Thinking about NOLA: Food!

Happy Friday ARLISians!

photo credit: kimncris our world famous bananas foster via photopin (license)

As much as music is a significant part of New Orleans, the food is an equally important part. Some dishes, which are typically found elsewhere in Louisiana, are also considered New Orleans delicacies. It makes your mouth water just thinking about those one-dish wonders like Gumbo, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, and Crawfish Etouffee, doesn’t it? And what about those delicious stuffed sandwiches? Po-Boys and Muffulettas….oh, yes! You will definitely want to go out to have Beignets, and maybe later have some Bananas Foster for dessert! Learn more about each of these traditional dishes (and some restaurants).

Speaking of Bananas Foster, that rum-soaked flaming dessert was developed at the first Brennan’s restaurant. Ella Brennan is a New Orleans treasure, and one of the first female restaurateurs in the country. Her Commander’s Palace, in New Orleans, is home of the famous Jazz Brunch, and it is only one of twenty restaurants she now runs in the U.S. Without Brennan, there may never have been an Emeril Lagasse or a Paul Prudhomme, who both learned from her. A new book and a documentary film on Brennan were released not long ago.

Did you know that the John and Bonnie Boyd Hospitality and Culinary Library is located in New Orleans? It is not that far from our conference hotel, and down the street from the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (of which they are a part). Appointments to visit the Library must be made in advance. Their full catalog is available via the online catalog of the New Orleans Public Library.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., documents the food and drink of the American South. They are – happily – open Wednesday through Monday. At the time of year during which our conference is held the Museum gives a lunch demonstration of classic New Orleans dishes (on Monday), and of classic Creole-Italian food (on Thursday). Each is held from 11 AM to 1 PM and the lucky some of us can try to squeeze one of those into our schedules! Directions to the Museum are on their website.

What about all those other restaurants? There are so many good ones, but there are several that are quite historic. Tujague’s, which opened in 1856, is the third oldest American restaurant. But do you believe that Tujague’s is only the second oldest in New Orleans? It does have the oldest stand-up bar in America where both the Grasshopper and the Whiskey Punch were created. The SF&B Museum has an exhibit on Tujague’s — this restaurant has also been added it to the wonderful National Culinary Heritage Register.

The NCH Register, which lists establishments and other food-related American things at least fifty years old, includes another quite famous New Orleans restaurant — Antoine’s Restaurant which actually is the very “oldest family-owned, continuously operating business in the United States.” They opened in 1840, and are now in business for 176 years. They refer to their food as French-Creole.

photo credit: Eric Wagner, Mardi Gras King Cake (license)

Let’s talk about goodies again! Two New Orleans praline shops are on the Register, too. Aunt Sally’s Pralines opened in 1935 and is now into the third and fourth generation of family owners. Leah’s Pralines, which began as Cook’s Confections in 1933, was sold in 1944 and became Leah’s Southern Confections. Pralines are a good go-to gift for your friends and family back home!

While you are in New Orleans, there is another food-related Must for your to-do-list, and that too, is on the NCH Register — the French Market. The Market is located within the French Quarter and began in 1791, making it the oldest continually operating public market in the United States! Didn’t I say it was a Must?

Because our ARLIS/NA conference will be held February 5 – 9, it is during the season of King Cake! Those cakes are decorated with the Mardi Gras colors of purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power) — does it make you think of our Arts du Monde logo? I hope so, and I hope to see you (let’s eat!) in New Orleans, my friends!

Remember: Only one more week of Early Bird Registration remains, so register now, and no later than Friday December 23!

E. Lee Eltzroth, ARLIS/NA 2017 publicity coordinator

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