O.K., so you’re staying in the French Quarter for a couple of nights.  You’ve got Antoine’s, Gallatoire’s, Commander’s Palace, Brennan’s, and dozens more world-class dining establishments to choose from.

And where do you eat?

In Chalmette,  the blue-collar suburbs, across the tracks from the rusted aluminum plant on St. Bernard Highway, at Rocky and Carlo’s.Rocky and Carlo's

“Why Rocky and Carlo’s?” you ask.

For a number of reasons.

First of all, Rocky and Carlo’s is connected to the earth.  The folks who frequent the establishment tend to be locals (just listen to the noisy “down in the Parish” accents).  And the joint is ethnic: how about “Italio-Cajun” cuisine?  That’s how I describe it, since the menu is filled with Italian classics like Wop Salad and Eggplant Parmesan, but the tables come set with condiments of ketchup and Louisiana Hot Sauce.  And, the Louisiana fried seafood is all-Louisiana fried seafood!

Second, Rocky and Carlo’s is connected to my ancestry by geography.  My Dad’s side of the family goes back to the Parish for several generations, from Delacroix Island to Arabi, so within the tight-knit confines of St. Bernard Parish, those connections count!  Even though I’ve never lived there, I “belong” (and so do my kids and family).Rocky and Carlo's Comfort Food

Third, as the sign on the painted window indicates, “Ladies Invited.”  You can bring your wife, your daughter, your daughter-in-law, or your granddaughter (as I did).  Rocky and Carlo’s is not sexist!

But finally, the main reason we go: Good food, and abundance thereof!  For example, Sarah and I ordered one oyster platter with a choice of sides.  We chose the macaroni and cheese (a Rocky and Carlo’s trademark!).  We split the oysters (16 on the plate) and the mac & cheese, and both of us were full!  If you’ve never imagined much-less-seen a mountain of macaroni and cheese, go to Rocky and Carlo’s.  You’ll see Mount Mac&Cheese!  (And it’s edible!)

And don’t forget: the prices are much more reasonable than Commander’s Palace!