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Tips for eating your way around French Quarter Festival
April 09, 2013
By Susan Langenhennig
Chances are you already have your schedule highlighted and your route to food booths and music stages plotted for this weekendís French Quarter Festival. If so, youíre way more organized than I am.
I always go into the festival with a loose game plan, fully aware that I will be easily swayed into detours, especially if my path crosses with the scent of hot boiled crawfish or spontaneous swing dancing.
By necessity, my food plans are a bit more scripted than my music schedule. You have to know how much stomach space to spare between restaurant booths.
This year, the French Quarter Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a colossal party that kicks off Thursday, April 11, and runs through Sunday, April 14. It engulfs the city's oldest neighborhood, setting up dozens of music stages and dishing out food by more than 60 restaurants. All of the stages have multiple acts. Most food booths have multiple dishes. There's even a film festival.
My colleagues, Alison Fensterstock and Keith Spera, have provided some guidance for what to catch music-wise. For what to eat, Iíve tried to whittle it down as well. Below are the lists of vendors for each food area and a couple of dishes Iím looking forward to enjoying. For those who already have their grazing plans in place, share your favorite festival foods in the comment section below.
Red Fish Grill's duck and mushroom gumbo $6: Red Fish Grillís roasted duck and cremini mushroom gumbo Ė dark roux, flecked with tomatoes and okra and served with a green-onion rice pilaf Ė would be worth seeking out no matter where it was sold. But could there be a better way to enjoy it than at Woldenberg Park, when a breeze is blowing off the river and Kermit Ruffins is blowing his horn? If thereís a better match of mood and food, I canít think of it. Kermit plays the Abita Beer Stage on the riverfront Saturday, April 13, at 2:15 p.m., in case you want to try the pairing yourself.
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