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Five New Dining Events To Put on Your Radar for Early 2017

Bourbon, tacos, and more

Scenes From the Link & Strywjeski Foundation's Inaugural Bal Masque

In terms of food festivals, 2016 was a busy year. On top of well-established fest favorites including Hogs For The Cause, Jazz Fest, Oak Street Po’ Boy Fest, Boudin, Bourbon & Beer and so many others, both Beignet Fest and Fried Chicken Fest managed to make major waves with their fall debuts. And Daiquiri Season brought a cool respite to the grueling month of September.

But 2017 appears to be more robust than ever when it comes to dining and boozing shindigs in The Big Easy. Here now, a look at five new events that will be happening in New Orleans the first few months of 2017. Three of these events are brand new. Two are returning for a second year, relative babies in the world of Nola food festing.

Booking tickets to these events in advance is highly encouraged. Have at it.

Bal Masque

Scenes From the Link & Strywjeski Foundation's Inaugural Bal Masque Paul Broussard for ENOLA

Now in its second year, Cochon chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski present their glamorous black tie affair Bal Masque, benefiting the Kingsley House and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) in early January. Seven highly-acclaimed American chefs—including Paul Kahan, Suzanne Goin and more—join Dr. John for a night of Carnival ball-inspired revelry. Mario Batali and team will also prepare a four-course private dinner at Calcasieu on the Friday before the event as well.

When: January 7 at Orpheum Theater (Batali dinner on January 6 at Calcasieu)

Details: $1000/person. More information here.

Johnny + Friends Dinner Series

Hangover Observation: Fêtes Fest

John Besh has just launched the Johnny + Friends pop-up dinner series wherein an all-star lineup of American restaurants— The Slanted Door (SF), Zahav (Philly) and Animal (LA)— visit New Orleans to cook and raise money for Besh’s Chefs Move Foundation. Dinners will take place throughout 2017 at Besh’s CBD events space Pigeon and Prince and elsewhere.

When: January (and throughout the year) at Pigeon & Prince and elsewhere

Details: $125/person. Check the complete schedule here.

Bourbon Fest

New booze shindig, the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, will offer bourbon dinners, seminars, an awards brunch and more festivities in March 2017. Some proceeds benefit the St. Michael Special School. The main event, a grand tasting, is at the Sugar Mill on Friday and Saturday night, complete with an outdoor market and speakeasy soiree.

When: March 24-26 at the Marriott-Convention Center and other locations.

Details: $130-$490/person. Information and tickets here.

Top Taco

New Orleans’ first ever taco festival Top Taco heads to the CBD riverfront in March with some 40+ restaurants— including taco faves Araña, Del Fuego, La Casita, and Mizado— vying for top taco and margarita honors. Expect tequila galore, Day of the Dead costumes, lots of live local music and more shenanigans. There’s even a VIP experience aboard the Creole Queen river boat, and the event is in the evening.

When: March 23, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza

Details: $65 for entry, food and drink. Tickets and info here.

Fêtes des Chef Weekend

Hangover Observation: Fêtes Fest

On Friday, March 24, John Besh raises money for his Chef’s Move foundation with Fêtes Fest, a pretty crazy party with live music, lots of food from award-winning local and visit chefs and booze returning for its second year. On Saturday, March 25, Besh also rolls out Fêtes des Chef, “a unique night of 8 exclusive chef’s table dinners around the city of New Orleans culminating in a dessert after party at Pigeon & Prince.”

When: March 24-25 at Pigeon & Prince and elsewhere

Details: $99/person for Fete Fest. Information and tickets here.