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May 25, 2005



Eat well and be well! Yes, indeedy, Cynthia. For those of us fortunate enough to live where food is bountiful, the world is our oyster.........that roasted garlic soup menu item has me going.


Crustaceans. Yum. I have many fond memories of crustaceans from childhood upward: my dad returning from business trips with Dungeness crabs; the all-you-could-eat lobster place we went to when visiting dad's relatives in Florida (that was a long time ago, before lobster was considered as much of a delicacy as it is today); my first visit to Joe's Stone Crab in Miami on a business trip 25 years ago; fresh-caught lobster in Cornwall and fresh-caught crabs in Maryland; crab-filled "spider rolls" at several places here in Chicago (and, I imagine, elsewhere); and most recent favorite crustacean experience was a whole, fried soft-shell crab that garnished a bowl of roasted garlic soup at Avenues in the Chicago Peninsula hotel.

All I can say is that I'm amazed at the restraint of the folks who came up with a list of 50 top things to do. How do you choose? I think that, if I had to have a rule about what foodies should eat, it would simply be, "Go everywhere. Eat everything."


Eons ago we had 10 cent oysters and pitchers of beer in Nawlins somewhere. Heavenly.

Oh crab! "with lots of cayenne pepper and more..." YES.

But my current favorite crab thang is the soft shell crab sushi served at the tiny joint called Noda's, amazingly enough established and thriving in Rio Rancho, NM, in a non-descript strip mall. Superb Japanese food served by Noda-San and family.


I've been pining for a real muffaletta -- only from Central Grocery -- as long as I've been pining for Cafe du Monde. Kind of ironic that they're now staffed by Vietnamese immigrants. There's a certain beauty in that.

The first time I visited NOLA was in 1975 when Cafe du Monde and the riverside there was still very funky, before the effects of bicentennial bucks started to "clean up" the area.

We took the Greyhound from Chicago along with all those people carrying homemade fried chicken in brown paper bags. And they shared! We stayed at what was primarily a men's long-term stay hotel. Very cheap and clean. Right in the Quarter. You could still get a whopping plate of red beans and rice for a qwawtah. We caught crab by hanging chicken necks (sorry) off a pier somewhere and then cooking them up with lots of cayenne pepper and more.

I shared the trip with someone who had lived down there for 5 years bartending and needless to say we hit all the places tourists will never find. My best trip of many to the Crescent City. Yum.


Mmmm. Yes. Cafe du Monde is a good addition to the list -- but so is almost everything else in New Orleans. At least let's include the muffaletta sandwich at the Central Grocery.


We were at Cafe Du Monde in November-- the beignets and the coffee are still a pleasure. We had not been there in over 20 years and were interested to note that the majority of wait staff and beignet makers were Vietnamese immigrants.


With Eric on that one! I haven't had a beignet in way too long. As for the lobstah fest, perhaps when we get back from Austin for DemocracyFest later in June? Maybe we'll be able to find our dining room table by then, if we start on the papers, books, flyers, junk mail and dust right now...

Eric Mohn

What no beignets and Cafe au Lait at Cafe Du Monde in new orleans


What a hoot! Thanks, Barb. Love it.

Hey when's the lobster fest chez vous?? ( Yes, I'm pushy.)


Yeah but have you seen Store Wars, starring organic veggies and more?



We used to love Rules! They had the best sauteed onions, just lightly floured, ever.


I think it's great that you're pushing your book. If my own work gets published, I can assure you everyone will hear from me, too. (And I can't wait to see your book. It sounds perfect.) I want to visit the escargot farm!

I'd add to the list of things to do to have hot chocolate at Demel in Vienna. The best hot chocolate I can remember having had anywhere. Mighty expensive, but it's not like you're going daily. (And to be perfectly honest, the most famous Viennese choloate cake, Sacher torte,is kind of a let down if you've been in Vienna and Budapest for a couple of weeks eating unbelievable pastry, and then you go to the Hotel Sacher, and think, "what's all the fuss about -- it's okay, but it's no better than the other hundred pastries I've tried." I know that's a heretical statement, but it just didn't seem all that amazing -- especially after having Dosh Torte at Gerbaud in Budapest.)

To be perfectly honest, the stilton and watercress soup at Rules in London is also high on my list of things everyone should have before they die. And Peking duck in Peking. And the 7 moles of Oaxaca.

Boy -- is this a great planet or what? So many great food options.

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