5 to Try: Mardi Gras
In the boxing arena of regional foods, New Orleans fare comes at you with a spicy left jab out of nowhere, surprising you with its creative proteins and knocking you off your feet with its thick accent and pungent spicery. We can think of no better time to celebrate this blend of ancient ritual and modern cookery than Mardi Gras, a semi-religious holiday marked by excessive alcohol-in, alcohol-out rituals. Don't worry whether it's Cajun or Creole; it's all good, cher'.
- ELLEN MARGULIES