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Among the pleasant surprises of our recent visit to the Gulf Coast were the excellent restaurants. Many of them featured locally caught seafood, including oysters, shrimp, grouper, redfish and pompano, drawing inspiration from the cooking of New Orleans and incorporating Southern comfort food, like grits, cornbread and fried green tomatoes. Because this coastline is home to large communities of Vietnamese-Americans, as well as recent immigrants from Mexico and Latin America, their kitchens contribute to the delicious repertoire of modern Southern cooking.