Friday, February 27, 2009

This Is My Quest . . .

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm always on the lookout for tasty food. We tend to travel around a bit, and this provides ample opportunity to sample varying cuisine. This also means that periodically I end up with something rather interesting for my taste buds to experience. Like the time my husband and I were in New Orleans and I decided to order the blue crab special with a side of sweet potato fries.

Now usually, and my husband can attest to this, I end up with something savory that he wishes he had ordered too. The one time I missed the boat immensely was the afternoon I ordered the blue crab special with the side of sweet potato fries. I guess I was feeling adventurous; after all, we had just survived wrestling alligators on a bayou tour.

Actually it was our tour guide who wrestled the alligator. We mostly stayed inside the tour boat and observed, although my husband did coddle a baby alligator at one point during this adventure.

After we survived the bayou episode, we journeyed to a nearby seafood establishment located on the west side of Lake Pontchartrain. The special that day, as I already mentioned, was the ever-popular blue crab delight with a side of sweet potato fries. And I ordered it. This was bad. In my defense, I tend to sample new and interesting types of food. I love seafood, and I've always liked crab. When I picture crab, I envision tender white meat that you pry from a red-colored leg segment with an interesting metal utensil that tends to flip the meat across the room. (A story for another day.) This kind of crab is very succulent. Let's just say that the blue crab special wasn't my idea of a fun time.

I was slightly goaded into trying it by my husband's co-worker we'll call Gary. Gary had come to New Orleans like my husband, to help with a special project at the Monsanto Plant in nearby Luling, Louisiana. Gary had also experienced the alligator bayou tour with Kennon and me, and he was now having lunch with us. When we learned what the special was, Gary leaned over and said something like:

"Cheri, you've got to try the blue crab. It's part of the New Orleans experience."

Gary was not my friend that day. I followed his advice and when my plate of food arrived, I know my face turned an interesting shade of whiteish\green. Instead of delicious blue colored leg segments filled with tasty white meat, I was handed a plate that looked like a giant spider was sitting on top of it. Spiders are my least favorite creatures on the planet, so maybe you can understand my dismay.

The crab was deep-fried, but to my way of thinking, this just made it look like a big spider that had been breaded and deep-fried. Not a cool image when one is hungry. So I sampled the sweet potato fries first. One word sums up that experience for me: "BLEAH!" I should have known better. I've never been a yam\sweet potato fan. I love potatoes, but not the sweet variety. Maybe it's the diabetes thing I endure, but they taste too sweet to me. I always avoid dishes that contain them for that reason. (Nothing personal, Mom. I know you love sweet potatoes covered in a brown sugar glaze and decorated with tiny white marshmallows. Just not my thing.)

What a lovely combination I had ordered for lunch that day. All of my favorites sitting on one plate together. Deep-fried spider and sweet potato fries. (My stomach just knotted up at the thought of it.) The downside was I had already punched in a bit of insulin (via my insulin pump) to cover this meal. This meant I had to consume carbs or suffer an insulin reaction. And since I had ordered a diet drink that day, the carbs had to come from the food I had ordered.

I suffered through a goodly portion of the sweet potato fries, then kind of poked at the deep-fried spider looking thing with my fork.

"You need to eat that before it gets cold," my not-so-good friend Gary advised.

I shot him a withering look and then bravely attempted one of the legs. Blue crabs are smaller than normal crabs, and you're supposed to eat the entire thing. Yum. The legs weren't too bad. I tried to convince myself that I was eating a crunchy type of french fry. It was the rest of the crab I had a difficult time enjoying.

Gary and my husband each volunteered to help. I think by then my retching had indicated I wasn't enjoying my food that day. ;) I did courageously sample a tiny portion of the crab body, and I was relieved when it disappeared from my plate compliments of Kennon and Gary. Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief that this traumatic event was over, here came our waitress with another plate complete with a deep-fried blue crab.

"I didn't care for that crab the cook sent y'all earlier," the waitress drawled with a bright smile. "It just didn't look right. {This brought me great comfort. It also made me wonder what was wrong with the first crab.} So I'm bringing y'all another one . . . on the house. Enjoy!" And with that she deposited the deep-fried spider-looking thing in front of me. Rapture filled my bosom. NOT!!!

Once again, I bravely tried the legs, and Gary and Kennon took care of the rest. [I had pointed out that "y'all," was plural and meant them too.] When it was mostly gone, I beat them both to the cash register, intent on leaving before I was blessed with yet another crab. ;)

That was the only less-than-tasty meal I consumed during the entire trip. Everything else was heavenly and divine, from the char-grilled oysters at the famed Drago's, to the muffaletta sandwich we sampled near the French Market in the French Quarter, to the spicy Cajun shrimp kabobs I devoured at this fun establishment one night:

I love food. I love sampling different kinds of food, and although I'll never order the blue crab special with the side of sweet potato fries ever again, I can actually look back on that experience and not endure a session of dry heaves. ;) It's all part of the life experience to my way of thinking. It's good to step outside of our comfort zone and try different things. Just avoid deep-fried spiders and you'll be fine. =D

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Cindy Beck said...

I'd have passed on the crab, too ... but I love sweet 'tater fries, so you could have given them to me! :)

Thanks for a fun post.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on Please Press One. Don't we all dislike the artifical woman? :)

Cheri J. Crane said...

I'll remember that, Cindy. =) I will save all future sweet potato fries for you. =D And you're welcome . . . in advance. ;)