Ode to NOLA

I remembered an article that once said, “Food defines New Orleans like nothing else.” So naturally, when the opportunity arose, I jumped ship finals week of my senior year, hopped in my fatigued Jeep and trekked the 18-hour drive with friends. Despite the stress that soon followed my potentially future damaging escapade, it is still the best worst decision I ever made.

New Orleans is a city for foodies like myself who are on an exploration for a kick-in-the head flavor that leaves your taste buds strung out on a Cajun and Creole combo of Y-U-M, yum.

The Big Easy’s food scene feels unlimited. Taking a bite right out of history with dishes like a traditional muffuletta sandwich, Coop’s Place Jambalaya Supreme, Mother’s Crawfish Étouffée, Gumbo, Acme Oyster House’s fried fish Po-boy and my favorite doughnut in the universe—Café Du Monde’s beignets.

Feeling nostalgic and undeterred by my often displeasure with chain establishments, (Yes, I’m aware of my snobbery). I ate at a Kansas City favorite, Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen on a recent Friday night. Lacking seriously good Cajun in this area, I applaud their longstanding effort to approximate New Orleans to Kansas City. You simply can’t beat the live music. The menu is quite overwhelming but in the best way possible. After committing to the Tilapia with Devil’s Krab Stuffing, I was gratified with the delicious rendition of the unapologetic heat found in Cajun cooking.

For some reason, I feel as though hush puppies are the forgotten seafood side, despite their savory fried satisfaction, but Jazz’s hush puppies are insanely superb.

Jazz provides an authentically charming, rowdy, and inviting environment to all who are willing to endure the typically long wait. Yet in true NOLA sentiment, I ‘let the good times roll’ and enjoyed good food, good music, and good company.

Stefanie Penn

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