Slip Sliding Away from Vegetarianism

A steak at Les Halles in New York City. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

There is a misconception among some that a single night at Les Halles in New York led to my demise as a 20-year vegetarian/vegan.

It was a remarkable night. I tasted the steak frites. I tried the coq au vin. My mind was blown – but not by the sorry quiche I ordered.

However, my commitment to vegetarianism was most acutely tested and defeated years prior to the Les Halles gorgefest.

It happened in New Orleans, Louisiana. We were celebrating Backpack Mister’s birthday with a trip over New Year’s Eve, or as they call it in The Big Easy, Little Mardi Gras.

After a night of Abita and absinthe drips in the French Quarter, the experience culminated in a music hall, the name of which I’ve long forgotten. The doors were wide open to the crowds on the street and the thick night air. A zydeco group shook the walls, compelling everyone within hearing distance to move, move, move. Minutes later, Backpack Mister was on stage with the band, a washboard strapped to his chest, playing it with spoons.

Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the sweaty room, or the intoxicating vibe of New Orleans. But as I watched the Mister – who rarely dances and eschews the spotlight – I found myself breaking character too, munching deep-fried, breaded crawdads. They were little pillows of wonder: lightly crispy on the outside, toothsome on the inside, salty and addictive. Dipped in remoulade. Fingers shiny with grease, I went back for more and more. By the time the Mister returned, bemused, most of the basket of crawdads was gone.

I haven’t had crawdads, or been back to New Orleans, since. And while these days I’m mainly vegan, a night of Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez, and its deliciously addictive dance, would surely cause anyone to lose their inhibitions and dig in.

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Destination Celebrations: Take a Trip with Your Guests

Charish Badzinski is an explorer, foodie and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations.

Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb

Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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