K-Paul's, New Orleans

Last month, I had lunch at K-Paul’s in the Quarter — a blackened fish salad over heirloom tomatoes, then bread pudding for a little treat.  And who should walk in but Paul Prudhomme, not to cook, but to visit.  While the lunch setup was terribly utilitarian: order at the bar, get your own flatware and napkins, the food was excellent.

Kitchen windows across America have flown up in response to attempts to recreate the blackening that he helped make so popular (a technique with roots that don’t run very deep), and his name must bring fear to redfish everywhere, still. It was good to see him.

The NYT ran an article this month about Chinatown in Houston, and one of the restaurants they feature is Crawfish and Noodles (in Saigon Plaza, next to Kim Son): ‘It’s probably one of the area’s best-known restaurants, largely thanks to Houstonians’ insatiable appetite for crawfish. The restaurant also tells a story of cross-cultural history: When Vietnamese immigrants landed in the American South in the 1970s and ’80s, they found common ground with gulf shore residents in Cajun cooking — which shares French influences with their own cuisine — and Viet-Cajun food was born.’

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