Blossoming in year two, Emeril Lagasse’s Boudin and Beer is very simply the best run event in New Orleans. Follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter and mark the 2013 date in ink on your calendar the moment it’s released. Yes it really is that good.
A bit more on what I am saying below, but first a caveat or two:
First, I am NOT saying this should necessarily be your preferred charity (although it could be). There are any number of worthy causes throughout the annual NOLA calendar deserving of your time and your money. Sunday’s second annual Gleason Gras to benefit ALS research, for example, left not a dry eye in the house, and we all have those most dear to us. Support those that matter most to you, as many of them as you can, and let whatever fun you have at their representative gala be a bonus.
Second, I’ll stipulate that Boudin and Beer is playing a strong hand: Lagasse’s foundation, connections and resources make it easier for him than most to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
But managing the logistics of these events is no easy task. We’ve been to our fair share of them over the years, both the charity galas and the pure festivals. The pitfalls are notorious: endless lines for drinks, running out of food, poor traffic flow, and other frustrations that can conspire to turn an afternoon or evening of recreation into an exercise in food-booth social Darwinism, a human traffic jam worse than Target on Black Friday. Event logistics are like offensive lineman; if you’re discussing them, it’s usually because something’s gone wrong. Running these things is hard, hard work. Continue reading
Snowy Homochitto State Park from 2009
See ya later, civilization.
Today we make our annual pilgrimage to Clear Springs Recreation Area at Homochitto State Park in Mississippi for some ‘camping.’
For me, roughing it means no room service, so it was tough for She Said to convince me to give this a shot a few years back. True story: I was ‘asked to leave’ the cub scouts as a child because I didn’t want to learn to tie the stupid knots. I live in the city; what the hell was I ever going to tie other than shoes?
Daniel Boone I am not.
So tune in next week for word of our adventures on safari in Mississippi. But if you are in town, you should consider Sunday night’s Mixing Up Some Magic at Commander’s Palace, a four course benefit for Liberty’s Kitchen, a very worthy cause. The event is from 6:30 to 9:00, and tickets are $95, inclusive.
Enjoy the weekend!
My first time was 6 years ago. It all started one Thursday evening strolling down Royal Street with my eventual husband (I like the fact that we experienced the inaugural indulgence as a couple). I am talking about the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience’s Royal Street Stroll of course!
We enjoyed the stroll so much that the following year we added a Vintner Dinner. That night at the Windsor Court changed my life, perhaps not cosmically, but certainly regarding my approach to food and wine. To this point in my existence, I had never had a truly mind-blowing dinner, much less one paired with fantastic wines. I had no idea what I was getting into (other than $250) and was completely blown away. What stood out to us was not only the indulgent atmosphere but also the fact that this NOWFE dinners were like some secret life of which we’d been blissfully unaware for years. By the end of the evening NOWFE, and the vintner dinners in particular, were on the must-do list.
Once, a look at the dining room table told you a lot about who was coming for dinner. If the box of last year’s tax receipts and the half-completed 1500 piece Water Lilies puzzle were suddenly replaced by the fancy place settings and flatware, something special was afoot. Guests from out-of-town, or the new boss, perhaps? One thing was certain: Someone too good for the mere kitchen table was on the way. It’s more than a little ironic that in our search for the ultimate New Orleans dining experience we found ourselves back in the kitchen, that place too humble for the important guests to sit.
The Chef’s table has been around at Commander’s Palace since the mid-1990’s. I can remember reading about it with some amazement. This was still an era of ‘big’ dining in New Orleans. Places like Versailles and Louis the XVI and the Grill Room were serving elaborate preparations in ultra-formal dining rooms. All of these, and Commander’s was among them, were event dining. Special destinations for special celebrations, the furthest thing from everyday eating there could be. But for the jaded Sybarite for whom such experiences produced nothing more than a been there done that gastronomic ennui, there was another mountain yet to climb. Dinner with the chef in the kitchen: a private feed-me apart from the main dining room.
He and She said:
Well, Brett Anderson from the Times Picayune has released his annual list of the top 10 restaurants in New Orleans, so we thought it might be time to do our own.
On a brief side note, an additional benefit of Anderson’s list is the way it brings out the tinfoil hat crowd in the comments section, an enlightened crew who appear convinced that Anderson, Donald Link and John Besh have united in an unholy triumvirate to rule the galaxy while making tasty Louisiana dishes. Multitasking, I guess. Then again, its Snooki and The Situation’s world, and I’m just living in it, so what do I know?
Ok, enough ranting:
We’ve done a post on the most interesting restaurants in NOLA (might be time to update that soon), but that is not what we’re after here. This is our take on the best, so the charming and interesting Mimi’s, for example, probably won’t find a place here.
I had the great idea to do this as a mock draft. When I explained this to my wife, she enthusiastically replied: “What the hell are you talking about?” But, after I explained a bit, she came around to my way of thinking. So, ladies first, and we’ll take turns picking a restaurant and telling you why it’s so great as we fill out our list of ten. Nobody loves a gimmick more than me.
A quick note: some relatively new entries to the NOLA scene that might be contenders for this list, most notably Le Foret and Meson 923, are ineligible, for the simple reason that we have not been there. And for the record, we are in neither Besh, Link, or anyone else’s pocket, although we hope to be one day. Until then, we have nothing to offer but unbiased opinion and the dream of one day being corrupted via a free plate of foie gras. Or pomme frites (in duck fat). Or pretty much anything else.
Posted in Dinner, He and she said, Lists, Restaurant
Tagged Adolfo Garcia, Brett Anderson, Commander's Palace, Coquette, Donald Link, Emeril's, Herbsaint, John Besh, John Harris, Lilette, lists, MiLA, Patois, Restaurant August, restaurants, reviews, Rio Mar, Stella!, Top ten