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.
We spend all our days just dreaming of fresh, hot beignets. Well, those and muffulettas, brandy milk punch, fried oyster po' boys, butter-drenched shrimp etouffee, glorious gumbo, Gulf oysters and the sort of red beans and rice that could turn a bunch of strangers into life-long friends.
It's been two weeks since Eatocracy left New Orleans. We came to throw a Secret Supper, and it seems we left a big chunk of our soul there. Watch after it 'til we get back there, okay?
In the meantime, take a stroll through the fare we shared in the gallery above (yup - we ate all of that) and our features below - and please catch us a throw if some pretty beads float by. We promise we'll return the favor.
Talking with our mouths full
Mardi Gras: Milk that packs a brandy punch - a recipe from New Orleans bar chef Lu Brow
Beyond Bourbon Street - the real fun is on Frenchman St.
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