Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eat Fest at Jazz Fest 2011

Here's my article on eating my way through the 2011 Jazz Fest that ran in the June issue of the West Bank Beacon.

Eat Fest at Jazz Fest 2011

I went to the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Thursday, May 5th. It was a cool, breezy, sunny day. In other words – a perfect day to be outside! With me were my sister Kathy and two friends, Kelly and Casey, from Anchorage, AK, in New Orleans for the very first time. We met up with more friends from AK at the Fair Grounds – who had their Jazz Fest cubes highlighted and apps loaded with their music schedule for the day. My mission for the day, however, was to eat and to report about it to you. I know - it’s a tough life I lead.

With marching orders from me, my group of 4 sought out these good eats at the Fest:

Cochon de Lait Po’Boy - Love at First Bite, New Orleans

Love at First Bite’s cochon de lait po'boy was mounds of juicy pork topped with just the right amount of perfectly-seasoned slaw and creole mustard. The combination of flavors and textures were perfect. The French bread was light but just sturdy enough to handle the juices without falling apart. It was hands down the best thing we ate at Jazz Fest.

Softshell Crab Po-boy - Galley Seafood Restaurant, Metairie

The Galley’s softshell crab po-boy is one of my all-time favorites out at the Fest. This year the crabs were flavorful and crispy, but a little small for the bread. Still, I enjoyed maintaining the tradition of having one of these delicacies at the Fest.

Crawfish Enchiladas - Prejean’s, Lafayette

Prejean’s in Lafayette is a Cajun institution. Their order of 2 crawfish enchiladas was filled with cheese and crawfish, more crawfish than cheese. The sauce was spicy but not overwhelming so that the flavor of the crawfish was maintained. C’est si bon!

Cuban Sandwich - Canseco’s Markets, New Orleans

I have to admit, a Cuban sandwich at Jazz Fest isn’t something I would have sought out. Lucky for me, it appealed to my AK friends. This sandwich was a combo of roasted pork and ham on French bread, pressed Panini-style. Surprisingly good. Thanks, Kelly & Casey!

Crawfish Strudel - Coffee Cottage, River Ridge

The strudel – a 5-inch phyllo dough pastry – is stuffed with crawfish in a spicy cheese sauce. Very flavorful albeit a little tough to cut the outer shell with those tiny forks dispensed at the Fest.

Beignets, Café du Monde, New Orleans

My AK friends ate their first-ever beignets at Jazz Fest. Pure deliciousness.

Trout Baquet and Crawfish Bisque – Baquet’s Li’l Dizzy Café, New Orleans

The trout baquet was a big piece of trout topped with crab meat in butter. ‘Nuff said. But while the bowl of crawfish bisque was filled with stuffed crawfish heads, the bisque itself was not very tasty – it was under-cooked tomato sauce that lacked any hint of a bisque flavor.

Crowder Peas & Collard Greens, Praline Connection, New Orleans

Kelly made sure to try some real soul food out at the Fest. The plate of crowder peas and greens was piled high and she thoroughly enjoyed the dish.

Tagine of Lamb, Jamila’s Café, New Orleans

Casey picked this dish towards the end of the day. Located on Maple Street, Jamila’s Café serves Tunisian food. The tagine of lamb is lamb stew served over basmati rice. I was too full (really) to try it but it smelled wonderful!

There you have it, friends: a chronicle of my Eat Fest at Jazz Fest. We had a wonderful time taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Fest.

Reprinted with permission of the West Bank Beacon.

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