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New Orleans’ jazzy food

- Caroline

My mouth waters every time I think about the southern seafood that was served in New Orleans, Louisiana. From jambalaya to grits I enjoyed the flavors of everything I tried. I was even adventurous enjoy to try alligator (which I ended up loving!) But there were a couple places that failed to live up to the jazzy feelin’ that New Orleans has. Since food is so important to all travelers, you can feel my frustration.

The Jimani, a small bar near Bourbon Street, had a typical “New Orleans menu” featuring fried po-boy sandwiches and other fried goodies.  When we first sat down we were excited to dig in. Then our server approached and it was all downhill from there. We clearly stuck out as “out of towners” and were treated as such. Explaining what particular foods were on the menu was a hassle to our server. We’re all from the north and don’t have things like Gumbo on our menus.  Then it took awhile for our food to arrive, during lunchtime, with no more than five other customers. Though I can’t say the food was bad (but I can’t say that about anywhere in NOLA!) the experience was not worth it. Two thumbs down.

The hype for Chef James caught our attention (and money) the next day for lunch. As we were walking down the street looking for another good place, a man talking up how good this place was because of “Chef James” approached us. Quickly looking over the menu, prices weren’t bad and the Chef James seafood got me curious. The zinger; you could get a FREE souvenir menu signed by the famous Chef James himself! What a deal, or so we thought…

First we mentioned to our server that we wanted the offer of the Chef James signature menu she informed us that he doesn’t arrive until 1pm, it was 11:30am. Our option was to stop by later and pick it up. “Lucky enough” for us the service was so slow that it was a quarter-till one by the time we got our check. We’ll just sit for fifteen minutes to see Chef James. It was also mentioned that he would walk in the front door at 1pm and would stop at our table. Sitting like anxious kids waiting for Santa, we found ourselves disappointed. As 1:10pm approached we thought “he’s Chef James he can be as late as he wants” at 1:20pm we thought, “maybe we missed him?” At 1:30pm our server asked if we got our menus.

“No we did not!” we replied. She went in the back and came out with two carry out paper menus that had a small scribble in the top left corner of each, Chef James Vkelhlk, is what it looks like. We wasted two hours for a paper menu (that is free anyway) and a signature of a mysterious “Chef James”

Though I’m hanging onto my menu to this day still, probably because I’m reliving my travel through my food experience.

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