My first time was the fall of 2006 on a crisp Friday evening. I’ll never forget the feeling of complete decadence as if I left my own body and traveled far away and into someone else’s with a much larger bank account. At least that’s how I remember it.
Steve and I had eaten out a lot, perhaps more than 75% of our family and friends, but never before had we stepped into such a luxurious experience in the city of New Orleans. Stella treated us like pure royalty and it didn’t take long to figure out we weren’t in Kansas (or Olive Garden) anymore.
I had the Georges Bank Scallops and he the Duck Five Ways; we shared the Iron Chef Chili Prawns . We savored wine over dinner and before the end of the meal Chef Scott Boswell chatted with us about our pending honeymoon in Spain, telling us we needed to get to El Bulli if possible (that didn’t happen). Stella was an instant favorite topping both of our lists. We’d send people here for years to follow.
Fast forward several visits to 2010 when we had the winter truffle tasting in February followed by a second visit in October of that year with friends. Steve and I secretly left feeling perhaps like it had lost just a little bit of its luster. Was the chef focusing on other things, we pondered? Continue reading
Bart Ramsey and Zazou City in 2011
He and She Said:
As we said last year, it’s hard to go wrong musically at FQF, but sometimes the volume of acts can overwhelm and the default response is to just camp out at one of the big stages.
Don’t do that. Get out and discover something new. For 2012, here are our best bets by day. If there’s someone below you’ve not heard of, why not check them out and expand your repertoire a bit?
Thursday: The Appetizer Plate
Limited action on the 12th, with music only at Jackson Square and along the Riverfront.
11:00-12:15 Jackson Square: Preservation Hall Stars. The ensemble usually features drummer extraordinaire Shannon Powell (who does his thing at the Windsor Court these days). A perfect shot of jazz to kick of your FQF.
3:15-4:15 Louis Louis Pavillion Stage: Kipori Woods. Last year we said ‘old school in the mode of B.B King as Woods travels the blues highway from the Delta to the South side of Chicago.’ That still applies. One of the best bluesmen at FQF. Check him out:
3:45-5:00 Cajun Zydeco Showcase: Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band. Get some use out of your two-step and maybe your Rosetta Stone French. Good stuff that’ll make you wonder where the closest boucherie is.
5:45-7:00 Riverside Legacy Stage: Rebirth Brass Band. Two very good brass bands weren’t on the bill in 2011. This is one of them. Close day 1 by doin’ whatcha wanna with the legendary band that Kermit Ruffins founded years ago.
John Lisi at the Decatur Stage in 2011
He and She Said:
Only a few weeks until our favorite NOLA festival, the one-weekend, all things local, love-in that is French Quarter Fest. We’ll be navigating the streets of the Quarter April 12-15, making the tough decisions about which stage, which band, and which food. If you’ve not been and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you can find a recap of the 2011 festivities for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the whole thing by clicking through the links.
As we did last year, we’ll endeavor to help you in your own fest navigation with revised for 2012 guides to the music and food and an updated version what proved to be a very popular guide to logistics including maps and arrows and drawings and stuff.
No one knows it all, and that includes us. Our fest was made better yet again last year thanks to the suggestions of other event savants, and you’ll see some of that wisdom reflected in the 2012 revisions. (Many thanks in particular to our devoted reader Becky who clued us into how great the Singer Songwriter Stage is.)
If you have a tip, suggestion, secret place, band, or food that is too good not to share, let us know. Post a comment or send us an email or tweet. We’d love your help in adding to our growing storehouse of FQF knowledge.
Look for those revised guides over the next couple of weeks and rest up, ‘cause festival season is upon us!
Did you make it out there yesterday? We posted a few images last year from the most photo-friendly event in New Orleans, and here’s a gallery from the 2012 Super Sunday, the annual gathering of Mardi Gras Indians at LaSalle and Washington and points beyond. Continue reading
He and She Said:
All that crap about the Big Bad Wolf? Wrong, as it turns out. Our lupine friend was the victim of a vicious spin campaign orchestrated by a group of venal pigs intent on feathering their own nests (or filling their own wallow, or whatever). Corkscrew-tailed media-savvy manipulators, cynically playing the wolf-card to further their own ends. Here’s the lowdown from the investigative journalists at the Guardian in the U.K.
