Foodies Kitchen
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ew Orleans has always been famous for its cuisine and with restaurants such as Brennans, Commander's Palace, and Emeril's one can understand the fascination with food. However, more and more New Orleanians are demanding the convenience of restaurant-quality food without the restaurant wait. One of New Orleans' number one food families, the Brennans, heard this wish and is attempting to satisfy our hunger with the introduction of Foodies Kitchen.

For those of you who are not familiar with Foodies Kitchen it is a self-proclaimed "meals market" that provides gourmet, restaurant-quality meals for people on the go. Opened in 1999, the $3.7 million business provides what they refer to as home-replacement meals. Foodies Kitchen basically offers a variety of food from a sandwich station to a salad station, pastry and breads station, a coffee shop, and gourmet meals prepared daily that can be packaged to go or enjoyed there.

What can customers who choose to dine-in expect? - atmosphere. There are two dining areas available in Foodies.

One is centered right in the "hub-bub" or center of Foodies where people can place their orders. Another dining area is setto the front of the restaurant, just far enough to give diners some semblance of privacy. Intermingled in between are an assortment of specialty items, such as Vidalia Onion and Fig sauce, and the food stations mentioned above.

As I waited for my order, I took stock of the people in Foodies. I don't know if it was Aretha Franklin's song "Respect" blasting from the speakers, if it was typical New Orleans at Mardi Gras time, or if it was Foodies itself, but everyone seemed to be having a great time. A middle-aged man following his wife with a basket in hand as they shopped for dinner was bobbing up and down as Aretha sang. The clerk behind the coffee bar was also keeping beat with the song from his perch on top of a stool, tapping his foot or wiggling his bottom to the rhythm as he poured ice into the fountain drink machine. Several groups of Mardi Gras revelers in to catch a quick sandwich before the parade, a quiet, serene nun and her companion completed the typical, wacky New Orleans mix that added to the lively din that night.

Part of what draws one into the atmosphere is that Foodies embodies the way New Orleanians think of food. Not only does the food represent New Orleans, ranging from the famous Commander's Palace turtle soup to the typical seafood PO-boy, but it is obvious that they have their hands on the pulse of this attitude as seen through the numerous quotes that line the walls of the restaurant. These quotes include Oscar Wilde's "I hate people who are not serious about their meals," and the four seasons as every New Orleanian identifies them: "Four seasons of the year: crawfish, shrimp, crab, and king cake." The one quote, however, that stood out as best representing the typical New Orleans attitude was "In some places they eat to live - in our town we live to eat."