As a New Orleans native, it is my god given birthright to expose any so-called “New Orleans” restaurant that exists outside the state of Louisiana to be a complete fraud. Today, for the first time ever, I am using my birthright to declare Marcela’s Creole Cookery worthy of calling itself home.

For my birthday last month, friends and I went down to Pioneer Square in Seattle to eat at the New Orleans Restaurant thinking it would cheer up this N’awlins native. Nope, not in the least bit. Lame food, slow service, and no other new orleans people. But the worst part is that no one cared I was from new orleans or it was my birthday. Major fail.

On the way back to the car, we walked by Marcella’s Cookery. I was stunned. Here in Seattle, just blocks from each other are two “new orleans” restaurants. It was a mini birthday gift to try to expose yet another so-called “new orleans” restaurant unworthy of using our great city’s name.

Today, finally, I was able to get out to Marcella’s to put them through the trials.

The First Test – Love for the Native: I walked in and declared my place of birth. Mais Oui, je suis nee a nouvelle orleans. Within 2 minutes, the entire staff and I know each other on a first name bases. Within 5 minutes, we can visualize where we all grew up and know exactly from which parishes (what we call counties in LA) we’re from based on our n’awlins accents. Within 10 minutes, they are offering me samples of food. Free food = major love = major win.

The Second Test – Coffee: Any restaurant that dares call itself New Orleans cuisine had better serve either Cafe Du Monde coffee or Community coffee. New Orleans coffees uses chicory, so it has a unique taste that is only New Orleans. (If a “new orleans” restaurant serves Starbucks, it immediately fails the trials, and i must leave before I throw a fit.)

The Third Test – Food: The New Orleans’ culture consists of 3 things: Love of Community, Love of Mardi Gras, and the Love of Food. When the owner told me he has his seafood shipped up here, I about fell out of my chair. Why? Because people out here think prawns can be used as shrimp. Please someone explain “Prawns” to me. PRAWNS ARE NOT SHRIMP. PRAWNS ARE NOT JUMBO SHRIMP. ONLY SHRIMP IS SHRIMP!!

There are a few things a restaurant must do right to pass the food test (this is before i’ll even consider eating the food):

  • Spell “po-boys” correctly on the menu. Either “Poboy” or “Po-boy” is acceptable. “Poor boy” is a fail.
  • The server states that you eat their Jambalaya with a fork. Jambalaya is not a soup! Again, i must walk out at this point if they tell me it comes in a soup bowl.
  • Know what a roux is.

This is the first restaurant that passed the trials with flying colors, so I actually allowed myself to be excited when my “New Orleans Sampler” was served. Jambalaya, Crawfish pie (OMG so good), and Shrimp Gumbo.

When asked how the food was, I gave them the highest quality praise possible of saying, “Tastes like home.”

Crawfish Boils

The owner mentioned that he wants to do crawfish boils on a regular basis. Again, I wanted to fall out of my chair. Me, crawfish boils, Seattle. I never saw that one coming.

I’m toying with the idea of doing a second book signing party that’s a crawfish boil open to the public to support this restaurant and to share the love of New Orleans. I would love to hear people’s thoughts about this. Then I can txt a certain MVP that I’m at a crawfish boil and rub it in for a change.