#ESSENCEEats Just Might Put Your Mother's Cooking to Shame!

People are eating really good at the 2014 ESSENCE Festival. Take a look at some of these mouth-watering dishes being served up in the Big Easy!

ESSENCE.COM Jul, 08, 2014

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New Orleans is all about a good food fusion. Instead of just a regular chicken taco, how about a jerk chicken taco? Is your mouth watering yet? Because it should be.

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Essence magazine Senior Editor Sharon Boone knows how to have a good time. Just take a look at that amazing, delectable, scrumptious Krispy Kreme bread pudding. 

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For this meal, forgo your diet you were on in exchange for a mouthwatering combination of macaroni and cheese with fried catfish. C'mon, you're in New Orleans, live a little! 

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You may have had oysters before, but New Orleans-style BBQ oysters are completley different, or as Essence.com's relationship editor Charli Penn puts it, they're "life changing."

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Whoever first thought to put shrimp and grits together is a genius! New Orleans Atchafalaya resturant serves up some of the best shrimp and grits you've ever had. They combine head-on gulf shrimp, andouille, smoked tomatoes and cream cheese grits.

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Deviled eggs is classic finger food. Now, just imagine adding some spice and bacon to all that awesomeness and what do you get? You get a small slice of heaven.

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With menu items like homemade rum rasin ice cream and pigealli "loaded" grits, Stanley's restaurant in the French Quarter would be anyone's first choice.  

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Deputy Managing Editor Dawnie Walton took breakfast to a whole new level when she indulged at Surrey's and had their bananas foster French toast.

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Dee's Coffee Nola has the perfect drink to keep you cool in New Orleans' heat. Try their frozen blueberry lemonade. 

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You like crab? You like BBQ? Well then you'll love BBQ crab claws. Hey, it's July 4th weekend, just try it. Besides how many people do you know can say they've had BBQ crab claws? Exactly!

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This is a simple dish, but with that New Orleans flavor, it'll will surely leave you satisfied.

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If you're not that adventerous and aren't interested in trying usual New Orleans fare like liver or alligator, these loaded French fries are right up your alley.

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ESSENCE Magazine Relationship Editor Charreah Jackson enjoyed New Orleans style liver and gator. Hey, don't knock it until you try it.

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The seafood in New Orleans is nothing short of amazing. Everything is well seasoned and fresh, and these chargrilled oysters are no exception. 

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This is the definition of good eating. Oysters. Lobster tail. Shrimp scampi. Your mouth just waters just looking at the food.

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For more than 75 years, Mother's Restaurant has been serving up home cooked meals. With dishes like seafood gumbo, shrimp Creole and crawfish etouffee, Mother's Restaurant just might be a one-stop.

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You need something to wash down all this good food you're eating, right? Why not a hurricane?

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Why just have one bowl of shrimp and grits when you can have 12? The more the merrier.

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Presentation is everything and Chef John Besh's restaurant Borgne has that down to a science. Can you imagine how tasty the food must be? Ugh! Who's hungry?

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Not only does the food look good, but from the of this red fish from New Orleans restaurant Eat, it looks like it smells so good too! Hmm

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You can't be in New Orleans and not try authentic beignets. The deep-fried pastry is a staple of the city. With the soft flaky center and the sugar on top, this dessert will make you kiss your diet goodbye. Don't you just want to licke the screen just looking at them?

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New Orleans cuisine isn't traditional. Combining items that don't normally go together is what New Orleans is all about. Take for instance this crawfish, eggs and grits. I wouldn't have thought of it, but I'm glad they did because this looks scrumptious!

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You can swear by your granmother's bread pudding all you want to, but this picture looks like this bread pudding could give granny's a run for her money!

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Not everyone is into seafood. For those of you who like to keep it simple, good 'ole fashioned red beans and rice with fried chicken wings will always do the trick!

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Because you can never have too much of this amazing, flaky, sugary, pastry.

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Foodies unite! This meal from John Besh Luke's restaurant combines everything you want in a dining experience. You get to have the wonderful blue crab and shrimp etouffee and then top it off with some chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

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Not in the mood for traditional gumbo? Why not try blue crab gumbo. With succulent pieces of crab swimming in a sea of seasoned gravy, this bowl of goodness would be in my stomach moments after the waiter brought it to the table.

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We would've demolished this plate of chicken and waffless too! Who can resist?

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Between all the amazing performances happening this year, you may not have time to sit down and eat at a restaurant. That doesn't mean you can't have a delicious Po boy on the go.

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This catfish looks like it was cooked to perfection. What could it be stuffed with? Who knows! But I'll tell you one thing, I'm sure it tastes like pure heaven on earth, that's for sure.

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Shrimp and grits is a common southern dish, but fried grits and shrimp is just taking good cookin' to a whole new level!

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If you want the works, or if you're trying to go out like a champ, than go on ahead and dig in.

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"I don't really like peach cobbler."--no one ever

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Not everyone likes seafood, but the way these oysters are set up...

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Look at all the savory juices that are practically spilling outside of the cup of gumbo. Don't you just want someone to pass you a biscuit so you can sop it all up?

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When in doubt, keep it simple. French fries and fried shrimp will always be a good food choice.

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This plate is the epitome of Southern cooking. Fried chicken, Jambalaya, macaroni and cheese with okra. After eating this you would have no complaints in the world.

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If you're in the Big Easy you don't have time for a traditional bacon and waffles breakfast. But what you do have time for is a crabmeat with crawfish omelette with a side order of grits and fruit. When in Rome...

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The sprinkle of chili powder on top of this fresh seabass is a foodie's dream come true.

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Nom! Nom! Nom!

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Some enjoy shrimp gumbo, others enjoy crab gumbo, if you like to go for the gusto than you'd enjoy seafood gumbo.

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But of course...