I have mixed feelings about the South. It's as insular as everyone says. Most of it is not as cerebral as I would like. But I've also lived there, and grudgingly discovered it can be quite charming, even extraordinary. At its best, it's the closest America gets to Magical Realism. If you're lucky enough to find the locals who aren't insular and ridiculous, they're really, really nice. And, odds are, they can smoke a mean brisket.
Living in the South, especially as a non-native, carves out a special little fuzzy spot in your heart for New Orleans. No, I'd never want to live there. But it really is the most amazing city in the US. I can't believe I just said that, but it's true. If, like me, you look for novelty and uniqueness in a city, your city is NoLa.
Which explains my over-the-top glee at finding delicious Cajun food at Bayou Bakery.
Andouille sausage with spicy mustard, and a legitimately kick-ass sweet potato and peanut soup. Also, Zappo's chips. And Abita on tap. No wonder I was gleeful.
Oh, and cafe au lait.
I'll definitely be going back. But mostly, I'll be checking plane tickets to New Orleans. I need a muffaletta and some oysters, too.