Dear New Orleans,
From the moment I met you - I knew you were unlike any other city, with your unique swagger, style and old soul. I arrived here in 1997 from Miami after accepting a new job in my field as a TV News Anchor and Reporter.
Looking back now it wasn't that different to my birth place on a hot Caribbean island that also boasts great food and music. So, in a way, for me, it was almost like returning to something that I was familiar with in my early childhood; before my family moved away to a colder climate.
Fast forward to my new life in New Orleans and I knew this was going to be an adventure. I instantly knew you would forever have a place in my heart after I first tasted your rich southern flavored foods from your great chefs and from the kitchens of friends’ homes, let’s just say it was love at first bite.
Not to play down the city's historic architecture, music and art, but for me it was all about your food, let’s face it, I'm a girl that loves tasty dishes and this city never fails to impress anyone's taste buds. I also loved the way locals live to eat, every conversation seems to revolve around food, what you just ate, what you're going to eat, what you're going to cook and which restaurant you must check-out.
While there is no shortage of historic sites to take in around the city, for me I prefer the educational journey on the city through your culinary creations. Just about every New Orleans food has its roots in the rich history of the different cultures that settled here.
For me it’s always a gastronomic pleasure when dining in the city on favorites such as, gumbo, shrimp and grits, BBQ shrimp, soft shell crabs, red fish with lump crab meat, chargrilled oysters, crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, muffulettas, beignets, pralines bananas foster, bread pudding and carnival king cakes.
Also, let’s not forget your company, you are a city of characters. Dining is always a delight as they all have such great stories, that even Hollywood couldn't write. They always leave me saying ...only in New Orleans. Your southern hospitality exemplified in locals is also so welcoming, where else are you greeted so often with, hey dahling or how you doin baby?
I also want to say as we get ready to celebrate the city’s Tricentennial, thank you for showing me what strength looks like. It was during those dark chapters of my journey in this city, such as Katrina and the aftermath, that I learned about love for a city, determination to rebuild and such resiliency in the face of so many adversities.
300 years later, you've come a long way. While no city is perfect, much more work still needs to be done. But don't ever lose what makes you stand-out, your character, strength, music and art, but most importantly, don't ever lose what makes you special to me, your delicious dishes and foods that can only best be described as heavenly.
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