Food and festivities are inseparable in Spain, so it's fitting that feasting is part of San Fermin in Nueva Orleans, the local tribute to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
The local celebration begins Thursday, July 11, with a Spanish wine dinner at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel (717 Orleans Ave., 504-523-2222). The four-course meal features traditional Spanish dishes paired with Rioja wines from the Marques de Caceres winery and live music. Dinner costs $98 and begins at 7 p.m.
Friday evening brings El Txupinazo, a pre-party with a happy hour vibe and festival format from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sugar Mill (1021 Convention Center Blvd.). Admission is free, and there will be a cash bar and Spanish-themed snacks and dishes available for purchase. Chefs Aaron Burgau of Patois, Brian Landry of Borgne, Tory McPhail of Commander's Palace and Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon will serve dishes including manchego and serrano sandwiches, seared tuna with chorizo marmalade, shellfish paella and albondigas (Spanish meatballs). The party includes live music and performances and event proceeds benefit the nonprofits Animal Rescue New Orleans and the Louisiana chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
After Saturday morning's run (see "San Fermin in Nueva Orleans," p. 52), look for a collection of local food trucks selling dishes around the Sugar Mill, including Empanada Intifada, Peace Love and Snowballs, La Cocinita, Foodie Call, Food Drunk, Rue Chow and Brigade Coffee. For details, visit www.nolabulls.com.