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  On the road again, this time to the Big Easy!  My favorite city, the city that stole my heart all those years ago when first I saw her.  As I obsessed over packing – yes, I fret terribly about what to take on a trip, always worried that the weather will fool me and I’ll be freezing or without boots, which actually happened to me in New Jersey a few weeks ago!  Who ever thought it would snow at the end of March?  And there I was in Fair Haven, NJ, watching the snow come down as I looked at my pretty velvet heels, quickly realizing that those shoes would not see the light of day on that trip.  I simply had to go shopping for boots.  Yes, I know, quite tragic.  But I’m now the proud owner of lovely black suede ankle boots with very cool heels and I must admit I feel no guilt.

But back to the packing, having been fooled by Mother Nature once this year, I wasn’t about to let her hit me again, so I over packed for the NOLA road trip.  My husband, my proud personal valet, (Did I really just write that?) isn’t buying into my logic about carrying every possible variable in clothing.  It’s taken every bit of my endless charm to convince him that I do indeed need all those suitcases and dress bags for this trip.  He’s a good sport, though.  I only had to promise to buy him a fancy sportscar when my book hits the N.Y. Times Best Seller list!

New Orleans undoubtedly has the best food in America and we’ve already accepted that fact that our healthy diets are on holiday while we eat our way through the city.  There are so many new restaurants since we moved away and we simply must try them, starting with Shaya, James Beard Award Winner of Best New Restaurant 2016 and Rising Star Chef of 2017, Zachary Enge, where he serves a fusion of Israeli cuisine with Southern flavors http://www.shayarestaurant.com/.   Then there’s the Carrollton Market opened by Chef Jason Goodenough near the Riverbend, where locals go to have whole roasted branzino and chocolate pots de crème http://carrolltonmarket.com/.  Just drooling thinking about it!

And, of course, there are the million other tried and true food haunts like Clancy’s https://www.clancysneworleans.com/ and Dragos https://www.dragosrestaurant.com/ (Remember the scene in A Little Gumbo in Her Face?  Andy’s favorite place for oysters!) and Peche https://www.pecherestaurant.com/, and Coquette https://www.coquettenola.com/ and Cochon https://cochonrestaurant.com/, and La Petite Grocery http://www.lapetitegrocery.com/, and Brigtsen’s http://www.brigtsens.com/, and  oh I could go on and on.  I can’t there soon enough!

Meanwhile, today we stopped in Charlotte, NC, near University City close to UNC Charlotte, a delightful enclave of shops and restaurants just off Interstate 85.  A lovely place to stop for the night on our road trip.  And speaking of food, when are we not speaking of food when we’re on our way to New Orleans, we found a sweet little place here called Cava, a Mediterranean restaurant set up cafeteria style with fresh, locally sourced ingredients http://cava.com/.  You choose a bowl or a plate, then select greens or grains with a plethora of additives such as organic caramelized onion hummus, lamb meatballs, falafel, oodles of dips and dressings and toppings.  All so delicious!  We were thrilled to find such a treasure across the road from our hotel.  To my delight, I discovered that there’s a Cava in New Orleans!  So maybe our arteries won’t close entirely while we’re in NOLA 😊.

Enough obsessing about food.  I’ll be writing about all the fabulous meals we’ve eaten and you’ll be planning your next vacation in the Big Easy.  Stay tuned for tales of culinary delight and publicity for A Little Gumbo in Her Face.  After all, that is why we’re going there!  Three book signings lined up this week.  What good fortune!