Last month I had the chance to visit New Orleans for my friends at The Kitchn, and while it was not my first encounter with this magical city, I’m never bored with it. NOLA has a special way of making you enjoy going with the flow and creating new experiences. What started off as a trip with goals and plans ended with my flight back home being grounded, extra time in the Crescent City, and a masquerade ball and dinner hosted by Mario Batali for the Link Stryjewski Foundation (an organization that supports local youth empowerment groups). I scrambled to find something to wear, but it was totally worth it as the Bal Masqué featured an amazing array of dishes by some of the best chefs around the country. My favorite dish of the weekend was a boozy, citrusy, Baked Alaska type thing called “Satsuma Business,” born from the minds of Babbo’s Rebecca Deangelis and Nick Morgenstern. In typical over-the-top New Orleans style, The Kitchn’s Managing Editor and I stole a whole one from a nearby table and dug in with spoons after finishing our own slices. And though I may not rock an evening gown with high tops again for the foreseeable future, I’m grateful for another wonderful trip, surprises included.