We ate a lot of great things in New Orleans, but by far the best meal we had – and probably the best time, too – was at Coop’s on Decatur. They do a rabbit jambalaya, shrimp etouffée, fried oyster po’ boys… it was very hard to pick something. In the end, I went with the Shrimp Creole and was not disappointed, although Niles’s seafood pasta with a cajun spiced alfredo sauce really won the night, I think. We sat at the bar and our saucy bartendress was funny and talkative, and gave us a little history of the place. It’s been around for almost thirty years, but it’s only recently been discovered by the tourists, so at least the place still has plenty of pull with the locals. And we were there early enough in the afternoon to be able to have a quiet meal before the crowds started pouring in.

Coop’s smokes their own tasso – tasso is a spicy and garlicky smoked pork, made from fattier cuts than normal ham. It was amazing enough that I asked if they sold any of their tasso to go. Of course they don’t, but it was worth a shot.