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TDG: Eating at the Best Restaurant in the World


jogoode
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Brooks has done a superb job of conveying the flavor of Jazzfest. It was really fun meeting him and we appreciated the advice on strategy of eating, which acts to hear, and also where to find the best bathrooms(no joke, a really crucial and practical piece of information). I especially enjoyed the soft-shell crab po'boy sandwich, while my husband had red beans and rice and sausage(unfortunately he's allergic to shellfish and flour). We managed to hear lots of music-our favorites were Famous Rock of Harmony gospel group, Irma Thomas(the Soul Queen of NO), and 2 different zydeco bands. The weather was perfect, and we took the air-conditioned express Esplanade bus back to the Quarter. I was astounded by the incredible organization, helpful staff, well-mannered crowd, and the amazing selection of food and music. Definitely a not-to-be-missed experience! Thanks to Brooks for being a terrific forum host and for spreading the word about Jazzfest!

I am currently nursing a swollen ankle( sprained from too much dancing??? :cool: and trying to catch up on my work before heading off to New York for a wedding, but I will post my New Orleans restaurant experiences on the regular forum when I get the time.

Thanks a bunch, Brooks! Hope to return before too long

Best regards,

Roz

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Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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As John Hiatt wrote once a song about New Orleans-"It Feels Like Rain". I am pretty sure that we are going to have another wet one today. What the hell, I am fairly waterproof.

We're loading up and heading out. Took the boys out of school for the day and are dragging them along (happily I might add, they love it at this point-it used to be quite a chore-but they have both been every year sonce they have been born and are pretty used to hippy mom and dad and all of their aging, alternative lifestyle friends :wink: , they are not easily embarrassed).

Hopefully it will be another great day. I'm hungry and will be starting off with Red beans and sausage today along with strawberry lemonade.

There was another good article in the Picayune about food vendors at the Fair. This one covers the logistics of serving fest goers.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Hi. I'm new here--been lurking on eGullet for a couple of months, but any talk of Jazz Fest makes me want to pipe up. We got home Sunday after 2 full Fest days and I've still got NO-lag. It always kills me to know that Jazz Fest is going on and I'm not there!

So, to anyone who's lucky enough to be there or heading there, may I also highly recommend the frozen cafe au lait? Refreshingly cool out in that hot fairgrounds sun, with a caffeine-and-sugar kick to boot! Perfectly sweetened. My food-guzzling husband and I can also endorse the redfish Ferdinand and the sacks (of course). And I personally loved the cochon de lait po-boy. I grew up in Memphis and am incredibly picky about my bbq (in truth, I'll rarely settle for anything but Payne's--check it out), but the cochon de lait was a real eye-opener--tender and flavorful.

Have fun, y'all.

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Welcome Susan. I hope you caught a couple of dry days while you were here.

It's raining here and people in town will be looking for something to do that does not involve mud, sand, and raincoats. Here are a few things going on under a roof.

Tonight the Touro Synagogue will be holding their 13th annual Jazz Shabbat at 7 in thier stunning dome shaped sanctuary on St. Charles Ave. The Touro "house band", THe Panorama Jazz Band, will be doing the backup duties for Jeremy Davenport. Davenport, a very talented old school trumpeter, will be leading the band and a couple of Cantors with beautiful voices will be brought in to lead the services. I have been to this event a couple of times and it is well worth the time and trouble. If you have ever been to a Southern Religious Full Gospel Event, this is the Jewish equivelant of that kind of service. The place is beautiful and the crowd will be SRO-so go early to get a good seat.

Touro Tunes (Goyim Welcome)

If you have the tickets and you decide that you have to go to the fairgrounds, there are several worthwhile food things that you can do (besides eat)-I reccomend going into the grandstands and getting a good seat in front of the Food Heritage Stage. Both big shot chefs and talented amateurs give lessons and tips on making our classic dishes and some new ones that you may be unfamiliar with. Susan Spicer (among others) is scheduled to appear today.

