New Orleans is well known for food. As a matter of fact, when I posed the question on social media about what I should do while on vacation there, there were a few “take a haunted cemetery or swamp tour, but most of the answers were centered around what I should eat.

My first night I arrived late, but I met my son there and he ordered a bunch of fried things through Uber Eats. Shrimp Po Boys, some kind of crawfish gravy over fries, and alligator nuggets. Even though I don’t eat meat, I tried a bite. Tastes like Chicken! Seriously.

It was all good, but I wasn’t wowed.

I tried a beignet for the first time. It’s basically a donut with powdered sugar, lots of powdered sugar. But it has a different texture than a regular donut. Beignets are made with more yeast and fewer eggs than a typical donut recipe, and tend to be a little more puffy with a soft middle. They’re best warm because once they cool off they’re a little tougher to chew (not that it stopped me!).

We walked several miles before lunch and weren’t on the side of the city where all the restaurants are but we found a small place called the French Market that had a small selection of to-go food. We were reluctant, but tried pimento cheese sandwiches and they were outstanding!

Later that night we went to a super delicious Cajun/Pacific Islander fusion small plate restaurant called Mister Mao and shared six plates between three of us. Oysters, Gulf Shrimp, and something called Panipuri, which is hard to describe, but it’s crisp potato shells filled with chutney, strawberries and fiery mint water. Very different than I’ve ever had but I could eat it every day!

The next night we ate at the Original French Market, and it was all about seafood. A huge plate of crawfish, crawfish bisque, crab cakes, etc.

Even though I was just kind of “meh” about the first night of fried food, New Orleans was a huge hit when it comes it’s plethora of seafood and fried food.   Like a super fattening buffet, I would go back again and again.

From New Orleans I moved on to Arkansas and was pleasantly surprised about delicious meals I had there!  Let me say this, I had no idea what to expect but Hot Springs Arkansas is an amazing city, and so worth visiting. Like Mt Tabor here, the park is in the city, and like it’s name it has hot springs in it. The city is historic, and beautiful and gets lots of tourists so the restaurants are great! I had an Ecuadorian meal at Rolando’s Speakeasy. Speakeasies are a thing there because mobsters used the city as a hideout, and it was also a big spring training town for baseball back in the day. (Babe Ruth hit his longest home-run there).

My favorite thing though was fried okra that I had a tiny cafe in Jessieville. I went there specifically because that’s where my dad was born.

Moving on to Texas, The Highlander Public House in Wichita Falls served HUGE meals! By then I had way too much fried, so I had a seared tuna salad, but everyone else ordered fish and chips, chicken fried steak-which btw, was the biggest serving of that I’ve ever ever seen. Everything looked amazing.

All in all, it was a fun food vacation but I miss the fruits and veggies you get here on the West Coast. I joked I was going to get scurvy there. If you like southern food, New Orleans, Hot Springs AR, and Wichita Falls will not disappoint! But keep in mind, those states are towards the top of the list for most obese states, so one week is probably more than enough!

Written by Veronica Carter

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