Cinco de Mayo is one of the greatest holidays ever taken over by marketers and business owners and twisted to their own delight.* I mean a holiday that centers around Tex-Mex, margaritas, Mexican beer and happy hours, how could it not be great? To make it better, New Orleans is always in a very festive mood around Cinco de Mayo given its close proximity to Jazz Fest and the awesome spring weather. However, infusing this holiday with a bit of New Orleans flavor could be a little trying, at least, until now. Need something to bring along to a party or serve up at your fiesta? Easy work after the jump.
Beer has played a pretty significant role in the short time we’ve been around. And, as a statistician friend of mine would say, I’m 5000% sure this isn’t changing any time soon. Martin’s Wine Cellar (714 Elmeer (1200 block of Veterans Memorial Blvd), Metairie, 504-896-7300), best know for its wine selection and gourmet food and sandwiches, is also a pretty decent place to get some hard to find beers. Unfortunately, you’ll often pay a bit of a premium on the Martin’s beers.
We know this weekend your focus is going to be on Jazz Fest. But try to carve a little time out of your schedule this Thursday evening for Shop Fest on Magazine Street. Many of your favorite Magazine Street stores will be welcoming visitors with some after-hours shopping, live music, and libations.
After looking through the list of participants, I am thrilled with the opportunity to pop into these stores after work this Thursday. Between wrangling the Beasts and trying to get errands done, weekends fill up pretty quickly for me. I never seem to be able to carve out time for browsing my favorite stores on Magazine these days. By keeping their doors open the extra three to four hours, the members of the Magazine Street Merchants Association have made it possible for me to squeeze some shopping into my already jam-packed weekend. I encourage them to think about doing this more often! Now the challenge is figuring out where to go first…
Hopefully by now your sunburns have started to heal up and your liver has dried out. With the endless shows around town this past weekend its been quite the whirlwind: Hit the Fest. Drink and eat all day. Shower. Hit a show. Drink and eat all night. Rinse and repeat.
Jazz Fest is an absolute staple for me in the springtime in New Orleans. As soon as Mardi Gras ends, I’m counting down the days until Jazz Fest begins. But I was shocked to hear several LOCAL people recently tell me that they’ve never been to Jazz Fest. And yesterday someone told me she didn’t realize that the food at the fest is reason enough for at least one day of attendance. But I’m here to tell you, the food can totally hold its own and I’m really looking forward to some good eating this weekend. So, if you’re a Jazz Fest novice, or you’re looking for some suggestions on what food booths to hit first, read on. Continue reading
We’ve got a lot on our plates right now so the next few days might be a little thin. We’re hoping to get out a Jazz Fest Primer for the food at the Fairgrounds before this weekend, of course that would just be going off of memory which would undoubtedly be clouded with several severely overpriced Miller Lite.
Any rate, on to this post. When people think food around Jazz Fest time, they often only think of the little wooden booths situated on the infield of the Fairgrounds slinging a variety of foods. But that only tells part of the story. Many of our familiar places around town pull in a special Jazz Fest menu, which highlight seasonal foods that otherwise wouldn’t make an appearance. Others still give their own takes on Jazz Fest favorites, such as the crawfish bread.
On of my favorite such specials of course arises right out of one of Mid-City’s (shocker, I know) better known restaurants. Mandina’s, while not one of my favorite restaurants in the city (or Mid-City), has been a must stop for me in years past during Jazz Fest. Why? Crawfish pies. The fried little half moons are stuffed with all the normal fixings you’d find in crawfish pie, but what sets it apart from the rest of the crawfish pies in the city is the lack of grease. Unlike the crawfish pie we had at French Quarter Fest, the Mandina’s crawfish pie is not bursting with grease ready to scald you with every bite. For full disclosure, I must say I haven’t been by Mandina’s yet this Jazz Fest season to ensure that the quality is what it has been in years past, but I have no reason to believe otherwise. While Mandina’s isn’t my favorite restaurant, it has always been consistent. Every visit brings exactly what you expect, which some of our best restaurants can’t say.
Moral of the story: Just because you’ve gotten the best of what the Fairgrounds has to offer, doesn’t mean you’ve even scratched the surface of what Jazz Fest has to offer. The food of Jazz Fest isn’t confined to the Fairgrounds, but celebrated throughout the city. Make sure you take full advantage.
Recently we had a work lunch trip go slightly awry. Awry to the extent that where we were going was closed. Thus we found ourselves on Magazine with no place to eat. As we drove down in search of something that would be quick enough that we could get back Downtown without being gone for too long. Enter Joey K’s (3001 Magazine St., 504-891-0997).
Next time you’re in Metairie, be sure to swing by Casey’s Snowballs at 4608 W Esplanade Ave. The chocolate snowball is my favorite and it’s particularly good when topped with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (I’m not a fan of condensed milk on snowballs). Casey’s also offers up the “traditional” New Orleans snowball flavors, frozen yogurt, soft-serve ice cream. The prices seem to go up almost every year, but with prices ranging from $1.00 to just over $2.00 a snowball, it’s still a cheap treat for a hot summer day. What’s your favorite snowball flavor??
Chocolate–It’s what I always get.
Meanwhile, $1.25 can’t get out from under the lemon-lime.
When I found out that NOLA Brewing gave free tours at 2:00 p.m. on Fridays I was very excited. I happen to love beer, I
always almost always have. (I wasn’t that big a fan back when I took a swig when I was 8 or so out of my Dad’s Bud when he wasn’t looking at Frankie and Jonny’s). Beer is big enough passion of mine that I’ve visited different breweries all over the world. Whenever I go anywhere, for work or vacation, I try to hook up with a local brewery and check it out. So when I showed up early for the Friday brewery tour I was sure of two things: 1. I wasn’t going to learn a damn thing on the brewery tour and 2. I was going to try the Hurricane Saison. I was wrong about both.
Fresh vegetables and a spicy Asian-inspired dressing make this noodle salad a perfect springtime dinner or lunch. It sure beats heavy Chinese take-out and it’s relatively quick to throw together. The dressing is key here, as you use if for both a marinade and the finishing touch. Although it’s definitely “Asian” in flavor, it’s made with fairly simple pantry staples, so don’t worry about having to drive to the “nearest” international market on the Westbank or spending your last paycheck on random ingredients you can’t pronounce that you’ll never use again. We paired the dish with the our new favorite cocktail, La Coloniale.