Food Heritage Stage Info

Food Heritage Schedule

And, as long as you don't mind slogging around to get the stuff, these vendors will be happy to sell you some of the new items appearing at the Fairgrounds (I highly reccomend the oysters and blue cheese salad)

New Stuff at the Fairgrounds

Here are a couple of articles about what local food folks look for at the Fairgrounds. THe first article is new, and the second one is kind of old, but I like it because it features, well, ME. :hmmm::laugh:

Chef's Favorites

Offbeat article from '96 featuring me and the conroversial E.L.

Please do the no rain dance at your desk this morning. The economic disaster that is looming over lots of food folks this weekend is pretty huge. :shock:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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For those of you follwing along-for only the third time in thirty five years the Fairgrounds is closed today. For all of the Food Vendors this pretty much represents a disaster-especially for those folks who buy seafood a day ahead of time for service.

On the other hand, if you happen to have a bar or a restaurant this is about as good as it gets. Captive tourists with money to burn, weather that keeps them inside, and people who came for a good time! That, friends, is a target market! In the mid eighties (I think 1985) they cancelled on a Friday and it was, literally, the busiest 12 hours I have ever spent working in a bar. By the end of the evening all we had left was a bottle of bar vodka that we had held back and a half a bottle of Chartreuse. We made cocktails for shift drinks and sat around and laughed about the whole thing. Many places in town were equally as busy. I am sure that will be the situation today.

It looks a little better for Saturday and pretty crappy again for Sunday.

Oh Well

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Quint Davis, Co Founder of the Festival, sums yesterday up nicely with this:

"Somewhere out there, there's 60,000 people, including locals who took off work, who are all primed to hear music and eat food and be in New Orleans,"

It takes a foot of rain to stop the show in New Orleans

Yesterday was a disaster for food vendors and the Festival itself, but anybody with a little giddyup in their step probably had a pretty good time. For example, the lovely Mrs. Mayhaw was in the city and decided to "invest" :hmmm: the money that she was saving by not going to the Fairgrounds into a lunch at Lillette. Now I am certainly happy that she is able to have fun without me :hmmm: and that she can give a good report of her dining experiences I honestly feel that she should have called me and told me that she was miserable without me. Instead she called to tell me about the wonders of braised beef cheeks over beet greens. I wasn't jealous or anything, I enjoy pizza ordered in for the kids at least as much as I am sure that I would have enjoyed poached oysters or creme brulee :angry::laugh: .

Reports of packed bars and lots of impromptu musical happenings were ringing my phone off of the wall (my friends have no more sympathy for good fathers or babysitters than my wife does).

The weather is looking a little better today and hopefully we will get by with just a few showers. The food vendors are the ones who really lose on this rain out stuff and they need a couple of decent days to at least break even, so I am pulling for them. I will need to eat extra today. :raz:

THis is a nice piece on Lorretta-The Praline Queen of New Orleans

Ya'll have fun. Hopefully I will be meeting Bleachboy and his Krewe sometime today at the Farigrounds. I owe him lunch, so I know he is going to be looking for me. :laugh:

Photos of Thursday (between showers)

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Ok, My wife and I made it Saturday May 1st from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm when the dark clouds really looked ominous. Here's the food-related info:

I started with my usual: Cochon de Lait poboy and she started with her usual: oyster artichoke soup in a bread bowl. Then I ate a crawfish sack. Then it was off to the contemporary crafts where I picked up some white chocolate bread pudding and a ice cafe au lait in short order as well as some nice jewelry and pottery. My wife heard that there is a big fee to get one of the 60 stands in the Contemporary craft area and that when one owner asked, she found out that she was among 13,000 (!) owners competing for the 60 spaces.

Okay, The two of us split a Vietmanese beef on vermicelli with cucumbers / mint / peanuts, then it was into the grandstand for the cooking demonstrations --- Susan Spicer of Bayona did a salad with quail, spiced pecans, pear, celery, and a sweet emulsified dressing. I liked it a lot because she would give some insight of why she did something one way and not the other. I also like Susan a lot; she's very friendly, involved in Share our Strength organization; and just a wonderful human being.

Okay. From there, over to the Louisiana Craft exhibits, then we got a sugar-free snowball and a mango freeze (YUMMY!!!!) and headed to the Congo square area where we picked up more stuff to buy. Then to the Congo Square food section where I got a chocolate espresso pie (which was mostly "frozen" and the pie was a little bit like a cookie texture), then Prejean's fabulous quail / andouille / duck gumbo which has a bounty of flavor. It has some heat, but enough to tingle, not too much to drown out the other flavors.

