Close to the border of Texas resides a Louisiana city that has just as much to boast about: a flavorful culture, unique food, and an array of parties and festivals all year-round. Food writer Pableaux Johnson is no stranger to either state. He formerly resided in Austin, freelancing for Texas Monthly about the thrills of riding rollercoasters and why the Cajun country is not really the South. Johnson has already written a Lonely Planet handbook for food in New Orleans, but now he uses his expertise on the state’s diverse cuisine to write his travel and food guide, Eating New Orleans.
In his book, Johnson starts off with an important element—comparing and contrasting Creole and Cajun cooking. Historical accounts of Louisiana’s food culture accompany charts on seasonal New Orleans cuisine. Johnson also provides insight into the various enclaves that make up the city, as well as explaining dishes and customs that are specific to New Orleans.
More than one hundred restaurant reviews, divided into types of cuisine, allow readers to choose what suits their tastes. Tourist tips line the pages, and helpful maps direct the hungry travelers to their neighborhood of choice, where they can choose to stop off at restaurants like Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA, a part of the Food Network chef’s empire of restaurants, or Dooky Chase, where the chef will personally come by to make lunchtime conversation. You can learn about the origins of Bananas Foster in the Brennan’s restaurants, how the natives prefer their Bloody Marys, and what’s really in jambalaya.
Keeping in mind that New Orleans is home to huge celebrations such as Mardi Gras and JazzFest, Johnson didn’t forget to include a section on the best bars in the area. He also slips in a small section on the eateries in Acadiana, or Cajun Country. This southern region, which includes cities such as Lafayette and Breaux Bridge, is the birthplace of Cajun cooking. With his new book, Johnson entices the reader—wised up by his advice and enthused by his writing—to explore the neighborhoods of New Orleans in search of good food and good fun.