American Craft Beer Week kicks off Monday, and we've got all you need to know (and drink) right here ...
• We're starting off things early with a craft beer pub crawl tomorrow, May 11. At "FestivALES," $24 gets you 20 beer tastings (and if you can stand more, you can buy extra tickets). There will be 30 local and craft beers available. Full info here.
• Looking for a full schedule of Craft Beer Week events in New Orleans? Yeah, we've got that too.
There’s a certain intrigue in the long history and the labyrinthine warren of dining rooms, service bars and corridors at Arnaud’s Restaurant.
The French Quarter grande dame has been stoking that vibe lately with a series of periodic “Speakeasy Dinners,” which evoke the dark days of Prohibition when, according to restaurant lore, Arnaud’s served bootleg liquor to guests in the know.
The next dinner is coming up May 16, beginning at 7 p.m. The evening includes a four-course meal of Prohibition-era dishes with wine pairings and it costs $100. Guests are encouraged to dress in appropriate period style. Get the "secret knock" for entrance (and a reservation) at (504) 523-5433.
New Orleans late-night food quests are often plagued with problems: Your friends want breakfast but you want a burger. It's Mardi Gras and you're not trying to deal with tourists in the French Quarter. You're not drinking so you don't want to be in a bar. You drive all the way to a place only to find out the kitchen's closed. The same few late-night spots keep running through your mind, but you don't want to eat at any of them.
She's organized the restaurants by location and included contact info, hours and suggestions on what dishes are best for each. She's also open to suggestions of any restaurants that she can add to her list.
Developers and public officials broke ground on the 60,000 square-foot ReFresh Project, anchored by a Whole Foods Market, on Broad and Bienville streets in Mid-City. The development, spearheaded by L+M Development Partners and Broad Community Connections, takes over the former Schweggman's site, which has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in 2005. It has since been used as a festival site, parking lot, and even drive-in movie theater.
The development also will house a full-service Liberty’s Kitchen as well as a teaching kitchen — The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine under Tulane University, the "first-of-its kind teaching kitchen serving community members, medical students, and practicing medical professionals." The development will also house the central office for FirstLine Schools.
The project "has the dual purpose of anchoring economic development in the Broad Street commercial corridor and delivering much-needed, high quality fresh foods and groceries to underserved communities." The development also will host community wellness events, activities and classes. Its anticipated opening is early 2014. Below, watch WWL-TV's coverage of this morning's ceremony:
It’s normal to see chefs making the rounds at local farmers markets, but on the evening of May 20 there should be a bumper crop of them on hand at Hollygrove Market & Farm for its annual Party in the Garden.
The event is an important fundraiser for Hollygrove, a nonprofit that functions as an urban farm, a market for other small-scale farmers and food producers and an education center. Since forming in 2008, Hollygrove has developed a distribution network with local restaurants, and at least 20 of them will be on hand for the event, serving food prepared in part with local produce.
Hollygrove schedules this annual fundraiser on a Monday to make it easier for chefs and restaurant staff to participate, explains Bill Pastellak, the market’s director of operations, and in past years the event has had the air of a restaurant industry meet-and-greet. Certainly, the restaurants lined up for this year’s edition cut a wide swath across the scene, ranging from high-end spots like Patois, Iris and Martinique Bistro to Gracious Bakery & Café, Pizza Delicious and Killer Po-Boys, an innovative sandwich maker based in the back of the Erin Rose Irish pub.
The food booths at the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo festival, scheduled May 17-19 along Bayou St. John, always provide a good sampling of restaurants from around the neighborhood. Sometimes, they also preview interesting new restaurants on the way. A case in point this year is the Good Karma Prasad Café, a new vegetarian restaurant in the works for Mid-City at 2940 Canal St.
Michelle Baker and business partner Sughosh Berg plan to open Good Karma Prasad Café by the end of the summer inside Swan River Yoga, a yoga studio Baker operates in a historic, former library building. The joining of yoga studio and café is not coincidental.
On May 1, Mayor Mitch Landrieu vetoed New Orleans City Council's passing of council vice president Stacy Head's food truck ordinance, a pilot plan package at that would've updated the city's decades-old mobile vendor laws. Head responded with a compromise plan — to at least open 75 mobile vendor permits in the interim while drafting a Landrieu-approved plan.
Before Landrieu's annual State of the City address this afternoon, Head told Gambit's Kevin Allman that the legislation now is "largely in the administration’s court."
"It’s horribly disappointing," she said. "With the issues the city has before us, the violent crime that is strangling our city, the quality of life issues left unresolved on a daily basis, the crumbling infrastructure — for this to have taken such of my energy and time, it’s disappointing."
Head asks that Landrieu "stay true to his word and support food trucks and increase the number by 75 in this interim while he drafts this legislation."
"We just need to know what he wants. For 10 months we hadn’t heard that," she said. "So I wrote a letter, I told them verbally, I told them in a statement and I told them on the dais, that if they can present some kind of package to us, maybe we can get the ball rolling."
On May 16, City Council will address Landrieu's veto, though Head said she doesn't know whether she'll have the votes to override it.
"I’m very pragmatic, and I know there are practical challenges to that," she said, "which is why I've given the council and the mayor two options: We can keep the status quo, which is clearly what the mayor wants, over the reforms I passed."
Commander’s Palace chef Tory McPhail won the Best Chef: South category at the James Beard Foundation Awards, which were held last night at New York’s Lincoln Center.
McPhail was part of a contingent of New Orleans chefs who traveled for the ceremony, which dishes out what are generally considered the most prestigious awards in the American culinary world. Together with Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery, Alon Shaya of Domenica and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s the New Orleans crew held four of the five nominations for the Best Chef: South category this year. Jeff McInnis of the Miami restaurant Yardbird Southern Table & Bar was the fifth nominee this year.
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