There was a tendency, in many of the city's most celebrated restaurants, to pile crabmeat on top of everything, mix in some French or Italian stuff, and call it a day. If innovation did come, it was frequently horrific: even as I write this, a menu at one of the city's most famous restaurants includes a "French pastry layered with melted Brillat-Savarin cheese, strawberry jam, brown sugar bacon & sticky bourbon infused honey." Blech! I used to see that sort of overly fussy (or ongepotchket, as we say in Yiddish) thing in New Orleans all the time. But at a number of new restaurants I went to over the holidays, I saw a smarter, cleaner, more exciting kind of New Orleanian food -- still rich in butter and Creole flavors, still deeply traditional, but with a new-school bent.