Stopped by the Acura tent to check out the new models, then to the Cajun Cabin in front of the grandstand (while my wife got some Rose Mint Tea) to see the Yakka Mein demo, which is noodles, meat, green onion, broth, soy sauce, Tabasco, and 1/2 hard-boiled egg. A Chinese-Soul New Orleans dish.

Then back to the grandstand where the 2nd floor has nice seats to sit at, the ones in front have tables in front of you, and I kind of napped there for a while --- I do this every year.

Okay, back by getting a Granita in the grandstand, then we were at the phase where we looked at the remaining food coupons in the book and starting giving them to people in line. What else did we get? I remember couscous with yogurt sauce (with pineapples and coconut ) which is really really refreshing, picked up some coconut macaroons to take home with us, another sugar-free snowball, and I think I left something else out....

This was the only day we were able to go, there was more food that I would have loved to get on another day: Veggie Platter at Mona's, BBQ Oysters, Cuban sandwich, gator po-boy, cracklins, navajo fry bread, sausage bread, gambian food, Tunisian food, veggie spring rolls, strawberry lemonade, cannolli....

I miss the Tropical Isle salad made by Kids in Crisis project. Think Romaine & fruit pieces & coconut & nuts & a blue cheese vinegarette.

And the day ended with the two of us sitting by the fence listening to Marcia Ball singing and we decided to leave at 6:00pm when the clouds really looked black, but we had a full day and a fun day.

-bj- Writing stories for computers and humans since 1979.

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Great report.

You should have toughed it out over at Congo Square. Lucky Dube tore the house down with his South African/reggae riddums. Great Set. Nice crowd too, as most of the attendees were down on Stage 3 listening to Carlos Santana. I love it when that happens.

I hope that you saw a little (or all of) Sonny Landreth. He had The Goners (with Kenny Blevins (Little Village/John Hiatt) and Dave Ransom (John Hiatt) backing him up and he blistered the crowd with his awesome slide guitar. Amazing set, amazing talent. If there is a better slide guitar player in the world, I don't know who it is!

Good thing you got the Couchon de lait early. They ran out about 5 o'clock (as did the softshell po boy guys on Thursday). I think too many people are reading egullet. :wink::laugh:

And you're right about the frozen cafe au lait. That stuff is really good, as is the Mango Freeze.

I have spoken to Susan Spicer about eGullet a couple of times. She is certainly familiar with the sight and I am pretty sure that she lurks here occasionally (many of the New Orleans chefs seem to). Maybe she will get on board in the future. We need a few pros from New Orleans on the board.

Glad you had a great trip. Sorry about the weather. They haven't had to cancel a day in 15 years, so usually the weather is a bit better. Bad Luck I guess. It's wonderful outside right now. Unseasonably cool and a blue bird sky.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Good thing you got the Couchon de lait early. They ran out about 5 o'clock (as did the softshell po boy guys on Thursday). :wink:  :laugh:

uh-uh. it was much earlier--around 3, when i finally found their stand. :angry: i made up for it though...sorry i didn't find you MM--i tried!...but i may be heading back there in a few weeks so maybe we can hang out.

had great meals at upperline (wine tasting menu) and brigtsen's, both of which i have somehow managed to not get to until this trip. i met JoAnn and of course mentioned egullet, which provoked a big grin. she laughed and said that she visits the site all the time and especially likes the media/news thread.

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I don't even drink anymore and I like this scam! P.T. Barnum was right.

A day in the life of a Food Vendor at the Fairgrounds

Damn. I shouldn't have gone and paid all that money at

The Star Registry

to name a star after Mom for her special day. I coulda just had some guy at Jazz fest chug a beer her name for a lot less money. I am such a sucker :wink:

that's right, an actual star! International Star Registry is your star naming resource! What do you get for the person who has everything?

For $54, plus shipping and handling, you can name a star.

I'm just curious about the handling charge... do you suppose they use special gloves to pick that sucker up? I mean really..... stars were very hot last time I checked.

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