The population of New Orleans is as diverse and interesting as its many restaurants, and you can tell a lot about a person by which eatery is their absolute favorite. From Uptown pukes to Bywater vegans and Mid-City lifers, and from molecular gastronomy to neighborhood joints and po-boy shops, cuisine and personality go hand in hand in the Big Easy...
CBD Part of you really hates the decline of “fine-dining” restaurants in New Orleans in favor of “upscale-casual.” The wine list always goes to you for inspection, and you often have questions for the sommelier. You make sure to wear a jacket when you’re going out to dinner (if not a suit), or a cocktail dress if you’re a lady. You adore foie gras, and think ordering a cut of meat anything above medium rare is criminal. You genuinely appreciate and expect good service. You don’t understand what the big deal is with Bywater.
Mid-City You are no older than 20, and likely a student at Delgado. A little shabbiness doesn’t bother you, so long as the price is right. You have dreams about hickory sauce and shredded cheddar cheese.
Bucktown/Metairie You’re definitely a native, likely one who went to a Catholic school like Jesuit or Ursuline, and then college at UNO or LSU (definitely NOT Alabama). When you visit other cities, you don’t know why the pizza places don’t also sell po-boys. You “make groceries at da Rouse,” or at Dorignac’s. You think what they’re charging for rent in Orleans Parish is scandalous, and find no plausible reason why anyone wouldn’t want to live in Metry.
French Quarter There is no way you are under the age of 45. If you’re a woman, you own several large, elaborate hats and at least two strands of pearls. If you’re a man, you still wear your college ring and never wear seersucker or white linen out of season. You adore local history. Your family is probably part of it.
Gert Town You are perpetually hungry. Seriously, why does every other restaurant skimp on the portions? And do you see what these new “fancy” Chinese places are charging for weird interpretations of General Tso’s chicken? It’s a crime! Two more egg rolls, please.
Multiple locations Either you are on a date, buying sweets for your date, or drowning yourself in gelato because you had a really bad date. You wish every course of every meal could be dessert, and that tiramisu was recognized by the USDA as a bona fide food group. You love coffee and red wine.
Uptown You are a restaurant junkie, always looking for the hot new reservation. You read restaurant reviews and websites like you’re looking for clues to the secret of the universe, and you never forget to hashtag #instafood and #nolafood. You know a good thing when you find it, and you totally found it. You know the chef as just “Alon.” You may have written this list.
Lower Garden District You work hard, probably at a job that involves physical labor, but also uses some brainpower as well, like a lighting or sound engineer on a TV/film set. A plate of tacos, some queso and chips, and a couple of cold Tecates are like manna from heaven for you. You have the bartender pour an extra shot of tequila in your frozen margarita, because you earned it. You have cool tattoos.
CBD You are a dude. Possibly a bro. You love craft beer and think salads are for the weak. You keep a running list of the best sandwiches in town, of which Butcher’s Le Pig Mac is way up there, but not quite as good as its muffaletta, which is your favorite. You have two jars of olive salad in your fridge, and enough meat and cheese to choke a buffalo. You’re secretly terrified to see your doctor.
Bywater When it comes to pizza, you have a strong opinion and are quick to share it (at length). You’ve visited or lived in New York City. The words “deep dish” make you want to punch things. You don’t want other people to find out that the pasta dishes at Pizza D are an amazing deal.
Bywater You moved to Bywater six months ago to work in the film industry, before which you lived in Portland, Silver Lake, or Williamsburg. You have a yen for worldly fare, because you backpacked through Europe the year after you graduated college. You know it’s the only place in town you can find Stumptown coffee. You’re always looking at your phone.
Mid-City People think you’re fantastic, and really, you are. You always have a hilarious story to tell (or a great dirty joke), and you keep good company. When you go out for dinner, your table is usually the one howling with laughter. You drink Old Fashioneds and like them sweet. You’re either a NOLA native, or you’ve been here a long time.
French Quarter You are wearing Mardi Gras beads, and it’s September. You just bought a taxidermied alligator head. You can’t tell if you’re hungover or still buzzing. You think if you lived here, the city would probably kill you, and you’d be right.
Mid-City Either you grew up in Cajun country and you’re looking for a taste of home (in the form of boudin balls, cracklins, and dirty rice), or you’re an avowed carnivore with an adventurous appetite. You have eaten almost every part of a cow and/or pig at some point. You’re fond of bourbon.
Lower Garden District You own an immersion circulator, a Cryovac, and a gold Grey Kunz spoon. You worship Ferran Adria. When you cook at someone else’s house, you bring your own knife, which is made of hand-forged Damascus steel. When you cook for people at home, you plate courses with a pair of tweezers. You still can’t believe that WD-50 closed. You definitely work in tech.
Uptown You’re a lawyer, finance person, or doctor, or you’re a retired lawyer, finance person, or doctor. Perhaps you’re a local politician. You call in advance to see if they have the smoked, fried soft-shell crabs, because they’re really that good. You order Jeroboam-sized bottles of wine like it’s nothing. There’s a good chance you know at least half the people in the dining room. You probably grew up Uptown.
CBD You’re generally bored of the wacky “rolls” in local sushi restaurants. You know your otoro from your chutoro, you never put wasabi in your soy sauce, you eat nigiri with your hands, and you would indulge in monkfish liver in a heartbeat. There’s a good chance you’ve actually been to Japan.
Various locations You just vomited a Huge Ass Beer on your shoes, and now you need something to put in your stomach. You actually shout the phrase, “Show me your tits!” You’re in town for a bachelor party. The locals hate you.
Bywater You drink Swiss chard smoothies and spend half your paycheck on things like chia seeds, farro, and textured vegetable protein molded to look like chicken wings. You don’t eat meat, but you adore vodka and smoke like a chimney. You are really sick of people asking how you could be a vegan in New Orleans.
Uptown You think this is the best restaurant in town because there’s always a line out the door, and also because it has tacos and tropical drinks. You love Dave Matthews Band. You never miss a happy hour. You are dating one of the servers.
Garden District You know that there are always going to be tourists there, but that doesn’t matter to you so long as you get your turtle soup and Shrimp Henican. You make sure to end your meal with Cafe Brulot or Cafe Pierre, because you know that coffee is better when filled with booze and set on fire. You miss the Emeril days, but love what Tory is doing with the place. You might not be a native, but you have likely lived in New Orleans for a long time.
“My mama’s house”
Various locations You were born in New Orleans, have lived here your entire life, and when you die here there will be a second line. You can make a dark roux with your eyes closed, and your fingers perpetually smell like garlic. There is a good chance you own a turkey fryer, a smoker, and possibly a Cajun Microwave. You think that people who buy pre-chopped trinity at the grocery store are committing a mortal sin. You “know what it means.”
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