Home / Travel Guides - New Orleans / Dining In The Big Easy

flickr/Gunnar Grimnes

Dining in the Big EasyThe recipes for many local dishes include the instruction to “throw everything into the pot and simmer,” and that's an apt description for Louisiana culture. Though the Creoles and Cajuns started out with different backgrounds and customs, they shared in creating a unique cuisine. “Cajun” generally refers to the swamplander dishes of early French-Acadian farmers. “Creole” has come to mean a style of cooking influenced by French, Spanish, African, Caribbean and Cajun settlers. Don't spend too much time worrying about the definitions—just eat.

Alligator Pear—avocado.

Andouille (ahn-DOO-ee)—spicy country sausage used in gumbo and other Cajun dishes.

Bananas Foster—traditionally prepared tableside, a dessert of bananas sautéed in butter and brown sugar, flambéed with banana liqueur and rum, served over vanilla ice cream.

Beignets (ben-YAYS)—square, fluffy pastries, deep-fried and covered with powdered sugar. Locals refer to them as doughnuts; they're de rigueur with café au lait.

Café au lait—coffee blended with chicory and hot milk.

Étouffée (eh-too-FAY)—a seafood sauce made with crawfish or shrimp and served over rice (it literally means “smothered”).

Gumbo—soup traditionally made with chicken or seafood, seasoned with spicy sausage and thickened with okra or roux.

The Holy Trinity—Bell peppers, onions and celery, the trio of diced vegetables forming the basis of Cajun and Creole cooking.

Jambalaya (jahm-bal-EYE-ah)—a one-pot stew of chicken, seafood and/or sausage, sautéed with diced vegetables and simmered with rice.

Muffuletta (moo-fah-LET-ta)—a hearty Italian sandwich on round bread with ham, salami, bologna and mozzarella cheese, topped with a relish of olives, garlic and marinated vegetables.

Po'boy—French bread stuffed with roast beef, fried shrimp or oysters, smoked sausage—or whatever the chef has on hand. Ask for a “dressed” po'boy if you want lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

Pralines (PRAW-leens)—Creole candy made with brown sugar, cream, butter and pecans.

Red Beans & Rice—A long-simmered pot of beans, ham and sausage, traditionally served on Monday—washing day—when women were busy with other chores.

Roux (roo)—A thick, browned mixture of flour and butter, the base for gumbo, jambalaya and other sauces.

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New Orleans, LA

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Travel Information

City Population

343,829

Elevation

11 ft.

Sales Tax

Louisiana's statewide sales tax is 5 percent; an additional 5 percent is levied in the New Orleans metro area, and Orleans Parish has a .5 percent tax on food and beverages. The city has a 14 percent lodging tax, plus an occupancy tax of $1-$3 per night. The state's car rental tax is 3 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(504) 821-2222

Fire (non-emergency)

(504) 658-4700

Time and Temperature

(318) 324-8808

Hospitals

Ochsner Medical Center, (504) 842-3000; Touro Infirmary, (504) 897-7011; Tulane Medical Center, (504) 988-5263; University Medical Center New Orleans, (504) 702-3000.

Visitor Information

1221 Elmwood Park Blvd. Suite 411 New Orleans, LA 70123. Phone:(504)731-7083 or (877)572-7474

Air Travel

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is about 21 miles west of downtown New Orleans in Kenner and is served by nearly all major domestic and foreign carriers.

Rental Cars

New Orleans is served by several major car rental agencies. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip. Your local AAA club can provide this service or additional information. Hertz, (504) 568-1645 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Amtrak uses the Union Passenger Terminal at 1001 Loyola Ave. Daily service is offered. Phone (800) 872-7245 for further information.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 1001 Loyola Ave.; phone (504) 525-6075 or (800) 231-2222 for schedule and fares.

Taxis

Cabs are plentiful in the main business and tourist areas. Average fare is $3.50 initially and $2.40 for each additional mile and $1 for each additional person. The largest companies are Carriage/Yellow/Checker, (504) 207-7777; Metry, (504) 835-4242; and United, (504) 522-9771. Information about taxi service also can be obtained from the Taxicab & For Hire Bureau at (504) 658-7176.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, streetcar and ferry is available in New Orleans.

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