|Galatoire's Imre Szalai|
Her name was Debi Trichel and she was headed to New Orleans for an annual meeting of friends, but mostly for the illustrious famed cuisine. "Think of the crawfish," she said to calm my pretakeoff jitters.
A few days later, sitting in
Sultry green light, reflecting from the park's Spanish moss, came through the windows as I dug into my Pontchatoula strawberry panna cotta, an Italian custard paired up with Louisiana strawberries and a balsamic reduction. My only regret was not having ordered my dining partner's house-baked creamy cheesecake lollipops -- complete with wooden stems -- as well. There's no room for culinary classicism in a city where food is king. Whether beignets (a French take on doughnuts) and cafe au lait (coffee with chicory) from