New Orleans was abuzz over the weekend with festivities and great food - especially king cakes, the famous symbol of Mardi Gras that are supposed to mean there are good times ahead.
Rocker Bret Michaels of Poison and Grammy-winning singer Cyndi Lauper ushered in Mardi Gras with performances early Tuesday morning as part of the Orpheaus parade, founded by New Orleans actor and singer Harry Connick Jr. Fat Tuesday parades began shortly after day break and the music and parties continue through the night.
So where to eat if you're in New Orleans enjoying the Mardis Gras 2012 and Fat Tuesday celebrations?
New Orleans native Michael Gulotta, Chef de Cuisine at August, John Besh's renowned flagship restaurant in New Orleans, offered genConnect some great recommendations for anyone in and around the French Quarter and beyond this week - and for visitors to this great city in the future.
"If you are looking for traditional New Orleans, then Bon Ton Cafe, if you are in mid-city for Endymion (parade), you have to go to Parkway for a surf & turf po'boy (roast beef with fried shrimp on top). Luke on Saint Charles Avenue has their own bandstands and you'll get the best soft-shell crab po'boy and stuffed shrimp in town."
"If you are looking for something a little more elegant, you can always come see me at Restaurant August and catch the day parades through the massive 18th century windows facing Tchoupitoulas Street."
Gulotta was studying his craft abroad when Hurricane Katrina hit. After that tragedy, he returned home, running food to St. Bernard in the mornings and working at Restaurant August at night. In 2007, he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine where he remains today.
"There was definitely a boom in restaurants in the city following the storm and there is even more variety than ever before, especially when it comes to the influences from other cultures that have been integrated into the food here," Gulotta says. "But I still want a po'boy and some grillades and grits."
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About the Author:
Born and raised in New Orleans, Michael Gulotta began cooking in local restaurants at age 17. Michael graduated from Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA.