With the first weekend of Jazz Fest upon us, New Orleans is now in full-fledged fess mode. All anyone will be talking about this week are the pressing Fest matters like: What is the best food this year? Where is the cochon de lait po-boy?
Of course, the sheer quantity of food coverage is pretty overwhelming, so again Eater is here to help. Here, now, is all you need to know about pressing Jazz Fest food and beverage matters to help you get the good times rolling over the two weeks you have to get all that eating done.
We’ll be updating this as more intel rolls in.
Something Old, Something New
The classic foods: NOLA Defender has a list of five classics not to be missed. From Crawfish Monica to the Mango Freeze. [NOLA DEFENDER]
The new stuff: Not too many changes to the food line-up this year. The only new dish this year is a crab-stuffed beignet stuffed Loretta's Pralines. Also, Cuba is at the Cultural Exchange Pavillion with rope vieja, tostones with mojo, black beans and rice, and cafe con leche popsicles. [NOLA.COM]
Ballin’ on a Budget at Jazz Fest
Best food bets for the budget-conscious: After shelling out the money for the Jazz Fest tickets, saving money on food may be the plan once you’re in the fest. If so, Ian McNulty has the best bets for dining on the dine at the fess. Think boudin links and stuffed artichokes in this category. [ADVOCATE]
Food for $5 and under: A surprising number of choices in this category, Ann Maloney finds. [NOLA.COM]
Best bets for the even more budget-conscious (eating for free at Jazz Fest): The food demo stages are a great way to pick up some culinary know-how and a bite for free. Isaac Toups will cook a Gulf seafood courtbouillon on the first Friday. Frank Brigtsen is on stage on the first Saturday with Backyard Crawfish Boil Soup. Too many to list here. Ann Maloney has the full schedule. [NOLA.COM]
18 crawfish dishes at Jazz Fest: Ann Maloney has a list of all the crawfish dishes she found at the Fest this year. Crawfish strudel, crawfish pie, crawfish bread, and more. [NOLA.COM]
Best vegetarian food: With the bounty of seafood at the fess, it can be hard to spot the vegetarian options. The Times-Pic has selected 31 of the best options for vegetarians, meaning there is more than enough to choose from over the two weekends. There are even veggie versions of NOLA’s most iconic dishes, like the vegetarian ya-ka-mein and the vegetarian muffuletta in Food Area I. Eater is also endorsing that stuffed artichoke. [NOLA.COM]
Where Y’at has a great list of veggie options too. [WHERE Y’AT]
Drinking at the Fest
Craft Beer: Todd Price reports on craft beers and wine on tap at Jazz Fest. Buy in bulk so you don’t have to keep running back for more. [NOLA.COM]
Food Critics’ Faves
Ian McNulty narrows his favorites down to five. Crawfish bisque, cochon de lait po-boy, hot sausage po-boy, Cajun shrimp and duck pasta, pecan catfish meunière with seafood mirliton casserole. [ADVOCATE]
Ann Maloney picks a bunch of dishes and organizes them by location at Jazz Fest. [NOLA.COM]
Food and music pairings: If you are feeling ambitious, try pairing critic’s top food choices with the perfect show. [WHERE Y’AT]
Good to Know
Plan ahead: Here's the link for food booths and both food demo stages, so you can plan ahead. [NOJAZZFEST.com]
Buy beer in bulk: Jazz Fest doesn't have a cap on how many brews you can buy at a time, so buy a bunch, then take a small cooler filled with ice to keep them cold for you and your crew. [NoDef]
Leave the booze at home: Jazz Fest allows soft coolers (no bigger than a 12-pack size), but don’t plan to fill it with booze, glass bottles, or unsealed water bottles.
Where to Eat Away From Jazz Fest
Where to eat in New Orleans while you’re in town for Jazz Fest: Eater has maps for crawfish, hot new restaurants, sno-ball, and more.
Check out Break-Fest: A musical brunch en route to Jazz Fest, guests can start the day with cocktails, brunch, yoga, a shave and a trim, and music. It’s the fest before the fest. [ADVOCATE]