummy. Braised in fat until a rich dark color and stewed with wine and broth. I could eat that.. I think.

                                                  1. re: EmyLouie

                                                    I knew he could do it justice much better than I! I was counting on him stepping in here with his elegant depiction. It is a difficult thing to explain. I wonder if it is served in any other part of the country?

                                                  2. re: hazelhurst

                                                    Thank you for the info Hazelhurst, like I said I never made it. I like some of his recipes.

                                                    1. re: mrsfury

                                                      I'm so glad that you like his stuff..he was a very nice man...I did not know him well but I knew many of his contemporaries and they loved him very much. His writing was a bit hokey but he knew what he was talking about. I remember talking to him about buying a skinned rabbit that still had one foot on it so you knew you were not buying a cat.

                                                      His books are a treasure trove and I hope you play with those recipes...it is so much fun.

                                            2. Gumbo
                                              Bananas Foster
                                              BBQ Shrimp
                                              Debris Po Boy

                                              1. Did I read to fast or did no one a Muffuletta???

                                                1. I had the opportunity to go to New Orleans just before Katrina and enjoyed a wonderful bowl of Turtle Soup. It has been a long lasting memory, though I havent had it again. I cant wait to go back for a second bowl. Any places in Tampa to get one?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ChefNathanLippy

                                                    Try NOLA Cafe, 301 Platt Street, Tampa, FL. I have never been there, so I cannot vouch for the taste, only know that they do serve turtle soup. It may be a special so you may want to call first.

                                                    Nola Cafe
                                                    301 W Platt St Ste C, Tampa, FL 33606

                                                  2. Ok, restaraunt dishes do NOT count, such as "Lobster foam and mixed microgreens" - those are NOT "New Orleans" dishes and never will be. I also have to leave off deserts. For you out-of-towners, these are the sort of things we make at home, some pretty infrequently.

                                                    I can't limit myself to five (no way and there's no reason to), but here (not in any particular order)

                                                    Red Beans and Rice
                                                    Stuffed Merlitons
                                                    Shrimp Creole
                                                    Gumbo (all varieties)
                                                    Shrimp Remoulade
                                                    Crabmeat Ravigotte (or Maison as it is known at Galatoire's)
                                                    Softshell Crab / Fish (fried) with Meuniere sauce
                                                    Oysters Rockerfeller
                                                    Oysters Bienville
                                                    Oysters en brochette
                                                    Turtle Soup
                                                    Oyster and Artichoke Soup
                                                    Crawfish Bisque
                                                    Chicken Clemenceau
                                                    Pain Perdu (our take on french toast)
                                                    Eggs Sardou
                                                    Grilliades and Grits
                                                    Pompano en Papilliote (in a state of decadence, needs revival)

                                                    1. joedontexan: These lists are great. But what would be more helpful to an out-of-towner who'll be eating in NOLA soon, like me, is if these classic dishes could be matched with their master producers (i.e. which restaurants offer the best version of these dishes). Everyone knows you can get Buffalo wings everywhere from Syracuse to Rochester, and Buffalo, of course. But the key is: where is the best?

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: ulterior epicure

                                                        Very good point here goes. best poboys right now are at Parkway Bakery and Tavern. The best turtle soup is either Brennans or commanders palace. gumbo my personal favorite is the gumbo yaya at mr. bs. trout amandine is galatoires. char grilled oyster is Dragos at the original location in metairie.

                                                        1. re: joedontexan

                                                          Very helpful, thanks! Parkway's already on my list. Both Commander's P and Galatoire's are also on my list. I'm taking suggestions for the bests at both of those places.

                                                          1. re: ulterior epicure

                                                            Agree with UE that "best of" would be ideally listed with the restaurant that "invented" it, or "perfected" it.

                                                            As I'll be down during Mardi Gras - where is the "best" place to try an authentic King Cake, who makes the best Traditional Bread Pudding, and since Galiatoires is closed - where would be my best bet for the "classic" New Orleans experience?

                                                      2. it looks great but you can't forget crawfish

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: FleurdeLis

                                                          I'd argue that crawfish are not typically New Orleans although we had Crawfish Cardinale in teh old days and the bisque was around...but it is a recent inclusion for the most part and not, I think, typical of the classic New Orleans "dishes" as listed.

                                                        2. Hey guys, please enlighten a complete stranger as to what 'turtle soup' is? I know it is a Southern dish, but didn't realize that it is still currently made. What would I be tasting for in terms of a tutle soup? Thanks!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: MHC

                                                            Turtle soup is more than calories in a bowl, it is sustenance for the soul. It is a concoction whcih, properly fabricated,[quoting from the late, great Noah "Soggy" Sweat referring to something else)"enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness and forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows." Many infamies have been wrough under its name and one must beware lest he be snared into some revolting slop that was whipped up in 45 minutes.

                                                            Before the cavils begin about the innocent little turtles seen on endless National georgraphic shows, while we used to use sea turtle (and it was damn good!) we now use the land critter of which there is no shortage (and if you ever deal with a snapper yourself you will have no remorse dispatching him to a higher purpose). It is a heavy flavor and the soup is highly spiced and is fairly thick..sometimes it is almost a sludge. It has a thick, thick roux, is a dark brown, uses ever seasoning known to your chef, grocer, barber, tarot card reader and local enbalmer. It often has hard cooked egg in it, which replaces the turtle eggs we used to use. Spouses have divorced and siblings have broken off relations over how much tomato to use ("You use tomato??"). In the end, though, there is room for disagreement among the top-tier versions and while you may favr one on Tuesday, another might strike your humor better on Friday. The soup will always be very complex and will have a finish of sherry which most places allow you to do yourself (and this is a key to the sludge variety--getting the consistency "right"). Some are more heavily "clove" flavored, but this seems to be rarer nowadays.

                                                            The other issue is the stock: many stocks today are veal or beef. Some places still use bone-in turtle to make the stock. If you never have had the soup I advise you not to smell the stock first..it stinks to the welkin. That's when the alchemist takes over.

                                                            Turtle soup is a lot of work but it is the Zen-like experience. The wizards who perfect it are worthy of undying tribute. (Hint: add a drop or two of lemon (or more) and see how that wakes it up.)

                                                              1. re: hazelhurst


                                                                The above post is why you are one of my go-to gurus when it comes to online food advice. You write with passion, clearly hold opinions, but still maintain reverence and appreciation for traditional New Orlinean fare.

                                                                Your appreciation of nuance, subtlety, and food chemistry remains second to none.

                                                                Thank you for your insight over the years - it is much appreciated.