Food challenges are all the rage in America. The Hunger Games, Man vs. Food, Bizarre Foods – everywhere you look people are just eating up the next big food-scavenging trend (pun shamefully intended). Even New Orleans has followed suit, recently with the crawfish eating contest at French Quarter Fest and beignet eating contest at last month’s Road Food Festival.
Long before it was widely popularized, people have come from far and wide on a mission to sample the best foods of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Serious festers come to eat for sport in an effort to consume as much of the regional delicacies as possible, all found in a few concentrated acres. In an attempt to steer those worthy opponents in the right direction, we give you the must-eats of Jazz Fest 2012. Ready your pie-holes.
Food Area I
Papa Ninety Catering: Papa Ninety from Belle Chasse, Louisiana has a Cajun feast prepared featuring the unofficial sausage of Louisiana, boudin, in link and ball form as well as newcomer to the fest food lineup: shrimp and lump crab ravigote as well as crawfish remoulade.
Sharon & Guilherme: Find delicious Louisiana crawfish and fried alligator po-boys and more gator with fried jalepenos and onions at this bayou food booth.
Miss Linda’s Catering: Miss Linda cooks up some real New Orleans soul food at this booth offering her famous Ya Ka Mein with a vegetarian option, a fried pork shop sandwich and bread pudding with rum sauce.
Food Area II
Angelo Brocato’s*: Cool down at the Angelo Brocato’s booth, serving their signature lemon ice and Louisiana strawberry ice, spumoni, cannoli, fig and sesame cookies and their delectable specialty gelato.
Kajun Kettle Foods, Inc: Quite possibly the most anticipated dish of Jazz Fest, Crawfish Monica, will be plated at the Kajun Kettle Foods booth. Yes, it’s worth standing in line for.
Prejean’s Restaurant: Pheasant, quail and Andouille gumbo, crab and crawfish stuffed mushrooms and crawfish enchiladas are more of the Cajun specialties that can be devoured at this booth.
Bennachin Restaurant*: Find the beginning of amazing ethnic food in Congo Square at this African food booth, serving Jama-Jama (sautéed spinach), fried plantains and poulet fricassee, or chicken on a stick, because who doesn’t like to eat food on a stick?
Palmer’s Jamaican Cuisine: Indulge in island flavor at this booth serving Jamaican chicken, Caribbean fish, curry chicken pattie and steamed veggies.
Gambian Foods: More delicious African cuisine can be found here, including Dibbi (grilled steak on pita), grilled veggie pita and couscous with yogurt sauce.
Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine:As part of New Orleans’ robust Vietnamese food scene, Ba Mien will be serving goi cuon (spring roll), bun (vermicelli with shrimp or beef) and cha gio (Vietnamese egg roll).
Café du Monde*: New Orleans’ most famous coffee and donuts shop will be serving their regular menu of beignets, frozen, iced or hot café au lait, milk and chocolate milk.
Baquet’s Li’l Dizzy’s Café*: The New Orleans Creole soul restaurant will be serving local favorites crawfish bisque, creole file gumbo and Trout Baquet.
Around the Grounds
La Divina Gelateria*: Some of the vast selection of sweet treats to be found at this food area is locally made artisan gelato and sorbetto featuring crème brulee, chocolate Azteca and more.
Angelo’s Bakery: Delightful French pastries can be enjoyed at Angelo’s, including coconut macaroons, brownie with pecans, cream puffs and chocolate eclairs.
Cee-Cee’s Sno-Balls: It wouldn’t be a springtime New Orleans festival without a sno-ball stand. Cee-Cee’s will have sugar-free options and popcorn in addition to their sno-ball offerings.
United Houma Nation: The Folk area will have two versions of the outstanding New Orleans side dish, corn Macque Choux, one with smoked sausage and one with creamy shrimp. United Houma foundation will also be serving fry bread and Indian tacos.
J & M Seafood: J & M keeps it nice and simple, serving freshly shucked oysters on the half shell.
There’s an entire food area devoted to kids that will keep them just as happily well-fed as all of the adults. Joyce’s Lemonade will serve fresh lemondade, fruit salad, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and rice crispy treats; Lil’s BBQ will have BBQ chicken sandwiches, mini corn on the cob and jazzy cupcakes; Jumbo Peanut Company will serve fresh roasted pecans, glazed pecans and popcorn and Miss Linda will provide her baked macaroni & cheese and Huckabuck frozen cups.
Vegetarians are accounted for as well, with lots of appetizing fest food. Some of the standouts are:
- Veggie muffalettas from Dimartino’s in Food Area I
- Spinach artichoke casserole from Ten Talents Catering in Food Area I
- Fried green tomatoes from Cajun Nights Catering in Food Area I
- Crowder peas & okra and collard greens from The Praline Connection in Food Area II
- Hummus, tabouli and greek garden salad with pita from Mona’s Café in Food Area II
- Grilled veggie pita from Gambian Foods in Congo Square
- Jama-Jama and fried plantains from Bennachin in Congo Square
Jazz Fest doesn’t just provide insanely delicious food, the masters themselves reveal their secret recipes. Make it a point to spend some time at the Food Heritage Stage where local culinary heroes like Donald Link and Susan Spicer give demonstrations on how to make New Orleans-inspired plates of love.
* Local restaurant. Click the link to find out where you can find more of the delicious food at Jazz Fest in New Orleans!
FREE Weekly Roundup!
Enter your email address for updates on all the best things happening in New Orleans.