As word got around last year that a new restaurant called Redemption would open at the Mid-City address that had for so long been Christian's, it naturally kindled expectations, and even specific food cravings. Christian's was one of the few major restaurants that didn't return after Hurricane Katrina, and its setting, inside a century-old church, gave it an ambiance like nowhere else in town.
If you couldn't find someplace new and different to eat around New Orleans in 2011 it's probably your own fault. Certainly, our chefs and restaurateurs did their part this year to bring new options, new flavors and whole new concepts to the scene, and if you had a highly-specific craving in mind when setting out to sample them that was all the better.
If some people out there still don't yet appreciate the heritage of our cuisine and the natural abundance that fuels it, I really wish they would get with the program already. After all, I don't think our region can stand another brutal lesson in just how much it all means.
The holiday season is my favorite time to be in the French Quarter. The Old World architecture and the narrow streets seem especially evocative. Strings of lights curl around wrought iron balconies like ivy, carriageways are framed in green flocking and some gas lanterns even wear red Christmas bows as their orange flames flicker away against brick and reflect on flagstone paving.