I've been to New Orleans twice in my life, and hope to go again before I'm 40. So much of what I love is there: jazz, the Mississippi, mausoleums. The first time I went, I was 18, and my college jazz band took a bus trip to the Big Easy. I was lucky enough to have 3 fantastic roomates, none of whom I knew before the trip, and with none of whom I've maintained contact. Anyway, we decided that aside from the Bourbon Street debauchery we were enjoying, we wanted to also experience a little authentic New Orlean's cuisine. Mostly, we ate from the walk-up window at the Chinese grocery down the street, but one afternoon, between concerts, Aimee and Stacy and I went to a bona-fide sit down fancy open air restaurant and ordered oysters on the half shell and a half dozen shrimp.
The waiter sweetly told us how to eat the oysters, and how to first look for pearls (we had one, the size of a grain of sand). Luckily, I'd practiced sword swallowing already, so they were no big thing. The shrimp were served on a bed of ice, and Aimee and I were into our third shrimp apiece before I noticed they still had legs.
"Uh, ladies? I think...I think these shrimp are not what we are accustomed to," I told my comrades. The tiny fork that came with our plate made sense, now, as did the immensely unpleasant crunchiness of these lovely shrimp. We discreetly spit out the bites in our mouths and commenced shelling our very fresh, very crispy shrimp, but not before we noticed our sweet waiter on the other side of the restaurant, pointing us out to the chef as, I can only assume, those hot, mildly stupid Minnesota girls.
The oysters, though, were delicious.