Next Saturday, those pigs get what’s coming to them. On the 24th, the Frisbee Golf Fields at City Park will host the 4th annual Hogs for the Cause music festival and cook off to benefit the families of children battling pediatric brain cancer. From a rumored beginning of three strips of bacon and The Folk Singer strumming on a pickup truck tailgate at the Fly, this fest has grown to utterly porcine proportions, featuring over 60 teams competing in 9 different categories of culinary porkaliciousness (I think we just broke our spell-check) and an all-day music lineup that includes Marcia Ball, the Voices of the Wetlands, and Trombone Shorty, among others. Continue reading
Passing the salt at Suis Generis
The ladies at the next table needed salt and pepper, so I drove it on over. It was just another detail amid an evening of discovery, the centerpiece of which was Suis Generis, the Bywater creation of Ernest Foundas and Adrienne Bell.
After beginning with a set at the Spotted Cat (incidentally, remember the name Kristina Morales. This lady is a talent), we found ourselves amid a street scene we didn’t know existed at the corner of Burgundy and Louisa. There are a number of new restaurants in NOLA at the moment that remain on our list, and this was our night to hit Maurepas Foods. As we drove past the sleek restaurant and circled the block to hunt for parking, Maurepas was beginning not to look like a sure thing. The restaurant was packed, and the wait was an hour, so we put ourselves on the list and decided to explore the block a little, as we certainly had the time.
Thus we found ourselves outside Suis Generis, wondering what exactly it was. Bar? Restaurant? Art installation? The cards and menus on a small table outside gave it all away, so we decided to check it out and get a drink as we waited for dinner, wondering why we’d not heard a whisper about this place before. Adrienne greeted us as we entered and answered our first question by letting us know that we’d stumbled in on their opening night. She showed us to a small table where we could of course have a drink, dropped off menus, and took off. The place was busy as hell, and the staff was running. Continue reading
With contract talks between Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at a standstill, word has it that the Black and Gold are seeking a multi-year agreement with celebrity chef John Besh to lead the team.
What could be crazier than asking a chef to quarterback an NFL franchise? How about asking an ex-player to quarterback a restaurant?
Which brings us to the recently opened Manning’s at Harrah’s on Fulton Street. To be fair, plenty of celebrities attach their names to eateries, so Archie’s not treading any hallowed ground. And for New Orleanians of a certain age (myself among them) jersey number 8 will always bring to mind one of the most beloved players in franchise history, a class act in every respect.
Archie’s no chef, but he’s a valuable brand in New Orleans, and it’s a bit surprising that it took this long for his name and memorabilia to headline a sports bar in the Big Easy. And that is the first thing you need to know about Manning’s: It’s a sports bar. An upscale one, to be sure, but a sports bar nonetheless, so I’ll give you my take on it through that lens. Continue reading
Imagine your baby boy, 5 years old, comes to you complaining of nausea. Over the course of several weeks, he begins to sporadically vomit, complains of headaches and occasional blurred vision. You take him to the doctor, and they don’t seem to see anything wrong. Fast forward a few weeks and before mid-morning on a sunny Friday his teacher calls you. He has vomited twice at school and is visibly lethargic. That evening at the direction of his doctor you bring him to the ER for a CAT scan. Within less than two hours of walking through the doors you are whisked to the hallway and told he has a very rare form of cancer manifesting in a brain tumor.
It is Friday. They will operate Tuesday.
This is not a hypothetical; this nightmare is someone’s very harsh reality. Hayden underwent surgery last week and has a very tenuous and long road ahead. We know Hayden and his remarkable parents, and that makes their story hit home, but they are not alone.
Each year 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer. Even more sobering, cancer is the number 1 killer of children in the United States and Canada.
This Saturday is your chance to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer. St. Baldrick’s Foundation began in 2000 in the Big Apple, but New Orleans wasn’t far behind. This year marks the 10th anniversary of New Orleans’ participation in the national St. Patrick’s Day themed events where volunteers congregate at 5 venues and shave their heads for the cause. Oak Street is the setting for this Saturday’s Block Party for the Cause which will take place from 12-5 pm in the 8000 block of Oak.
There will be food, music and fun, but most importantly many gracious men, women and children all shaving their heads in the name of cancer research. Please get involved. Volunteer. Donate. Shave.
Last year we raised over $49,000 at this one event alone. Can we get to $60,000 in 2012? You won’t know if you don’t show.
He and She Said:
Morocco was a visual feast, a dish mixing Mediterranean, Arabic, and African flavors. Here are some of our favorite shots: