French Quarter Fest is now all but set up and we’re bursting at the seams for it to get here already. One of our favorite parts of FQF (and almost all festivals) is the overwhelming amount of food for the tasting. Part of FQF’s charm is that it takes over the French Quarter, stretching from the foot of Canal Street all the way to Esplanade, but this can make tracking down your favorite foods a bit trickier. Step 1 is to print and bring with you the food listing found here. Next is to plan your food strategy appropriately, where are you going to eat, how much, and how often. Ultimately at the festival, cash is king so bring plenty with you. Although FQF is sponsored heavily by Capital One, I’ve had little success counting on their ATMs on site for cash.* Cash flow problems aside, we’re here to talk about the food, so here are our favorites from each section:
Boucherie-12 Hour Roast Beef Po-Boy. We have a hard time passing this sandwich up, no matter what the occasion. Only problem is, it seems everyone else feels the same so lines can be long.
Crescent Pie and Sausage-Bad Bart’s Jambalaya has been a growing regular at festivals large and small. The addition of black
beans eyed peas [thanks to Jacob and Ashton for catching the error] provides a nice twist on traditional Jambalaya. It appears CP&S is bringing in a new dish this year, the creole shrimp and tomato chow chow which definitely looks worth a taste.
Love at First Bite-They have a great Cochon de lait Po-Boy that’s been a must have since they came on to the scene in 2009.
Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant-Woldenberg Park’s most intriguing new vendor for one simple reason, meat pies can be amazing and we’ve been underwhelmed by the usual meat pie offerings at French Quarter Fest.
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse (which is actually the Bourbon House Booth)-Prime Beef Debris Po-Boy probably runs neck and neck with a Vaucresson Sausage po-boy as our must haves from Jackson Square.
Vaucresson Sausage-With a great collection of hot sausage, crawfish sausage and BBQ chicken sausage (new offering this year) you really can’t go wrong. Fortunately they’re usually located next to the Bourbon House booth so Cupcake and I each line up for one and then split the spoils.
The Bombay Club-Our list of FQF favorites is clearly heavy on the beefy po-boys, the Gulf Shrimp Escabeche from Bombay house provides a nice change of pace.
Blue Dot Donuts-Without a doubt one of the new vendors that has me most excited. I had the Thai Pulled Pork “Dough Boy” at Po-Boy Fest this past year and can without a doubt say that it was the best po-boy there by miles. If they can come close to replicating what they produced at Po-Boy Fest, they will undoubtedly be the Must Have from Jackson Square.
Ristorante Carmelo-The crabmeat ravioli is a great dish and could be highly recommended, but the portion size is so small that you’re left feeling unfulfilled and cheated. Since they raised the price by a $1 and not increased the size at all, matters have gotten worse. Since your cash supply is most likely to be smaller than your stomach, I’d pass.
The Old US Mint
The Joint-Always a great pulled pork sandwich (get it topped with slaw), you can’t go wrong here.
Amy’s Vietnamese-Much like the Bombay Club, at some point you may get tired of having meaty po-boys. All of the offerings at Amy’s are good enough to pinch hit and not leave you feeling disappointed.
Dunbar’s-Not sure any explanation for why you should get Dunbar’s catfish and potato salad is really necessary. Just check it out.
Three Muses-Clearly another of FQF’s newcomers that appear poised to put some of the more long-standing favorites to the test. The Lamb Sliders would be our call here. At any rate, if you haven’t been to Three Muses yet, you really owe it to yourself to go check it out.
For a different take on the foods to have, we highly recommend you check out He Said, She Said’s 2012 Food Guide here.
**Cash hints: Below Bourbon Street between Canal and Jackson Square you’ll find a branch of many different banks, head to those before surrendering to the outrageous fees extracted by the nameless ATMs in bars, t-shirt shops or otherwise found in the French Quarter.