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SCOTT SIMON, host:

From humankind's earliest roamings on Earth to the great crusades--Magellan, Lewis and Clark, Sir Edmund Hillary and Jacques Cousteau, the most frequently asked travel question behind `Are we there yet?' has always been `What's good to eat around here?' Well, if you happen to be in or around New Orleans this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to turn up the radio. Chappy Hardy, writer, filmmaker and man about town is embarking on his summer tour of the South's best and most affordable dining places, starting, of course, in New Orleans. He calls himself `The Man from H.U.N.G.E.R.'

(Soundbite of people dining)

Nice to talk to you again, Chappy.

Mr. CHAPPY HARDY (Writer/Filmmaker): Nice to speak to you, too, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: Fine. Sounds busy there.

Mr. HARDY: I just had the most amazing meal.

SIMON: What'd you have?

Mr. HARDY: Well, I discovered this place called Lil' Dizzy's Diner not far from the French Quarter. They have a buffet every day and I am serious buffet devotee.

SIMON: So what's on there?

Mr. HARDY: Well, shrimp and sausage gumbo--real smokey, real good--stewed chicken in a brown gravy which they call chicken fricassee, which is just spectacular, something they call smothered okra with shrimp and sausage and chunks of ham.

SIMON: Oh, my word.

Mr. HARDY: I had two plates of food, and I had stewed okra and rice on both of them.

SIMON: Chappy, tell us a little bit about the cost-per-bite measure that you have.

Mr. HARDY: Well, let's say that we want to determine the cost per bite of a piece of apple pie.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. HARDY: If you got 15 bites, the pie costs 2.50, about 16.66 cents a bite. The cost per bite here is 7.88596 cents a bite, incredibly reasonable.

SIMON: You do take this seriously, don't you?

Mr. HARDY: Oh, yeah. I have a fork that I take with me everywhere. It's so all bites will be kind of uniform in size.

SIMON: Oh, my word.

Mr. HARDY: It's actually--excuse me, I just nibbled some okra that was left.

SIMON: Oh, I know. We've been talking for a couple of minutes and you haven't had the chance.

Mr. HARDY: Well, there was a little bit of a sweet potato pie still stuck between the tines. (Laughs)

SIMON: Chappy, now a lot of us are familiar with the "Man from U.N.C.L.E," the old Robert Vaughn series--What was that?...

Mr. HARDY: Yeah.

SIMON: ...the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

Mr. HARDY: Exactly.

SIMON: So what's `The Man from H.U.N.G.E.R.'?

Mr. HARDY: Helping Uninhibited Nibblers Get Exact Results.

SIMON: You have given this some thought, haven't you?

Mr. HARDY: Oh, listen, I've been on this for about seven years. I love traveling the country and finding out really cool, great places that reflect the local culture.

SIMON: Chappy, do you look like what you eat?

Mr. HARDY: Yes. (Laughs)

SIMON: Chappy Hardy, writer and filmmaker, who's also `The Man from H.U.N.G.E.R.' joining us from New Orleans. For more on Lil' Dizzy's, you can come to our Web site, npr.org.

Thank you, Chappy.

Mr. HARDY: Thank you, Scott.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

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