Laissez les bons temps rouler! It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, and to us that means an excuse to down as many muffulettas, oysters, bowls of etouffee and gumbo, and glasses of brandy milk punch as we can fit in our mouths.
It's also a time for New Orleans' residents (and many fans) to celebrate the resilient spirit of a city that refused to give up, despite a series of tragedies that threatened to destroy their way of life forever.
Fill up a Hurricane glass, grab a beignet and get a taste of life in America's most delicious city.
What NOT to Do During Mardi Gras - Lu Brow advises not to bargain for beads and shares the importance of a Popeye's run with strangers
Five Cocktails I Enjoy Creating and CONSUMING During Mardi Gras - but Lu certainly knows how to cut loose, too
What we ate in New Orleans - and you should, too.
iReport: The best bites in New Orleans - We asked, and you shared your must-try foods all over town.
The food that got them through - New Orleanians love to talk...and argue...and educate...and opine about food. It's who they are, and what has kept them going, even when their very way of life was in danger of being swept away forever.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
If you fall somewhere in the middle - if you want to drink some Hurricanes or Abitas, and wear some beads but keep your shirt on - and can’t make it to New Orleans for the parades, here are a few places around the country that might almost make you feel that you’re there. And hopefully not worry about finding a clean bathroom.
Editor's note: CNN Travel will focus on facets of a different American city each month in their Destination USA series. Next month they're looking at Miami, Florida.
Fat Tuesday is rolling up fast, so we asked for your recommendations for New Orleans' very best dishes.
"Excess is the new moderation," one iReporter proclaimed. Debatable, but not a bad mantra for a trip to diner's paradise. If you're not hungry now, you will be.
Talk about your Fat Tuesday!
We've sunk our teeth pretty deeply into Mardi Gras already today, but New Orleans isn't the only float in the food parade.
Across the UK, royals (and royals-to be, like Kate Middleton, pictured above) and hoi polloi alike flip pancakes in celebration of Shrove Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Dutch fry up fastnachts and folks of Polish descent (and/or, apparently, residents of Michigan) polish off plenty of paczki - a jelly-filled doughnut - with great, greasy abandon.