New Orleans: the Mecca of all music, festivals, and food. Heading to Nola for the first weekend of Jazzfest was even more exciting with Trey Band playing. Though the original show was sadly cancelled due to the absence of Ray Paczkowski, instead Trey Trio would be reuniting for the first time in 20 years with drummer Russ Lawton and bassist Tony Markellis. I prepared a Google map of food recommendations for months leading up to the trip, which got me through the long Massachusetts winter to my finish line – 85 and sunny for the first weekend of Jazzfest. On Friday night the Trey Trio show picked up serious steam by the end of the first set, working into a barn burner of a show with encore by my girl Jennifer Hartswick bringing the house down on Waste, Mozambique, and Clint Eastwood.
Traveling with an All Star Krewe who were always down for the next meal, show, and adventure took us from hole-in-the-walls to fine dining and everywhere in between. Of course some of the best food in the city was at the Jazzfest, where Crawfish Monica lived up to the hype, I relished the delectable Crawfish Enchiladas, and had the best po boys of my life; one soft shell crab and the other Cochon De Lait. Every meal brings me to tears in New Orleans, because you can taste the obsession with food and music in every bite. Here are a handful of essential favorites for any trip to Nola – click here for the full Google Map.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House, 2401 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119: This is an institution of fried chicken founded in 1957 in the historic Treme neighborhood. Do not skip the cornbread.
Lil Dizzy’s, 1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116: The ultimate greasy spoon, also located in the Treme. Go for the all you can eat brunch buffet to try everything, including the best biscuits of all time and the white chocolate bread pudding.
Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits, 600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117: A wine shop with a beer garden in the back. Buy your booze inside and pick a few cheeses, then they’ll serve you out back. There’s live music on a small stage, feeling like a large backyard party.
Cafe Negril, 606 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116: This taco shop in the back of a bar on Frenchman St looks unassuming, but is some of the best bar food you could ask for till 3am.
Verti Marte, 1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116: It’s 4am and you’re still hungry? Head to this 24/7 corner store with a dank deli counter. Get the All That Jazz to soak up all the dranks.
Restaurant R’evolution, 777 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70130: The service is so warm that it makes you forget the pretentiousness of fine dining. Every detail from decor to presentation and flavor is flawless. At the end of dinner, an embellished chest is put on your table with little drawers, each containing a single sweet- a chocolate truffle, a delicate cookie. If you can’t swing the pricey dinner, just have a bowl of the Death By Gumbo at the bar with a Ramos Gin Fizz.
Late night at my favorite bar, The Maple Leaf, JHa got up with the superjam Leafopotomus for Stevie Wonder, Prince and Zeppelin covers. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a salted caramel wrapped in wax paper I had stashed away from the R’evolution dessert jewel box. That moment was Nola in a nutshell: in case you weren’t already having the time of your life, here’s a little something extra. Lagniappe.