Maybe you go for the music, but some of us go for the food…ok and the music too, but honestly I’m mostly there for the food, affectionately known as “The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.” The French Quarter Festival is a big favorite with locals and for good reason—the weather tends to cooperate, the food and music are fabulous, and you can actually move around. This year, there are some new food vendors worth knowing about.
Keep eyes peeled for “2 Food Guys—The finest hangin’ meat in Lakeview.” Brothers Phil and Mike Cusimano (“Joe’s Mike), partnering with their cousin Mike Cusimano (“Sal’s Mike”) owner of Italian Pie, have come out with a line of sausages that will blow your mind. Inspired long ago by the Atkins carb-free craze, these New Orleans Italian family cooks came up with a slew of sausages in familiar flavors. During the Fest, choose two from a list of four: dressed roast beef po-boy, boiled shrimp, barbecued shrimp, and red beans & rice. Yes, these are sausages, really. The Fest plate runs about $5- $6, complete with lagniappe. Post Fest, 2 Guys’ complete line of sausages (muffuletta; stuffed bell pepper; and bread pudding, to name some in addition to those above), will be sold from the new Italian Pie location on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie.
Also joining this year’s food fray in Woldenberg Park, Crescent Pie & Sausage Company stirs up Chef Bart Bell’s incredible “Bad Bart’s Black Jambalaya,” studded with black-eyed peas and cooked in a giant black iron pot. His boudin is not to be missed. Taking over the fish taco service is the fish guru himself, Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins. Hibachi rice and yakitori lovers will also find Little Tokyo here.
On Jackson Square, Crabby Jack’s is new to the Fest with turkey legs and alligator cheesecake; and Antoine’s will dish out “Oysters Bonne Femme” and “Shrimp Regua.”
At the Old U.S. Mint, make sure to nab some crawfish bread from Lakeview Harbor, and oh-so-good New Orleans comfort food from Pearl’s, serving stuffed bell peppers, baked chicken, and red velvet cake.